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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Lightweight Spindle

    Hello, I have a primarily MDF-based 12" x 24" CNC machine that has worked well for the last 10 years. I use it for occasional use and cutting wood only.

    Up to now I have used a small handheld trim router (Ridgid R2400) with mostly 1/8"/3.175mm shank bits. A few years ago the bearings failed. I replaced them with good quality equivalents and it was back in action but it got very hot. At the weekend the top bearing exploded and some of the ball bearings were reduced to dust.

    Now I am wondering what to replace it with. I am kind of tired of the trim router approach - I rarely use my CNC machine so to have to worry about the bearings each time is a tedious pain.

    I've looked at the Chinese spindles but I fear they are too heavy for my gantry. The Ridgid R2400 weighs 3lb/1.7kg and is probably about the max weight. It seems the 0.8kW spindles are 5lb in weight.

    I've also looked at the Kress/AMB 800/1050 spindle. The weight is OK but it's back to brushed/bearing trim router hell I fear. Also the collet size seems to be non-standard.

    I've looked at the Bosch Colt, and while the quality used to be good it seems it isn't anymore and the run out can vary.

    I sometimes cut small parts with detail down to 0.2mm so low runout is a must. I bought a precision collet from Precise Bits for my Ridgid R2400.

    Any other suggestions on what I can do? Thanks!

    Note - I am in the UK despite what it says to the left - can't seem to change it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006

    Re: Lightweight Spindle

    Maybe a 500W spindle would be closer in weight to the 5A 600W Ridgid router. They appear to typically be 52mm diameter, compared to 65mm or 80mm for the 800W spindles.


  3. #3
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    May 2005

    Re: Lightweight Spindle

    Another option might be to buy a Sherline or Taig spindle and attach a suitable motor to drive it. The max speed on these spindles might be a bit slow though, I'd call either company to get advice on max rated speeds. Using the rather small cutters you indicate implies pretty high RPM demands so that might be a limiting factor.

    The nice part here is that the motor and spindle are two separate items. It gives you a lot of options including using a small 3 phase motor and a VFD to drive the motor. Also in the case of the Taig and maybe the Sherline, they use ER collets so you have a standard collet that you can use.

    You could also look into commercial cartridge spindles that are driven in the same way. The problem here is the expense of such spindles.

    A third option and likely even more costly is to look for high speed spindles from companies supporting machine tool makers. An example here would be NSK: Machine Tools | NSK America Corp.. Really nice stuff with a price to match but you might get lucky on E-Bay or at a going out of business auction.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Re: Lightweight Spindle

    Thanks for the replies. I decided to go with a 500W ER11 spindle. Looking forward to reliable CNCing from now on!

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