PSA: beware the 500W aliexpress spindle

So I bought this as a package years ago for a smaller engraver. It worked fine and certainly had more power than the 775 DC motor those machines come with. fast forward to the lowrider build and I thought, “well I’ve got it, I might as well use it…”

Long story short–this works fine for small jobs or thin material provided the motor doesn’t get warm…
Unfortunately for longer jobs, the motor gets warm and creeps out of the PLA housing and into the workpiece…(ask me how I know). Now I guess you could use an ABS or maybe PLA+ as your spindle mount material but it was very warm to the touch after a few hours of 900mm/min and 2mm depth of cut through plywood…so take that as you will. Also, I got a fair amount of chatter on some cuts even at these mild settings so I just don’t think the power is there.

Of course this is probably common knowledge to some but thought I would post here in case anyone was wondering how this spindle measures up.


How do you know?

Presumably that is why they are usually accompanied by a large aluminium clamp mount - to help as a heatsink.

The fan is fitted on your spindle isn’t it?

As far as the chatter goes, the rigidity of your pla mount will also have a bearing on performance. The 500 watt spindle I have does ok…considering its price and what it is made from, but the PWM power supply has a truly horrible waveform.

I had one of those too, went back to the dewalt because of the horrible chatter. The collet adapter that gets stuck to the motor is just too long, way too much stickout.

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The more discerning of you may be able to see the exact moment i went to go pick up my wife from the doctors office 10 mins away…


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:game_die: :scream:
:fire: :fire_engine:

Mine heated up enough to soften the PLA. Instead of sliding down, it rotated until the power wires going to it were rubbing on the spinning fan at the top. The fan eventually rubbed the rubber off of the wires and caused a nice big spark with magic smoke and pop sound. Then the power supply started making a funny sound and smell as I hit the kill switch.

All of this happened in less time than it took me to type this.

I was so focused on watching what it was cutting, I didn’t notice the motor turning.

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So given the noise issue (had to choose between no cnc, or a quieter less powerful one) I revisited the 500 w spindle and incorporated the alumin holder/heatsink into the mount. The hope is the spindle fan at the top cools the aluminum before it ever gets to the PLA plastic deformation temp.

Fingers crossed.

I am going to miss the power of the 30000 rpm rotozip…ah well…