Spindle vs router

Should I upgrade to a spindle?
I originally got the router thinking that if it failed, it was something I could pick up locally and get right back to work. What I did not know is that I would be replacing routers like they are free.
I am on my fourth one.
If I upgrade to the spindle will it last?
Or will I be spending $400 several times a year.

Maybe you have the wrong router? Let me guess it is a Dewalt?

There are people using the Makita Router for commercial purposes hours on end and have not even changed the brushes. For $100 you can get one and you can get a mounting sleeve to make it fit the XCarve. There are sleeves that can be 3D printed from thinginverse. Here is one example https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2009662, here is another simpler https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2800903

Are you checking/changing the brushes in your router? In what way are these routers all dying? We’re on the same one we bought when we got our XCarve 3 years ago, and have had no problems with it. We have the Dewalt.

Yea your doing something wrong , running to fast of a feed rate and plunge depth will cook the router. “None” of these small routers were designed for long run times. I get brushes from amazon I’ve had my machine for around 6 years I’ve replaced my router once only because the chuck broke, not the motor. My first dewalt easily had over 600 hours , this second one is fairly new but I commonly run 5-6 hour carves daily. Over the years I’ve learned that if you keep the feed rates conservative when u create your g-code you can use the feed rate adjust to speed things up if you notice the machine can handle it. The plunge is also important make shure it’s at least half the bit size if not about 5-10% less.

If you want a “serious” answer to that I would ask you to add more specifics about your main usage of your current carves. Like RPM, material to be carved and bit information.

There are some scenarios where spindles make a lot of sense, while simple routers suit other.

Well look at this with a Makita that is used many hours a day in commercial environment. https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/W6jUjv1tzF_GyTuzBOM1WsYy0Lrw53SWFu7my26Qn7AvWAvnPbMuxdQlcIyNt8_-yEo_RTnkMwgfM_4EQ5L-XVv5KQQXUOE712xby4fKMbgyVcywAWfJ71mlzqKnwvpWXfGKxCVBa9E=w600-h315-k-no-m18

no - got rid of the DeWalt a long time ago

I am unsure how to completely answer this.
Several different projects with different bits and different settings.
I main use it for cutting decorative lamp panels in 1/8 birch with a 1/8 downcut - dont know spindle speed because the router doesnt tell me that. Inches per minute depends on which panel I am carving and how much detail there is.

So my WHOLE router story

Started with the Dewalt 611. The one that came with the machine lasts about 2 1/2 months. I figured maybe I had done something as I was just learning the machine and likely did something I should not have. I call Dewalt service - they asked me a bunch of questions - one of the things I did with it was use a 1/2" End mill to clear a 0.1 depth (in 2 passes) for signs I was working on — they said that you cannot use a 1/2" bit in the 611.
Okay so I wont - even though using the 1/4 bit for clearance takes more than twice as long in run time). I also changed several projects to not do the cuts on the CNC and started using a regular 2 1/2 horse router by hand to to some of the work (which is SO MUCH faster than the CNC anyway).
I was going to send it for repair but - they said it could take as long as three weeks.
The nearest services places to me also said a week to 10 days. I did not have that kind of time, so I went and bought another 611.

That one lasted ONE DAY.
I finish carved two 3d reliefs projects (total run time maybe 6 hours with a 1/8 ball nose) - second day I went out to finish carve a third - turned it on, made a bunch of terrible grinding noises, smoke came out the top - and it was done.
To be honest I was annoyed but I HAD to get this project done (it was a fundraiser for a rescue group and their event was in 3 days) so I went to find another - could not find a 611 anywhere here local - so I got a Makita and adapted the machine to run with it.

The Makita has lasted about 10 months.
It quit yesterday.
I too thought it was the brushes, but they looked almost new —took it apart and checked it out and the magnets for the stator on the motor spindle are all blown apart and laying loose inside the housing.

So now I am on my 4th router in about 14 months.
I am continually trying to reduce my run times because I too thought that these routers were not built to run for long periods - but a couple of the projects I do just take time. one of the lamp panels I make (1/8 ply) has a lot of detail - uses a 1/32 bit to get that detail and I cannot run the tiny bit much faster than 10 inches a minute or it snaps off…so it just takes time to cut that slowly.

I really am not doing heavy work with these routers. The biggest bit I ever use is a 1/4" end mill - but most of my work is with 1/8 End Mills and Ball Nose…speed setting is usually about 4 on the router - I even went through most of the projects and increased the passes so I was cutting less material with each pass - set my step over to be JUST to where it doesn’t leave lines that need sanding - trying to reduce strain on the router.

Being an electrician by trade I even put a voltage cleaner on the circuit (thinking maybe it was a voltage problem that was burning them up) and a hospital grade surge suppression, voltage regulating outlet the use for sensitive biomedical equipment to make sure it wasn’t something there. (even though I know it would be the controller that got destroyed by bad voltage long before the router - I did it anyway)

Well I’m surprised that your Makita quit on you, was it new or reconditioned? Did you call service, I think the warranty is 12months. The only brushless Makita trim router is the battery model and you need a power adapter. It is a bit less powerful than the corded model but several people have used them successfully even to mill aluminum.

You operated at 22K on the setting for the Makita. Here is the RPM profile for the Makita by setting:
1- 10K
2- 12K
3- 17K
4- 22K
5- 27K
6- 30K

At 10in/min, you should operate at much slower speed with 1/8in bits. Operating at slower RPM may also be easier on your routers. Are you using a F&S calculator? At that feed rate (10ipm,) unless you engage the whole bit (depth and width), you should go at a significantly lower RPM. There is a good free F&S calculator worksheet that has been developed by the community on the Shapeoko forum. You can find it in this thread It may not be perfect for the X-Carve and you may need to dial down the target chipload but it will give you something to work with.

FYI, I have cut yellow birch planks with 1/8in bit and here are the F&S I used on my Shapeoko. I recently 3D pocketed with a 1/8in 2 flute ballnose at 30K with a WOC of .025, DOC of .125 feed rate 188IPM, Plunge 75IPM.

A spindle is heavier than a router and the weight may be an issue for your gantry and Z if they have not been modified. The spindles are not without any issues, they need a fair bit of work to make them fit and operational and the spindle and/or VFD may have issues, some reported that theirs were DOA or shortly after and they cost more. On the other hand they have a lot of power, more speed range and are quieter at high speed than a router but judging from the work you do, a router should have ample power for the jobs at hand.

Let’s get a zoomed out view of that please … I want to see the entire setup.

This is not mine but you can see the setup and things made with it as part of a thread here.

I have had the same Dewalt router for almost 5 years. About every 100 hours of CNC work I have to replace the brushes. They are about $12.80 on Amazon. I buy 2 sets at a time. It takes about 2 minutes to replace the brushes once you’ve done it once.