Router out of commission, need some advice on spindle

Hi all! I uncovered my machine yesterday after it sat for about a month. I do live in hawaii so humidity does cause some issues over time. I’ve had about a year of perfect operation with my ebay 400w brushless gimbal running on a 48v power supply. When I plugged the machine in yesterday, I noticed the spindle was locked up as if the motor was running but at 0 rpm. I could turn it but it took some force. I then noticed that my spindle driver was very hot, and then my power supply popped and smoked.

The power supply decided to decommission itself and started pumping out 90v rather than 48v. So I have a dead power supply and a dead spindle controller.

I am on a pretty tight budget and feel that I have several options.

  1. Buy a new power supply and spindle controller and hope that the spindle itself is still good and still has some life.

  2. Buy a trim router and matched xcarve mount with precision collet set.

  3. Buy a .8kw VFD setup. Ideally 110v with air cooled spindle… but cant seem to find this combination.

I dont push my machine too hard, but would always like to have more power than what I do currently. I do also live in close proximity to others, so sound is a concern. I have also loved the ability to control the spindle using pwm output from my arduino, but could manage manually starting the spindle. Starting the spindle has never been the issue, but its always nice to have it shut off on its own when a job completes.

Is there any way to get into a VFD for around the $300 mark?

I would definitely appreciate some advice on a path to get back to cutting.

Thanks in advance,


You could get a vfd inverter and spindle for close to 300, though I cannot find a 110v air cooled spindle.

Here is a link for the 110v vfd and spindle combo direct from Huanyang, so you know that you are not getting a knock off, it is $270 shipping included.

To get only the motor it is $141 shipping included, and I have a 110v 1.5Kw inverter I would sell you for $100 plus shipping.

For those that have done both, would one recommend the vfd over dewalt or vice versa? I like the idea of the simplicity of the dewalt in regards to less complex electronics that would likely hold up better to the hawaii humidity. I like idea of the more purpose built vfd… but shipping on many of the items to hawaii is quite expensive from China, if they ship here at all.

@ChrisMyers, would the vfd fit in a flat rate box?

Hi @JeremyHanks, I have the dewalt router, 48 volt spindle and a 110 volt VFD with a water cooled spindle. I am really happy with the spindle setup for many reasons and would recommend that direction if you can. I am not sure if an air cooled would be the same or not but I assume so. I frequently run very long jobs and feel confident on letting the spindle just run. Also with the x-carve mount I can slide the spindle up or down about 4 inches which has opened up many possibilities for me such as thicker material and lately I lifted up the rails 2 inches and added a 4th axis. The water pump, hoses and fan are an additional overhead but now I have it working I am very happy.

Found another link for you:

To further expand on what @KeithGrunow said about watercooling vs air, really the big capability difference is that water cooled spindles can run at a much lower rpm for a sustained time. Most of the air cooled spindles I came across when researching them had a lower limit of 8000 rpm, it needs the higher rpm to keep the motor cooled. The impression I get for the water cooled spindles is that there really is no lower limit because you are not relying on the rpm to keep it cool.

You will need a pump and some tubing, but you do not necessarily need to get elaborate with the cooling and put in a radiator or build out a full cooling loop like you would with a water cooled pc. I have seen pictures of setups where people just put a basic submersible pump in a 5 gallon bucket with a lid on it, filled with distilled water, the biggest concern there would be keeping dust and debris out of your cooling system.

I am not positive on the flat rate box, but if you private message me your zip code I can get you a quite on shipping.

The other thing you will need is a cable to go from the vfd inverter to the spindle, I found one on ebay really cheap, though that item is now gone. I will do some more digging around and see if I can find a decent cable for you.

Oh Man I hadn’t considered the impact the air cooling would have on the lower end of the Rpm range. Maybe dealing with water cooling would be worth it to retain the ability to drop to much slower speeds. Who knows if I’ll never actually “need” to spin slow…

My zip is 96712. Let me know what shipping will cost. Finding that lots of people won’t ship the vfd to hawaii, or if they do, they want obscene amounts for shipping. It’s quite unfortunate.

Can anyone tell me how susceptible the vfd box may be to humidity? Is there an active fan? Could it be placed in a sealed box? I have had some success with coating parts with clear plastidip. Any opinions on whether coating the circuitry with plastidip would be a bad idea?

From what I know of VFDs they transform power. In this case from 110 volt to 220 volt three phase which creates heat. I would not seal them up. I believe mine has a fan in it.

@JeremyHanks ok, I will try to get that cost for you this weekend.

@ChrisMyers, dont worry about it. I think I have decided to go with the makita trim router this time. Between the simplicity of the electronics and the reduced overall cost when compared to a proper VFD setup, I figured the Makita would be a good place to start. I will likely go back to the VFD idea in the future, but not for a bit.