Water or Air Cooled Spindle

Water or Air Cooled Spindle

Postby Tundraman » Thu Jun 25, 2015 3:31 am

I'm looking at building a bigger CNC Router 2'x4' to 4'x4' trying to get a budget worked out. Cutting mostly Wood, ss material and some aluminum. Thinking of 1.5 or 2.2 KW spindle- trying to determine which is better air or water. I know that can be very subjective but I'm looking for opinions from people that have them, used them etc. Open to advise on different brands and sellers- whose good and whose good to stay away from.

Something else - with weight of the 1.5's about 9 lbs and the 2.2's around 18 +, do you need an air assist for the Z?

Thanks for the help,
Scott
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Re: Water or Air Cooled Spindle

Postby Greolt » Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:31 am

I see you have not had many replies. So I will put in my two peneth worth.

My experience is only with the round bodied Chinese spindles. And only 1.5kw.

Having owned and used extensively both water cooled and air cooled, I would never bother again with water cooled.

Air cooled has never got more than only just detectably warm, even on 8 hour jobs.

No coolant lines, pumps, bucket or chillers to worry about.
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Re: Water or Air Cooled Spindle

Postby Mobius » Fri Jun 26, 2015 12:18 pm

Greolt, I think the primary benefit to a water cooled spindle is low spindle weight and less noise, rather than heat dissipation.
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Re: Water or Air Cooled Spindle

Postby Tundraman » Sat Jun 27, 2015 2:08 am

Thanks Greolt and Möbius,
I would agree the water seems to be a PIA with all that stuff to deal with. I have no experience just it seems that way.

Don't know how much water a spindle holds but that will add some weight, right?

Have many people had failures with the water cooled? Is it overblown or is it a fact?

I tried asking these questions on cnczone and could get very little response as well.
Either most people are using routers or don't seem to care. (Not a criticism just an observation) :lol:

Thanks,
Scott
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Re: Water or Air Cooled Spindle

Postby ger21 » Sat Jun 27, 2015 2:31 am

I would expect the weight of a water cooled and air cooled spindle (round) to be nearly identical.

Not quite sure what you're referring to about failures? Is what overblown?


I tried asking these questions on cnczone and could get very little response as well.
Either most people are using routers or don't seem to care. (Not a criticism just an observation) :lol:


At CNC Zone, I would say that more people now use spindles rather than routers. And of those, I'd guess that 98% are using water cooled. I've only seen maybe two machines at CNC Zone with round, air cooled spindles. And I read almost every router thread there.
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Re: Water or Air Cooled Spindle

Postby armbrusterco » Sat Jun 27, 2015 3:56 am

For a 1.5kw or 2.2kw spindle I prefer the water cooled. I have a 1.5kw water cooled UGRACNC spindle on my current Techno Isel 4x4 cnc. I ran a 2.2kw HSD air cooled spindle on my previous PAE 4x4 cnc. Both have been used in my studio for production of HDU molds for concrete artwork.

My primary reason is that the air cooled spindle makes more noise. Even with my ever-present hearing protection, the noise difference is noticable. The closed-loop water pump and cooling system from UGRACNC works perfectly.

You should not need air assist. Instead, I use a "gas spring with ball-joint fittings" form McMaster-Carr on my Z axis to offset the weight of the spindle. The air cooled spindle weighs less than the 3.25 Hp Porter Cable router that it replaced. I chose a gas spring with "available force" similar to the weight of the Z axis and spindle added together, and a stroke a few inches greater than my Z axis movement. Not very expensive. No maintenance required.

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Re: Water or Air Cooled Spindle

Postby Tundraman » Sat Jun 27, 2015 4:09 am

Ger,
Thanks again for the reply on here and the zone,

I was referring to hearing about problems with water cooled spindles in general but the Chinese round style especially not being reliable or failing due to some type restriction in the water flow from either a blockage or pump failure that were discovered after it was too late. Have been told there not really any way to know if there is water flow problem.

I don't know maybe bad information but you can see, I'm getting very few comments good or bad. Without getting feedback from people that use spindles it's hard to know what to believe. That's why I thought I would ask.

Based on your observations there must be few problems with them, if that many people are using the WC Chinese spindles. They are certainly priced competitively.

Bob,
Thanks, that is good information and very helpful regarding the noise levels. UGRACNC seems to have a nice selection and it's nice to have someone to test that the spindle works and provide warranty coverage. I like the sound of that gas spring as a must more straightforward option.

Have you ever noticed it causing any restrictions with rapid Z movements?

Scott
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Re: Water or Air Cooled Spindle

Postby armbrusterco » Sat Jun 27, 2015 4:17 am

The gas spring does not restrict rapid Z movement, it actually helps. The reason is that the Z axis motor has much less load to lift. The compressed gas spring is offsetting the weight of the moving components and spindle, so the motor lifts much less weight on when beginning to lift the Z up. I could feel the difference with my hands before I connected the motor on the Z axis.

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Re: Water or Air Cooled Spindle

Postby Tundraman » Sat Jun 27, 2015 4:23 am

Bob,
I sent an email as a reply to the PM, since I am not allowed to send PM at this time.
Thanks,
Scott
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Re: Water or Air Cooled Spindle

Postby armbrusterco » Sat Jun 27, 2015 5:17 am

Scott, I received your email and sent a reply. Thanks,
Bob
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Re: Water or Air Cooled Spindle

Postby IslaWW » Sat Jun 27, 2015 1:32 pm

Scott...
I have owned about 10 of the Chinese spindles in the 1-2kw range. Both air and water cooled. Round and square bodies. All air cooled models were shaft driven fans, so they do make more noise than electric fans from the popular Italian spindles. I also have a friend that supplied WC spindles as an option on OEM machines.

It appears that there was far more problems with those early (read as cheap) cooling systems than with the spindles themselves. Manu users were taking cheapo aquarium pumps and placing them in a 5 gallon bucket. Eventually the pump plugged or burned out, which burned down the spindle.

There is no reason that you cannot get long service if you put in a closed cooling system. Add a flow alarm, maybe a radiator if in warm climate. There are lots of fair priced options in computer liquid cooling now days.

Gas springs are better than extension springs for Z counterbalance, but it is difficult to get the perfect one. My preference is an air cylinder as it can be adjusted with a regulator and if you take the time to adjust it well, your Z will be "neutral buoyancy". Meaning that there is the same force required to raise the Z as lower it. You now can adjust Z feeds and accelerations for inertia, rather than the worst case of weight assisting in one direction (neg) and fighting in the other (pos).
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Re: Water or Air Cooled Spindle

Postby Tundraman » Sun Jun 28, 2015 10:46 pm

Thanks Gary,
More good info. Where do you get the air cylinders? Sounds like a good option.
Scott
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Re: Water or Air Cooled Spindle

Postby Greolt » Mon Jun 29, 2015 1:03 am

Mobius wrote:Greolt, I think the primary benefit to a water cooled spindle is low spindle weight and less noise, rather than heat dissipation.


Again from my experience, and this is Chinese round bodied, not European.

The air cooled are the same weight as the water cooled ones. This is by feel. I did not put them on an accurate scale. The body construction is virtually the same.

If the water cooled ones are quieter I could not tell by ear. Perhaps if I had a sound meter. Both extremely quiet compared to a router. A bit if a moot point once the bit meets the material.
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Re: Water or Air Cooled Spindle

Postby stargeezer » Thu Aug 06, 2015 3:56 am

I know this has been silent for a while, but just as a reference in case somebody is looking. I run water cooled too with a 3x3 1.5kw machine I built. I'm using a clear reservoir that's about a quart in size and a cooling pump from a computer liquid cooling system and I'm also using the radiator from the liquid cooling system. I placed a couple air filled balls that are like ping pong balls only smaller in the reservoir. Anytime the pump is working you can see the balls moving around inside of the reservoir. I used RV antifreeze as a coolant since it's said to be pump safe - automobile antifreeze is not BTW.

I spindle stays remarkably cool. Below ambient by a electronic thermometer I have in-line. (yes, I'm a geek)

As a life long (50+ years) whose ears have paid the bill for his hobby, liquid cooled spindles ARE quieter, and that's a good thing.

Blessings to all.
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Re: Water or Air Cooled Spindle

Postby Ms Wolffie » Thu Aug 06, 2015 4:18 am

armbrusterco wrote:You should not need air assist. Instead, I use a "gas spring with ball-joint fittings" form McMaster-Carr on my Z axis to offset the weight of the spindle. I chose a gas spring with "available force" similar to the weight of the Z axis and spindle added together, and a stroke a few inches greater than my Z axis movement. Not very expensive. No maintenance required.

Bob

Can I please have more information?
I am completely ignorant as to what they are and what size you have.
I have only read about 100-300 pound pressure.
That sounds a bit excessive to me
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