Nema 17 vs Nema 23

As a hobbyist I wonder what the limits of the Nema 17 steppers are that would require/encourage you to move to the large heavier duty Nema 23 steppers.

I would plan to be cutting hard woods or plastics.


Hey Bob,

The difference Between Motors is how much Torque you have. When you are looking into CNC you can CNC harder materials faster with more Torque. Please note***(The speed also depends on the size of cutter you are using) for a complete list of Feeds and speeds look up a machining handbook. Machinists use them to determining how fast they can move through material. EG you do not move fast enough you might wear out your cutter faster then you would have to ect.

Does this mean I need to choose a lower feed rate if I am using a NEMA 17? Does Easel select the feed rate based on material and motor size? If not should it?

Yes, the tradeoff of the cost-savings of the NEMA17 motors is that one must needs work more slowly w/ a lighter touch.

Most of the Feeds and Speeds from the Shapeoko wiki are for 1 and 2 machines w/ NEMA17 motors:

It would be a nice feature if Easel would perform calculations based on the endmill and cutting geometry and power of the machine — CNC Cookbook’s GWizard does this based on the power of the spindle w/ a control which allows a faster or slower cut depending on the machine — nifty licensing model based on # of years one pays getting one a perpetual license for an increasingly powerful spindle rating (one or two years should accommodate most spindles suited for hobbyists).

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