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IndustryArena Forum > Other Machines > PCB milling > Wolfgang spindle reliability and specs
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  1. #1
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    Wolfgang spindle reliability and specs

    Sorry if this post is a duplicate - I'm new to the threads here and I've searched for my specific issues; a lot of what I am seeing is old threads.

    I'm hoping others have had new experiences that might be able to help.

    I have the Wolfgang TB-350 spindle with the DC hobby motor, and I'm using it with a K2CNC 14x14" router table.

    First off, I was trying to use small stub end mills (8mil) but even with reducing to very low feed rates (0.1 IPS) I was snapping bits. I measured the speed of the spindle and motor with an optical tachometer. With 15V applied to the hobby motor (I doubt it can handle much more), the motor itself turns about 14000 RPM unloaded (No belts attached). With the spindle belts attached, the spindle itself measures 9500 RPM unloaded.

    I've never seen this assembly draw 10A (3.5A at most). Of course I never load it down because I am always using small cutters. 150W of cutting power seems highly unlikely - the o-rings would most likely burn up first.

    The entire assembly is loud and it always has been. The motor itself without being connected to the spindle sounds like a mixer. I bought a brushless motor in the hopes of quieting things down, but now a new problem has surfaced before I had the chance to install that.

    I've got about 90 hours of use on this over the past two years (I've made 12 circuit boards so far), and now I can feel the spindle bearings grinding when I turn the pulley by hand with the motor disconnected. 90 hours at 9500 RPM is all the life I got from this.

    Does anyone have any instructions or pictures on how to dismantle and replace the bearings in this thing? Old posts have some people talking about rebuilding, but the pictures are missing. In the meantime, I've been in the search for something else. Richard offered to rebuild this for $70, but my concern is that every 90 hours I will be sending $70 and the spindle off to get rebuilt, and in the near future my needs will be much more than 45 hours per year.

    I am in search for a better solution and something that can turn higher than 10k RPM, but I was hoping to hear from anyone who found ways to replace the bearings with maybe better ones and get some longevity over the original design.

    So:
    1. How do I take this apart?
    2. Has anyone else measured their Wolfgang spindle speed?

  2. #2
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    I bought one of those things on ebay - it was a piece of junk. Runout was ridiculous, and the bearings made noise. I enquired about these problems with "Wolfgang", and got no reply. I'd say throw it out and get something better. People seem to be having pretty good luck with the Proxxon IB/E, which goes to 20,000 RPM and actually lasts a while. Here's a link - LMS also sells a mount for it: LittleMachineShop.com - Grinder, Proxxon IB/E Professional Rotary Tool

    Andrew Werby
    ComputerSculpture.com — Home Page for Discount Hardware & Software

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by awerby View Post
    I bought one of those things on ebay - it was a piece of junk. Runout was ridiculous, and the bearings made noise. I enquired about these problems with "Wolfgang", and got no reply. I'd say throw it out and get something better. People seem to be having pretty good luck with the Proxxon IB/E, which goes to 20,000 RPM and actually lasts a while. Here's a link - LMS also sells a mount for it: LittleMachineShop.com - Grinder, Proxxon IB/E Professional Rotary Tool

    Andrew Werby
    ComputerSculpture.com — Home Page for Discount Hardware & Software

    Just curious - did you buy a TB-350 or TB-650?

    Is the runout on a Proxxon sufficiently small to do SMD PCB traces?

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the replies. Luckily I really didn't have any runout issues with the TB-350 I bought until now that the bearings are worn of course - but it has sounded like a hand held mixer since day one.

    I too am interested in the Proxxon runout. I assume that my work is similar to Doorknob's with trying to hold accuracy for SMD traces. I need to maintain about an 8mil copper trace width. I think the Wolfgang spindle could have done this, but it didn't turn fast enough for my small cutters when I needed small amounts of copper isolation between component pins.

    If nothing else, owners of these should be aware of the speed these are actually turning at - at least before breaking bits like I did. And the power is clearly overrated - at least with the TB-350. Who knows what the TB-650 is doing, but from the pictures the black DC motor on it looks exactly like mine.

    If anyone has experience with the Proxxon for fine pitch PCB milling I would love to hear from you.

    Thanks.

  5. #5
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    I posted some old photos using the Proxxon IB/E as well as a Bosch Colt. I also have a Wolfgang, but didn't like having to change mounts for each job. I use the Bosch only now.

    IB/E [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIV6Mnac1Y8&feature=BFa&list=UUwurS0FrZm9t MhEmtJzEM6g&lf=plcp]speed sensor - YouTube[/ame]

    https://picasaweb.google.com/1175904...39269568200178 was done with the IB/E too

  6. #6
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    All of your work looks really good JC. Thanks for the post. It seems like a Proxxon IB/E would do the job for me.

    Have you tried the Colt for SMD pcbs at all? I have a Colt also but I use that for everything except PCBs. I never bought the Precisebits collet as I figured that still wouldn't hold as good of runout as a functioning Wolfgang.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBirdZee View Post
    All of your work looks really good JC. Thanks for the post. It seems like a Proxxon IB/E would do the job for me.

    Have you tried the Colt for SMD pcbs at all? I have a Colt also but I use that for everything except PCBs. I never bought the Precisebits collet as I figured that still wouldn't hold as good of runout as a functioning Wolfgang.
    Yes: ring_milled_1024 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!. I use the Colt exclusively now. The Proxxon had to be sent in for repairs to have the bearings replaced. To be honest, I think they forgot to reinstall the cooling fan :/

  8. #8
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    How many hours

    did the IB/E run before the bearings went out? How much did it cost to replace them? Did you have to send it to Germany for that?

    Andrew Werby
    ComputerSculpture.com — Home Page for Discount Hardware & Software

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by awerby View Post
    did the IB/E run before the bearings went out? How much did it cost to replace them? Did you have to send it to Germany for that?

    Andrew Werby
    It ran fine. I suspect I abused it cutting wood too fast/deep. Proxxon service was free under waranty. I shipped it to them in NC and they shipped it back. The issue was the power. the IB/E is 1/8HP the Colt is 1HP. I fitted my [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Bosch-PR20EVSK-1-Horsepower-Fixed-Base-Variable-Speed/dp/B000ANQHTA/ref=sr_1_1?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1329886804&sr=1-1"]Colt[/ame] with a [ame="http://www.vhipe.com/product-private/SuperPID.htm"]superPID[/ame] so now I can get 5K RPM to 30K RPM too.

    Also, the reason I say they forgot ter cooling fan was that the thing is so quiet now, but it does seem to get hot fast too. So I use it as a multitool and it's so much better than a dremmel

  10. #10
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    Yes me too ...

    Quote Originally Posted by JBirdZee View Post
    Sorry if this post is a duplicate - I'm new to the threads here and I've searched for my specific issues; a lot of what I am seeing is old threads.

    I'm hoping others have had new experiences that might be able to help.

    I have the Wolfgang TB-350 spindle with the DC hobby motor, and I'm using it with a K2CNC 14x14" router table.

    First off, I was trying to use small stub end mills (8mil) but even with reducing to very low feed rates (0.1 IPS) I was snapping bits. I measured the speed of the spindle and motor with an optical tachometer. With 15V applied to the hobby motor (I doubt it can handle much more), the motor itself turns about 14000 RPM unloaded (No belts attached). With the spindle belts attached, the spindle itself measures 9500 RPM unloaded.

    I've never seen this assembly draw 10A (3.5A at most). Of course I never load it down because I am always using small cutters. 150W of cutting power seems highly unlikely - the o-rings would most likely burn up first.

    The entire assembly is loud and it always has been. The motor itself without being connected to the spindle sounds like a mixer. I bought a brushless motor in the hopes of quieting things down, but now a new problem has surfaced before I had the chance to install that.

    I've got about 90 hours of use on this over the past two years (I've made 12 circuit boards so far), and now I can feel the spindle bearings grinding when I turn the pulley by hand with the motor disconnected. 90 hours at 9500 RPM is all the life I got from this.

    Does anyone have any instructions or pictures on how to dismantle and replace the bearings in this thing? Old posts have some people talking about rebuilding, but the pictures are missing. In the meantime, I've been in the search for something else. Richard offered to rebuild this for $70, but my concern is that every 90 hours I will be sending $70 and the spindle off to get rebuilt, and in the near future my needs will be much more than 45 hours per year.

    I am in search for a better solution and something that can turn higher than 10k RPM, but I was hoping to hear from anyone who found ways to replace the bearings with maybe better ones and get some longevity over the original design.

    So:
    1. How do I take this apart?
    2. Has anyone else measured their Wolfgang spindle speed?
    Hi all.

    Just saw this and yes I have had similar problems with the 350 Wolfgang spindle. First I must say unlike at least one here the run out is just plain NIL.

    But the RPM was said to be 20K it is actually 15.2K. And no real support. Still waiting for an answer to my last mail. Here is a sample of mails lately. You judge.

    "
    Surely it would not take more than a minute to sketch the basic idea so I can understand how it goes together?

    That would be a great help. Particularly as I am contemplating a 650 but would need some re-assurance re decent after sale support.

    Dave

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: RICHARD STETHEM
    To: Dave Perry
    Sent: Saturday, May 26, 2012 4:12 AM
    Subject: Re: Spindle problems

    Sorry, but I do not have any plans or drawings of this spindle. It was built off the top of my head 5-6 years ago and was gradually improved over the 4-5 years I produced it.

    I'm not a 100% sure why there is such a gap between the pulley and housing. I've never encountered this problem before.

    Sorry I couldn't be more help.

    Richard.


    On Tue, May 22, 2012 at 8:39 PM, Dave Perry <dl_perry@iprimus.com.au> wrote:

    Problem now solved. but not the reason for it. Can you supply a schematic of the internal operation? NTS will be fine to protect your property rights.

    When starting to heat up the pulley as instructed I noticed a small gap of around 1/8th inch between the pulley and the main spindle body top end.

    Tapping it all down back into position with a small rubber mallet released the bit as usual.

    Can you explain for my future use how this can happen (i.e. the reason)?. Obviously upper force on the bit is the cause but should not this be part of normal machining/engraving etc without this happening?


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: RICHARD STETHEM
    To: Dave Perry
    Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 1:19 PM
    Subject: Re: Spindle problems


    No sorry, but I haven't been able to find the motors for quite sometime. I don't even know the number to look them up. That's one of the reasons why I switched to the 540 motor, they have been around forever and probably won't go anywhere soon.

    Richard.


    On Mon, May 21, 2012 at 9:47 PM, Dave Perry <dl_perry@iprimus.com.au> wrote:

    Thanks for the prompt reply Richard.

    Before problem was cutting ABS plastic with a 30 degree carbide V-bit just 0,03 inch deep. Not exactly onerous cutting.

    Anyway, the problem is not cutting. The chuck is locked on the bit OK but will not release in the usual manner.

    Will try your suggestions and report back.

    In the meantime is the motor still available that will run the spindle at 20,000rpm as listed?

    tks again
    Dave

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: RICHARD STETHEM
    To: Dave Perry
    Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2012 12:53 PM
    Subject: Re: Spindle problems


    Sorry, but I thought I answered the question about the rpm.

    I used a different motor when I calculated the rpm and when I switched to the black 540 motor the specs where close, so I didn't retest the rpm speed.

    To be honest I don't know why the spindle isn't working. It may be the material it's cutting. I have a TB-350 cutting brass for the last two years with no problems.

    To take it apart, simply take a small torch to the pulley and this will break the epoxy holding it. Once you have the pulley off, the rest of the spindle will press apart. There are several jigs and tools I use to assemble and re-assemble the spindle, but it still can be done without them.

    Hope this helps.

    Richard.


    On Sun, May 20, 2012 at 8:10 PM, Dave Perry <dl_perry@iprimus.com.au> wrote:

    Hi Richard.

    Two matters.

    1. Have you had a chance to look at the RPM question asked in the email below and

    2. The spindle malfunctioned again this morning for the second time in it's short life. It doesn't get used much so this is a surprise. Problem is when you try to remove the bit with the allen key while holding the top it just turns inside and does not release the chuck.

    I can't afford the 100 bucks or so to keep sending it back to you so can you give me some advice including how to dismantle the unit and what to look for.

    Any help appreciated.

    thanks and regards
    Dave

    --- Original Message -----
    From: Dave Perry
    To: RICHARD STETHEM
    Sent: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 1:32 PM
    Subject: Re: David Perry sent you $50.00 USD


    Hi Richard.

    The spindle now works great with some excellent results. It is being run as supplied powered by a 12 volt 20amp switch mode power supply.

    My question is the maximum run speed is 15,200 rpm not the 20K expected. At this max the current draw is just under 10 amps with voltage set at 11.99..

    I have tried another non switch mode psu but get the same result.

    Can you offer any advice? I have not increased the voltage - the obvious thing to do as you have advised this is the motor rating.

    tks and regards
    Dave

    PS: here is a link to an article on my latest m/c where your spindle is mentioned. solsylva.com/cnc/gallery.shtml - go down a bit.

    Hope this helps.
    Dave

  11. #11
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    I am sorry to hear that you are having problems with your WG spindle too.

    I would stay as far away from the TB-650 as I could. This guy is running a fly-by-night operation and doesn't stand behind what he sells unless you are willing to pay him to. His products don't meet their specs and I would expect his latest invention to be more of the same.

    He couldn't measure his spindle speed after a motor change? It takes 5 seconds to measure the spindle speed with a $20 tachometer. He could buy the tachometer with the profits he makes from one customer return for premature bearing replacement. How about his cutting power spec that he used to advertise? Something like 200W of cutting power with the TB-350 DC motor. Yeah. 200W is 16.7A at 12V. That motor never pulls 16.7A..... ever.

    Anyways - I switched to a Paul Jones spindle and I am very happy. The PJ spindle is cheaper and he's even got one now with an ER11 collet which is nice. Mine is the original with a setscrew however but it turns about 19000 RPM. Paul makes his spindles on the side so if you decide to use him it will take some time. It is worth the wait in my opinion. It's built nice and he'll tell you anything you need to know about the parts inside cause he's cool.

    I don't have a problem with subsidizing small business side job products. I like them and have sold many things of my own. What I don't appreciate is being lied to about the product, given excuses about the lies, then being charged to have my broken product fixed when I could fix it myself. Paying for the repair is just a twist of the knife a little more. No thanks. Honesty is the best policy. Always.

  12. #12
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    Re: Wolfgang spindle reliability and specs

    Years ago I bought a spindle from a Wolfgang. Not sure it same but the spindle I bought stated it was for engraving and routing. It did engrave but was a waste for routing. I kept the motor and put the spindle in the trash.

  13. #13
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    Re: Wolfgang spindle reliability and specs

    Hi,
    I've been using the 800W version of the Mechatron spindle for making PCBs and all sorts of other things for seven years....

    https://www.mechatron-gmbh.de/en/products/hfs-standard/

    Craig

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