Production level aluminum milling with .8KW water cooled VFD

An interesting examination of upgrading a machine was the development of the Routakit (née Shapeoko HD) on the Shapeoko forums:


(who wearies of the on-going fragmentation of the hobbycnc community)

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thanks for the answers.
Sound too complicated for me to understand the in and out of the technical advantages. LOL

Trying to do my homework here (total cost of the machine), and i could not find a .8 kW water spindle. The only one i could find were 1.5 kW, and pointer ?? Due to my limited knowledge, i’m more looking at the mechanical side of thing than the more “electronic” aspect. Also do you think it will be possible to use the stock power supply with more beefy motor ? Thanks the help !!

For those seriously considering going the DIY route, I would very much recommend looking at . The website is a bit out of date with a lot of what has been done on the forum in regards to CNC design. And the forum is where you can justify the cost of the plans (at this point I would not recommend any of the kits, because they are probably not the direction you will end up going). Because of the paywall to get access to the forum, people tend to be very cordial and supportive, and very knowledgable. Very much like around here, just for more robust DIY design.

The .8kw spindles and vfds are all over ebay and they range from $250 to $330 (depending on the seller). I managed to find a US based seller on ebay that had the 1.5kw vfd/.8kw spindle combo for ~$270.

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Got it. Is there anything wrong with the 1.5 kW ? The price variation is not that bad (around $100)

It is too heavy for the X carve to use without causing a great deal of twisting on the gantry. You need to make sure you order a 65mm .8kw and NOT the 80mm units. The 80MM units are too large to easily mount and they tend to be far too heavy for the X carve to use correctly without incurring a good deal of twist on the gantry

Thanks !

I use the Planet CNC MK3 and it is by far the best control for the money.

I have tried

  1. Smoothieboard
  2. Tinyg
  3. Rambo

There is no comparison, the Mk3 is better in every way.

The 3D digitizing works and I very easy to setup.
Spindle control works with PWM and 0-10V with the option for laser control also.

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I chickened out and got the Leadshine MX3660 because of the cost and the reduction in wires, and I don’t have to wait for it to ship from EU. DSP is a whole other world compared to the standard gshield. You can get some really quick rapids and the noise is almost non existent, and it moves so smooth :joy:. I’m probably gonna write a probing routine in LinuxCNC to automatically probe X Y and Z on aluminum stock. Theres also a hole-center finder probing routine somewhere, I’ll probably post it when I find it and test it out.

I think if more folks would make the jump to a DSP stepper driver and bundle it with a MK3 controller, than a TON of their issues would go away. Going to the MK3 is hands down the BEST thing I ever did for my mills. It allows you to step up your milling to a level that is only possible with such a robust and feature backed controller will allow. I might try to do a write up on the process and differences this week as it looks like the mills will be running big jobs along with the 3D printer so i will just be babysitting them and changing out end mills as needed every 4 to 6 hours. I will also shortly get some shots up of the forced air chip clearance system. I have not forgotten that yet. Just been busy switching my 3D printer over to a 24V system to speed up production there also. 24V heated baed is WAY faster to heat up than the old 12V one for sure!

I told you that you would love the DSP driver! It is like butter compared to the Gshield and even the TinyG (which is a big step up from the Gshield alone) I hope it works out well for you and that you can enjoy even better milling now. With DSP drivers and the VFD spindle, you have a nice little powerhouse X Carve there now.

Oh yes, I’m even altering my designs right now to make fixturing a bit easier and I have a 1/8" drill bit ready to make about 80 holes on a 12x12 sheet. Then switch to a ZrN coated endmill to cut about 40 profiles. I just need to get this circular saw issue sorted so I can cut my spoilboard to size, ugh.

Is it a 2 or 3 flute end mill?

3 flue variable helix, I’m stoked. I’ll probably pick up those stealth bits you use next time I order just to see if theres a difference. I’ve been using a stub 3 flute AlTiN coated bits for a while now. I heard they’re both good and bad for aluminum milling. Most people seem to think its good, but I read something a while ago that said it was bad, something about not providing enough lubricity. Oh well, I’m competent enough now to never snap or chip a bit anymore so I guess I can play around with coatings and see what works best for me.

That would be cool if you could! I am using Gecko Drive and Mach 3 and can program in Visual Basic. It would be nice to know what tricks you employ so I could try to duplicate them. You’ve referenced some of them in other posts… but I don’t quite understand. I will be milling lots of aluminum bag tags soon, and while I am confident and I am still hesitant and could use all the tips you can supply.

Plus - if I ever have time for a private project, I want to mill a fold-out cup holder for my 30 oz Yeti for the boat. I have a rough design, but it is going to take a while to mill.

So I ended up buying 2 Viper Destiny 1/8" 3flute stealth coated bits. Wow it cuts incredibly cleanly. I’m getting an odd issue, where I get a streak of rough through the middle of my cut.

60IPM @ .01" depth of cut
24k RPM
.0008" Chipload


No issue below the two holes, very clean. Not so clean around any of the corners.

The most important part of the whole trigger, the ramp, needs to be 100% as smooth as possible. The rough streak goes right through it.

Probably 70% of the cut has this rough streak through the middle.

So the marks are rough, but they aren’t like sandpaper rough or even chattery. Its more of a texture. With it sitting on the table a foot away I can’t even see them. I suspect there might have been something that happened at those Z-levels but I’m not sure. There were no chips in there, I have an air blast to take care of that. During the cut it was VERY quiet and cutting extremely cleanly.

This is a dumb guess, but I’m thinking it has to do with the upper portion of the flutes maybe rubbing against the part as the bit goes deeper???

1/4" stock right? I see that from time to time but rarely… I cut at about 18946RPM with .30mm DOC at around 300MM/M speed and get super smooth sides on all my cuts. with air blasting like you to keep the cuts clean also. I have seen that ONCE in a while… Are you on the Leadshine driver yet? Everything is nice and tight on the spindle and such yes? I have found th eneed to check mine to keep things nice and tight as the aluminum milling seems to work things lose far faster than normal even with loc tight.

Also though keep in mind I am milling in 5083 tool plate 99.5% o the time so my cut info is gear more towards 5083 than 6061. Though the 6061 I did last night cut butter smoothly.

I know we can get this streak worked out for you. At least now you see the amazing cuts that the Viper end mills do with such ease and the super finish they produce. Let me know how the check for loose stuff goes and see how my cut info compares to yours and maybe someplace in the middle we can fix this issue for you and get you enjoying the bliss that is the Viper End mill with dry aluminum milling.

Is there any way your air blast could be causing it? Maybe the pressure is high enough that it’s either “encouraging” deflection, or it’s angled such that it’s blowing chips into the bit instead of out of the path?

Wow you are going MUCH slower than I am in terms of feed rate, but my RPM is higher as well. At those speeds you are only at .0002" chipload, viper recommends .001-.002 (I should use code blocks more often :smile: ).

I’ll check if the machine is getting loose tomorrow (I’m dead tired atm), but I checked all the V-Wheels last weekend and tightened the belts up again. I did do a run of ~50 triggers though and dulled a brand new bit too. Also last week I tried some new settings that were causing a lot of resonance in my gantry.

I only have the air blast coming from 1 direction, so I suppose its possible that some chips are getting injected back into the cutter. My airblast points at a sharp angle downward, not sure if that would be enough to push the chips its ejecting back into it.

Also the Viper bit I bought was model #V30805S bought from here for anyone else interested:

Random question: Is it considered bad practice to have any of the coating inside the collet? Would that cause significant runout? I feel like I would lose close to 1/8" of stickout if that’s the case.