Spindle Options

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This page details rotary tools, spindles and routers. There is a list of other potential spindles on the Upgrade Overview page's Tooling section.

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!

Contents

Concerns

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

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.
  • 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.[3] 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.

Temporary Mount

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/

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.

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[4] 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 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 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)[5] The Dremel 4200 is a new version of the 4000 with new features, but has the same power rating / motor. 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

Wal-Mart

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

Thingiverse:proxxon_mount Amazon
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 Available from ShapeOko.com Upgrades page. Will also work w/ 75mm bolts in the universal mount[6].

DW660 VS. Makita RTo701C

Dewalt DW660 Cut-Out Tool
Spindle O.E.M./Krt motor (China) ER11 Collet (3.175mm) 500 Watts 0--14000 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 Motor Length: 186mm

Diameter: 52mm

CNC 400W Spindle Motor ER11 & Power Supply & Speed Controller & Mount bracket[7]
Spindle O.E.M. (China) ER11 Collet (3.175mm) 600 Watts (5.0 amps) 3000--12000 r.p.m. 24-110V DC (7.8A) [8] Includes Spindle Mount Bracket Air cooled 600W Spindle motor
Spindle 800 Watts (1 HP) [9], [10] 3D Printable 65mm Spindle Mount

Shapeoko 2 Compatible Spindle Mount

Possibly equivalent to the GMT/UGRA CNC?
Spindle GMT/UGRA CNC ER11 Collet 800 Watts (1 HP) 6000--24000 r.p.m. 220V 3 Phase (Inverter Output Voltage) 3KG [11] 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[12][13] HF cutout tool is cutting alum plate like a champ.[14]

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.[15]

Harbor Freight: Electric Cutout Tool
Compact Router Brand-name 1/4" (other sizes available from Precise Bits) 840 Watts (7.0 amps) 16,000 -- 27,000 r.p.m. 110v AC 4.1 lbs. (including base) 71 db[16] 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. CAD files for mount. http://www.contraptor.org/mini-cnc-dewalt-router-mount Alternate version using aluminum angle on contraptor.org with Sketchup files]. Bracket designed using OpenSCAD, source and .stl for 3D printing. OpenSCAD mounting bracket[17]

3/8th in. Aluminum DWP611 Mounts

Dewalt DWP611 1-1/4 HP Max Torque Variable Speed Compact Router with LEDs

Note the same unit, but w/o variable speed is available as the Porter Cable 450 (in black).[18]

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[19] CauCau 850w[20] 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[21]. 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[22] 700 Watts 10,000 -- 30,000 r.p.m. 240v AC 1.4kg (3 lbs.) 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. The other 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. Makita RT0700/1 Owner’s Manual (pdf).[23]

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

[24]

Files: Home Depot: Makita

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

Trim Router Generic 1/4" (MLCS steel adapter bushing 1/8" or Elaire Corporation Reducing Collets[27]) 400 Watts (3.4 amps[28]) 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. 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 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).

Inventables
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 Bosch Colt - This thing is a MONSTER! It's loud as hell, and weighs more than any of the others (excepting the heaver Dewalt DWP611), 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[29]. Notable features include:
  • even weight distribution
  • compact
  • long, high-quality cord
K2CNC Bosch Colt Router Mount

Bosch Colt spindle mount on Inventables.com

Tools
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 $271, 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. ali-express

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)
Mini spindle Fräs-Spindel Kress 1050Watt 230V 5000-25000 rpm. ER11 and 3.175mm (1/8"), 4mm and 6mm collets 1050 Watt 5000 - 25000 1/min 230 V 1.7 kg Re: Zerblatt's build 43mm Sorotec

damencnc

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

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:

Adapters

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.


Other spindles

Other mounts

  • K2CNC CNC Spindle Router Mounts --- Products include: Porter Cable 892, 7518 CNC Router Mounts, Hitachi Router Mount, Bosch 1617EVS and Colt Router Mounts.

D.I.Y.

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