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Thread: Anyone adapt a CNC spindle to a router lift?

  1. #1
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    Anyone adapt a CNC spindle to a router lift?

    Iíd like to add a router lift to my shop. I think Iíve decided on a Jessem lift, but the router motors is not such an easy decision. Jessem and Woodpeckers motor look really nice, but are also really expensive. The cheaper motor only options like the Bora donít get good reviews, and I donít want to be replacing a $250 motor after limited use. Looking for another option, I came across CNC spindle motors on Amazon. The reviews seem solid, and with a VFD, it makes rpm easy to dial in without losing power. The 2.2kw motor is right at 3hp. Has anyone adapted one of these successfully? I might have to make a sleeve for the spindle body to get it to clamp up into the lift, but maybe the Jessem lift would accept it as is. Let me know what you think.

  2. #2
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    Most cheap cnc spindles are water cooled which would be a pain. Mist are 240V 3phase as well. Air cooled 120V would be ok but getting a good one would probably more expensive. More than likely you need a vfd to run one. Be careful when you shop for one.

  3. #3
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    Sounds like a good idea to me.

  4. #4
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    In practice, there should be nothing wrong with this idea. You should be able to find either a 120V or 240V spindle. However I'm not sure compared to a Bosch 1617 they will be that much cheaper, likely more expensive. Ok, yes, the Bosch is rated at 2.25 HP but it never seems underpowered compared to how much wood I can bite at one time. It is also a venerable staple in many, many router tables.

    One thing to keep in mind is that spindles usually require a warmup sequence to properly bring the bearings up to temperature. Without this warmup sequence being done, you could see issues with longevity.

  5. #5
    Can a spindle run upside down?

  6. #6
    Sounds like a cool idea to me also.. Also have wondered if spindles can operate up side down? Seems like the biggest hurdle is adapting the smaller diameter of the spindle to a typical router lift diameter (4.2Ē).

  7. #7
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    There have been previous threads on this idea and at least one magazine article. Should work fine if setup correctly. I agree that water cooled may be more of a challenge
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  8. #8
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    Those spindles are (usually) 80mm diameter. You can find 4.2" (~107mm) to 80mm adapter rings on some of the Chinesium sites. Some of the previous threads on this have almost convinced me to give it a try.

  9. #9
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    If my Bosch dies I'll be switching over to a spindle with a vfd in a heartbeat. Just the reduction in noise would be worth it. Even water cooling wouldn't be too much of an issue. If you're mounting it in a dedicated router table finding a place to mount a tank in the base shouldn't be hard. The up side is no place for sawdust to get into the spindle. So no chance for the bearings or motor to die. Chances are you already have 240v in your shop. The biggest issue is where to put the vfd. It'll need air flow so dust could be an issue. The vfd for my spindle on my cnc has a remote display that doesn't need any sort of cooling so mounting it in a large box with filters out of the way but having the display/ control panel in a location that's easy to access is pretty easy.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for all the replies. Im putting this on my todo list. My porter cable router is likely going to be decommissioned after this next cabinet door build, then I will work on adapting a CNC spindle.

  11. #11
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    I have posted previously and possibly more than once on a lift with a WC spindle which uses the bracket that comes with the spindle and a digital read out for the height. Do a search with my name to find it. The noise reduction alone using a WC spindle is a huge bonus and until starting routing there is no need for hearing protection at all.
    Chris

    Everything I like is either illegal, immoral or fattening

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Burnside View Post
    In practice, there should be nothing wrong with this idea. You should be able to find either a 120V or 240V spindle. However I'm not sure compared to a Bosch 1617 they will be that much cheaper, likely more expensive. Ok, yes, the Bosch is rated at 2.25 HP but it never seems underpowered compared to how much wood I can bite at one time. It is also a venerable staple in many, many router tables.

    One thing to keep in mind is that spindles usually require a warmup sequence to properly bring the bearings up to temperature. Without this warmup sequence being done, you could see issues with longevity.
    How long does the warmup sequence last? That seems like it would make using a spindle impractical for the way I use a router table.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curt Harms View Post
    How long does the warmup sequence last? That seems like it would make using a spindle impractical for the way I use a router table.
    About 2 minutes, starting at a low RPM, ramping to max for about 10-15 seconds. If you use it within 4-5 hours you donít need to rerun a warmup sequence.

    Certainly youíre free to skip this, but donít expect to get the improved runout and longevity you will get with a proper warmup sequence.

  14. #14
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    The first one I built about 5 years ago using a WC spindle is in commercial use and it has not had an easy time, it certainly does not get a warm up period and it is still going. The lift I built cost about under a $100 at the time and that is also still working well. The lift is dead simple to make and bullet proof with the DRO putting the icing on the cake.
    Chris

    Everything I like is either illegal, immoral or fattening

  15. #15
    this concept and is new to me. what is the point a router is still an inferior tool compared to a shaper and use tiny radius cutters compared. I get it can do stuff that the larger heads cant at times as well. Are you going to this trouble of changing out a router to a CNC better style motor and you get a smoother cut. Before a smooth better balanced thing its still a tool that holds router bits that brazed are not very sharp and more scrape material away than cut like a shaper with a decent head. I had a router table when I started and it got lost at some point maybe taking up space and for the most part hand held works better for me as i can climb cut. What is the point of changing this out. Old dog open to new tricks.

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