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    • CommentAuthor8iowa
    • CommentTimeJul 9th 2009
     
    Nick:

    Do you have any information on the recently announced new Shopsmith headstock?
    • CommentAuthorJPG40504
    • CommentTimeJul 10th 2009 edited
     
    IF he did, I doubt he could divulge any of it! (Prove me wrong Nick!) BTW 8iowa have you changed your ss forum avatar to remove the snow yet?????
    •  
      CommentAuthorNick
    • CommentTimeJul 10th 2009
     
    "Do you have any information on the recently announced new Shopsmith headstock?"

    Tell me who did the "announcing." There's nothing about it on the Shopsmith web site. Not even a mention in the forum that I could see after a quick search.

    With all good wishes,
    Nick
    • CommentAuthor8iowa
    • CommentTimeJul 10th 2009
     
    JPG:

    Many thanks for your interest. I have several new pictures of the "Workshop in the Woods". Unfortunately, here in the middle of the Hiawatha National Forest, I'm stuck with a dial up baud rate of only 26K. Downloading pictures just doesn't work at this slow speed. I do plan to upgrade the avatar and send other pictures as soon as I can get to an ISP with decent speed.
    • CommentAuthordusty
    • CommentTimeJul 10th 2009
     
    Shopsmith made the Announcement several days ago. I have looked for word about it elsewhere but have found nothing. I really thought there would be a barrage of information released. But then I have never really understood the way Shopsmith, Inc goes about marketing.

    http://www.shopsmith.net/forums/announcement.htm?f=6
    •  
      CommentAuthorNick
    • CommentTimeJul 10th 2009 edited
     
    Since Bob made the announcement, I guess I can spill some of the beans. I’ll have to publish this in two installments, since the Forum software limits the lengths of my posts.

    The new Shopsmith headstock is built around a DVR -- Digital Variable Reluctance -- motor. Reluctance -- also called magnetic resistance -- is a property of all materials, similar to electrical resistance. In some materials (such as plastic), reluctance is high and it is difficult to form magnetic fields in them. In others (such as iron) it's low and magnetic fields form easily. In those materials where it forms easily, the charges that generate magnetic flux (the quantity of magnetism) can be aligned to reinforce one another and increase the power of the magnetic field. You can demonstrate this with two permanent magnets and some iron nails. Align the magnets North-South/North-South (so they stick to one another) and you'll be able to pick up more nails than with a single magnet alone. The reluctance is lower and the magnetic flux is higher. Now align them North-South/South-North (so they repel), and they will pick up far fewer nails than a single magnet. The reluctance is higher and the flux lower.

    An ordinary electric motor is a magnetic engine. Permanent magnets surround an armature with electrical wires wound around iron plates. Electric current passes through stationary brushes to a rotating commutator and into the windings. As the electrical current travels around the plates, they generate magnetic flux and a resulting magnetic field. But it just so happens that the North-South poles in the armature's magnetic field are opposed to those in the surrounding magnets. High reluctance develops, the magnet repels the armature, and the armature turns so the reluctance will decrease and the magnetic fields will attract. Unfortunately, the moment this happens the commutator contacts switch positions with the brushes, the electric current reverses direction, and the magnetic field in the armature plates switch poles -- and the whole reluctance-flux-north-south-attract-repulse thing happens all over again.

    The speed of the motor and the amount of work it can do depend on both the current and the reluctance. Decrease the current and the motor slows down. But less current equals less flux, so the motor also develops less torque and will do less work. Shopsmith's 1954 solution to this problem was variable-diameter pulleys. Let the motor run at a single speed and vary the rotational speed by changing the diameter of the pulleys. The motor will provide a constant torque no matter what the RPM of the drive spindle. It was an ingenious, cutting-edge solution -- for 1954. Unfortunately, technology marches on and what was cutting-edge 55 years ago hasn't the same sparkle today.

    Besides, technology now offers a much better solution. Vary the reluctance at the same time you vary the current and you can adjust the available torque at any speed. You have an electric motor that can do amazing amounts of work over a wide range of speeds. Less current may cause a drop in flux, but decrease the reluctance and the flux is back where you need it. Dang. The New Zealand company that developed this motor uses a computer to vary the current and the reluctance. Select a speed, and the computer adjusts the current and reluctance for the motor to run at that speed with no load. Now require the motor to do some work -- let's say you're ripping pine. As you feed the wood into the saw, the computer senses the load and adjusts the current and reluctance to increase torque and maintain speed. You hit a dense knot, the computer senses increased load and once again changes the current/reluctance to keep the speed up. You decide to feed the wood faster or switch to oak, and the computer changes the current/reluctance for changing load requirements to keep the speed right where you want it. HOT dang. The computer makes thousands of these computations per second, so the saw blade rarely bogs down even when the load changes dramatically. In the tests that I saw, Jim McCann fed hard maple boards through the Mark V in the shaper mode as fast as he safely could, and you could barely hear the motor slow just before it adjusted to keep up. DOUBLE hot dang.

    Continued below...
    •  
      CommentAuthorNick
    • CommentTimeJul 10th 2009
     
    The new headstock will offer an increased speed range with sufficient torque at all speeds to do a wide range of woodworking tasks. I don’t know what the speed range will be; when I left Shopsmith it had not yet been decided. My expectation is the speed range will increase by considerably more than 50% with most of that at the top end to boost the Mark V’s routing and shaping capabilities. The speed will be a great deal more accurate and consistent than almost any other power tool on the market, with comparable increases in accuracy and quality of cut. Additionally, the motor operates more efficiently than standard induction motors and it has a built-in “soft start” to avoid wear and tear on the motor itself. Although Shopsmith cannot yet point to any durability tests, the new motor should have at least the same life as the old one and perhaps a bit more.

    As good as this may sound be aware that a new state-of-the-art DVR motor is only half the story. For Shopsmith, it wouldn’t be enough to offer you a Mark V with a new powerplant. Because of the company’s unique design philosophy – making every new advance backwards compatible – the new headstock will work with older machines. I don’t know if this is still the case, but when I left last September the plan was to make it possible to install the new motor in “B” and “C” headstocks. I haven’t heard if they licked all the problems to make this possible, but they have Jim McCann working on it. I’ve known Jim for thirty years and the man has more good ideas in 15 minutes than most of us have our whole lives long. If anyone can do it, he can. But even if Shopsmith cannot offer that option, the new headstock will make it possible for owners to update any Mark V, no matter how old, and make it a 21rst-century woodworking machine, more advanced than anything on the consumer market save a very few CNC tools.

    Although I don’t expect Shopsmith to admit this in their advertising of the headstock, it should be easy enough for any one of us to surmise that Shopsmith has put a great deal of eggs in this basket. I am amazed that a company that has been hard hit by a hostile economy, foreign competition, and a general downturn in the tool industry has had the focus and the gumption to continue with this R&D program. But I can’t help but think that the risk is well worth the effort. If successful, the new headstock will attract a younger generation of woodworkers who understand the advantages of new technologies and offer them a woodworking tool that is an order of magnitude more powerful and capable than any other machine in its market. This, in turn, should spark an increased demand for other Shopsmith tools and accessories. The initial reaction looks good. The mailman who delivers to Shopsmith is my neighbor and she mentioned that there was an unusual amount of activity around the plant today and so much mail that she had to deliver it with a hand truck.

    Even – God forbid – the plan goes awry and Shopsmith eventually follows so many other tool manufacturers into oblivion, at least they will close their doors knowing its wasn’t because they were outdated or obsolete. If anything, it will be because this new power plant is so far ahead of its time.

    With all good wishes,
    Nick

    Interesting references:
    http://www.ipenz.org.nz/ipenz/Forms/pdfs/treNz5.pdf
    https://www.teknatool.com/products/Lathes/DVR%20XP/Downloads/DVR%20XP%20Smart%20Motor_April%2007.pdf
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic_reluctance
    •  
      CommentAuthorKalynzoo
    • CommentTimeJul 11th 2009
     
    Nick, thank you for that detailed reply. As I try to remember my Applied Physics from the University I realize how much I have forgotten, or how much has changed. That aside, I wait with great anticipation for the new PowerPro drive system. It is not so much that I have a great need for more power, nor do I really need a speed control that is controllable to a few revolutions per second. It's that I need a new toy. That's not really true, but the idea of having a high quality platform for obtaining reproducible and/or anticipated results is the reason I dove in and purchased my SS110 in the first place. I have never regretted that purchase, and I have enjoyed hours of creative time with the Shopsmith. Your detailed report has whetted my anticipation. Now if the unit will only be affordable.
    It's good hearing from you. Gary Kalyn
    • CommentAuthorJPG40504
    • CommentTimeJul 11th 2009
     
    THANK YOU for proving me wrong! Very interesting! I especially hope the 'motor' update to existing headstock WILL become a reality. Even if it means an ugly box(new control/display) covering up the current speed dial location it will be an option with lower cost than an entire headstock replacement. BTW Why not "A" headstocks also?????
    •  
      CommentAuthorNick
    • CommentTimeJul 11th 2009 edited
     
    If Shopsmith has continued with the plan that was shown to me, there won't be an ugly box on the headstock. Instead, there will be a svelt, attractive control pad that fits nicely in the space once occupied by the Speed Dial without increasing its bulk. If anything, the prototype that I saw was slightly smaller in volume than the dial. As for "A" headstocks, these were sandcast. Their shape is not neary as consistent as the diecast "B" and "C" headstocks. The installation of the new motor, if that option is offered, will require that you drill a few holes with reasonable accuracy. There is no way that Shopsmith can make an accurate template to follow on the sandcast headstocks because of the minute discrepancies from casting to casting.

    With all good wishes,
    Nick
    • CommentAuthorJPG40504
    • CommentTimeJul 11th 2009
     
    Since you brought up 'sand castings', at what point in the evolution did the sand castings cease. Were all greenies sand cast, or, were only the initial production. At what point did an 'A' headstock become a 'B' headstock? Is there a coincidence between Gilmer belt headstocks(both greenies and early goldies) and A/B headstock.
    • CommentAuthordusty
    • CommentTimeJul 11th 2009 edited
     
    It has not been specifically stated so I will ask. Is this headstock being built in New Zealand by Tecknatool; if so, that would make it a cousin to the Nova 3000 XP.

    This would not be bad. The Nova 3000 is getting some pretty impressive reviews.
    • CommentAuthorJPG40504
    • CommentTimeJul 11th 2009
     
    It would be my GUESS that the motor and controls may be built by the same supplier(referred to but not identified in the ipenz reference) as tecknatool's. I also assume that the actual headstock will be of shopsmith design/manufacture. It is noteworthy that the tecknatool motor has a speed RANGE almost 5x(4.7) greater than the current shopsmith(35:1 vs 7.4:1)! Considering nick's 'motor upgrade comment' I further GUESS the new headstock will be MOSTLY identical to the existing design EXCEPT for the motor and speed control. That would allow for minimal tooling investment AND continue shopsmith's historical backward compatibility philosophy.
    •  
      CommentAuthorGene
    • CommentTimeJul 11th 2009
     
    WOW!!!!!
    I can't wait.

    Gene
    • CommentAuthoredflorence
    • CommentTimeJul 11th 2009
     
    Nick...

    Thanks very much for your detailed response. The new headstock sounds mighty impressive. If, as you guess, most of the expanded speed range will be on the higher end, it sounds like the speed reducer will still be a handy accessory to have. Thats a good piece of information to have.

    Ed
    Idaho Panhandle
    • CommentAuthordusty
    • CommentTimeJul 21st 2009
     
    I am a little confused about this new motor. Is it an AC motor or is it a DC motor?

    I think I understand properly that it has variable speed and variable torque characteristic.
  1.  
    I think the answer to your AC or DC question is NEITHER!
    This is new technology and does not rely on a old 'dumb' technology. I suspect that in the next century or so, there will be no AC or DC motors around. Just like today's shortage of tack for hitching up a team of horses.

    The following is a quote from the second link given us by Nick------
    ..."This is unlike a ‘dumb’ AC or DC motor where there is no active management
    of conditions and the motors performance. The actions of the DVR motor are
    controlled by a computer chip. It constantly analyses (at 400 times per second
    for example, when running at 2000rpm) both the spindle position and the
    power required to maintain a given speed."...

    Charlese
    • CommentAuthorJPG40504
    • CommentTimeJul 21st 2009
     
    IF I properly understand what little has been said(by Nick AND his references) the rotor of the new motor consists primarily(maybe exclusively) of permanent magnets. The stator consists of multiple poles. The magnetic field about these poles are varied by the 'controller circuitry'. By varying both the frequency and strength of the fields about these poles the speed and torque developed are controlled. I believe a sensor provides feedback regarding the position of the rotor to the controller.
    It is by changing the timing between the pulses to the pole coils that the speed is controlled. It is by varying the strength
    (current) to the poles that the torque is controlled. At slower speeds, the pulses can be stronger(but shorter duration) thus allowing higher torque at low rpm's without excessive heating.

    All this is conclusions on my part after reading the 'general' descriptions mentioned above. The ability to slowly increase speed at startup is what eliminates the start up current surge.

    Any one with more accurate first hand knowledge, tell us!
    • CommentAuthorJPG40504
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd 2009
     
    I intentionally left out the 'variable reluctance' control in the previous post. I really do NOT know how it is done. IF the stator IS permanent magnets, then coils around the rotor poles could reinforce or oppose the field. This could be done with a single winding.(the stator poles need NOT be controlled individually). This would only require a single pair of slip ring connections.
    • CommentAuthorcharlese
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd 2009 edited
     
    Let's face it guys - it's magic!!! Not the new science, but like many of the newer electronics - it's re-discovered science.
    •  
      CommentAuthorNick
    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2009 edited
     
    Best explanation of how a switched/variable reluctance motor works that I've found so far: http://www.fleadh.co.uk/srm.htm . Also take a look at http://www.freescale.com/webapp/sps/site/overview.jsp?code=DRMTRSWTRLCTMTR and http://www.ece.umn.edu/users/riaz/animations/switchrel.html .

    With all good wishes,
    Nick
    •  
      CommentAuthorNick
    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2009 edited
     
    Might interest you folks to know that just a month ago, a switched reluctance motor produced the highest speed ever acheived for a commercial electric motor -- 104,000 RPM -- in a VACUUM CLEANER. See: http://www.trustedreviews.com/peripherals/news/2009/06/26/Dyson-Upgrades-Handhelds-With-Fastest-Motor-Ever-Built/p1 . Don't get your hopes up, however. I doubt the Power Pro will spin that fast.

    With all good wishes,
    Nick
    • CommentAuthorJPG40504
    • CommentTimeJul 25th 2009 edited
     
    Forget I said ANYTHING about magnetic rotors(stator) and coils around them!!!!!!!!! Thanks for the further light Nick!
    • CommentAuthortom_k_mo
    • CommentTimeSep 4th 2009
     
    Nick, have you heard any new info from SS on the new headstock? Seems the message on the SS forums announcing the coming of the new headstock this year have been removed, and a poster has indicated that it is "dead"... Heard anything new?
    •  
      CommentAuthorNick
    • CommentTimeSep 4th 2009 edited
     
    By "poster" you mean "Headstock," of course. My gawd, Tom -- the guy is gloom wrapped in a hand-tailored wet blanket and sporting a Phd in misery. Read his posts. Contrary to what the Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse is predicting, the PowerPro is proceeding, I'm designing the labels, and the pilot run has been scheduled. Not allowed to give out dates or specifics, of course, but there you are.

    With all goood wishes,
    Nick
    • CommentAuthorDicksterp
    • CommentTimeSep 5th 2009 edited
     
    The guy makes Eeyore (from WinniethePooh) look full of sunshine and happiness.

    Dick
    • CommentAuthortom_k_mo
    • CommentTimeSep 5th 2009
     
    Nick, thanks for the reply and support. This really looks like a great improvement for the ShopSmith and I wish the best for the company in their endevor. Glad to hear the project is still on track.
    • CommentAuthorgregf
    • CommentTimeSep 5th 2009
     
    Thanks for the info.
    It's always good to hear positive things about SS.
    • CommentAuthorrdubbs
    • CommentTimeSep 18th 2009
     
    Nick - On the SS forum, you mentioned that you would post audio (from the Ft. Wayne SS User Group meeting) on your site. Will you post it on this thread?

    Rick
    •  
      CommentAuthorNick
    • CommentTimeOct 7th 2009 edited
     
    Rick, the initial meeting of the Fort Wayne group wasn't so much a formal meeting -- with presentations and questions -- as it was a gathering of friends. We sat and talked about a wide number of things, from Shopsmith's financial woes to a pedal-powered 10ER. There wasn't really a segment of the meeting devoted to the PowerPro, although we did discuss it. When I saw the format, I didn't bother to start the recorder. You don't want to listen to 3 hours of guys telling lies to one another just to glean 10-15 minutes of information on a new tool, most of which you already know. More to the point, I don't have the time to review a 3-hour gab session and then cut and paste the audio to make a confusing and disconnected 15-minute tape.

    I can do this for you, however. I designed the control panel for the PowerPro, and I'll post a picture below. I can also tell you that just yesterday, Bob Folkerth, Jim McCann, and I put together the very first Shopsmith PowerPro with the new panel. Looks pretty cool. Bob is taking it today to a Bignametoolseller who is interested in marketing it, and he's got another bignametoolseller waiting in the wings with the same thoughts. So things are looking up for Shopsmith.

    With all good wishes,
    Nick
      PowerPro_Controls_s.jpg
    • CommentAuthorlv2wdwrk
    • CommentTimeOct 9th 2009
     
    Nick - Thanks for the update. Cool looking panel!!!
    •  
      CommentAuthormickyd
    • CommentTimeOct 9th 2009
     
    Very clean and sharp looking panel! Nice job.
    What's DVR?
  2.  
    mickyd, Have you been been on vacation for the last few months? It's the new technology for the new SS motor. It was developed by Teknatool for use on their lathes. Read all about it... http://www.teknatool.com/products/Lathes/DVR%20XP/Nova%20_DVRXP.htm
    •  
      CommentAuthormickyd
    • CommentTimeOct 9th 2009
     
    Thanks tooljunkie.....that'll teach me to get out of the reading habit! I thought it had a DVD burner built in to document the projects :-)
    • CommentAuthorrdubbs
    • CommentTimeOct 10th 2009
     
    Thanks for the info, Nick!!
    • CommentAuthorrayjack
    • CommentTimeOct 16th 2009
     
    I kow this is early days but will this be available in the UK?
    •  
      CommentAuthorNick
    • CommentTimeOct 19th 2009
     
    I have not heard any talk about marketing this outside of North America. My guess is this that given (1) the effort it takes to ready a product for export and (2) the skeleton crew at Shopsmith, the answer to that question is way, way down the road.

    With all good wishes,
    Nick
    • CommentAuthorlv2wdwrk
    • CommentTimeOct 19th 2009
     
    Nick - Have you heard anything as to when the Power Pro will be available?
    • CommentAuthordwevans
    • CommentTimeOct 20th 2009
     
    Nick, I'm guessing you don't know the exact date of release, but will it be before Christmas this year?
    •  
      CommentAuthorNick
    • CommentTimeOct 20th 2009
     
    Yes, I have heard when it is going to be released. In fact, I've heard that it's going to be released about every three to six months from now, going back to 2007. In this I see a one-to-one correlation between mileposts in the tool industry and mileposts in the airplane industry. In both, the operable Murphy-ism seems to be, "When you think you're 95% finished, you really have 95% to go." At the present time, Jim McCann and his merry band are playing Whack-a-Mole with a host of piddling problems that include everything from safety stickers to the color of the speed control case. I go back to my comment a few posts up about Shopsmith's skeleton crew. Given how undermanned and underfunded Shopsmith is, they've got some pretty big brass ones even to think they could launch a major tool, let alone stick to a schedule. So even if Bob would allow me to whisper the latest target date to you, in all likelihood it will be a little longer.

    With all good wishes,
    Nick
    • CommentAuthorlv2wdwrk
    • CommentTimeOct 20th 2009
     
    Nick - Thanks for keeping us updated.
    • CommentAuthorBackhertz
    • CommentTimeOct 30th 2009
     
    Hi Nick
    My uncle Aldus & I are wondering why it took Shopsmith so long to bring the PowerPro to the market. Can you shed any light on that?
    Thanks,
    Tony
    •  
      CommentAuthorNick
    • CommentTimeDec 4th 2009 edited
     
    ...why it took Shopsmith so long to bring the PowerPro to the market?...

    There are numerous reasons, but I think a hostile economy, a downturn in the tool market, a shortage of income, the scarcity of loans and investment funds, and severe understaffing covers the most important.The fact is, they're caught in a Catch-22. They need more people to bring a new product to market, they need more money to hire more people, and the need new products to make more money.

    There is one other important reason. This application for DVR technology is right on the cutting edge (pun intended). The time and manpower needed to bring new technology to market is an order of magnitude greater than simply introducing a new product with tried-and-true engineering. Remember that NASA promised us the Space Shuttle in 1976 but didn't have it ready to fly until 1981. And they were neither underfunded nor shorthanded.

    I was at the Shopsmith yesterday to talk to Jim McCann, the chief engineer on the project. They are making progress. The pre-production run (an engineering shakedown to help design the production process) will take place soon. And, no, I can't give you the dates.

    With all good wishes,
    Nick
    • CommentAuthorgutterman
    • CommentTimeJan 4th 2010
     
    Is there any word as to country of manufacture?
    • CommentAuthordusty
    • CommentTimeJan 4th 2010
     
    The PowerPro is an assembly, often referred to as the headstock(power plant), that is part of the Mark V. The Mark V is "Made in the USA" (Dayton, Ohio). It has been rumored (but not officially confirmed) that the Mark V may be tagged with a new name once adorned by the updated headstock.

    More information can be gleaned from all that is posted above but be aware that none of it is official release from Shopsmith. It is a supposition game that we often play when we are discouraged by the factual data that is not made available.
    • CommentAuthorgutterman
    • CommentTimeJan 4th 2010
     
    Thank you dusty, but I am as aware of what you are stating as you are. So, again my question (elaborated on for dusty): Is there any word as to country of manufacture for the headstock that is currently known as "The Power Pro" as a whole or for the internal parts that make it up?
    • CommentAuthordusty
    • CommentTimeJan 6th 2010
     
    Yup, I know that you are as aware as I am of this information. Being so keenly aware of these elusive facts should make it obvious that Shopsmith is not going to release that information until they are ready to start a marketing campaign. If Shopsmith doesn't release it, Nick certainly is not going to.

    Everything that I think I know about the PowerPro I learned by reading all of the information that Nick posted and then I did a bit of browsing through information published by Teknatool .

    That's all there is; there isn't any more.

    Patience, Grasshopper.
    • CommentAuthorRiot_Nrrd
    • CommentTimeJan 6th 2010
     
    FYI, talked with SS Customer Svc today - of course, since I had them on the phone, I had to ask about the PowerPro. Was also told they just had a meeting about it today, and were told final shakedown testing would be starting soon (I think it was next week, but that could be just wishful thinking). Was told staff hasn't seen the new headstock yet in person, but they have seen pictures (!) which they are not yet ready to share with the public. Asked (of course) if they had an ETA, was told "soon." I asked "like, six months soon?" and got a surprised, "no, sooner that that, I hope - but we'll have to see the results of the testing before we know for sure." CSR emphasized that they are working hard to make sure there are no bugs or problems when the new headstocks ship.

    DANG! I forgot to ask about pricing!!!

    RiotNrrd
    • CommentAuthornutball
    • CommentTimeFeb 3rd 2010
     
    For those interested, Bob Folkerth has posted updated information on the SS PowerPro headstock:

    http://www.shopsmith.net/forums/showthread.htm?p=58914#post58914
    • CommentAuthorbillstoolz
    • CommentTimeFeb 25th 2010
     
    For Nick;
    After recent discussions with other visitors at the Owner's weekend in July 2008, I was wondering if you might talk to some management at Shopsmith and maybe have a PowerPro weekend once it is released. Someone can show us how to modify an existing headstock for the upgrade kit and even video it for use with each upgrade kit or as a separate video for sale. Allow a few hours for us to play with the headstock in each of the 5 functions. Maybe offer a slight discount on an upgrade kit for everyone attending. I am sure you and Jim could find other related topics to discuss. I enjoyed the factory tours. Each person attending would help spread the word about how much better the PowerPro headstock is at doing various tasks. A little help in that direction would be greatly appreciated by all the Shopsmith current and future owners. Thanks.

    Bill Mayo