ShopBot Tools

Accessories: Spindles & Routers

Which one to choose - Router or High-Frequency Spindle?

ShopBots can be fitted with a variety of tools/heads for cutting and machining. The most common tools are a standard woodworking router or a high-frequency industrial spindle. These tools are similar in principle; basically a motor for turning a cutting bit at high speeds. A router (we recommend and sell a Porter Cable 3.25 hp router) provides the affordable solution for a CNC tool.

We also sell several high-frequency spindles that are the industrial grade solution for a CNC tool. Power (usually 3-phase) for a spindle is routed through an inverter that converts it to a higher frequency for powering the spindle/motor.

Spindles have the advantage of being more powerful (note that hp ratings between routers and spindles are not comparable) and will maintain their full torque down to much lower RPMs than a router.

Spindles have precision bearings, which mean less run-out and thus smoother and more accurate cutting. These bearings also stand up to continuous use better than those of a router.

Bearings in a heavily used router might need to be replaced every three-four months, while a similarly used spindle should be good for a year or two between bearing replacements. A high-frequency spindle is also much quieter in operation than a router.

For many shops, the cost and power requirements of a high-frequency spindle will be prohibitive. A ShopBot will certainly cut fine with a standard router. It is also possible to get started in CNC with a router, and then fit your ShopBot with a spindle at a later date.

If you don't need a heavy cut, and noise is not an issue, then a router is a safe choice. For heavy production situations, we recommend a spindle. In addition, the full performance capabilities of a PRSalpha are only realized with a spindle because a router will bog down in heavy cutting at higher cutting speeds.

Spindles are a special order item when purchased separate from a tool or as an upgrade. Spindles typically ship within 14 days. Contact us for specific availability.

HSD Spindle Kits

HSD 2.2HP and 4HP spindle packages include:
  • (1) model MT1073 spindle
  • Spindle mounting plate and mounting hardware
  • (1) Yaskawa variable frequency drive and ShopBot rpm controller, installed
  • (1) 27mm shaft wrench
  • (1) ER25 spanner wrench
  • (2) 1/4" and two 1/2" ER25 collets and two ER25 collet nuts.

Installation requires services of a licensed electrician. Replacement collets, collet nuts and wrenches may be purchased through ShopBot.

HSD 2.2HP High Frequency Spindle
(#12577) 230v 3-phase $2,910.00
(#12573) 220v Single-phase $2,910.00

HSD 4HP High Frequency Spindle
(#12572) 230v 3-phase $3,600.00
(#12571) 220v Single-phase $4,160.00

Colombo Spindle Kits

Colombo 5 HP spindle packages include: One model RS 90.2 spindle; spindle mounting plate and mounting hardware; Yaskawa variable frequency drive and ShopBot controller, installed.

Both packages include one shaft wrench and one collet nut wrench; any four ER25 collets through 5/8" max tool shank size and two ER25 collet nuts. Installation of either package requires services of a licensed electrician.

Colombo 5 HP High Frequency Spindle
(#126xx) 230v 3-phase $4,870.00
(#126xx) 220v Single-phase $5,470.00


ShopBot Tools recommends and sells DeWalt 2.25hp routers, Model 618, for our CNC systems in which a spindle is not installed.  Mounting brackets and electrical connections are designed for this model router only. Other models may not fit or function correctly and may thus be unsafe.

(#000100) DeWalt Model 618
2.25 HP, 60Hz, 110V, variable speed

Spindle Control Boards

The Spindle Control Board allows the user to change the RPM of the spindle using ShopBot’s control software. The Spindle Control Board is wired into the variable frequency drive (VFD) and connects to the computer through USB. The device is controlled with SB3 (ShopBot Control software) through a virtual tool; Tools, Spindle RPM Control [TR].

The Spindle Control Board can control up to two spindles on two of the same model VFD; the VFDs should not be mounted farther than 3 feet (305mm) from each other. A jumper cable (SB#10256) is needed to connect the two VFDs. The Spindle Control Board is compatible only with ShopBot alpha and V4G boards using SB control software v3.5.6 or greater.

Download Installation and Programming Instructions:
Installing and Programming the Spindle Control Board for the Yaskawa VFD

Yaskawa Spindle Control Boards
(#10250) Spindle RPM Controller for Yaskawa VFD (for HSD spindles) (included with all new spindles) $250.00
(#10255) Jumper Cable for Yaskawa (required for dual spindles) $10.95

ShopBot Tools, Inc.

Toll Free: 1-888-680-4466

Phone: 919-680-4800
Fax: 919-680-4900

ShopBot Tools, Inc.
3333-B Industrial Drive
Durham, NC 27704

Office Hours
Monday–Friday: 9am–5pm EST

After Hours Tech Support
Monday–Friday: 5pm–9pm EST
Saturday–Sunday: 10am–5pm EST

Office Closure
ShopBot Tools, Inc. is closed New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and the following Friday, and Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Outside of normal office hours, we regularly check for support requests, email and phone messages. To make sure we can get back to you as soon as possible, leave a phone number or return email address where you will be available.