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IndustryArena Forum > MetalWorking Machines > CNC "do-it-yourself" > Spindle motor selection for small cnc lathe
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  1. #1

    Spindle motor selection for small cnc lathe

    Hi there,

    I am working on a small cnc tabletop lathe build and need some advice as to spindle motor selection. I would need the lathe to turn and bore out wood or plastic bar stock to the desired shape, after which I want do have fine control over the spindle to do decorative, engraving type work over the surface using a small spindle attached to the xz axis.

    As far as I understand, a lathe would typically require a servo, but the fine control needed for engraving would require a stepper to drive the spindle.

    Am I best off using some dual-motor solution, or would it be better to build two separate small machines, one for turning and one for engraving?

    Or is there a single motor solution that is suitable for my use case?

    I am working on a small budget (trying not to go past the 700 pound mark) and the build is for small business as opposed to hobby use, so my main priorities are a reliable build and keeping costs down.

    Would really appreciate any suggestions

  2. #2
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    Re: Spindle motor selection for small cnc lathe

    You don't need any stepper if you have servo. Servo is better at this approach. Single motor, of course.

  3. #3
    Community Moderator Jim Dawson's Avatar
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    Re: Spindle motor selection for small cnc lathe

    Just to define your machine, what you are proposing is a small lathe with a C axis and live tooling. No problem at all. All you need is a servo motor to drive the spindle, this is exactly the type of application that they are designed to do. For some serious mill/turn work you might also concider adding a Y axis, doing so might make your engraving easier.

    But your budget might be a bit small for this project. For a small tabletop lathe, I would think a 500 to 750W servo motor would most likely work fine to drive the spindle. You might be able to use a smaller servo motor depending on the size of the lathe, but you don't want to run out of torque.
    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA

  4. #4

    Re: Spindle motor selection for small cnc lathe

    Servo can do all stepper's job, with better accuracy and reliability.
    http://cncmakers.com/cnc/controllers/CNC_Controller_System/CNC_Retrofit_Package.html

  5. #5

    Re: Spindle motor selection for small cnc lathe

    Thanks for all the advice! I will go ahead using a servo.

  6. #6
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    Re: Spindle motor selection for small cnc lathe

    Quote Originally Posted by dougs_builds View Post
    Thanks for all the advice! I will go ahead using a servo.

    Use a 'proper' servo. None of this 'hybrid' stuff.
    These types of thing:
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/3304...16109932%22%7D

  7. #7
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    Re: Spindle motor selection for small cnc lathe

    Quote Originally Posted by dazp1976 View Post
    Use a 'proper' servo. None of this 'hybrid' stuff.
    These types of thing:
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/3304...16109932%22%7D
    If you want any accuracy for indexing you need a better encoder than what that has, the 2500 CPR encoder is not suitable for any type CNC operation.
    Mactec54

  8. #8
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    Re: Spindle motor selection for small cnc lathe

    Quote Originally Posted by mactec54 View Post
    If you want any accuracy for indexing you need a better encoder than what that has, the 2500 CPR encoder is not suitable for any type CNC operation.
    Just for an example of type.
    Many 'budget' ones are on the 2500 mark.
    Their 1.8kw works fine as a mill spindle, not sure about a lathe.

    This one states 131072/ rev if that's any better.
    An extra $250 is though..
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000...94737521%22%7D

    If you tell me how to figure that into my steps per unit I'd consider these for an axis upgrade. (metric).

    This ones a little cheaper, states 160000/rev.
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/3291...67354822%22%7D

  9. #9
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    Re: Spindle motor selection for small cnc lathe

    Quote Originally Posted by dazp1976 View Post
    Just for an example of type.
    Many 'budget' ones are on the 2500 mark.
    Their 1.8kw works fine as a mill spindle, not sure about a lathe.

    This one states 131072/ rev if that's any better.
    An extra $250 is though..
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000...94737521%22%7D

    If you tell me how to figure that into my steps per unit I'd consider these for an axis upgrade. (metric).

    This ones a little cheaper, states 160000/rev.
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/3291...67354822%22%7D
    Your mill spindle it does not matter what the count is, as you are not using it for positioning, and if it was used for rigid tapping it would be fine.

    Yes the Delta 17Bit is the minimum you would use these days for an Axis servo for a CNC machine build, the Mitsubishi is very good also, there are many in this area DMM also are very good.
    Mactec54

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