First machine in planning...

Posted 12 years, 3 months ago    5 comments

The first machine for this website is on the drawing board. It'll be a desktop mill, based on the couple of prototypes already built. It's a solid, durable machine for it's size, and should be capable of excellent accuracy for making small, precise parts.


Basic specifications:

It will have a working envelope of around 400 mm x 250 mm x 250 mm (16" x 10" x 10"). Travels could be customized to suit the application or personal preferences of course, but this seems a useful, manageable size.

Axis motors could be either Servos or Steppers, but we will use the servos and drives from the ZealCNC shop. A Smooth Stepper USB interface will allow us to make use of the high speeds available with servos, without compromising resolution, and will also allow use of a PC without a parallel port to run the machine via Artsoft's Mach3 software.

Spindles will likely be interchangeable - a high speed brushless spindle complemented by a slower ER16 collet spindle with more torque.


High Frequency NSK E3000 spindle with pneumatic tool change


Sherline IPD spindle


Ball screws will be 16mm, for a machine like this a good pitch is 5 to 10mm. We'll be using 10 mm pitch - we'll be able to maintain some very brisk feed rates for a high speed machining strategy to match the high speed spindle, and our servos have the torque needed for deeper cuts with slightly larger cutters with the budget spindle.


Please feel free to ask questions or make requests or suggestions via the comments!


Bobby Smith(
12 years, 3 months ago
The design is looking good. Hope to see plans soon.
Steve K
12 years, 3 months ago
Excellent, cant wait to see what you guys can offer.
Importing components is getting so expensive, would be great to be able to source locally.
12 years ago
Stoopid question:

I have never seen, therefore never used, the Sherline IPD spindle; what is the headstock body made of? (alum., steel, or cast iron?) and how is its performance?

Can't wait for the plans
12 years ago
Good question! I haven't used it yet, so I couldn't say just how good it is. It seems smooth to turn, and I measured runout in the spindle cone at under .02 mm. The body is made from extruded aluminium, and I'm pretty sure they have a pair of ordinary radial bearings, not angular contact. There's a nut at the top to adjust preload, Sherline say that it's ok to loosen up the preload and run it up to 10,000 rpm - instructions for this are on their site.

I wouldn't consider this a heavy duty spindle, but for lighter work I expect it to be just fine. The quality appears nice and the price is hard to beat (the model I have is the 6503, current price as of April '09 is US$185.00)

Here's a link:


7 years, 11 months ago
Great information. I like all your post.I will keep visiting this blog very often.thanx for this great work.

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