Question about appropriate S3 XXL spindle/router

Hi all,

I currently own a Nomad 883 that I’ve been using to machine HDPE. I’ve got my toolpaths/settings locked in and it’s been working fine though I started to hit the limitations of the 883 in terms of how fast I could push the feeds and speeds for my HDPE stock. My project starts with an 8” x 8” by .75” piece of stock.

I recently ordered a Shapeoko 3 XXL which I believe will give me greater machining speed as well as a larger capacity. I should be able to do six of my pieces at one time.

My question is regarding the spindle choices. I’ve read the wikis and looked at air spindles on eBay, some commercial spindles, and the Dewalt 661 with/without SuperPID.

I like my Nomad 883 workflow and the ability to easily control the spindle speed with my g-code output (Fusion 360). In fairness, I typically stick with a 10,000 rpm setting for my tooling but occasionally drop lower if I’m machining interior threads.

Is there any simple solution that allows for spindle speed control within g-code for the S3 ? I’ve seen some people hack stuff but ideally I would like to keep it off-the-shelf as much as possible. It seems to me, that if I can’t control in g-code, I would be better off with a air spindle where at least I can easily set the speed with the VFD.

Lastly, the 65 mm air spindles use ER-11 collets whereas the 80mm spindles use ER 16 collets. I have hit tooling limitations with the ER-11 collets and it might be nice to have the greater chuck capacity of an ER-16. Is the S3 capable of easily hefting the 80mm air spindles once I create a custom bracket?

thank you for any advice you can give me!


Extra 5lbs on the v-wheels… may or may not be a problem? I mean that should be the only issue right? I guess the other problem would be belt slipping… hmmmm I might experiment by putting some weights on my router and running a few things.

Might need to counter balance it but that is even more weight.

Where there’s a will there is a crazy person with a cnc router.

Everything I’ve read about the 80 mm air spindles are that they are overpowered for the S3 so I don’t really need it for the theoretical “1.5KW” of power. It’s more about the collet size. The max shank size for an ER-11 collet is .3125 inches whereas the max for an ER-16 collet is .37 inches. So it’s not like I’m gaining that much shank capability.

After thinking this over, I’m probably better off with a 65 mm spindle if I go that route (pun intended). So I guess my remaining question is Dewalt 611 vs. Spindle/VFD and how to control rotational speed well.

Welcome to the Shapeoko club (soon). I have 3 spindles for my S3. Some cheap ($10) Chinese trim router (16k to 30k) that I couldn’t resisting buying, ($10, right). The Dewalt DWP611 (16k to 30K), and a Makita RT0701C (10k to 30k).

Of the three routers I like the Makita the best. It’s quieter, slower (10k) which works for all my metal cutting projects. The one downside is that nobody makes a 69mm to 65mm adapter (Although I know that Carbide3D is looking into it)

I also would like an off the shelf way of turing the spindle on and off…

Hope this helps.

Thank you Richard, that helps a lot! I plan on having lots of metal cutting projects as well and as I said earlier, all my feeds and speeds are dialed into 10,000 rpm, I’d hate to have to completely revisit my tooling. If I go the router approach, I will seriously consider the Makita. Thanks again.

Question… You are talking about 4MM difference.
That means you need a 2mm shim around the inside for it to grab properly correct?
Cant this be done with a bunch of thin 2mm strips around the outside of the router?
What about drilling and tapping a few setscrew like holes around the current holder, you could even indent the router to accept these?
Just curious.

l used some aluminum tubing to make a shim, but have since bought a 65 mm spindle mount on eBay.

Yup, which is why I first checked all my sheet metal for thickness before making the bushing.

For a short term solution, what about buying a 6’ extension cord, along with a switched outlet? Plug the outlet into the extension cord, and then the spindle into the outlet. With the extension cord, you should be able to put the switch anywhere.

Sorry, I think you misunderstood. We are talking about a way to turn off the Spindle via the GCode program (M4, M5)

Ahhh, I see. In that case, there are 2 options that know of:

  1. Have an outlet that is controlled via a DC relay
  2. Have a commercial unit that offers on/off and speed control of your spindle

For option 1, where you don’t want speed control, you can use the existing PWM output from the Carbide Motion Controller to drive a relay. In g-code, set the speed of your router to max (I think the default max for default grbl is 1000 RPM). When the g-code command M3S1000 is issued, the Carbide Motion Controller will output a steady Vcc on the PWM lines (I think it is 5V). If this is connected to the relay, it will enable the outlet and your router will turn on. When the M5 command is issued, the signal on the PWM pin will drop, and the relay will turn off the outlet.

For option 2, I have a Super-PID (but any PWM speed controller with on/off should work) that I have hooked up to my SO3 that allows for auto start/stop and speed control (via M3 S and M5 commands). In order for this to work, however, you have to tap into different pins on the Carbide Motion Controller board. See the discussion we had here. You have to reconfigure/recompile your grbl and flash the board to get these pins enabled. Although this works beautifully, it does not work perfectly for me. I seem to periodically lose the USB connection to the board and I haven’t figured yet out why.

I hope this is more in line with what you were looking for.

1 Like

Way to difficult, but thanks. We want something that is plug and play. Your info is great, but more geared to guys who build their own CNC machines.

Do you have the cable mounted down to anything so it doesn’t move around at all?

1 Like

No, actually I don’t. I was trying it out with just plugging the cable into the controller board. Since it was periodically disconnecting, I didn’t go through the process of tying it all down. I should try that; thanks.

Thanks for all the great feedback. As I looked into the ebay chinese spindle options, I realized that the most turn key ones relied on a 220V outlet which just isn’t convenient for me at this time. I’m also a bit skeptical of random ebay vendors.

I think for reliability and ease of use, I’m going to start off with the Makita option and buy some additional sized collets from ElaireCorp. That will give me a reasonably powerful spindle, low speeds and fairly off the shelf.

What I actually want though is for the Carbide 3D guys to figure out an upgrade kit that sources a .8KW chinese spindle, 110V input, ER-11, VFD(optional) and appropriate interface to electronics so I can choose my spindle speed in g-code. They’ve basically done a variation of that for the Nomad 883 so I just want the big brother of that.


I use to always have disconnect issues with the usb. I have upgraded carbide motion software and issues stopped. I think it might be due to the usb driver or software. I also hear some usb 3.0 ports also might be a problem. Either way I am now using the 4.0.407 carbide version. and GRBL version 1.1.f. No problems yet.

1 Like

It’s my understanding that Build 407 increased the USB timeout, which might be an explanation for why your loss of connection has gone away.

I want to know what every ones thought is on the extra weight of the 80mm spindle (I want 2.2kw though) 5.5 kg?
I added a 10# weight to my dewalt and moved it around some without issue (no cutting)
The minute I shut it down it bottomed out on my waste board!

You could add spring tension (ie. new, stronger springs) to offset the weight, and it would help.

1 Like

I could but then that is more strain on the belts and motors! To much?