The following notes on a small single-phase induction motor, without auxiliary phase, which the writer has made, may be of interest to some of our readers, says the Model Engineer. The problem to be solved was the construction of a motor large enough to drive a sewing machine or very light lathe, to be supplied with 110-volt alternating current from a lighting circuit, and to consume, if possible, no more current than a 16-cp. lamp. In designing, it had to be borne in mind that, with the exception of insulated wire, no special materials could be obtained.
The principle of an induction motor is quite different from that of the commutator motor. The winding of the armature, or "rotor," has no connection with the outside circuit, but the current is induced in it by the action of the alternating current supplied to the winding of the field-magnet, or "stator." Neither commutator nor slip rings are required, and all sparking is avoided. Unfortunately, this little machine is not self-starting, but a slight pull on the belt just as the current is turned on is all that is needed, and the motor rapidly gathers speed provided no load is put on until it is in step with the alternations of the supply. It then runs at constant speed whether given much or little current, but stops if overloaded for more than a few seconds.
The stator has four poles and is built up of pieces of sheet iron used for stove pipes, which runs about 35 sheets to the inch. All the pieces are alike and cut on the lines with the dimensions as shown in Fig. 1, with the dotted line, C, to be filed out after they are placed together. Each layer of four is placed with the pointed ends of the pieces alternately to the right and left so as to break joints as shown in Fig. 2. The laminations were carefully built up on a board into which heavy wires had been driven to keep in place until all were in position and the whole could be clamped down. In the middle of the pieces 1/4-in. holes, B, were then drilled and 1/4-in. bolts put in and tightened up, large holes being cut through the wood to enable this to be done. The armature tunnel was then carefully filed out and all taken apart again so that the rough edges could be scraped off and the laminations given a thin coat of shellac varnish on one side. After assembling a second time, the bolts were coated with shellac and put into place for good. Holes 5-32 in. in diameter were drilled in the corners, A, and filled with rivets, also varnished before they were put in. When put together they should make a piece 2 in. thick.
This peculiar construction was adopted because proper stampings were not available, and as every bit of sheet iron had to be cut with a small pair of tinners' snips, it was important to have a very simple outline for the pieces. They are not particularly accurate as it is, and when some of got out of their proper order while being varnished, an awkward job occurred in the magnet which was never entirely corrected. No doubt some energy is lost through the large number of joints, all representing breaks in the magnetic circuit, but as the laminations are tightly held together and the circuit is about as compact as it could possibly be, probably the loss is not as great as it would appear at first sight.
The rotor is made of laminations cut from sheet iron, as shown in Fig. 3, which were varnished lightly on one side and clamped on the shaft between two nuts in the usual way. A very slight cut was taken in the lathe afterwards to true the circumference. The shaft was turned from 1/2-in. wrought iron, no steel being obtainable, and is shown with dimensions in Fig. 4. The bearings were cast of babbitt metal, as shown in Fig. 5, in a wooden mold and bored to size with a twist drill in the lathe. They are fitted with ordinary wick lubricators. Figures 6 and 7 are sections showing the general arrangement of the machine.
The stator is wound full with No. 22 double cotton-covered copper wire, about 2-1/2 lb. being used, and the connections are such as to produce alternate poles--that is, the end of the first coil is joined to the end of the second the beginning of the second to the beginning of the third, and the end of the third to the end of the fourth, while the beginnings of the first and fourth coils connect to the supply.
The rotor is wound with No. 24 double cotton-covered copper wire, each limb being filled with about 200 turns, and all wound in the same direction. The four commencing ends are connected together on one side of the rotor and the four finishing ends are soldered together on the other. All winding spaces are carefully covered with two layers of cambric soaked in shellac, and as each layer of wire was wound, it was well saturated with varnish before the next was put on.
This type of motor has drawbacks, as before stated, but if regular stampings are used for the laminations, it would be very simple to build, having no commutator or brushes, and would not easily get out of order. No starting resistance is needed, and as the motor runs at constant speed, depending upon the number of alternations of the supply, a regulating resistance is not needed.