Loose spindle and sloppy bearings in the Nomad 3 again

I am on my third spindle on my 2 month old Nomad 3.
I believe, in my novice mind that I have treated the machine well so far, and have not really been pushing it very far.
The spindle is again loose. Both the top, and lower bearing make a clacking sound when moved with my finger.
A fresh spindle is silent, has no wobble, and performs well. After just a few hours of runtime the spindle bearings again have backlash. The spindle vibrates quite violently and can resonate and make a lot of noise.

I have heard that the spindle requires a warm-up. Running it will expand components with heat and might make this issue less noticeable.

I just want to hear why this might happen. From other owners, and maybe from Carbide 3D.
All i get in the mail dialogue is that this should not happen, and apologies…

Yes, I will contact support. But also want advice and other experiences.
Also where can one buy the bearings in use in bulk?

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I just found your ticket and sent it to one of our people to get a new spindle out to you today.

Once you get the new one, Leanne will work with you to arrange shipping of the old one back to her for us to review.


But how can i prevent this from happening? why does it happen?
What is to be expected of the durability?

Sending me a fourth spindle only solves the problem very temporarily it seems.
When will you address the cause?
Your support is fantastic, and you can keep that reputation for your reply here. But what is more important to me is the quality of the product. Had it been only a belt snapping it would be fine.
But having the spindle itself - The most important part on this machine fail 4 times…
Why does it fail once a month, and why are you happy sending me a new one time, and time again without addressing the cause?

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I get your frustration but in their defence, they might not know the cause until they examine your faulty spindle. They might not want to examine every single one to find the cause because that puts a burden on the customer to go to the trouble of returning it.


I don’t know why it would happen so I’d like to check the spindle out in person. If you have more than one lying around then I’d like all of them to look at.

Generally speaking, that’s it. I personally hate returning things and if a failure is a one-off, we don’t bother getting parts back because it’s a pain for the customer.


My 2nd spindle replacement is sounding awful as well. VERY loud vibration noise…I’m not sure if its the spindle, or the spindle motor though. My thought is it’s the motor as it seems to be getting noticeably hotter than when the spindle was fresh and “new”.

You can test the motor without the belts on to see. I was afraid my motor too would be the culprit. But it is reasonably quiet at all RPMs, though as expected a bit more noise at 24krpm(1:3 reduction, so 8k rpm?)
It also gets almost too hot to touch. I think that too should be fine.

Try downloading Candle GRBL controller. There you can test your spindle at every RPM unlike in carbide motion.

I am afraid to try my 4.th spindle before i get a conclusion from Carbide 3D. So i’m sending the other 3 back and hope to get an answer on what it might be. Maybe the bearing slop it to be expected?
I wish they would answer properly when i wonder what to expect and what i might be doing wrong. But maybe they have not encountered this themselves yet.

Ah, good idea I will do that test later today.

I’ve been getting increasing amounts of chatter recently so checked everything over (workholding, cutters etc) and noticed play in the spindle which wasn’t there from new.
A DTI shows about 2.3 thou slop in both radial and axial directions and it makes a clicking noise when I move it. There is no obvious sign of the top nut being loose. Is this likely to be the cause of the problem or am I looking in the wrong place?

Dropped support an e-mail to see what they say.

Edit: added vid: https://flynn.uk.net/N3%20spindle.mp4

This is exactly what i get too.
On my first spindle, before replacement, it was a lot worse though. The bore for the bearing was oversized and the bearings spun around freely on the outer face even…
Video of bearing spnning

There are small differences in all the spindles i have gone though. I am waiting for feedback on the 3 spindles i now have sent back. I do not dare attach the 4th spindle yet…

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@pauketju , really interesting YT vid. I am continuing to machine (using much lighter than needed passes) because I have a deadline looming. However, I just looked under the spindle block while it was cutting and saw the outer casing of the lower bearing rotating on a climb pass and then slowing down but also rotating slightly on conventional pass. This is not something I would have spotted unless you showed me your vid. I don’t know how much the outer looseness is responsible for the overall slop, I’m not sure there is enough protruding to get the DTI on the outer casing. Let’s see what support says.

The top one was also like that when i disconnect the belts, so the preload stopped it from spinning.

I noticed it doing cuts is some wood when the load was quite high roughing.
Mainly because of excessive heat from the spindle. Burnt my finger touching the bearing.
Also whining and vibration. Seeing the bearing spin mad me cringe, but i had to finish the job.

This also was after less than 2 weeks.
I received the Nomad mid June, and i am now on my 4th spindle including the one shipped on the machine.

Could the problem be that the housing (rectangular block of aluminum) that the spindle sits inside of is getting warped with the heat from the spindle? The hole that the spindle is press fit into must be super precise…but after long run times heat build up could potentially cause that hole to expand very slightly? Which may cause the loose spindle/wobble we have been experiencing?

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I luckily have not had the spinning bearing issue in the other two spindles that I returned.
There is a lot of heat in the spindle, searing hot after a while. This can’t be good for the bearings. Maybe they are not meant to go 24k RPM?

It is very strange that all my 3 spindles have developed similar issues, but that this is not a more widespread issue is even more strange. Maybe other users just have not wiggled their spindles enough? Or maybe we are picky about a quarter of a millimeter…

I see that listed accuracy is 0.005" (0.127mm) and this wiggle makes that difficult.

I currently have a few hours at high rpm on our Nomad 3 and the spindle seems to be good, not producing much heat (slightly warm to the touch).

A spindle warmup routine is highly recommended (I even do it on Makitas) and you can just program a file that runs the spindle through the rpm range. Also you can use the MDI in Carbide Motion to send M3 and M5 codes with your S spindle speed and do it manually.


I’ve been doing stuff where the slop in the spindle doesn’t matter but after getting some weirdness on a small engraving and the reading this I decided to check mine. It has about 8thou of slop and when running at the highest RPM makes a slight clicking noise.

Please let us know about this at support@carbide3d.com

@abrackney My spindle does get warm but not get too hot, even at 24k rpm.
I don’t think heat is the issue, at least for me.

I just had a great video call with support so I should be up running again real soon.


I have just started to run my Nomad 883.3. I used the provided Carbide Create and Carbide Motion. I loaded up some 1/8" acrylic and started cutting with the #102 1/8" square end mill that came with the Nomad. I didn’t modify the g-code before cutting.

On the first pass I got a lot of chatter. Less on the second and none on the third. I hit the 10% slower feed button three times before the first pass chatter went away. If one cuts with chatter bearing life is substantially reduced. Keeping a box full of bearings sounds like a great idea.

Good luck!

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I would love to know where to buy those bearings, or maybe even some better ones.
This of course is if i can even remove the bearings. I don’t want to do this if i get feedback from support about a more permanent solution.

If just a couple hours of chatter on the machine through its lifetime will ruin the bearings, then this is not good enough for anything…