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  • Writer's pictureKelli

How I installed a motor on my press

Setting up my Chandler & Price to print more efficiently

Chandler & Price letterpress

When I first got my press, Joan Holloway Harris, aka Joanie, she came with a motor that was so old it looked like it would catch on fire if I plugged it in. I printed by hand (manually turning the flywheel for every print, which was a great workout) until I could figure out how to install something different.

I bought a treadle, but it turns out my crankshaft was replaced with a straight shaft and there was nothing for it to hook on to. I went back to printing by hand, but as my orders have increased, I needed a way to print faster to keep up.

My husband made it his personal mission to get a motor up and running. After some trial and error, he was successful! Since there are so few resources, we wanted to share our process.

We started with a 3 phase motor with 1/2 horsepower. It hooks up to a VFD (variable frequency drive) TECO Westinghouse L510 on the wall. The VFD makes it possible to use the 110v wall outlet and convert to 3 phase electricity, which is then sent it back to the motor. The VFD allows me to adjust the speed of the motor. The V belt pulley on the motor uses an 86 inch type A belt, which hooks up to a pulley that was already in place on the straight shaft.

3 phase motor

pulley and belt


It's important to make sure the cables being used are rated for the proper voltage.

Feel free to ask any questions below!

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