Looking for recommendations for a er20/2.2kw/220v/80mm starter spindle

Hello community!
Just ordered my Elite Foreman and need a spindle and I am excited.
I broke the bank buying the machine/shop electricity so I want to start with a less expensive spindle. I simply cant afford the PWNCNC spindle at 875 right now. I am curious if anyone has had experience with a less expensive spindle? I will upgrade as needed after I get a few jobs to generate income, I felt like getting the Elite was where I should spend my money up front then replace other accessories as I need to.

Maybe something like this one?

Ill need to buy from Amazon considering I can put it on my credit card, Id like to keep the cost below $400 if possible.

Any input is much appreciated!
Thanks in advance,

I wish I could help more. I’m about to do a video on spindles, featuring the this spindle from PwnCNC as my overall recommendation if you aren’t going down the ATC route. Maybe someone who is going down the ATC route would make you a deal on their used spindle?

Ill be looking forward to your video!

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Hey Aaron,

if you want to run a spindle, you forcibly need a VFD because it’s the VFD that produces the frequency-variable, three-phase current. Also, a VFD is a device to be enclosed into a control cabinet. This is because a VFD is a source of heavy EMI and a control cabinet is made of steel so it is a faraday cage, but you usually also have more components, e.g. 24 V DIN rail power supply for relays, and an emergency stop circuit with estop and reset keys. See here for setting up and wiring a VFD, spindle and control cabinet. You also need a spindle cable that is difficult to manufacture at home and should better be bought ready to use. Anyway to set up and wire a VFD, spindle and control cabinet, you need an electrician or an electrical engineer, or at least the knowledge they have. But you can also buy ready-to-use VFD/spindle/control cabinets. Reputable spindle manufacturers always offer this, e.g. here.

If you want to spend $400 for a spindle and a VFD and a spindle cable and a cooling pump and a fully equipped control cabinet, it will be chinese crap. My VFD (Omron MX2 aka Hitachi WJ200) was $400 alone.

Your VFD should at least have sensorless vector control (SVC) and not only stupid V/f control.

Be aware that on chinese spindles, the power rating is often wrong. See here for an example.


Agreed. Even if going with a Chinese spindle, I’d recommend a non-Chinese VFD. Low cost power electronics tend to be fire hazards. I’m sure there are exceptions, but I’d recommend researching and knowing what you’re buying before you have to get the local fire department involved in your cost savings. If you can’t pronounce the manufacturer name, I’d suggest at least digging into reviews on a few sites before purchasing. Electronics/computer & marine engineer giving the recommendation, for what it’s worth…but deal with a lot of VFDs…

Hey Dan,

I think in technical matters, one should have no prejudices against chinese products. There are High quality chinese Spindles and cheap chineses spindles.. You could however refuse to buy chinese products because it destroys your western industries and chinese workers have no humans rights, may be emprisoned for political opinions, are not allowed to found unions and you can never be sure if they aren’t political prisoners or inmates of forced labor camps for racist reasons. But you would hardly be able to own an electronics device then. I am lucky to buy Made in Germany Kontron PC motherboards for all my PCs. But generally most components are made in China today.

German and Italian spindles have the best reputation. There are a lot of German spindle manufacturers, and most of them offer pre-programmed VFDs, spindle cables, and control cabinets assembled ready to use. I imagine the CNCDepot Made in USA is good also. If you want a VFD made in the UK, buy the Invertek Optidrive E-3. At least one forum member runs one. It supports sensorless vector control.

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It’s more that I’ve seen ships switch to cheap Chinese replacements, which soon after caught on fire. There are good Chinese manufacturers, though their prices are generally in line with those of their western competitors. Get what you pay for.

Human rights are definitely a concern, though that’s more of a moral concern, which I won’t delve into on a forum. Needless to say, all of my woodworking hand tools come from a small, yet over-priced, company in Maine, while most of my power tools are European.

Admittedly, I have a Chinese-made Omron VFD, which I purchased with my German spindle. I was assured by Mechatron that they would sell me a non-Chinese VFD, and they even listed the country of origin as Japan on the customs documentation…imagine my surprise when I saw “Made in China” on the label! Apparently, lying to make a sale is acceptable, worldwide…

Hey Dan,

yes I know, I own this VFD also.

Omron is a Japanese Corporation but let produce in China. Many do. Though I’m sure that it is still a high quality product. All my thinkpads are from China, even those with the “IBM” Label. Lenovo aquired the laptop branch but produced the thinkpads for IBM earlier. The last thinkpad which IBM designed itself was the X41 tablet subnotebook.

Many of my hand tools (the planes) come from a manufacturer in Canada. Its name is “truth” in Latin. My chisels are from Austria and Germany.

Nice. Check mine. A VFD made in Japan was sent to my country, yet I received one made in China…

Hey Dan,

According to EU and german laws, you would have the right to 1. demand rectification (send a Japanese VFD), 2. if this is not possible, to declare a price reduction, or 3. to demand rescission. But I think that your country/states laws would apply.

I know that when they went out of Omrons, they shipped the Hitachi S1.

I didn’t buy my Omron MX2 at Mechatron, because they take a lot of money for pre-programming it and I can do that myself. So nobody said something about where it was made. I bought it at sorotec.de with matching EMI filter and braking resistor. The price however was much lower in 2021 than today, it was 357.00 € (now 466.00 €).

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Yeah. I can do the programming myself, as well. Honestly, at the time, I wanted to have a plug and play spindle and VFD sent to my house. Just figured that, since it was my first spindle, I’d rather have someone do it for me. Don’t get me wrong…I have no issues with the VFD other than it being made in China, which I specifically told Mechatron would not be acceptable to me. For what it’s worth, the VFD is essentially plug and play with both the original and elite series machines

I’m not particularly interested in EU and/or German laws. Not going to request/demand a rectification, since what I received is currently working. Just wanted to point out that, when trying to find decent components not made in China, your’re not necessarily guaranteed to receive what you order…even from a high-end German manufacturer.

Hey Dan,

it was not correct. Would be interesting to know whether they knew it. Maybe Omron switched to chinese production some day and at Mechatron noone had a look at the nameplate since then.

Thank you for all of that information! I used to have a Columbo 3hp spindle with a Delta VFD, I barely had to do any programming on it.
I would prefer something more plug and play however.
It seems as though the PWN spindle kit will be a good choice, its just a bit above my budget currently.

Does anyone have any insight into or experience with the VFD/spindle kit I linked to? I would think if it came as a kit it would be preprogrammed? Or at least there wouldnt be a massive amount of work to do to get it working well, (making cables/programming ect)


I wish I had another $1000.

Are there any good options for under $500 that anyone could recommend?

Hey Aaron,

[RATTMMOTOR spindle/vfd kit for $289]

If you should really buy this (which I can in no case recommend), don’t try to fit a cable into the “aviation connector” but please buy a ready-to-use spindle cable at PwnCNC here (Daniel @PwnCNC will tell you which connector to select when ordering). This will lower the chances to get electrocuted or set your shop in fire a little bit. See here for more information.


In the description of this spindle kit, you are told to only connect U,V,W terminals of the spindle, and omitting the PE wire. There is also a Ben Myers video on youtube where he does exactly that. DON’T EVER DO THIS! NEVER CONNECT A SPINDLE WITHOUT A PE WIRE!

If you buy a cheap Chinese spindle, you should also be sure that inside the spindle, the PE (fourth) pin of the spindle socket is actually connected internally to the spindle housing, as can be seen here. If there is no such connection, all your safety is void and you could get electrocuted when there is an internal cable error and you touch the spindle. You can check this with a multimeter (set to ohms/resistance, the resistance between the PE wire and the housing of the spindle must be close to zero).

Usually you don’t buy a quality CNC machine and pair it with a cheap chinese spindle/VFD crap. That is not logical.

I definitely want to be safe, Lets say I could afford $1000, do you like the PWNCNC 2.2kw 220v air-cooled setup?
I can eat beans and rice for a while if I need to, I just want to get up and rolling… Safely…

Usually you don’t buy a quality CNC machine and pair it with a cheap chinese spindle/VFD crap. That is not logical.
I hear you…
Im just hoping for a diamond in the rough.

Hey Aaron,

I have no personal experience with the PwnCNC spindle/VFD, but many in this forum have, you better ask them. The VFD enclosure in the PwnCNC spindle/VFD kit is not directly comparable to a control cabinet like described here and available e.g. here but it is a plug-and-play solution. Daniel @PwnCNC knows much about the VFD in the kit. It is a VFD that supports Sensorless Vector Control (SVC). The VFD enclosure is made of 3D printed plastic and not of steel, so I assume that it is not a faraday cage.

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This is the one I ordered and I have no idea about anything CNC so I bought that exact kit from PWN and I could not be happier. I am learning all I can from the forum and Youtube and it pretty much just like they say plug and play. I am a disabled Marine from injuries years ago that are just now giving me troubles and if you think uncle sam pays us anything lol think again. I will not tell you one way or another how to spend your money but the spindle kit is really first class

Hey @dangcraftsauce1

We run a 1.5kw water cooled PWNCNC spindle and it has been fantastic with zero issues so far. Daniel and his team have been quick to answer any questions and all around a pleasure to work with.

Part of what you are paying for with that setup is the ease of use/plug and play formfactor. They really have everything setup in a manner where you simply plug everything in and it just works. Definitely recommend them for an easy experience.

If you are on the fence about it I wouldn’t be there awesome. If you do go that route be prepared for a bit of a lead time they are popular and can take some time to receive.

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PWNCNC all the way, reach out to them for recommendations, they are second to none in my not so humble opinion.

love those guys.

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I bought this one 2+ years ago and have not had any issues so far… Water-cooled… I am comfortable with electrical work and soldering, so making my own cable to aviation connector was not a concern, but I would have bought one if it was readily available at the time… My spindle was grounded internally, as well, so did not have to jump through hoops like some very early adopters.

While it was not top of the line or from a high-end dealer, it was at the right price point at the time, I have had no complaints so far, and it still runs like a champ.