Just pulled the trigger Shapeoko XXL CNC Router Kit What spindle upgrade to consider?

New to CNC, got a lot to learn. I was contemplating a entry level machine for years. So after years of comparing machines ranging from 2k to 15k. I decided on the Shapeoko XXL CNC Router Kit with the HDZ, And with plans to upgrade it with a water cooled spindle. So my question how large of a spindle will this handle? 2.2KW ? or smaller? I see that there are several that some have gone with the 2.2kw and some that have gone with the 1.5kw. So form your prospective what would be the better choice and why. Just looking for opinions.

Regards Grumpy.

My 2 cents on spindles here and here others’ recent thoughts here. IMO best KISS approach is the “standard” Makita RT0701 router :wink:


It depends on what you are going to use the XXL for depends on what you need. On the Carbide3d site under the HDZ they very clearly say the HDZ is more than most need. That said I will not tell you how to spend your money but if you have no experience with a CNC Router start with the stock setup and build up to the point that you need to upgrade. Most never need to modify their Shapeoko to get great results. But again I dont want to tell you how to spend your money but here is the advise I have given before:

  1. The CNC Router is only about the first third of a budget for this hobby.

  2. The router bits, calipers, sanders, finishing supplies, wood etc are the second third of your budget.

  3. Software can be another one third of your overall budget. You can get a free Fusion 360 startup license, you can buy various Vetric levels up to $1500 down to $150. There are others both pay and free but you get what you pay for.

Aside from the financial aspect of CNC Routing is a commitment to the time required to learn the physical part of the CNC Router, the steep learning curve of the software, the time to watch learning material on the internet and the finally the perseverance to go through the process and produce useful and/or functional objects.

So my advise is to start with the basics, master that and then move on to bigger and better things like the HDZ, spindles and other upgrades like steel belted belts, linear bearing rails and so forth and so on.

I just recommend you start with baby steps, learn how to crawl, then walk, then run, then chew bubble gum and walk at the same time. If you choose to run first it leads to disappointment as many have found when they did not dedicate the time and energy to learn the craft. Many CNC Routers are sitting in garages and basements gathering dust and the “Why did you spend so much money on that thing” from your significant other.


What @gdon_2003 said.
Installing a spindle on day 1 may be a little too much to take, you will have many other interesting things to think about while assembling the Shapeoko and learning CNC. Keep the spindle upgrade as a later gift to yourself!.
Now the HDZ, in my opinion that was a good call if your budget allowed it, since it does not add complexity in the learning process, and you’ll be ready for that heavy 2.2kw spindle down to road.


Julien your comment is spot on. After I/We wear out a trim router the next upgrade would be the spindle. I have seen a few of your posts, and that 2.2 is really large. What modifications did you need to make to the machine to support it? just looking to the future.

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Other than the HDZ to support the weight of a 2.2kW spindle, no other upgrades to the Shapeoko itself are necessary. The spindle will require an external VFD, and the VFD needs to get a PWM signal but that is readily available on Shapeoko controller board. My machine happens to have other mods, but they are unrelated to the spindle (and most of them are overkill)

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