Spindle travel limitations?


We’ve been having a good discussion over in the announcements area about the Z-sliders and travel. I thought I’d start a new discussion over here and get in to some specific questions.

For those with a spindle I’m interested in your experiences about the Z travel and the default Z-slider (now known as the Z-16).

When you mounted your Z-slider did you mount it as the low, medium or high position? Why? Was it driven by your spindle position?

When you mounted your spindle, where did you clamp on? In the bottom 1/4, between 1/4 and 1/2 or higher?

With the above choices, what room do you have between the collet and wasteboard (assuming a 3/4" thick wasteboard on top of the table top) when the spindle is at max-Z? I.e. you’ve raised it right up, how much clearance is there between the collet and wasteboard?


1 Like

Check this out. I can measure for you, but will be adjusting my mounting position to avoid resonance so may be better to wait until I’m more dialed in.

Thanks for the link. I’d read that a few days ago, before I was looking into the height thing so that part didn’t stick.

Looks like ~4.25” of clearance under my Z-16 when mounted in the “high” position. I wanted it as high as possible to maintain clearance under the gantry. I didn’t take a measurement to the collet directly, but it looks like ~6” or so in the image. Definitely grabbing the bottom 1/4 of the spindle body and not 100% sure if that’s OK or not. I’ll likely make some adjustments to this, as I mentioned before. Still need to get my drag chains set-up and do some finer tramming adjustments so I’ll be I messing around with it anyway.

Thanks, I appreciate you doing this.

So what I’m seeing here is that for a normal setup with common bits the Z height range is sufficient that it is going to be the Z-slider that will set your max material thickness. Going back to the other thread’s discussion it seem the extra 35mm of range on the new Z-20 slider would rarely be needed. I can only see a need for long bits (extending 2" beyond collet) or a situation where the spindle would need to be clamped further up the body (lowering it relative to the table).

If the Z-20 was available today I might have spent the extra $200 but having to wait a few months and spend the $200 just doesn’t seem worth it vs the 80mm on the Z-16.


I think both of these apply to my situation already :joy:

I definitely want the Z-20, but will also wait until I can convince myself I really need it. For me, most of the value is in the beefier nature of the thing as opposed to the extra travel. The Z-16 feels like it’s designed for a trim router (and it was). The Z-20 will probably handle a spindle much better, especially if you’re going 1.5 or 2.2 kW (and most are).

1 Like

I’m the same, would want the best “just because”. If it was available today that would likely be the decision but having to wait 3-4 months to use the spindle that is on its way here is just too hard.

Onefinity has stated the Z-16 is fine with 2.2 kW spindles so it should be fine. Maybe the Z-20 is just overbuilt. :wink: Seriously, it’s the better one, but the Z-16 is good enough. If the Z-20 hadn’t been announced I wouldn’t have been concerned about the Z-16.

1 Like

The Z-20 was born from the Elite foreman. Since the Y rails on the foreman are X-50 rail, the z-16 does not have the reach down due to the added height in Z from the X-50 rails.
But also, who doesn’t want beefier. Don’t forget, the Z-20 also has the faster ballscrew speeding up 3d carves by up to 40%!


Ok, so I finally get why the extra z range is important, it’s for the Elite because the X rails sit higher up off the table. I kept trying to figure out why it was needed on a X-50, not knowing the Elite Y rails are taller.

Gosh I want an Elite Foreman…

Hi everyone

I’m trying to understand the available space below the collet with the Z-16 compared to the Z-20.
So the Z-16 is even in its highest position lower than the Z-20 is that correct?
At the moment i’m building several pieces of furniture with most of the parts 3.54" high. I’d need to drill holes and pockets (about 2" deep") in there but i’m not sure how to achieve that without having to build a vertical fixture into the table. i was hoping that with the Z-20 and a short enough bit i could manage to drill those pockets.
Would that be possible with the Z-20?

Yes, the Z-20 will give you about 35mm (1-3/8") more travel I believe. Note that I don’t have one.

You mention a short enough bit. You need a long enough bit to go the 2" down. That’s a pretty long bit. You can buy them, but I think most commonly used 1/4" bits would only give you 1 to 1.5" cutting flutes. Long bits can flex more, etc.

If you are drilling 2" deep that means you need to raise your spindle at least 2" above the work surface, so 5.54". You’d want some clearance as well so figure on at least 5.75". Your Z mount also needs clearance. As you can see from Jace’s photo, there’s only about 4.25". I don’t know if the Z-20 would give you more clearance below the mount. I’m assuming Jace is measuring from a 3/4" thick spoilboard, you could gain some height removing this.

Using some old measurements (With the Z-16) I did before converting to a spindle, I think you have 6.75" from the bottom of a Makita router collet to the spoilboard surface. The Z-20 would give you more.

So I think you are OK but it would be best if somebody could do an actual measurement. Also, it would be good to know if you are going with a router or spindle as they mount at different heights.

1 Like

For a start I’d use a makita router.
ok so I need to get this sorted out in my head… hehe

  1. problem is the clearance below the mount.
    With a Z-16 that’s 4-3/32inches in the lower position - it’s not recommended to use the higher position for most of sheet-good work, correct? The clearance from the z-20 in it’s recommended position for sheet-good is not clear nor specifically mentioned somewhere?
  2. could be the dust boot → i ordered the infinit dust collection kit to be on the safe side but do any of them go lower than the clearance below?
  3. would be the travel of the z axis to accommodate a long enough bit to cut the pockets. with the z-20 surely less of a problem. with the z-16, makita router, and 2" bit enough?
  4. spoilboard hight to get the final calculation done :wink:

all in all would it be preferable to “just” make a table with vertical fixture?

  1. If I recall Onefinity recommended the middle position to start with, but they provide all so you can use all.

  2. Dust boot height is determined mainly by where you set it, normally so it touches the wood. If you are doing a 2" deep mortise though, it’s going to have to be held high and may not do you a lot of good for most of the cut. So even if you didn’t have it, it may not make much difference.

  3. As I said above, I think it will but it would be good to get somebody to actually give you direct experience/measurement.

  4. Spoilboard height can be a very personal thing. Depends on what you want to use for hold downs, etc. If you are using T-Track or inserts you need enough height to clear them and more. If you are screwing your material down, you need enough material to get a good bite on the screw, or screw in to your real work surface, defeating using the spoilboard to protect it.

Given what you’ve said your use case is, I think you don’t need the vertical fixture, but maybe in the future you’ll want it. Just remember it does make the table more complicated and harder to use the space under the table for storage, etc.

1 Like

Hey all,

sometimes I think one of these machines that have a Z axis and an additional W axis, both in vertical direction, have advantages:

– Source: Kief, Hans B., Roschiwal, Helmut A., and Schwarz, Karsten: CNC-Handbuch, 31., überarbeitete Auflage 2020, Carl Hanser Verlag, München

That would make your questions superfluous, since you would simply lower the X axis using the W axis sometimes :slight_smile:

I think into this direction because I have seen more than one project of CNCs built by users from scratch lastly, and it’s nice that there are suppliers where you can get nearly everything for this purpose.

Like you mentioned, the spoilboard surface is a consideration for max clearance. I’m using 3/4” MDF (as you correctly assumed) on top of a QCW. Not sure off hand if that puts the spoilboard in the same z-plane as putting the machine directly on top of a flat table, but that can be easily checked.

I’ve seen some people on this forum add vertical clearance by placing blocks under the x-rail feet. Could be worth a quick search @pasge. Conceivably, you could do the same under the y-rail feet. In either case, squaring and parallelism could be a PITA to dial in if switching between “lifted” and standard. Given that consideration, lifting the X rail would make more sense to me.