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I've been looking for a used table saw for a while, and I'm seeing single phase and 3 phase motors a lot and I'm not sure what it all means. My shop (garage) does not have 220 now, but that can be changed.

Is there a thread you can point me to or resource I can check out for the definitions?
 

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Three phase is typically provided to industrial and commercial locations. Very few residential areas have three phase power available. Now you can run a 3 phase machine on a 1 phase line by using a phase converter, however that ads on a substantial additional cost. Because of the limitations of 3 phase availability, you can usually find 3 phase machines pretty cheap.
 

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I've been looking for a used table saw for a while, and I'm seeing single phase and 3 phase motors a lot and I'm not sure what it all means. My shop (garage) does not have 220 now, but that can be changed.

Is there a thread you can point me to or resource I can check out for the definitions?
On single phase there are two lines of power coming into your house. This is what is normal in residential wiring. Three phase is mostly located in industrial locations where there are three lines of power going into the business. Very likely there is not three phase power within miles of where you live. This doesn't necessarily mean you can't run three phase machinery on single phase power. You would have to get either a rotary phase converter or a variable frequency drive (VFD) to make the conversion. It's a added expense but it will work. The VFD's usually run cheaper then the phase converters. Since you don't have experience with electricity it is also something an electrician would have to install for you.
 

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I've been looking for a used table saw for a while, and I'm seeing single phase and 3 phase motors a lot and I'm not sure what it all means. My shop (garage) does not have 220 now, but that can be changed.

Is there a thread you can point me to or resource I can check out for the definitions?
all gave good answers. i may add that you may have 220 in your garage, but don't see it. is there electrical power in your garage? if so, can you see an electrical box that serves the entry to your garage (fuses, circuit breaker, or knife disconnect switch)?
 
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