How to Build Your Own "Plug & Play" Power Hone for Under $350

Ron Jr.

Elite Cafe Member
Dec 30, 2009
Viroqua, WI
Build Your Own 1/6HP Direct Drive Power Hone for $330.74 (single direction cw or ccw) - $346.69 for reversible
variable speed - continuous duty top of the line industrial rated dc motor - SCR drive with full torque throughout speed range (0-1050 rpm max at factory speed control trimpot settings, capable of setting to full speed of 1750 rpm) - reversible (optional)

First the disclaimer. I am NOT an electrician/engineer/designer or anything else of the like, just a guy who likes to think he's handy at making things in his garage. If you build this DIY power hone and follow these guidelines understand it is AT YOUR OWN RISK. I make no claims to it being perfectly safe and or correct (to the best of my knowledge it is perfectly safe and correct but I’ve been wrong in my life many times before). Please use extreme caution and prudence when attempting this build. Also, I do not promote, back, nor am I affiliated with any of these suppliers, they simply had the lowest price I could find for the item/s I wanted.

I made/designed this power hone to be as "plug and play” as possible. The only tools you’ll actually need to build this are a hand drill & appropriate bits, screwdriver/s, wire strippers/cutters (or a knife), electrical tape and appropriate wrenches, thats it. If you go all out you can get 16ga butt connectors for your wires, some spade connectors if you add the optional reverse switch, and a soldering iron and some solder to solder the ends of your wires for the best connectivity. FYI This is not a set of step by step instructions, more of a "this is what you need to know to accomplish this" build. The pictures tell most of the story here, it’s pretty straightforward and I’m going to assume you’re somewhat handy if you're doing this.

If you buy directly off the listed items here your max final cost should be within $10 of $360.36 for either cw or ccw rotation and $376.21 for reversible. (NOTE; I’m an Amazon Prime member so some of the stuff from there I got with free S&H so your mileage may vary slightly)

Your ACTUAL cost should be within $10 of $330.74 for either cw or ccw rotation and $346.69 for reversible. ***By “actual cost” I’m saying I bought some items on this list in bulk like washers, nuts, etc. EXAMPLE; You buy 25 bolts for $10 but only needed 4 (thats $.40 a piece) so “actual cost” used on the power hone for bolts is $1.60 not $10.

***I’m positive if you looked enough you could do better price wise on a lot of the stuff listed but I scoured the net high and low on the expensive stuff (motor, speed control, junction box) to find the lowest price out there. FYI the 2 biggest things (motor and junction box) ship to anyone in the CON USA for free (see THE JUNCTION BOX to see how to get free S&H for it). Also you can pick up 1/4hp 90v DC no brand motors on eBay all day long for $125 (Please read THE SPEED CONTROL BOX (SCB) if you go with your own/different motor, also if you use that eBay motor you’ll need a 12x12x8 junction box instead of the 10x10x6 to fit the C face mount) and save even more $$$ but I wanted a motor that had a reputation. IF you can find the speed control on the list for cheaper somewhere I commend you, not much cost variation around the net on those. Also if your electronically inclined you can buy just the Speed Control chassis instead of the whole enclosed one and save another $20 or so.

If you build from this list yours will be slightly different (and better IMO) than the one pictured.
1. It will have a small 4 bolt pattern securing the motor instead of the large round 4 bolt C face mount on the one pictured. The bolt heads on the one pictured stick out a little past the edge of the diamond disk, not optimal. The bolt heads on this one will be fully under the disk.
2. The speed control will only have a lighted rocker switch and a speed dial.

NOTE; I have not built this exact one using these parts listed here but it is what I would do different if I did it all over again.

THE MOTOR $159.02
- I was worried about the shaft handling the angled downward pressure on it when sharpening a graver so I contacted Leeson sales and actually got a response directly from one of their engineers. I had described what I was doing/making and his response was kind of kurt (I think I offended him with my naive question about the toughness of their industrial motor, lol) basically in a nut shell he said yes, the motor/shaft can handle it very easily. After that he proceeded to tell me I had wayyyyyy to much motor for what I was describing and that a 1/6hp (I used a C face 1/4hp 90v dc motor) would be much better suited. The advantage of the smaller motor is less cost, it allows for a smaller box size of 10x10x6 (the one I made is a bit of a bench monster at 12x12x8) and it comes in a smaller square mounting pattern unlike the large round C face mounting pattern that comes with the motor I used. This page has a link to a handy schematic drawing of the motor

-You need to install this fuse into the SCB $2.00
-And this HP resistor $2.50
- The fuse and HP resistor installation is pretty straight forward, I took a couple pictures when I installed them in mine but the SCB on this list is a little different so just follow the directions. NOTE: I’m not qualified to talk electronics but again, this control, motor, fuse and hp resistor are meant for this specific set up, if you deviate please be safe and do the research!!!! After that there’s not much left. You only need to attach 5 wires inside the box, the 2 from the motor and the 3 from the plug (+, - and ground). A nice little diagram inside the box shows you what goes where. NOTE; If you don’t get/install the reverse switch and your motor is spinning the wrong direction just switch the wires coming from the dc motor around and tada it spins in the other direction. This page has links to all the info on this control box.

THE SHAFT ARBOR $16.25 (Left Hand) $16.25 (Right Hand)
- There are Left and Right handed arbors depending on your shaft spin direction (so your attaching/holding nut doesn’t come loose). "Left hand" is clockwise shaft spin needing a reverse thread nut. I went with a "right hand" counter clock wise spin on mine because reverse threads give me the fits! You know, righty tighty lefty loosey. I wouldn’t skimp on this part, you need that arbor to be of high quality and spin true so your diamond disk doesn’t wobble.

While it sounds like a simple thing I had a hell of a time finding a knob in the size/thread of the shaft arbor. I finally found one (only one) on Amazon but at $11.50 and 2 1/4” dia. it seemed pricey and too big so knowing thats a common lug nut size/thread I found a chrome (for pretty) splined (for grip) security locking lug nut, any lug nut of the right size would work though. I also worried about needing some kind of shaft lock so I could tighten the nut down securely but have found that if I just press down on the diamond disk near the center while tightening the nut it gets plenty of grip.

-All this does is reverse the polarity i.e. causes the dc motor to spin the other direction. For what is needed this one is overkill at 30 Amp but it’s built tough. ***IMPORTANT*** IF YOU INSTALL THIS SWITCH HOW I’VE SHOWN IT IN THE PICS KNOW THAT IT IS NOT MEANT TO BE DONE THIS WAY WITH THIS SPEED CONTROL BOX (SCB) SO TURN YOUR SCB OFF AND UNPLUG IT BEFORE YOU SWITCH IT TO SPIN THE OTHER DIRECTION OTHERWISE YOU COULD FRY YOUR $100 SCB AND POSSIBLY START A FIRE, ELECTROCUTE YOURSELF, START AN APOCALYPSE OR EVEN WORSE!!!. This is why I put the switch inside the box, didn’t want to accidentally hit it while the unit was in use. To tell the truth I’m not even sure why I wanted mine to be reversible, because I could I guess. i just bent a piece of aluminum strip and drilled holes into it to make the mounting bracket.

THE JUNCTION BOX $28.85 (10" x 10" x 6”)
***NOTE; You need to spend $35 at to get free shipping so just buy these washers $7.34 ($.28) (.031 thick) to get free S&H
-I turned the junction box that I used on what would normally be its side because it is structurally sounder that way with the motor hanging from what is now the top (note the seams in its construction). In the pics of the junction box listed here it looks like you can use it as is with the normal side up as indicated by the side panel orientation.

THE STANDOFFS/SPACERS $10.45 ($8.36) You need 4
-The motor I used has a 2” long shaft and I wanted the disk height set to use the Lindsay sharpening system with a 1/4” pad on the top of the deck so I used (4) 1 1/2” aluminum spacers and washers to get the disk height at 3/4”. The motor on this list has a 1 1/2” shaft so you’ll need (4) 1” spacers instead to do something similar. I’m not going to talk a lot about this, it takes some trial and error and thought to get your desired disk height. On this list you have 1/32” and 1/16” thick washers for this exact purpose. You have the thickness of the box, the arbor, the washers holding the disk etc. that come into play effecting final disk height. If you want a different disk height you may need longer/shorter spacers more/fewer washers. A little more on this in THE BUILD.

Thats the main stuff, after that you’ll need the rest of this stuff or something similar. $7.59 ($2.53) -Feet for the box (Will need (4) #6 x 1” screws with nuts and lock washers) $7.99 ($.42) -Washers (.062 thick) $7.99 -Grommets to protect your wires/cords when they pass through metal ($.25) $6.99 Power cord

(4) 1/4”-20 X 2” BOLTS






I started by marking the holes to drill for the feet…. Yep, no more to tell here.

I’m not exactly sure on how to mount the Speed Control Box (SCB) on this list similar to how I did mine. This one is made differently from the one I used (for its intended purpose here its just as good but $30 cheaper) On mine the face is removable, it has 2 screws that hold it to the main body of the SCB (see pics). I used those 2 screws and drilled another hole through the bottom of the SCB and using a long screw held it securely to the junction box. This SCB says it has 4 screws (2 on top 2 on bottom) that hold the face onto the main body. I guess drill a couple holes in the face of the SCB where theres room and secure it to the junction box that way. If someone builds this please share what you figured out. You’ll also need to measure out the holes needed for the speed dial and rocker switch and then cut/drill those out. Just make sure when you place/cut/drill those holes that you have room for the SCB box to fit inside the junction box.

After that I marked where I wanted the motor shaft to come through the top of the box and drilled an appropriate sized hole. (The shaft arbor on this list is 7/8” dia. so I’d recommend at least a 1” hole) then I set the motor face down on top of the box with the shaft/arbor going through the hole I just drilled and marked the 4 mounting holes out. My mounting holes actually came out a little off so I drilled those 4 mounting holes a little bit larger so I could “scootch" the shaft and arbor around to be in the center of the hole made for it. DON’T drill them out too big, you’ll bend your washers when you tighten the mounting bolts and that will effect the levelness of your diamond disk.

Now the trial and error part. I mounted the motor with the aluminum spacers and started with “x" amount of washers and measured how high the diamond disk was. I suggest at a minimum you use the 5/8" dia. 1/16” thick washers under the bolt heads on the top of the box and the larger dia. 1/32” thick fender washers on top of the aluminum spacers inside the box for strength (see pics). These junction boxes are surprisingly strong and well built but making the motor mount as strong and stiff/secure as possible is always a good idea. I was worried about that strength/stiffness using the spacers when I designed mine but the whole set up turned out rock solid, no twisting or flexing what so ever so this one should be a ok even though the mounting bolts are much closer together, lighter motor, shorter spacers. When you get everything at the right height I used splined locking nuts on the end of the bolts to keep everything nice and tight (see pic).

And that's it. Go get sharpening.


I have not built the exact set up talked about here so there could easily be errors, something/s I missed. If you find any please share so others can avoid them.

The motor on this list is TENV (totally enclosed no vent) meaning no cooling fan so no air flow into or out of the junction box. A good thing IMO, don’t want that grinding dust getting sucked into your junction box and sticking to your DC motor. Speaking of that did you know DC motors are pretty magnetic around the outside of the case? Keep the motor away while drilling/filing etc. and clean up all the metal shavings before getting the motor anywhere near them!! Yep learned this the hard way, had to take another magnet to pull all those little metal shavings off the outside of the motor case, a royal PITA.

If you’re worried about heat these motors are designed/stated to run continuously at ambient (air) temps up to 104 degrees (this doesn't mean if the motor is 104 degrees it's too hot it means the outside temp can be 104 and its all good to run CONTINUOUSLY, the definition of continuously stated by the manufacturer is 8 hours) and insulated up to something like 174 degrees so I’m pretty positive overheating will never be an issue with its intended use here. IF and i mean IF it somehow got overheated thats what the SCB and those fuses are for, the SCB is designed to save your motor from catastrophic failure/damage.

The SCB itself is rated to withstand up to 122 degrees ambient air temperature in an air tight enclosure. Well the junction box is certainly not air tight so there should be no worries there either. Basically unless your sharpening gravers for 8+ hours straight with no breaks this set up with this equipment shouldn’t even come close to being stressed.

If you insist on MORE POWER and go with the bigger motor like the one pictured I can tell you it really isn’t needed IMO (Is also the opinion of one of the engineers that works for the company who makes these motors. Also worth note, he didn’t think the 1/8HP would be enough. He said it would work for sure but might bog down with heavy/hard use). Honestly, the amount of torque put out by the 1/4HP compared to what is needed to get the job done is way past the point of being ridiculous.

I did my best to get everything covered here but I’m tired of looking at this and am calling it done, if there are any blaring omissions or mistakes please let me know so I can correct.


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