Finding quality router spindles

Does anyone have tips on how to buy quality router spindles? I see a wide variety of prices for what appears to be the same unit, and it’s not clear that paying more magically results in a higher-quality component. I understand that paying low is usually a good way to get a low-quality component, but that doesn’t mean that paying high guarantees high quality… :slight_smile:

I’m hobbyist here, not looking for top-drawer. I would just like to understand what to look for and how to understand what tradeoffs I’ll be making, and what sources (I’m in the US) would be considered reasonably trustworthy.

From your other post I am assuming you are looking for a brushless DC spindle?

Well, probably. It seemed like the middle of the price road and enough for wood/plastic, but educate me! :slight_smile:

Not from experience, but from my search, it’s a trade of between power and weight, also look for collet size and the way to hook it to Z axis (Diameter). For my OX I buy a Makita 800w and paid less than 100 GBP. Makita is a reputable brand. But I have not start to assemble my OX. (Need to wire the workshop b4). No cheap Dewalt on that side of the pond)

Yeah, those are the feature questions that are pretty easy to answer. I have ER11 collets already and could consider moving to ER16 but not down to ER8. Would prefer to stay with ER11, but $50 or so in collets could end up being the tail wagging the dog, so to speak. I don’t want to re-purpose a hand router to use as a spindle. I can use a mill to make a new spindle clamp if I need to.

I’m thinking more about what things to look for as indicators of quality that aren’t just the features. I know that’s a nebulous question!

What about the (in the US preffered) DeWalt Router or a Kress/AMB 1050W Sprindle?

(You can even get a AMB 1050 FME-W DI with an integrated automatic tool changer)

DeWalt is in the “don’t want to re-purpose a hand router” category — I want software control of spindle speed, for instance.

I haven’t found Kress or AMB in the US.

I use a SuperPID for that.

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At $155 it’s cheaper to just get a VFD these days, it seems… :slight_smile:

I have a spare 220V VFD, 1.5kW water cooled spindle that I will not be using. Would this work for you? It is yours for the cost of shipping if you want it (A thank you for all the hard work you put into this site)


That would be 100% awesome! Time for me to add some hoses to my gantry setup! :slight_smile:

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If I recall correctly that 1.5Kw router is quite heavy??

Yes, you have to set your stepper motor current to always on, or it will slowly free wheel down the Z axis.

I’ll do that anyway (the 600W spindle already back-drives the four-start lead screw) and if I have to I’ll move to single-start or ball screw.

One of the hard decisions is air vs. water cooled. I’ve been reading various forums to learn more about water cooled spindles, and have come to the entirely predictable conclusion that it depends. But here’s what I’ve found so far.

I’m reading about people’s experience with both types, across a wide variety of spindle types, trying to learn more. I feel like a complete tyro since I haven’t even got the current setup finished, so I’m really looking for relevant experience that these quotes make you think about.

Various comments:

The other benefit of liquid cooling is power of the spindle. It’s common that an air cooled spindle will lose more than 40% of the power when it’s in continuous use. A liquid cooled spindle will not see a power loss because the operation temperature is constant.

I haven’t checked the temperature of our 9hp HSD air cooled spindle, but it gets hot.

In my experience, air cooled is the most reliable and the one that requires the least amount of attention. With liquid cooled this one may be the most effective method, but it is also the one that is most overlooked, …

For a 1.5kw or 2.2kw spindle I prefer the water cooled. I have a 1.5kw water cooled UGRACNC spindle on my current Techno Isel 4x4 cnc. I ran a 2.2kw HSD air cooled spindle on my previous PAE 4x4 cnc. Both have been used in my studio for production of HDU molds for concrete artwork.

My primary reason is that the air cooled spindle makes more noise. Even with my ever-present hearing protection, the noise difference is noticable. The closed-loop water pump and cooling system from UGRACNC works perfectly.

You should not need air assist. Instead, I use a “gas spring with ball-joint fittings” form McMaster-Carr on my Z axis to offset the weight of the spindle. The air cooled spindle weighs less than the 3.25 Hp Porter Cable router that it replaced. I chose a gas spring with “available force” similar to the weight of the Z axis and spindle added together, and a stroke a few inches greater than my Z axis movement. Not very expensive. No maintenance required.

Gas spring makes a lot of sense here for a large spindle, regardless of air or water cooling.

On to another site…

I have owned about 10 of the Chinese spindles in the 1-2kw range. Both air and water cooled. Round and square bodies. All air cooled models were shaft driven fans, so they do make more noise than electric fans from the popular Italian spindles. I also have a friend that supplied WC spindles as an option on OEM machines.

It appears that there was far more problems with those early (read as cheap) cooling systems than with the spindles themselves. Manu users were taking cheapo aquarium pumps and placing them in a 5 gallon bucket. Eventually the pump plugged or burned out, which burned down the spindle.

There is no reason that you cannot get long service if you put in a closed cooling system.

So it looks like going with a CW-3000 unit instead of an open bucket or cobbled-together pumps would be a good idea. Not super expensive. In fact, maybe cheaper than cobbled-together based on what I’ve seen.

I know this has been silent for a while, but just as a reference in case somebody is looking. I run water cooled too with a 3x3 1.5kw machine I built.

As a life long (50+ years) whose ears have paid the bill for his hobby, liquid cooled spindles ARE quieter, and that’s a good thing.

I have fairly sensitive hearing (classical music aficionado here) so quieter makes a lot of sense and I’m more likely than most to notice.

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