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December 16, 2008

CNC Machine built using Washing Machine Motors

at 5:23 am. Filed under Crazy Hacks, Electronic Hacks, Insane Equipment, What Were They Thinking


Remember the Fisher & Paykel Smart Drive Washing Machine Wind Generator from earlier this month? Well it looks like there is more uses for those motors! How about recycling 3 used washing machines into a huge powerful CNC machine. It takes a bit of work but apparently the 3 phase stepper motor makes for a good and accurate CNC motor.

"The motors from a fisher and pykel washing machine are removed along with the control board. Three motors are required. Connecting the stepper motors to the HM30 machine The hole at the end of the plastic housing the motor spindle, slips over the end of the x,y axis on the mill table. The spindle is shortened and drilled to allow the shaft from the table to slide into the shaft from the washing machine. A tapered pin and hole, hold the two together. The motor is basicly a three phase stepper motor. Good luck finding a driver for it. A driver can be made by using the FETs from the washing machine controller. A PICAxe chip (see Oatley electronics) is programed to take the step and direction pulse’s and energise three outputs for the three coils (5 input/outputs fits on the PICXE08 model, this is programmed with free software on the serial port of the PC). The three outputs are used to drive a darlington pair in the chip ULN2003 (drives up to 8 outputs), this in turn drives our FETs from the washing machine."


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10 Responses to “CNC Machine built using Washing Machine Motors”

  1. Pouncer Says:

    Very cool. My only concern would be possibly getting your clothing caught on one of the motors during a long run. (as opposed to a jog) I imagine those motors develop some serious torque.

  2. Shadyman Says:

    Yeah, I would definitely suggest a big, red emergency stop button.

  3. Mark Says:

    You better put some plexiglass or something between the motor and mill, to prevent chips from getting in the stator or between it and the rotor. If you don’t it will not last long.

    As Pouncer and Shadyman say, you definitely need a shield so you don’t hit the rotor, and an easily-reachable e-stop buton. The fins and holes in the rotor help cool it, so you need to take care that the shield does not block airflow.

    In a washer, the rotor is always spinning when energized, so it can cool itself. In CNC it is often energized and moving extremely slow or not at all. You might need a muffin fan to provide airflow.

  4. Brandon Kinman Says:

    Video would have been nice in the instructable.

  5. Bob Hilquist Says:

    The Fisher & Paykel Smart Drive is very Kool! Can any one tell me where you can find used machines. I’ve never heard of that brand.

  6. Lantz Says:

    They started from Australia but are now in the US also.

  7. Mark Says:

    Actually, F&P makes parts for Maytag/Whirlpool/Kenmore. If you have a toploading, high efficiency washer from one of those three, chances are it has “Fisher and Paykel” stamped on the motor parts. I’m not sure just how much of the washer they make, it’s POSSIBLE that they make all of it. I had to get parts for my Kenmore, and was quite suprised to find that most of the part numbers are common between Maytag, Whirlpool, and Kenmore. I thought they were competitors, but obviously not.

  8. Marco Says:

    I wouldnt think to find a stepper motor in a washing machine.. whats the point of that ?

  9. Alan Parekh Says:

    Hi Marco,

    If the machine is discarded the motor is free. 🙂

  10. Andy Pugh Says:

    LG use similar motors in their Direct drive machines.

    These are nor “stepper motors” at all, they are three-phase brushless DC motors. Almost identical to the Outrunners used on model aircraft.

    eBay contains many brushless motor drives. Look for “bldc” “pmdc” and “AC servo” drives, but make sure that they accept Hall-sensor inputs.

    For a CNC machine, you could use LinuxCNC and the Mesa 8i20 drive. (That’s my plan with the one I just bought anyway)

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