1/4" shank, is it too limiting?

How many feel that being limited to 1/4" isn’t a big deal? I’ve always tried to use 1/2" bits with my router so I have a lot of them. This is mostly based on how much flex there is in the shank. When it comes to small narrow bits it’s not much of a problem. 1/4" though means being limited to what spoil board bit you can use for example. I have one of the CMT ones that’s 1/2" with the replaceable inserts.

I still have a few months to go before I get my woodworker. I’m at the point where I’m trying to decide what I want for a router/ spindle. If 1F does come out with an 80mm mount I would get it but I’m not sure if they will. Never using a CNC router before maybe it’s not that big of a deal so I figured I would ask.

Is there a speed hit to maintain accuracy or is it not really something to worry about? My plans are for hardwood but I could venture into milling aluminum. A part of me thinks I should just get a Harbor Freight Bauer throw away trim router and us that and decide later. But I like the idea of setting it up once the way I will want it (which is most likely a water cooled spindle).

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So far I see no need for a larger shaft. Flattening aside I am generally wanting to waste an area less than 0.25 anyways as it is more dust/chips to clean up and more material wasted on profiles. You can find 1" surfacing bits to increase the speed of that operation as well. I like the idea of a spindle but honestly the makita has been adequate so far as I learn as it decreases the complexity.

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Personally, I don’t feel it’s limiting. I would have a different opinion if I was focused on an industrial workflow.

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This is my first CNC, and like you had a nice collection of 1/2 inch bits for my router before buying the 1F. I have some fairly beefy ones that I only use in my router table as well.

I’ve found so far (my limited experience only) that the 1/8 compression bits do a better job of cutting profiles than the 1/4. I’ve ended up reserving the 1/4 bits for hogging out material.

The 1F holds that spindle very rigid - way more than you could by hand, or even in a router table setup. To me, it seems to really improve the output with the smaller bits as a result. Right now, I don’t find the 1/4 inch shank size a limitation.

I’m interested in the 80mm mount, but dragging 220v to the CNC would require running new electrical - so it isn’t something I’m going to be undertaking for a while.

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120v is kind of a problem. I have a 1hp dust collector that I’ll be using with it (much better than a shop vac). Where I’m planning on putting the 1F all the 120v outlets are on one 20 amp circuit. Between it and a router that’ll be about 15 amps. Adding in the 1F and I’ll be close to the limit. OTOH I have a 240v outlet right next to it for my planer which I don’t see using at the same time. Because the DC is a lot quieter than a shop vac running a spindle would mean that I could use the 1F in the middle of the night without waking anyone.

I very much prefer a real dust collector to a shop vac - so much so that I went to the trouble of modifying someone else’s design so I could get a 4" dust hose connected. I built my shop with woodworking in mind, so I have a couple of 20A 110V circuits that allow me to run the CNC and the dust collector on separate circuits.

I want to upgrade my dust collector now - so I can run something else with the 1F at the same time. That’s going to mean a new 220v circuit. I seem to be caught in a never-ending upgrade cycle…

I wanted something for my bandsaw. My big DC was far more than it needed so I picked up a cheap Harbor Freight 1HP dust collector. It’s light and easy to move and once I removed the plastic guards that would plug up it works great. It’s very quiet. Most of my tools are 240v so I have several 20 amp and 30 amp outlets as well as a 40 amp for the planer.

With the wait for the 1F I’m doing what most here probably are doing or did while waiting. I’m trying to decide what sort of table I want to build for it along with what the spindle. Today the wife was pushing to add the laser for it.

Alex - I’ve never had an issue. In fact, you can’t find some of the smaller bits in 1/2" shank. Given the size of the machine, I find myself using 1/8" and smaller bits frequently. If you plan on doing a lot of bulk removal with larger diameter bits, then 1/2" might make sense. But even with my 1.5" Amana and 1/4" shank I’ve not seen a problem. Though I only use it for mild surfacing with the CNC. I would want a 1/2" shank if I were doing a lot of heavy removal on a live edge slab or something.



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It’s definitely limiting. Many form bits don’t come with a 1/4 shank. Hopefully someone will start selling mount that fits full sized routers so I don’t have to make my own or buy a spindle.

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DustyDave, What spindle did you get? LInk? My machine ships mid may so looking to get everything lined up for when it gets here.

Thanks Tim

I deleted my post I did not want to have others make the same mistake! It was 80 mm. Bummer

That appears to be an 80mm spindle, what are your plans to mount it?

Your are ABSOLUTELY CORRECT! What a major screw up on my part! This getting old stuff stinks. Now to try and backtrack that error! Thank you for pointing it out now!

I gave up and ordered this

Total with shipping to NYS USA. $316.00. It is only er11 collet but was able to get 220volt. So if and when they offer 80 mm mount it will be an easy change only will need the spindle all other components of kit will work for me. David I hope this is not another error on this old guessers part​:flushed::crazy_face:

I looked at it but have never ordered from Aliexpress. I haven’t found a spindle that has a ER20 for 1/2" bits in anything less than 2.2kw, which means 80mm. That being said I think the 1.5kw spindle for $300 is worth it since you’ll pay $100+ for the Makita. If you find that 1/4" bits are all you need then you’ll never need to upgrade.

I have debated getting a 2.2kw VFD and mating that with a 1.5kw spindle if the 80mm mount isn’t available yet. Just for a little extra future proofing. I still have a couple months so I can wait.

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