Shopping list for upgrading to a 2.2kw water-cooled spindle

I upgraded my new water-cooled spindle, and holy crap it’s like a whole new beast of a machine. That 80mm mount attached to the HDZ feels bulletproof. The spindle itself looks like a lab experiment. It’s all so clean, fast, and quiet it’s almost eerie.

For my first job I tore through a chunk of Bolivian Rosewood at 150-175 ipm with a 1/2" upcut, using the aggressive settings for a similar Amana bit — and it was like losing my CNC virginity all over again. I seriously get excited when I think of it, and just want to go back out there and make more sawdust.

So, in case anyone else was interested in upgrading, I thought I’d post links to the pieces I used. I needed some help to track everything down, so I wanted to pass it on in hopes it would be helpful to others.

Right now I have a very basic setup, meaning I control the spindle RPM with the VFD hardware, instead of automatically with Carbide Motion. But I plan to upgrade my setup once I’m in my new shop next month. I am also limited to 110v in my shop, so that’s the equipment I link to below. You can easily find 220v options for the spindle and VFD if that’s what you want.

So here’s all you need for a basic 110v setup:

80mm spindle mount:



Shielded cable (to run from VFD to Spindle — don’t skimp on this):

800gph aquarium pump

I had to get a separate 1/4" reducing barb for the pump from Lowe’s. Can’t find it on the site, but it looks like this:

Bucket or a medium plastic bin:


Your new collets:

Your new monster 1/2" endmill so that you may crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women:

I also got everything I need (I think) to upgrade and to hand the speed control over to Carbide Motion, which I’ll assemble next month in my new shop:

Emergency stop:

Three way switch:

Push button switch:

Jumper wires:

Pin header connector:

I hope this is helpful for anyone who is wanting to upgrade! I really cannot encourage it enough. I can’t wait to resume my projects, and see how much time I save roughing with this .5" beast of an end mill.


It does feel like owning a muscle car, doesn’t it ?
I upgraded for the quietness alone so I could have gone for less than 2.2kW myself. I’ll have to try some of these 1/2" cutters someday, sounds like a fun roughing tool for large projects.
Thanks for sharing your BOM.

Thanks a lot for this list… extremely useful (I’m pondering to upgrade)

Can you say how hard this was to do?
YouTube suggests making the cable is the hardest part…


did my upgrade to a the same type a while ago. I would suggest not to use a Aquarium pump rather go to a PC water cooling pump res combo ( there are good ones from EK waterblocks or thermal take) with g1/4 ports. There a lot of barb adaptors for g1/4 or even push in fittings. I even put in a radiator in my loop. I was feeling much more comfortable with such a closed loop as with the one with just the pump and a water reservoir. But at the end such a setup may be more expensive.

By the way don’t forget to check if the spindle if grounded correctly. A lot of them are not.

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Aquarium / pond pumps are a very poor match for the flow / head profile of a spindle. There are lots of “solar circulation” pumps and similar on eBay and Amazon with flows and heads much more suitable.

I have a CW3000 on my todo list as how I’d solve the water cooling part…
feels the least fragile/leak-proof

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Is there any information on the VFD or in its manual about how much power/current/kVA the VFD can provide to the spindle and how much input power/current/kVA it requires to do it?

What did you enter for the VFD’s PD142?

It really does! Below is a picture of one of my best-selling pieces, which usually takes me a full day in the shop to make. You can see there is so much roughing and pocketing involved — which, other than the lettering itself, easily eats up the most time. I very much look forward to seeing how much this boosts my productivity!


Oh interesting, I’ll have to take a look at that! I was told an aquarium/pond pump would be fine, as long as it was 800gph at minimum. But I’ll definitely take a closer look at PC pumps.

Can’t remember offhand, I’ll take a look next time I go out to the shop (kinda snowed-in today!)

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If yours is flowing water through the spindle then it’s probably fine.

Dependent upon how long the small pipes are you could be down at 2-3 litres / min, which is fine for these spindles, so don’t expect niagara falls.

The issue is the pond / aquarium / fountain pumps are designed to operate at < 3 metres head and a much higher flow rate, hundreds of litres / min. This means on the head / flow of the spindle they’re basically stalled which means the wear on the impeller shaft is much greater due to vibration and they’ll wear out faster than normal.

The warning is that the pump will start to make quite a loud rattling sound when running, that’s worn out “shaft bearings” (nasty bit of plastic on nasty bit of not very hard steel mostly) and it needs a new impeller. That tends to go on for quite a while and give you plenty of time to source a replacement.

You should however, figure out a sensible way to check for flow each time you power the system up as these pumps don’t always start reliably, this goes for any water cooled spindle setup though. I can hear the return water hitting the “reservoir tank”.

also look at CW3000 (amazon or whereever)

some of these fancy “it has LEDs in all colors” PC cooler things can be quite spendy

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Oh awesome, I’m going to pick one of these up for sure. Maybe I should update the shopping list above to include this.

It might also be worth including this rather handy warning about not mixing in copper cored radiators for people trying to build their own;

If you go down the CW-3000 route, you may be interested in that thread which discussed it, a mod to make it quieter, and alternative water-cooling solutions

I build my loop with parts from Aqua Computer and a typical 2,2KW china spindle and don’t have any problems with flow, temperatures or copper reactions. Here is my part list maybe helpful for your decision:

1 x airplex PRO 360 G1/4 Radiator
10m Tubing: PVC-Tubing 8x1 mm (10/8 mm)*
8x Fittings: Coupling 10/8 mm G 1/4 with O-gasket
(Optional Filter) Filter with stainless steel mesh, ball valves and mounting plate, G1/4
1 x Hose barb 8 mm G 1/4 with O-ring-gasket
1 x Ball Valve (for draining)
1 x Pump adapter for D5 pumps, compatible with aqualis base, G1/4
1 x Aqualis base for pump adapters 880 ml with fountain effect (Reservoir)
1 x D5 Next (Can also power 3 FANs without Problems)
3 x FAN Grill 120mm
1 X EK Cryofuel cooling liquid

Another thing to consider if you doing it the PC way is the power delivery for the loop. You need a 12V power supply with enough power for the pump and fans. I used a 12v 80W power supply and made an SATA adaptor for it. The FANs a directly connected to the pump.

A really handy thing is the D5 Next from Aquacomputer has in internal flow meter (just software based but you will have an idea of the flow) and you can set various alarm directly on the Display like temp and flow based alerts. I only use temp based alerts. Give you a pretty loud beep and the leds are going all red.

Overall not the cheapest solution but pretty flexible and it looks really cool (and for me the only way to go… I do watercooling in all of my PCs)

Question for y’all!

What kind/how much antifreeze do you use for your spindle?

I fortunately realized last night that I should probably take mine off the mount and bring it inside, since my shop is in a detached garage, the temperature dropped super low yesterday, and I was only running water to the spindle.

I’m running about 1:5 antifreeze to water, I read the back of the bottle and worked off a temp that my concrete floored shed shouldn’t get below. I went with the min 1:5 more as corrosion inhibitor than anti-freeze though.

You may also need to run an antifungal agent to stop nasty smelly things growing in the coolant over the summer if the system isn’t sealed.

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