I was wondering if anyone would be able to shed some light on whether it’s worth going for a DC Spindle that theoritically can be entirely controlled from the control board versus just buying and using a Makita 700 Series plugged into the wall?
The application for my build that I’m planning is to be able to 3D Mill Aluminium so I’m also wondering if by getting a DC Spindle I’d be able to get some extra umph for that or whether the Makita would serve perfectly fine.
This question comes across the forum periodically. A Makita 700 series router is roughly equivalent to a 1KW DC Spindle, so to get something more powerful, you would need to go with a 1.5KW or 2.2KW spindle. There are a few MPCNCs that run these larger spindles, and their user like them. The issues:
Cost. You will pay $300 to $400 for these spindles. A quality Makita clone with precision collets for 1/4" and 1/8" bits runs $80.
Heat. There have been reports on the forum of DC spindles getting hot enough to soften PLA mounts. An ASA mount, or going with a water-cooled spindle gets around this issue.
Control. Most of these spindles take a 10V PWM signal for setting the RPM. Most control boards use 5V PWM, so extra electronics are required to convert the signal.
Mass. These spindles are heavier than a Makita router, so there is a potential penalty as a result of having to accelerate more mass.
Just to weigh in with some of the benefits of spindle.
NOISE - what did you say?? Honestly - my ears are still ringing with the noise of my router running for hours, a month after I replaced it with my spindle!
The difference in noise output is unbelievable - not even remotely comparable. I can literally hear the servo motors working with my spindle running! I would NEVER go back to a router for this reason alone.
Precision tooling mounts - ER11 collets are just nice things, and I love having the choice of 3mm, 4mm 1/8th, 1/4 and 6mm tooling (yeah that ended up not quite in order, but doesn’t matter)
This has opened up a number of options about what tooling I use. SIGNIFICANTLY.
Following on from precision tool mounting - is precision speed control. This is good for your end mills etc. Being able to set actual RPM values and work with accurate feeds and speeds is just better than relying on the sound or the look of the chips.
Accuracy - my spindle has less runout than my router had - those knock-off makita routers have bad runout - check it after its been running for 10hrs… The spindle is better. A LOT better.
This is visible in the quality of the results produced.
It is heavier - but my machine seems to cope just fine - I’m running the following X160,Y140,Z40 m/s and never skipping steps. This is no doubt aided by some mods to my machine. BUT - don’t let the weight be a determining factor.
Did I mention the bloody NOISE?
I still use manual control via the VFD - Setting the speed / turning the spindle on and off - honestly I’ve actually gone through the whole pain in the ass of integrating it with the machine, only to discover that the manual control is BETTER. I don’t like the idea of bumping a button on my TFT and accidentally starting the spindle motor mid tool change etc.
As a comparative reason for router vs spindle - manual control is not a decider. both can be automated or both manual. My considered opinion on the matter is that MANUAL control is better. Router or Spindle aside this is a different debate.
Heat… My spindle maximum temp recorded is about 25 degrees C. Similar to the router. I’ve been closely monitoring the temps of my steppers and spindle since build using an IR thermometer.
My project is very heavily modded now - I initially built mpcnc - then kinda went my own way along the lines of lowrider - but its not a lowrider either. anyway. it’s printed - and now also using upgraded parts I made on the machine itself.
Power supply I’m using is just basic 24v item from ebay.
NOT this actual item - but effectively the same.
24v helps with the servo power/responsiveness and works fine to run the SKR1.2 board etc.
The VFD (Variable frequency drive) is necessary to run the Spindle - so is effectively the ‘power supply’ for the motor. Easy peasy to wire up really. just a regular 240v cable to the VFD - then some 4 core shielded wire from that to the spindle.
Hello, I have a related question but I am a new member and this is the closest thread I can find for my question:
I’m trying to transfer my mpcnc to run off the 240 in my workshop. However my makita router, vacuum and compressor are all strictly 120V (US). All the power supplies for the control board can take 240V input. I have tracked down 12/24V compressors, been made aware of dc spindles, and I guess what I am wondering is if anyone has any advice for power considerations coming from 240. All the 240 to 120 “transformers” kinda sketch me out. I was running a stack of servers off the 240 before… I guess I’m just after the safest, most succinct power conversion here and it seems like thats 240V AC → 12/24 DC?
I think it’s 2 phase (2x 120, 1 x 0V GND) it’s an old, old, building so if that’s uncommon maybe that explains it.
That would be an adapter to have 120VAC from a US (or Canada) 240 outlet.
My understanding is that 240V circuits in the US are phase reversed paurs of 120V circuits, so there’s live, reversed, neutral and ground prongs on the plug. You get 120VAC between live and neutral, or between reversed live and neutral, and 240 between live and reversed live. (It’s not really reversed, so much as inverted phase, both lines are “live”.)
That is how a stove can have a 120V plug on top of it, it only connects one live and neutral. The Home Despot link above is a product that just takes the US 240V plug and connects it for a 120V plug by eliminating one live connection.
If you have moved somewhere that has 240V and neutral, there are converters that you can buy. If those are less expensive than buying a local tool or router, it’s an option.
I am not an electrician. My advise is to check with a professional who will know the local wiring codes and standards and can give you appropriate advise.
Dan’s correct… I’ve got my box wired with 240VAC in, and split it to have a pair of 120VAC lines as well (US/CAN/MEX mains). Note the most common 240V available in a home shop is a 30A dryer plug; unfortunately most of those in the USA do not have neutral, especially in older homes (same with HVAC supplies… for ovens though a neutral is a lot more common to see). So often times setting up a 240/120VAC machine will require running a new dedicated 30A circuit from your panel.
I’m with Jeff on this in general… too risky giving schematics or other specifics. Basically if you don’t know what a safe mains schematic and build looks like, you shouldn’t be designing mains circuits anyways. Unlike wiring up low volt DC, mains work comes with the risk of serious injury/property damage/death. That’s why Ryan sells PSU’s that have the mains side taken care of for you in a safe way.
That said, if milling alum is challenging, lower RPM is often the solution. A larger VFD spindle can provide enough torque to turn the bit as slow as 6000RPM, which helps increase chip loads without adding stress to the gantry. Most of the handheld routers, Makita included, aren’t going to give much torque below like 12000RPM or so. Maintaining a good chip load at that RPM that requires a much higher feedrate, which pushes the printed bits a lot harder resulting in more flex. The result is sloppier cuts, or worse the feedrate has to be slowed so much that bits wear prematurely. Maintaining optimal chip load is milling 101… fact of life that doesn’t shine brightly on our DIY machines unfortunately.
Another big factor to consider is weight. It was mentioned already that you may run in to issues with the z gantry motion with the extra weight. Fixing this requires more voltage, or even a 1-start leadscrew. If you end up needing 1-start, your z rapids will suddenly be 1/4 as fast… which may be just too slow. Often with 1-start you need even more voltage etc to achieve good speeds for 3d-mill operations (talking 48V… beyond “printer hardware” where prices goes up steeply). On the other side of the weight tradeoff, is the benefit of having more mass behind the bit. A watercooled 2.2kW VFD spindle weighs a lot more than handheld routers, which can actually do a lot to reduce chattering bits.
It’s a lot of work and $$$ to implement VFDs, and requires skills working with mains voltages… but IMHO if alum is a priority especially 3d-operations, it’s worth the investment (including studies to gain mains skills). You have to spend 10x’s more to get anything that performs close, even if you include 48V, drivers, etc.