Spindle Overview

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The typical choice for a tool (the industry term for this is spindle) is a trim router (a Dewalt DWP611 is suggested).

Rotary spindles are the most frequent tool choices, but there are a number of other options.

Pen / Plotter Mounts

Mounting a pen is something of a rite of passage.


https://www.youmagine.com/designs/shapeoko3-plotter-pen [1]

Shapeoko 3 Pen and Cutter Holder[2]


Rotary Spindle Options

The Dewalt DWP611 and the Makita RT0701 are the main choices for spindles for the Shapeoko 3 (they also work well on suitably upgraded Shapeoko 1/2s).

Comparison video:


Notable differences:

  • Dewalt has finer-grained speed control, Makita lower and higher range of possible speeds (the lower speeds are especially useful on plastics and wood)
  • Dewalt has multiple precision collet options (standard ones as well as the ER-style collets from Precise Bits), Makita has a single source for precision collets (albeit in a variety of sizes)
  • Dewalt has lights, the Makita does not[5]
  • Dewalt has a plastic button on the Body, which limits Z plane positioning inside the mount, Makita has a more Robust Tool changing mechanism, with a cylinder push lock below the shaft, which will allow more mounting options in the Z plane[6]
  • Makita bearings easier to change
  • Makita brush life longer and replacements less expensive and easier to change

Note that spindles may be upgraded w/ better collets. Some are merely replacements for the standard collets in different sizes, while at least one manufacturer offers specialized systems which allow one to use ER style collets.[7] These are more convenient and easier to change (esp. if one buys a matching nut for each collet) and afford a greater clamping tolerance (e.g., a 1/4" collet can hold a 6mm endmill[8]).


http://www.tricocorp.com/product/md-1200-micro-drop/ [9]


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrUDVBHc9Xo https://www.reddit.com/r/shapeoko/comments/40pmwc/shapeoko_3_second_metal_project_vise/cywn5bh

Tool Changer

https://hackaday.io/project/12308-xatc-extreme-simple-automatic-tool-changer [10]


http://www.cnccat.gr/?lang=en --- commercial option for Kress spindles --- c.f., http://www.cnccat.gr/index.php?id=1&catid=89&lang=en

Engraving Tool

Similar to a rotary spindle is a high-speed engraving tool:


endmill alternatives:

http://cnc-aid.com [11]


http://benchtopprecision.com/diamond-drag-engraving-tool/ [12]



Laser Cutter

Mounting a laser for engraving and cutting is a popular upgrade. While it does have a number of safety implications, it affords options which aren't feasible otherwise.

3D Printing

Drag Knives



Discussion of path needed for compensation: http://www.cnczone.com/forums/coding/71521-cnc.html c.f., Drag_Knife_Support on the CAM page.

c.f., Tangential knife.

Foam Cutter

Foam cutter - 1st results

Foam cutter - 2nd results



This link suggests it should be spring-loaded: http://www.mytoolstore.com.au/products/Wood-burning-Pen-for-CNC-Machines.html

Pick and Place

Discussion of a machine using cameras

Plasma Cutter

Discussion: http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=2600

Further discussion and note that height control is needed: http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=7232&p=61187#p61187

http://openplas.com/pages/shapeokoplas [19]--- shop is closed

A plasma cutter puts out quite a bit of EMI, and this may require a complete overhauling, if not re-design or replacement of the electronics.