Should my spindle move this much?

Hi All,
Over time I’ve noticed my spindle seems to make a strange, intermittent noise while machining, which I can’t really describe but I hope you can hear in the videos below. It also moves up and down quite a bit within the housing, or whatever it’s called, maybe more than it should, I’m not sure.

I have the feeling that the spindle is getting stuck during cuts that it really ought to be able to handle, causing it to lose steps and then gouge the work piece. I’m wondering if this might be the cause.

Can someone please look at the videos I’ve posted and tell me if I need to tighten something?

This video has the intermittent sound it’s making, and at about the 26 second mark you can see the spindle moving up and down as it is machining some plastic. Should it have that much play?

Here’s a video of me just moving the spindle with my finger, while the machine is off. Should it be able to move as much as this?

thanks very much for any help!

NOTE: The videos don’t seem to want to play on the forum for some reason, so I’ve linked to them in the text describing the content. Hopefully that will help.

Please identify your stock (type of plastic), the RPM your using, and the MeshCAM parameter screen.

I can’t play the videos…


@MrHume, your spindle has developed end play. See the thread Check your spindles for my own experience. You can do a somewhat-fix by loosening the spindle pulley setscrews, pushing the pulley back down to load the Belleville springs, and retighten the setscrews, but a more permanent solution is adding a shaft collar as I did. Do not let your spindle go too long as it is, or both the bearings and spindle will be damaged from the rubbing. The grinding noise during the cut might be too aggressive a cut, but more likely just chatter from the loose spindle.


Arg that is very annoying, I don’t know why the dratted videos are misbehaving. I suppose I’ll put them on Youtube and see if that makes them viewable. Dropbox’s player is usually more reliable than that. Sorry for the trouble.

In the videos I happen to be machining Starboard, but it does this same thing no matter what the material, feeds/speeds, etc.

The embedded videos don’t show up for me either, but clicking on the links you provided took me to the Dropbox website and its own player did play them. I’m using Firefox with paranoid setttings (popup blocker, Adblock Pro, NoScript, etc.) so if they play for me they should play for most anyone, at least in their native environment… :smile:


Oh dear, that’s not good. The grinding noise seems to happen more often when the cutter is not engaged in the material, and it does it even when I’m cutting styrofoam, which leads me to believe it’s not my settings.

I think a Skype with @Jorge is in my future, I’m not sure I feel up to disassembling my spindle cartridge unsupervised…

Thanks, @Randy!

@Randy, looking at that post, just want to make sure I understand, you simply put the shaft collar on top of the spindle, above the pulley - assuming you’ve re-tensioned the springs and such - and then it will keep it from creeping up in the future?

Also, when you put the cartridge back together, do you need to put any kind of grease or lubricant etc in there? I would need to order that stuff, so any advice would be really helpful.

Thanks again,

The bearings are “permanently” lubricated so there is no grease to replace or add. When you loosen the pulley setscrews, the pulley should just slide up and off the spindle. There are two cone springs, just keep track of which way they are facing (the concave face of the springs should be towards the pulley). If the spindle is not scored badly like mine was, it should slip out of the bearings with not much force.

You are correct–the shaft collar grips the spindle tightly and should prevent any future movement of the pulley. It has nearly 360-degree contact with the spindle shaft.


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Final update:
I spoke to @Jorge via Skype, he was incredibly helpful, as always! He’s sending along a new spindle via FedEx, which I’ll install next week.

In order to be able to use the machine in the interim, I did the following:

  1. lowered the spindle until it was resting firmly against the spoil board - well, actually it was resting on a piece of Starboard that happened to be taped to the spoil board, but it amounts to the same thing -
  2. loosened the two set screws on the spindle shaft,
  3. then used a flat head screwdriver in one hand as a lever to push the pulley down toward the springs, while I re-tightened the set screws with the other hand.

The result is that my spindle no longer wiggles around, and the grinding noise is gone. I was also able to finish milling a piece that had been giving me trouble for no apparent reason - I think the loose spindle was causing me lots of problems I hadn’t even known about.

Thanks again for the help, everyone!

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