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How does CNC spindle motor power compare to milling machines?

2023-10-12 16:39:43

CNC milling machines utilize high power spindle motors to drive metal cutting tools to machine parts. How does the power of these CNC spindles compare to the motors used in woodworking milling machines? There are some key differences in power delivery, torque, speed range, and accuracy.

Power transmission

CNC machine tools use one-piece spindle motors with stator coils surrounding the spindle. This provides direct power transfer for efficient, high-speed operation. Milling machines have external motors coupled to the spindle via belts or gears, which have higher losses.

Torque and speed range

CNC spindles produce very high torque, often in excess of 100 N.m, to drive large diameter tools for cutting tough metals. They also have a wide range of speeds, from hundreds to tens of thousands of rpm, using variable frequency drives. Milling machine motors typically run at lower speeds and torques, optimized for wood cutting.

Precision and control

CNCs accurately monitor and control spindle speed, position, load, and other parameters through closed-loop control. Routers lack this precision, although some modern versions add speed and depth adjustments.

Cooling and protection

The CNC spindle utilizes a cooling system to deal with the high heat generated by prolonged metal cutting. Overload protection, such as current limiting, also protects the CNC spindle motor. Milling machine motors have more basic cooling and lack overload protection.


Spindle motors in CNC machine tools provide efficient power transmission and a wide operating range for cutting hard metals. Motors in milling machines are designed for intermittent woodworking at lower power levels without the need for advanced control features. Precision metal machining places higher demands on the performance of CNC spindle motors.

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