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Thread: Should I be warming up my spindle?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2017
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    Salt Lake City, UT, USA
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    16

    Default Should I be warming up my spindle?

    As with most of us here, I’m a self taught shopbot user. I’ve been at it for about 9 months now. Today I just noticed that the shopbot software comes with a “Spindle Warmup Routine” in the custom cuts menu. I have never used this before, I’ve always just loaded my part files and started cutting. But should I be warming up the spindle first? What are the benefits of doing so? The costs of not doing so? Who out there warms up their spindle and who doesn’t?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    iBILD Solutions - Southern NJ
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    7,831

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    Do you get in your car, start it in 10 degree weather and FLOOR IT for a minute or two? Why not? (Because you'd seriously hurt the engine...)

    Yes, you should be warming up your spindle. Start it at the lowest speed possible and let it run until the case isn't ice cold. Just let it run and go do something else for 10-15 min. The bearings are loose and sloppy when cold, just like an engine. When they heat up and expand, they can now hold tolerance. When they are run without warm up, the oil in the spindle is like candle wax - and it's completely possible to skid and gall the bearings...which ain't pretty.

    Non ATC HSD spindle are thrown away when the bearings give out since it costs more to replace the bearings than a new spindle. Colombo spindles can be rebuilt, but even doing it yourself (ill advised) will cost you $800+ for the correct bearings and special grease, not to mention specialized tools and know how like dealing with the squirrely labyrinth seals...

    So yeah...treat your spindle with care.

    -B
    High Definition 3D Laser Scanning Services - Advanced ShopBot CNC Training and Consultation - Vectric Custom Video Training IBILD.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    cnc routing, portland or
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    3,559

    Default

    actually newer cars don't benefit from warming up and it will wear the engine out faster. so bad analogy.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    iBILD Solutions - Southern NJ
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    Dude...not sure where you're getting that half-baked info from, but I've been building engines for a long time. You change your oil often and you ALWAYS warm it up before you start beating on it. That's how you spin a bearing or throw a rod through the side of the block. It goes double for turbo or supercharged engines.

    Warm up your spindle. It'll last longer. Or not & throw it away if money and common sense are no objects.

    -B
    High Definition 3D Laser Scanning Services - Advanced ShopBot CNC Training and Consultation - Vectric Custom Video Training IBILD.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Delray Beach, FL
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    3,632

    Default

    Sometimes us old dogs do need to learn new info.
    Out of curiosity I did a google search: warming up a new car. Recommended that it be warmed up under motion(that doesn't mean at top RPM's obviously)
    Where I live I don't need to bother much about my vehicle as the lubes are rarely very cold.
    BUT your electric spindle should always be warmed up before cutting, as well as older cars and trucks and other typical engines around your place.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    gleason, wi 54435
    Posts
    407

    Default

    Most spindles are built with ceramic bearings to perform better at 20,000 + RPM's. Not warming them up before putting a heavy load on them is asking for trouble.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Garland Tx
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    2,176

    Default

    Possibly there is some confusion over warming up vs breaking in… When we bought our last new car, we were told there was no need to “break it in” as new engines are made so precisely that they are ready to go…

    And just in case a “newbie” is reading this and isn’t 100% clear on terminology… a PC router isn’t a spindle and doesn’t require warming up. Nothing precise in it!
    SG

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Diamond Lake, WA
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    1,560

    Default

    I know the year I got my PRSAlpha in 2009, it came with a spindle warm up routine and the manual highly recommended warming the spindle up with this routine prior to use. It starts the spindle at 5K RPM and runs it for 90 seconds, then increases the speed a little and runs for another 90 seconds. This continues, with incremental speed increases, for about 9 minutes till the spindle is running at 18K for 90 seconds. I think my total warm up routine is about 10 minutes. I just start it from the Cut menu option and walk away, so I've never actually timed how long it takes, nor have I looked at the log to see how long it takes. On CNC cutting days, the first thing I do when I turn the power on, in the morning, is to run the warm up routine.

    My spindle starts out fairly noisy at first but gets quieter with each increase in RPM till it's virtually quiet at 18K rpm.

    In regards to warming up cars, I've read the same things in manufacturers manuals as well as car articles. For me, I use what's best for my particular vehicle. My 2014 Chevy Cruise, I get in, start it and go. The manual says that, and I've experienced warm and cold weather operations and it performs well using this method. My Chevy Silverado with Duramax deisel engine, I start it up and let it warm up for about 5-10 minutes (depending on how cold it is) before I drive away. My 2012 Chevy Silverado truck (gas engine) warms up for about 5 minutes or it runs really rough. My beater POS 1993 Pontiac Grand Prix is a hop in start it and go. If it dies, oh well....

    I built many muscle cars (Z28 Camaro's, 327 and 350 small blocks) in my earlier years (when it was easy to crawl around under the car and pre-arthritis) and I adhered strictly to a warm up routines and maintenance routines. But those were very precision engines delivering hundreds and hundreds of horsepower. Big difference from today's vehicles.
    Don
    Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks, LLC
    www.dlwoodworks.com
    ***********************************
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty and well preserved piece; But to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out, bank accounts empty, credit cards maxed out, defiantly shouting "Geronimo"!

    If you make something idiot proof, all they do is create a better idiot.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    iBILD Solutions - Southern NJ
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    Default From the mouths of horsies

    Here's the *official* word from both spindle manufacturers:


    Colombo Manual Page 5.02

    Warm Up procedure

    The procedure described in the table refers to the
    unit daily operation and start-up any time the
    spindle cools down up to room temperature (68F).
    The described pre-heating cycle is to be carried
    out the tool holder fitted when not machining is
    started yet.

    No compliance with the above-mentioned
    prescriptions cancels the guarantee.
    (No warm up = no warranty)

    Spindle Warm up table

    Rotation speed-----------Single Cycle time(min)
    50% max speed-------------------5
    75% max speed-------------------3
    100% max speed------------------3


    WarmUp operation after stock period (*) :
    * - See page 3.01

    Rotation speed-----------Single Cycle time(min)
    20% max speed--------------------25
    50% max speed--------------------10
    75% max speed--------------------10
    100% max speed-------------------15

    ________________________________________

    HSD Manual Page 88

    6.3 PREHEATING
    HSD S.p.A. uses high-precision angular contact bearing pairs, pre-loaded and lubricated for life
    with special grease for high speeds.
    When the machine is switched on for the first time every day, allow the electrospindle to perform a
    brief preheating cycle in order to allow the bearings to gradually attain a uniform operating
    temperature, and hence to obtain a uniform expansion of the bearing races and the correct preload
    and rigidity.


    The following cycle is recommended, without machining operations:
    50 % of the maximum rated speed for 2 minutes.
    75 % of the maximum rated speed for 2 minutes.
    100 % of the maximum rated speed for 1 minute.

    The preheating cycle should also be performed every time that the machine is inoperative long
    enough for the electrospindle to cool down to room temperature. (68F)

    I start my spindles as low as they can go and just let them sit. The 5hp and 3hp Colombos run at 1000 RPM in a cold shop for a few minutes and I graduate from there. The HSD on the DT runs at about 2500 (less and it stalls/doesn't like it) and also gets graduated in RPM over time.

    Note that the SB speed control will not permit RPM lower than 5,000. If you like rolling manual like I do, you can spin it down as low as a few hundred RPM on the larger spindles.

    When I replaced the bearings on my Colombo years ago, my friend who has been in the industrial electric motor repair business for his whole life (and his father before him) told me to spin it as low as I can for warm up. It'll eventually warm up. The replaced bearings have lasted longer than the originals since I adhere to a strict warm up routine.

    It would be $80k to replace my Duramax truck...and half that to replace my diesel tractor. I'm going to continue to warm up the 10+ quarts of oil in each before I put them to work, despite what Popular Mechanics or the parrots on Facebook advise.

    -B
    High Definition 3D Laser Scanning Services - Advanced ShopBot CNC Training and Consultation - Vectric Custom Video Training IBILD.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Olympia, Washington
    Posts
    248

    Default

    One of the first things I did on my VFD spindle was set the ramp up time from like 1 second to 5 seconds. I did not feel that the spindle needed to be up to full speed so quickly and the router pause for 20 seconds before it starts moving anyway.
    Ron Moorehead
    R&S Design
    ShopBot PRS Aphla 48 by 96
    Laserpro Explorer 30 watt
    Universal Laser 50 watt
    3D printer

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