This text details how I made a 10 horsepower rotary phase converter from $45 worth of parts that I bought from an industrial junkyard Pioneer Industrial Services.
At some point, after reading rec.crafts.metalworking and this excellent article on making homemade phase converters, I became excited about the idea of making a rotary phase converter from second hand parts.
I spent about an hour calling around and finally found a gentleman Dave from Pioneer Industrial Services, who said that he had used 3 phase motors. He has a junkyard full of used electrical components. Here's what I bought, and for how much. I found him by typing "scrap" in Yahoo yellow pages and calling all businesses that came up. He is highly recommended as he is friendly and his prices are reasonable.
The nice surprise was that the 10 HP motor was possible for me to manhandle alone.
My first prototype was a simple setup with no switch at all, I simply touched the wires to the 240V pieces of the subpanel. Click here to see and read about the first prototype. It sucked and took a long time to spin up, due to poor contacts. It was atrocious.
My second prototype included installation of a 60 amp circuit breaker into the panel, hard wiring of the wires to the breaker, and use of a Definite Purpose Contactor and a regular lamp switch to turn the contactor on. Click here to see and read about the second prototype. This is a fully working phase converter, but is ugly, unsafe and unfinished.
I built a enclosure for it, using junk pieces of wood and casters.
I spent an evening cleaning up the Electrics, adding grounds, switch etc.