800 watt g-penny spindle


Thinking about upgrading to an air cooled 800 watt g-penny spindle. I see one for $175 with the VFD. I have a stock Shapeoko 3. Mostly for noise reduction. I am currently running the Makita. I think 800 watts will be as I don’t do any hard work with it, mostly wood, some aluminum.

Will the stock Z axis handle the extra weight OK.

Does the inverter interface to my controller board? I bought my unit in February 2019 so it is relatively new.

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Hi @shelkol,

FYI the definive thread on installing a 800W spindle is here. LOTS of great information there. This is about a water-cooled version installed on an HDZ though, so not everything applies.

I have the feeling that the stock Z will struggle to cope with the extra weight, you may be able to get away with it by adding stiffer or extra springs to compensate for the extra weight, but I feel (personal opinion) that it’s asking for trouble, at least as a permanent solution. A Z-plus would take it easily (and a HDZ too, oobviously)

There are a few threads on how to interface the VFD to the Shapeoko controller, it boils down to connecting the PWM and GND signals to your VFD. Your shapeoko from Feb 2019 may not have the 6pin connector sticking out of the enclosure? So for you to access this signal you may have to go and solder pin headers on the controller.

If you are mainly after noise reduction (which was my driver to move to a spindle too), did you consider a water-cooled one? It’s even quieter (but admittedly comes with the extra burden to install the cooling lines)


From the thread that Julian referenced. I’d say no way a stock Z axis can handle the extra weight

Dewalt = 1525g (excluding power cord)
G-Penny = 2800g (water cooled spindle & excluding cord)

So it’s 1.83 times as heavy as the stock Dewalt router .


As Julien and Gary have said, the stock Z is not very strong vertically.

I went water cooled for the noise and for a larger collet so I could use 1/2 inch bits, wigglers, edge finders etc.

There is a big difference in the kinds of noise you get from a water cooled spindle and a lot of it is about what kinds of noise you find unpleasant.

  • The routers tend to sound like a giant dentist’s drill, I can’t stand this constant high-pitched scream, much of this is from the cooling fan on the router, which is also present on the air cooled spindles, no idea how they relate for absolute noise level, my AMB Kress spindle I couldn’t run at full speed because I found the pitch of the noise just horrible
  • The spindles can ‘sing’ a little with the inverter drive frequency, you wouldn’t hear this over the router though
  • The typical HuanYang VFD has a loud and irritating cooling fan that runs continuously, Julien and other have threads about various ways to minimise or manage this
  • The cutting noises are still going to be there, just the same, maybe louder if you go Z-Plus and take heavier cuts
  • Your dust extraction is likely to become the next loudest thing once you silence the router

As for power, from the readings I’ve been taking on my 2.2kW spindle, it doesn’t even know it’s turned on, I’ve managed to run about 0.3Amps of cutting current out of around 7 Amps capacity whilst cutting wood. 800W power would seem to be more than enough, ER20 collet size was the only reason I chose the larger spindle.


Thanks for all your input. I will have to think on this for a while as it became much more expensive and this is only a hobby. The Z-Plus is $250 and the air cooled spindle is $175.


YUP - That’s probably about twice the power of the “1.25HP” trim routers anyway and there’s lots of woodworking router bits with 1/4" shanks.


Couldn’t stiffer lift springs compensate for the added weight?

If you are going to make the move to a VFD, do it. Consider the water cooled version, no fan noise or blowing dust all over the place.
Add stiffer springs and that might just work. (I will probably do this soon)
BUT… if you are waiting on carbide3d to stock those to sell, you might be waiting a long while.


The alternative of course is a pair of Bose Quiet Comfort headphones at a mere $350 LOL. OK for me, but my wife …

The water cooled ones seem to be just a little more expensive than the air cooled. I expected more of a difference. I’ll have to reread the thread about adding the 800 watt unit. Discounted the thread at first since wanted air cooled.

I forgot to add shipping - it is almost $100 :frowning:

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If you can’t find suitable springs at you local hardware store, I’m sure you can at McMaster-Carr (as well as any other hardware). Their prices and shipping costs are quite reasonable and they ship really fast without extra fees. If you go the stiffer spring route, your experiences would likely be helpful to others considering the upgrade.

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I upgraded to the HDZ back in March. I am still using my Dewalt 611 router. The HDZ is SOOOOO much better than the stock Z that there is no comparison. Although I never had too much trouble with loss of steps with the stock Z the HDZ is much better in many ways. The Z-Plus is similar but many have complained about the lack of Z height in getting to the stock base plate. Most people are using supplemental spoil board making that issue moot. However having and HDZ I cannot recommend it more. There has been an availability issue with both the HDZ and Z-Plus so sign up for notification about when they get into stock if you want one. Having upgraded to the BitZero, BitSetter, BitRunner and the HDZ the Shapeoko has no match for hobby machines. Now those upgrades were not cheap and you could certainly run just as well with out them but why would you. If you buy a quality tool you will never regret it. I am a member of the inventables forum for the xcarve. I take a look at their offerings and the xcarve is not measuring up to the Shapeoko with all of the improvements Carbide 3d has made in the last year. A stock Shapeoko without any of the upgrades is equivalent to an xcarve in my mind. They are similar in size and power, both belt driven and both pretty good. But when you add the improvements made with the upgrades there is no comparison. Sooner or later xcarve will have to match Carbide3d in the never ending one upsmanship.

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I tried stiffer springs for my 1.5kw water cooled spindle and spent a week fighting it.

Could not do a spring that had enough tension to support the spindle but would still allow z full movement. It kept loosing steps because of too much tension when the z got down low.

Hdz best money ever spent.

You need the correct length and spring constant (McMaster-Carr’s “Rate”). The 800W water cooled spindle reportedly adds less than 3 lbs and the stock Z axis reportedly is capable of 18 lbf.


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