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Old 05-18-2019, 10:25 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Lightbulb CNC-mill powered by Nissan Leaf motor & electronics

Hello guys!

Got a Doc Brown flux capacitor kind of moment while I was asleep yesterday night. Long story short; I got a heavy truck with interchangable bed, or more like a chassis made for carrying containers and swapable cabinetts/boxes, I just bought a small box with container locks to put on the truck. Just look at the pictures and you'll probably understand at least some of it.

I've nursed a thought that I would make an off grid mobile work shop containing my CNC-mill and eventually my small CNC lathe along with some accessories for quite some time now. I've always assumed that I would put a semisized diesel driven powerplant capable of delivering >32A 400V 3-phase in order to run the machines while away from the electrical grid. Now, yesterday night I woke up with the words 'Why not ditch the old 3-phase motor and hook up an electrical motor from a Leaf, I-Miev or some other kind of common electric car?'. I figured I would use most of the stuff from the donor car. But this is where I need some advice..

The mill is using what I believe is a 6-7kW 3-phase AC-motor run by a 3-phase VFD, the VFD gets its commands from a Smoothstepper machine controller governed by MACH3 mill. I think the Smoothstepper is capable of generating various kinds of signals for the VFD. I want to remove current motor, VFD and what not and replace it with most of the stuff from a Nissan Leaf salvaged intact from the car. I'll build another housing for the batteries that are more suited for my needs and stack the batteries in a different way. I've searched some info through google and landed on the conclusion that motor, inverter and charger paired with one of those nice control boards made by Paul Holmes might do the trick.

What do you think? Any ideas, thoughts or other inputs?

Let's say I have a $3000 budget on the electronics.

Parts from Nissan Leaf, I-miev, Soul EV, Golf E and most other kinds are easy to come by here in Norway.

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Old 05-18-2019, 11:35 AM   #2 (permalink)
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120HP mill seems like overkill
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Old 05-18-2019, 11:46 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by rmay635703 View Post
120HP mill seems like overkill
I don't understand what you mean?
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Old 05-18-2019, 12:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Got a chance to get some info and pictures of current setup.. As rmay635703 so kindly pointed out; this is a bit overkill. But I could work with those numbers.

What's the weight of the Leaf motor? I just read that the current AC-motor is only 4kW, not 6-7kW as I thought. Yes, physically the Leaf motor is somewhat larger, and it's probably some kilos heavier too, but that's just obstacles to overcome.

Current AC-motor:

TEC TECA2-112M-2-B35

Current VFD will be replaced, but it's called Emheater EM9-G3-004 if anyone is interested. It's currently controlled by PWM with a base Hertz of 2kHz according to the Smoothstepper plugin in Mach3. What kind of signal does the throttle pedal on the Leaf generate? Is it a standard potentiometer of some kind? And what about forward and reverse signals? Found a small film on youtube made by Paul Holmes last year showing off some kind of aftermarket control board for the Leaf-inverter, but I can't find any more info on it. Feels like that would bring stuff in the right direction, but I might be mistaken.

Thanks for now.
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Old 05-18-2019, 04:21 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I thought 90 to 100hp was normal for a big mill so 120 seems fine.
Do you want it done fast or faster?
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Old 05-19-2019, 05:06 PM   #6 (permalink)
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This is what I'd want instead of a shipping container. On big ol' camper jacks or legs like the Lunar landers:


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Old 05-21-2019, 10:18 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Why not just use a DC powered Vfd? I cant see where you need to alter speed that fast, don't use regen, bms can manage batteries. You also realize that unless you carry massive batteries, you get only a couple of operating hours on the pack since unlike a car, your power requirements are constant.
casual notes from the underground:There are some "experts" out there that in reality don't have a clue as to what they are doing.
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Old 05-21-2019, 10:55 AM   #8 (permalink)
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The third photo is upside down - can you flip it around, please?
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Old 05-21-2019, 11:12 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by rmay635703 View Post
120HP mill seems like overkill
Gear it down for more torque, mills can always use more of that. The thing I wonder though is the RPMs that Nissan motor will put out? I know I've personally seen milling cycles on Haas mills that run 8k RPMs on the regular, and I've heard of some with really small bits running north of 20k.

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