Spindle Options

From ShapeOko
Jump to: navigation, search

This page details rotary tools, spindles and routers. There is a list of other potential spindles on the Spindle Overview page.

Edward R. Ford made some notes on spindle options in the thread Re: Treating spindles as a consumable. Harbor Freight links added from forum discussion Re: Standard Generic Dremel Option.

Vote for your favorite ShapeOko spindle solution!


  • Runout
  • Air-flow / heat dissipation Several of the brackets below are made of aluminum so as to facilitate the latter.
    • Water cooling adds complexity.[1]
  • Mounting it plumb to the machine Discussion of techniques for doing so on the forums in Aligning DW660 to be perfectly vertical. An interesting technique for this is to use spacers as shown in Re: Bits you use. The professional tool for this is a “spindle square” --- the construction of which is shown in Making a spindle square. Cf. Squaring the Spindle N.B. How vertical a spindle is mounted, and to what degree it is held immovable while cutting can have a strong effect on cut quality.[2]
  • Weight Moving to a larger spindle can require that one (re)adjust the machine as noted in Fine Tuning --- Motor Current. Two kilograms is, if not past the upper limit of weight, very close to it.[3]
  • Wear/Maintenance --- How To Tighten Up A Sloppy Second Hand Dremel --- this may be useful to do on even a brand-new unit.[4] Spindles may use brushes in their motors which require replacing. Bearings may need replacing as well: Bosch Colt started squeaking, so I replaced the bearings.
  • Dust Collection --- See the Dust Shoe overview page for a list of implementations.
  • Rotation Direction --- Note that this is typically clockwise from the top of the machine.[5]
  • RPM --- this can be measured in various ways.[6]

Note: One can use longer bolts in the universal spindle mounts to accommodate larger spindles. Specifics are noted below.


Motors with brushes wear; the brushes worn brushes may spark and cause EMF, which may cause hard to diagnose errors.[7] I.C. noted ~180 hours as the lifespan for a set.[8][9]

Collets will wear with use and require replacement as well.[10]

Key Considerations

"What good quality, metal-bodied, small/compact/trim rotary tool/cut-out tool/router/spindle with collet size between 6.35 and 3mm is available w/ a diameter of <70mm, and a power rating of >100 Watts (500 or more is highly desirable and arguably a reasonable minimum[11]), and a weight of <2Kg?".

  • Smaller diameters are better (move the endmill closer to the axis of movement)
  • More power is better w/in reason
  • low runout (captured in the phrase "good quality" above) is the most important characteristic.
  • A suitable collet size is a key consideration, and the want of it will require either an adapter (which complicates things and may increase runout) or a custom collet (which adds to the cost).

Machine Types

  • Rotary Tool --- the prototypical hobbyist tool. Dremel is the most-recognized brand name and widely available. A small hand-held unit intended for small, delicate work. Collets are typically aluminum sleeves available in a variety of diameters shaped to fit the machine's shaft end and held in place by a nut, 0.125" is typical..
  • Cut-out Tool --- A commercial tool intended to cut drywall, as a class was inaugurated by the RotoZip Spiral Saw. Collets are similar to rotary tools, but typically only 0.125" and 0.25" diameters are available.
  • Router --- The first powered woodworking tool, it allowed a woodworker to use a collection of small bits to create profiles which used to require either individual hand planes, or a combination plane such as a Stanley 45 which was viewed by most as finicky and difficult to set up. Routers are now available in a number of different sizes, w/ various terms being used to describe a over-lapping ranges of devices. Collets are usually specific to a machine and the stock collets are typically only available in 0.25" or larger sizes. Custom collets of various types are available, some of which adapt them to industry-standards such as ER.
  • Spindle --- the generic term for any device for spinning an Endmill mounted on a machine, it's also used to signify a unit which is intended for being so mounted. Previously, only expensive, high-quality commercial units were available, but spindles suited for hobby-level equipment have become available of late. Usually these use industry standard collets such as ER.

The sort of collet and sizes in which they are available is a significant concern in selection and can dramatically affect the final price of a unit. It may be best to consider the sorts of cutting which one wishes to do, select an Endmill and match the spindle choice to that.

One additional concern is how different power ratings are measured. Commercial/Industrial spindles are rated for their sustained output (root mean square, RMS power). Consumer devices such as rotary and cut-out tools and routers are typically rated at their (theoretical) peak horsepower.[12] For example the Makita RT070x-series has (as the name implies) a 700 Watt power rating, but is described as being 1.25 HP, which ~=933 Watts. The table below should use actual power ratings rather than peak so as to allow comparisons --- please update (with references) if any peak ratings are found.

Alternative/Temporary Mounts

One option is to simply zip tie the machine in place and support it w/ a plastic mold: http://rettgergalactic.com/blog/2014/02/quick-shapeoko-dw660-spindle-mount/

An elegant solution is to cut up a pair of hose clamps, bending the ends over and drilling holes so that they may be used w/ the universal spindle mount as shown in Jacob's Shapeoko 2 #6316.

Or rearrange parts and use hose clamps: http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=5475&p=40420

Or, add parts: http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=5684&p=42538

Design considerations

As noted elsewhere, mount hole spacing is consistent and compatible between the ShapeOko 1, 2 and 3. Unfortunately, other dimensions aren’t so standardized.

  • holes could be drilled and tapped to allow accessories to be attached
  • the horizontal placement of the router
  • placement of the vacuum hose, or select a particular crevice tool to always use

Hardware can be placed so that second tools are not needed (use a rectangular slot and place an insertion nut in it, or put a hex nut in a suitably sized channel. Another possibility is to use quick-release hardware: http://www.kippusa.com/us/en/Products/Latches/Adjustable-Latches/K0050-Adjustable-Latches-with-a-movable-hook-clamp/K0050-SVA-Adjustable-Latches-with-a-movable-hook-clamp-Style-A.html


Please note that the hole spacing for the inner pair of holes on the Shapeoko 3 is the same as that as on the ShapeOko 2, or for the MakerSlide used for the ShapeOko 1, so mounts are compatible between the machine designs if no other geometry interferes.

100 to 999 Watts

A note on the low-end rotary tools --- pretty much anything w/ at least 100 Watts of power (or 0.8 Amps @ 110VAC) will be workable --- there are probably too many re-badged variants (Sears Craftsman effect) to list them all, unless there is some extra-ordinary reason to warrant a listing (the tools currently listed are shown due to their widespread availability while still being a good value). Depending on one's patience and expectations and materials, one could go much lower (there's a 9-volt DC tool which would probably be quite kid-safe / friendly) if one took light enough cuts.

Cautionary discussion: Running long jobs using default shapeoko (1/2) rotary tool.

Note that one may be able to use designs for cylindrical spindles based on their diameter.

Sortable table
Category Type Collet size(s) Power rating (see Note below) Speed Power Supply Weight Noise rating Notes CAD/Mount Purchase Link / Specific Model
Rotary tool Generic 1/8" 120 Watts (1.0 amps) 8,000 -- 30,000 r.p.m. 120v AC 80 db[13] This is the tool included with the ShapeOko 2 This tool has two different/distinct diameters, so will not mount plumb in the stock mounts --- one can make up the narrower diameter using a suitable size of zip tie around the tool aligned with the lower mount. Oddly, it's not listed on http://www.altocraft.com, but does show up on eBay regularly: Altocraft 100 Pc Electric Grinder W/ Blow Case
Rotary tool Generic 1/16" and 1/8" 144 Watts (1.2 amps) 8,000 -- 35,000 r.p.m. 110v AC Great starter tool and will take you further than you might expect. These are prone to working great and then dying all of the sudden. Spindle Mount Harbor Freight: Variable Speed Rotary Tool Kit
Rotary tool Generic 1mm--3.2mm collet sizes 170 Watts 8,000 -- 35,000 r.p.m. 230v AC Fusion 360 models[14]: Maplin (UK): 170W Variable Speed Rotary Tool with LCD
Rotary tool Brand-name 1/32" -- 1/8" 138 Watts (1.15 amps) 15,000 -- 35,000 r.p.m. 110v AC IMO, gives you no advantage over the knockoff CAD Dremel 200 Series Rotary Tool
Rotary tool Brand-name 1/8" (3 smaller sizes, 1/32", 1/16" and 1/8" available) 192 Watts (1.6 amps) 5,000 -- 35,000 r.p.m. 110v AC 1 lb. 7¼ ozs. (660g)[17] The Dremel 4200 is a new version of the 4000 with new features, but has the same power rating / motor. http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=6793&p=55950#p55950 Dremel 4000 High Performance Rotary Tool
Rotary tool - high-end Brand-name 240 Watts (2.0 amps) 12,000/24,000/30,000 r.p.m. 110v AC better than a Dremel is the Black & Decker 3 Speed RTX Rotary Tool, RTX-B Black & Decker 3 Speed Rotary Tool RTX-B


Rotary tool - high-end Brand-name 6 high concentrically steel collets, 1/32-, 1/16-, 5/64-, 3/3-2, 7/64-, 1/8-inch 100 Watts (1/8 hp) 5,000--20,000 r.p.m. 110--120v AC 1.3 pounds, 9 inches long Proxxon 38481 IB/E Professional Rotary Tool Dust Shoe for Proxxon Mount Other Proxxon IB/E users? And an example job

Discussion of disassembling one to mount it more directly and re-wiring to allow for control through the electronics: http://reprap.org/wiki/Proxxon_Micromot_50

Mounts: Amazon
Mini spindle Kress 530FM ER11 and 3.175mm (1/8"), 4mm and 6mm collets 530 Watt 29000 1/min 230 V 1.3 kg Very loud[18] Diameter: 43mm


Mini spindle Kress 800FME ER11 and 3.175mm (1/8"), 4mm and 6mm collets 800 Watt 10000 -- 29000 1/min 110V (US) 230 V (Europe --- this may be a different sub-model) 1.4 kg Diameter: 43mm Vendors:
Cut-Out Tool Brand-name 1/8" and 1/4" 600 Watts (5.0 amps) 30,000 r.p.m. 110v AC 3.2 lbs. The DW660 - great upgrade from the dremel knockoff, allows you to use a router speed controller with some success, also gets you into the 1/4" shank game! DW660

Diameter: ~63mm[24]

Available from ShapeOko.com Upgrades page. Will also work w/ 75mm bolts in the universal mount[25].

DW660 VS. Makita RTo701C

Dewalt DW660 Cut-Out Tool
Spindle O.E.M./Krt motor (China) ER11 Collet (3.175mm) 500 Watts 0--10 r.p.m. AC110V/AC220V±10% 50/60Hz (10A) Chinese 500W spindle SVG spindle mount CNC Spindle Motor 500W & power supply & 57. 5mm mounting bracket for PCB engraving w/ collet ER11
Spindle O.E.M. (China) ER11 Collet (3.175mm) 400 Watts (Torque:500mN.m) 3,000--12,000 r.p.m. 12--48VDC ~1.99 pounds Re: Quiet Cut Spindle take apart and review Motor Length: 186mm

Diameter: 52mm

CNC W Spindle Motor ER11 & Power Supply & Speed Controller & Mount bracket[27]

Wiring diagram correction: http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=5492&p=55551

Spindle O.E.M. (China) ER11 Collet (3.175mm) 600 Watts (5.0 amps) 3000--12000 r.p.m. 24-110V DC (7.8A) ~4.17 pounds [28] Includes Spindle Mount Bracket Air cooled 600W Spindle motor
Spindle O.E.M. (China) ER11 3.175mm , 4mm ,6mm 800 Watts (1 HP) 10--20rpm 220V 800w Chinese spindle Re: Cutting stainless steel? Dimensions:
  • 65mm*205mm

[29], [30], 3D Printable 65mm Spindle Mount, Shapeoko 2 Compatible Spindle Mount

Spindle GMT/UGRA CNC ER11 Collet 800 Watts (1 HP) 6000--20 r.p.m. 220V 3 Phase (Inverter Output Voltage) 3KG [31] GMT Air Cooled CNC Spindle
Cut-Out Tool Brand-name 1/8" and 1/4" 480 Watts (4 amps) 30,000 r.p.m. 110v AC Rotozip RZ2000 - 52

Used successfully on Tony's ShapeOko #1894F.

RotoZip SCS 01 Mounting Brackets
Cut-Out Tool Generic 1/8" and 1/4" 420 Watts (3.5 amps) 28,000 r.p.m. 110v AC Harbor Freight clone[32][33] HF cutout tool is cutting alum plate like a champ.[34]

After I took some measurements on accuracy it was less than desirable. Going to slow it down when i get a dust shoe to keep the shop clean of alum chips. I love the HF spindle though.[35]

Harbor Freight: Electric Cutout Tool
Compact Router Brand-name 1/4" (other sizes available from Precise Bits or Dewalt Style Palm Router Collets (match your collet to ensure compatibility --- scroll down to the right section)[36]) 840 Watts (7.0 amps) 16,000 -- 27,000 r.p.m. 110v AC 3.3 lbs.[37] (4.1 lbs. including base) 71 db[38] (further testing here) The DWP611 - better choice than the DW660, I think it's a tad bit quieter, but seems to be more robust, with less plastic and more metal. If using a speed control system, it is possible to modify the 611 to bypass the built-in variable speed control and to place the optical sensor within the router housing.[39]

Variable speed, the actual no load speeds of one unit were measured as:

1: 15820
2: 16960
3: 18950
4: 21280
5: 24270
6: 27080


Diameter: 69mm Dewalt 1-1/4 HP Max Torque Variable Speed Compact Router with LEDs --- DW611 is fixed-base, DWP611PK incl. plunge base.

Also available is the DNP-611, the bare motor unit w/ no accessories beyond collet wrench, and 1/4" collet and nut.[47]

Note the same unit, but w/o variable speed is available as the Porter Cable 450 (in black)[48] --- this would be a suitable choice if planning on using a Super PID for speed control.[49]

European version: D26200[50][51]

Wiki page listing sources and prices

Compact Router Generic 6mm + 8 mm (3.175mm (1/8) collar adapter available separately for 12 euros) 850 Watts 11,500 -- 32.000 r.p.m. 230V AC / 50Hz 1600 grams[52] CauCau 850w[53] Diameter : 44mm

Diameter total: 70mm Length: 270 mm aluminium spindle mount available separately

Universal Router / CNC Spindle = CauCau 850 W (eBay UK)
Compact Router Brand-name 1/4" Note that a custom 1/8" collet is not available from the manufacturer, but see Elaire Corporation Makita Style Router Collets[54]. Previously, there was: 1/8" collet (adapter)s which fit with some filing Astro Pneumatic Tool Co 200-283 Slot 1/4-1/8-Inch Collet Reducer[55] 700 Watts 10,000 -- 30,000 r.p.m. 120v AC 1.4kg (3 lbs.) (cord increases this to 1.5 kg?) The Makita RT0700C/0701C(X) - seems to be similar in kind to the DWP611. Same sort of aluminium housing and speed control, but without the two LEDs underneath. The 0701 is slightly newer and is intended for the North American market. The 0700 is still available as a 220V model for Europe and other localities which use that voltage. This requires the use of a different motor and attendant parts and some indicate that it requiresa different collet.[56] Another difference for the two models seems to be the screw layout for the base(s), w/ the newer 0701 having a standard Porter Cable layout.

DW660 VS. Makita RTo701C

Variable speed, the actual no load speeds of one unit were measured as:

1: 9470
2: 12280
3: 16870
4: 22175
5: 27035
6: 29800


Discussion of relative merits: Re: spindle choice


Diameter: 65 mm Files:

Home Depot: Makita

Model # RT0701C 1-1/4 HP Compact Router Makita Australia: RT0700CX - Roumer 6.35mm Sweden: Verktygsladan Toolstop UK

Trim Router Brand-name 1/4" 660 Watts 20,000 -- 30,000 r.p.m. 120 V AC 5.5 Amps Ridgid 2401 Mounts

Thingiverse: Shapeoko 3 Adapter for Ridgid Router R2401

Ridgid 2 mounts w/ vacuum which mate to universal spindle mounts

Trim Router Generic 1/4" (MLCS steel adapter bushing 1/8"[62] or Elaire Corporation Reducing Collets[63] or StewMac brass adapter --- see list below for more and commentary)

Custom Harbor freight trim router collets

Watts (3.4 amps[64]) 26,000 r.p.m. 110v AC Re: Treating spindles as a consumable Harbor Freight (HF) Trim Router --- details on using the stock mount w/ strapping (thread now includes .svg file for a mount and dust shoe). Alternately, one can use the stock mount by using longer bolts 70--75mm.

ThingiverseSpindle Mount Upgrade and Increased Z-clearance mod[65]

Harbor Freight: 1/4" Trim Router
Carving Tool Generic 1/8" and 3/16" 15,000 -- 20,000 r.p.m. 110v AC The Chinese Foredom knockoff - This is a pretty good little spindle. For the most part you can only get to 3/16" shank, which isn't really an advantage over 1/8" because the bits are so hard to find, but what it does get you is "off-site" power. It uses a flexible wand connected to an AC motor. The motor turns between 15-20k RPM. I used one of these for about 6 months before it died. You can see it in my phone dock video (see list of videos below). The foredom knockoff is to-date my favorite choice *IF* I could get it with a 1/4" collett. It's good enough that I've contemplating buying a non-knockoff foredom handpiece just to see if it's any better, but at $355 I'm not sure that's ever going to happen. Because of what EJ was talking about (mounting the majority of the weight) off the machine, gives some great advantages. One that wasn't mentioned is the fact that the tool itself is closer to the z-axis, creating less of a lever arm.
DC Spindle Generic 180 Watts 15,000 -- 20,000 r.p.m. 48v This is ninja quiet! The 180w DC spindle (48v) - And IMO does a nice job with simple engraving features, but is SERIOUSLY lacking in the power category. Don't plan to cut much (or anything) with this. I don't do PCB engraving, but imagine this thing would be great.
DC Spindle Generic 1/4" ER-11 300 Watts (6.25 amps) 3,000 -- 12,000 r.p.m. 48v ~1.73 pounds The 300w DC spindle (48v) - This is the second quietest spindle on the list. It's still lacking in power compared to even the knockoff dremel, but can manage to cut through most woods & plastics if treated nicely (1/32" (0.79375 mm) depth pass). It also has a 1/4" ER-11 collett option, but IMO is worthless because of the lack of power. Blog post about it here.
DC Spindle Inventables ER-11 (1/8", 3/16" and 1/4") 300 Watts (6.25 amps) 3,000 -- 12,000 r.p.m. 48v Blog post about it here. Dimensions:
  • Diameter: 52mm
  • Total Length: about 170mm

DC Spindle Mounting Block --- note this is only suitable if one has redesigned the Z-axis to suit, otherwise the stock universal mounts work (but may require some adjustment).

52mm Spindle Mount for Shapeoko 2[66]

Palm Router brand-name 1/4" (Other sizes available from Precise Bits) 672 Watts (5.6 amps) 16,000 -- 35,000 r.p.m. 110v 3.3 lbs. The Colt - This thing is a MONSTER! It's loud as hell, and weighs more than any of the others (excepting the heaver Dewalt ), and is pretty big, but it can really tear some stuff up. Cat saw it run first hand on one of my prototype machines when he was in Chicago last month and could attest to it's sheer power. I used a 1/4" 2 flute Onsrud bit and tore through a piece of maple at 1/4" depth pass without the Colt even flinching. Discussion in the forums here. European model is GKF-600[67]. Notable features include:
  • even weight distribution
  • compact
  • long, high-quality cord

Variable speed, the actual no load speeds of one unit were measured as:

1: 12500
2: 14000
3: 16350
4: 19150
5: 23700
6: 29600


K2CNC Colt Router Mount

Colt spindle mount on Inventables.com --- note that this mount interferes w/ the Z-axis travel on a stock Shapeoko 2 and will need to be moved out for most usages.[69][70] Thingiverse: Bosch Colt Spindle Mount for Shapeoko 2

Mini spindle generic ER20 800 Watts (7.27 amps) 6,000--24,000 r.p.m. 110v The next one on my list is the 800w water cooled VFD. At $379, it's pricey, but this one runs off 110v, so the need for a 220v drop isn't required. The 220v versions are about the same price, but most people don't have 220v available and would have to pay an electrician to get it installed. aliexpress

1KW and over

Sortable table
Category Type Collet size(s) Power rating (see Note below) Speed Power Supply Weight Noise rating Notes CAD Purchase Link / Specific Model
Mini spindle generic ER11 and 3.175mm (1/8"), 4mm and 6mm collets 1500 Watts (13.63 amps) 19,200--24,000 r.p.m. DC --- requires VFD ~6kg Chinese spindle (the 2nd best thing I've done for my Shapeoko more details in Spindle 1.5 KW 220V 400Hz + Huanyang Inverter (HY01D523B)

CNCzone: discussion of wiring

Diameter: 80mm
Mini spindle Fräs-Spindel Kress 1050 (available in two different models as noted) ER11 and 3.175mm (1/8"), 4mm and 6mm collets 1050 Watt 5000 - 25000 1/min (1050 FME-1, the 1050 FME model has a lowest possible speed of 10,000 RPM) 230 V 1.7 kg Re: Zerblatt's build

Variable speed, the actual no load speeds of one (FME-1) unit were measured as:

1: 4998
2: 7332
3: 12000
4: 15678
5: 20028
6: 24840


Diameter: 43mm

http://www.kress-fraesmotoren.com/tl_files/kress/web/technik/masszeichnung_1050_fme_1.gif [74][75]




Note: Watt ratings converted to amps using Volts / Watts / Amps Converter on http://www.supercircuits.com.

List of Videos

Collets and Adapters

A collet is a holding device that forms a collar around the endmill to be held and exerts clamping force on the tool when tightened, usually by means of a tapered outer collar. Adapters are sleeves which fit w/in collets allowing them to hold smaller size bits.

Collets are either industry-standard, specific to a given design, or a custom aftermarket part. The aftermarket collets are made to higher standards, usually of better steel, and will reduce runout. They also avoid the need to use adapters.


There are some vendors which make collets for specific machines as listed above.

There are also industry standard forms which some machines use allowing for a certain level of interchangeability.

Some machines may share collet designs. Noted instance(s) of compatibility:


In addition, it is possible to use adapters to allow a collet to hold a bit which otherwise would not fit:

Cautionary note on collet adapter sleeves: Warning regarding Collet Adapters. One concern about the brass adapters is the differing thermal properties of brass vs. tool steel.

Spindle Control

It's also possible to directly control a spindle using the electronics: Spindle Control.

Single-speed spindles can also be controlled using a router speed control as noted in Less Power on the Dewalt DW660 page.

One concern with using speed control on the DW660 (and similar units) is that it is cooled by a fan on the motor shaft, which works fine at high speed and low to moderate torque. When you reduce the speed and increase the torque (by using closed-loop speed control), the cooling becomes insufficient.[79]

Another option is to use an external tool to monitor the R.P.M. as mentioned on the forums: http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=4788&start=1330#p45186 and documented in Simple RPM Detector.

Other spindles/Sources




Other mounts