Spindle Overview

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The typical choice for a tool (the industry term for this is spindle) is a trim router (a Dewalt DWP611 or Makita RT0701 (or equivalent 220V version) is suggested).

Rotary spindles are the most frequent tool choices, but there are a number of other options.

Pen / Plotter Mounts

Mounting a pen is something of a rite of passage.


https://www.youmagine.com/designs/shapeoko3-plotter-pen [1]

Shapeoko 3 Pen and Cutter Holder[2]



Feeds and speeds for a pen

Copied from box_logo.nc:

  • Plunge: 1524mm/min.
  • Feed: 5080mm/min.
  • Depth: -0.254mm

Rotary Spindle Options

Dewalt and Makita Comparison

The Dewalt DWP611 and the Makita RT0701 were the initial choices for spindles for the Shapeoko 3 (they also work well on suitably upgraded Shapeoko 1/2s).

Since then the Carbide Compact Router (essentially a rebadged Makita) has become the router option for Carbide 3D machines. The same 69mm mount which fits the Makita is used however, and the same 65mm adapter is provided, so one has the widest possible options for spindles.

Comparison video:


Notable differences:

  • Dewalt has finer-grained speed control, Makita lower and higher range of possible speeds (the lower speeds are especially useful on plastics and wood)
  • Dewalt has a longer clamping area which affords multiple precision collet options (standard ones as well as the ER-style collets from Precise Bits), Makita has a single source for precision collets (albeit in a variety of sizes) and an option for a 3/8" collet (larger than the 5/16" or 8mm the DeWalt collets top out at)
  • Dewalt has lights, the Makita does not[7]
  • Dewalt has a plastic button on the Body, which limits Z plane positioning inside the mount, Makita has a more Robust Tool changing mechanism, with a cylinder push lock below the shaft, which will allow more mounting options in the Z plane[8]
  • Dewalt has a longer body and can be mounted so as to reach lower[9]
  • Makita bearings easier to change
  • Makita brush life longer and replacements less expensive and easier to change

Note that spindles may be upgraded w/ better collets. Some are merely replacements for the standard collets in different sizes, while at least one manufacturer offers specialized systems which allow one to use ER style collets.[10] These are more convenient and easier to change (esp. if one buys a matching nut for each collet) and afford a greater clamping tolerance (e.g., a 1/4" collet can hold a 6mm endmill[11]).


http://www.tricocorp.com/product/md-1200-micro-drop/ [12]


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrUDVBHc9Xo https://www.reddit.com/r/shapeoko/comments/40pmwc/shapeoko_3_second_metal_project_vise/cywn5bh

Tool Changer

https://hackaday.io/project/12308-xatc-extreme-simple-automatic-tool-changer [13]


http://www.cnccat.gr/?lang=en --- commercial option for Kress spindles --- c.f., http://www.cnccat.gr/index.php?id=1&catid=89&lang=en

Engraving Tool

Similar to a rotary spindle is a high-speed engraving tool:


endmill alternatives:

http://cnc-aid.com [14]


http://benchtopprecision.com/diamond-drag-engraving-tool/ [15]




Laser Cutter

Mounting a laser for engraving and cutting is a popular upgrade. While it does have a number of safety implications, it affords options which aren't feasible otherwise.

3D Printing

Paste Extrusion

Clay: https://www.instagram.com/p/BiDOxWJHLl5/

Drag Knives




Discussion of path needed for compensation: http://www.cnczone.com/forums/coding/71521-cnc.html c.f., Drag_Knife_Support on the CAM page.

c.f., Tangential knife.

Foam Cutter

Foam cutter - 1st results

Foam cutter - 2nd results



This link suggests it should be spring-loaded: http://www.mytoolstore.com.au/products/Wood-burning-Pen-for-CNC-Machines.html

Pick and Place

Discussion of a machine using cameras

Plasma Cutter

Discussion: http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=2600

Further discussion and note that height control is needed: http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=7232&p=61187#p61187

http://openplas.com/pages/shapeokoplas [23]--- shop is closed

A plasma cutter puts out quite a bit of EMI, and this may require a complete overhauling, if not re-design or replacement of the electronics.

Discussion of accuracy: https://www.reddit.com/r/CNC/comments/8qeq20/can_a_plasma_cnc_cut_to_this_accuracy/

Successful upgrade noting the need of shielding: https://forum.shapeoko.com/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=9647&p=70528#p70528


Thingiverse: Shapeoko 3 spindle mount for DeWalt DWE6421 sander [24]