Spindle Envy on a SO3

I’ve got one of the original SO3s running a Dewalt 611 router. I’ve been noodling with the idea of upgrading to a spindle… mostly for wanting to mill aluminum to make some fixtures.

I was mulling over water cooled VFD 1.5 vs 2.2 kW spindles. I don’t have 240V readily available so I was leaning towards the 1.5 kW spindle. Of course it sure would be nice to get ter ER 20 collet for 1/2" shank mills…

And then I found out about belt driven spindles and cheap straight shank collet extenders (~$14). Tapered roller bearings can be found which match the shank diameter easily and I have access to lathe for the spindle body. So I started researching brushless dc motors (and their controllers and their power supplies)… And circled back around to simple and cheap 500 Watt air cooled spindles.

Which, in theory, is a little less power than my DeWalt (and is only an ER 11 collet). But, it’s cheap simple and quieter than the DeWalt.

So I’m really wondering if a 500 wattspindle will be under powered when we got a Nomad 833 pro at work. It runs like a dream. Some nice videos show it can mill aluminum well, too. And it uses a belt driven spindle!

The specs on the Carbide3D website list the Nomad’s bldc motor at … 70 watts!

And I thought 500 watts was going to be under powered.

What am I missing? Why would anyone hang a 20 lb 2.2 kW water cooled spindle off their SO3 when the Nomad runs with a 70 watt spindle?

Yes, yes… I understand DoC but are the big honking spindle really hogging out more than the 10 mil DoC the Nomad can do?

Thanks for clarifying.


Imo I would go with at least around 800 watts and er16 (3/8s) is nice. On the other hand i have a er20 8mm adapter for my Makita rt701c on it’s way, will make a post with a nice big facemill lol.

A little more power will allow you to gear it for more rpm if you want. I doubt the stock frame and v wheel setup is ridgid enough to take more than 1hp


I, too, have always been skeptical of the practical advantages of larger, monster spindles. Although I do enjoy seeing what guys do to adapt them to our machines, pretty cool :sunglasses:, if that’s your thing-go for it.

Take a look at @Vince.Fab posts here in the forum for tips on cutting aluminum.

Here’s a video of a slightly less powerful then the DW611 router cutting aluminum. Quite nicely I think. As I recall it was 6 or 8 mm doc.

The router is the brushless Makita xtr01z. You’ll need a 24v power supply.

The difference is that milling aluminum on the nomad is certainly possible, works ok, and can produce a nice finish, it’s an order of magnitude faster with the 700w or so on the SO3. You don’t -need- 500w, but it does make the process go a lot quicker.

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Sometimes things are done simply because it’s possible, not because it’s a great idea or the gains are worth the cost.



So true, haha!

Have you seen the twin turbo Smart car?

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I haven’t, but that sounds a little, uhm, frightening.

Here’s another example of “why? Because!”,…:



How about this?

Just because they can.

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That’s one heck of a spindle!


I use an air cooled 1.5kw Chinese spindle and vfd, it didn’t cost me much more than a dewalt router. Its had 2 years of fairly heavy use, has shown no signs of giving up.

I love it - fits in the standard spindle mount, can be controlled via gcode, has ER11 collets and I haven’t found it underpowered for any task. I’d love more rpm (max is 24,000) but all in all it’s been great

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The max of 24,000 is my only reservation with getting a spindle. I enjoy how I can run my DeWalt at 28k.

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honestly, it doesn’t really cause that much issue, sure it means I can’t push quite as hard (particularly in aluminium) but if I was doing production stuff I’d get a more rigid machine. Most of my work is timber, maybe 20% aluminium, but all those aluminium jobs are for me, not to sell so time is less critical.

I have a makita router that I put back on the XXL recently for a test, and not having the spindle turn itself on at the start of each job got old very quickly - I’d gladly give up that 6000rpm to just be able to hit the start button and have it do its thing

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