HDZ benefits for woodworking

I see all this talk about the HDZ upgrade and I’m just wondering what the benefits are. I’m fairly new to the Shapeoko world and right now I’m just doing wood projects. I may venture into the aluminum / brass world some day and with the Black Friday sale I can’t help but think it may be worth it.

Does the HDZ give any additional height under the bit? Does it plunge better? Or is it not worth it for a woodworking CNC machine?



there’s more height.

most of all, for me as new user, I ended up rebuilding the Z carriage several times due to an error between the seat and the steering wheel… and with HDZ the workholding will come lose instead… much easier to fix.

I’m also more comfortable plunging faster (so great for V carve)

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I just upgraded to the HDZ, and you get a bigger milling envelope about an inch each side as the HDZ is narrower (X) and while the HDZ offers 150mm Z movement, I calculated that without the supplementary wasteboard, you get 110mm under the gantry which is a lot more than the regular Z plate.

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Additionally, the HDZ enables more aggressive machining i.e. better MRR. You will quickly reach the limits of your trim router. HDZ will beg you for a 2.2kw spindle.
I do mostly wood, mostly red and white oak. I can do roughing paths with 3/8” and 1/2” mills. Just watch the chips fly!


You 2.2Kw guys can keep them. All I need are 1/4" bits so I’m going with the 800W G-Penny spindle on Black Friday. Based on what I cut with the CNC it’s all I need now. The VFD that comes with it is 1.5Kw so I can upgrade later if the need arises.

I’d rather spend the extra money on the J-Tech laser.


I’m with you brother. I resisted any kind of spindle for years, I have SO3 serial number 1212, been around the block a few times. Spindles not needed in most use cases for Shapeoko for sure.
On the other hand, sure nice to have. Haha, never knew I needed one until I got one. Just the g-code on/off, speed control is worth the investment INMHO.
Anyway, to each his own.


Which one are you buying? I looked at them again since I out one in my AliExpress cart and the shipping charge is $130!

This one that had just the spindle and the VFD. I’m going to add my own pump and cooling system. $175 for the spindle with VFD and $72 shipping. Total around $250.

I’m not a big proponent of big spindles, but has anyone looked at the spindle/vfd offerings from www.lightobject.com ? I’ve purchased several laser parts from them and the quality has been super excellent! I can’t vouch for their spindles since I don’t own one, but if the quality is anywhere near their laser offerings they should be pretty good. And they are in the US, so no slow boat from China.


Got it. That’s the same vendor I want to use. I think their overcharging for shipping since I ship packages to Shenzhen and Shanghai often for less than that. I just wanted to verify it wasn’t just me. Let us know when you get that one and what you think. They look like they’re a good product.

Seemingly the only Chinese spindle manufacturer that provides performance specifications is Jianken, did you give up on finding reasonable shipping costs from them? A business opportunity for you? :wink:

I didn’t end up getting shipping quoted because for a standard 2.2kW 24k RPM spindle, it was around $350, which is the amount I can get a whole kit for.

I’ll get a quote with shipping in a couple months when I have the money for a spindle.

Will do. I ordered the new spindle today. To keep it from getting lonely I ordered a j-Tech 4.2W spindle mount laser too.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vB_FvkllLPc that one is scary nice

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Nice link - thanks!

It shows that properly designed ATC spindles can be effectively used with metals - at least to speeds up to 15,000 RPM. It makes me wonder why he didn’t do his aluminum demo at 42,000 RPM though! It’s also interesting that he claimed that a cutting force of 25 kg was adequate when measuring deflection - but he applied it in the wrong place (the spindle mount)!

You might enjoy Piotr’s review of a Jianken ATC spindle. Even with the crazy shipping costs, that’s likely a much more affordable option for those (like woodworkers) who only need 24,000 RPM, and it supports 1/2" shanks. With precision toolholders it might even be “good enough” for metal!


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