- Best ATC Spindle Motor available in South Africa for CNC Automated Production.
- If you work with multi-tool CNC projects, manually changing bits and zeroing each time can become tiring quite quickly.
- For many small CNC businesses, manual tool changing becomes the biggest bottleneck in their production process.
- An Automatic Tool Changer (ATC) spindle is the natural upgrade at this point.
- Although it costs a bit, the reduction in production time and physical effort pays back quite quickly for most businesses.
- In this guide, I review the best ATC spindle options for different kinds of CNC Router Machines and for different CNC applications.
What we will cover
- Best ATC spindles review
- Automatic tool change adapters
- Factors to consider while choosing an ATC spindle
- Is an ATC Spindle worth it?
Best Automatic Tool Changer Spindles for CNC
Mechatron GmbH ATC Spindles
Mechatron is a German brand and their ATC spindles are known for their quality, performance, and long life.
You can find spindles with power ratings ranging between 2.2Kw to 7.5Kw hp and with a maximum speed of 42,000 RPM.
The tool interface options are ISO30, ISO30, ISO40, and HSK 25 tapers. If you need a different interfacing option you can request them for a customized product.
If you want to cut metals, the 10 hp 12,000 RPM spindle is a good choice as it will give you a good material removal rate and reduce cycle time.
Mechatron spindles are constructed with tight tolerance when compared to others and they typically have runout of less than 0.002 mm.
This improves the finish of your parts and at the same time reduces the wear on your tools.
The spindles are liquid-cooled and Mechatron also offers cooling solutions. However, you can also use any cooling solution of your choice.
The use of grease-free lubrication means you need to spend less time on the maintenance of the spindle.
Additionally, the spindle has speed sensors that help in maintaining the right speed for cutting.
Mechatron also provides a tool sensor included with the spindle that prevents the spindle from spinning without a tool.
You can purchase Mechatron Spindles from 3D CNC Africa who is an representative and distributor for Mechatron Spindles in South Africa.
The customer support team is based in Germany and they offer phone and email support. The customer support is reliable and quite responsive.
Teknomotor ATC Spindles
Teknomotor ATC spindles are another popular ATC spindle of choice in the world.
They are an Italian spindle manufacturing brand that offers good quality ATC spindle options.
You can find spindles that range from 1.1Kw to 9Kw of power with a maximum RPM of 24,000.
Teknomotor spindles have an aluminum construction and are a good choice for woodworking, aluminum machining, and plastics.
They have a low weight which makes them suitable to be used on machines with a long gantry or low powered stepper motors.
These spindles provide an ATC solution that is a right balance between quality and cost.
The spindles use ISO30 taper for tool holding and you will need to supply an 80 psi pneumatic line for tool changes.
It also includes automatic cone cleaning that removes any debris inside the tool holder with a blast of air from the pneumatic line.
As an endorsement of the quality of their product, the spindles come with a one-year warranty.
You can purchase Teknomotor Spindle Motors from 3D CNC Africa who is an representative and distributor for Teknomotor Spindle Motors in South Africa.
They offer email support for their customers. You can also find phone support from Teknomotor but their phone support team is based in Italy.
You can use their first contact form and fill in your requirements regarding motor parameters and they will promptly suggest to you the best spindle in their stable that suits you.
Jianken ATC Spindles
Jianken is a Chinese CNC spindle brand that is quite popular because of its cost-efficient offerings.
They offer a wide range of spindles and you will be able to find one that’s perfect for your needs.
They have spindles with power that ranges between (1.5 kW) to (13.5 kW) and with a maximum speed of up to 60,000 RPM.
All of the spindles are water-cooled, so you’ll have to provide additional cooling equipment.
You can find spindles with ISO10, ISO20, ISO25, ISO 30, BT30, and BT40 taper.
You can purchase Jianken Spindle Motors from 3D CNC Africa who is an representative and distributor for Jianken Spindle Motors in South Africa.
Automatic Tool Change Adapters- Affordable ATC solution
If you want an automatic tool-changing solution on your existing CNC build without spending too much you can opt for an ATC adapter instead of a spindle.
You can attach these to your existing spindle and convert them into an ATC spindle. It will also save you from having to discard the manual tool change spindle that you have.
Mechatron Tool Change Adapter
Mechatron offers two tool change adapters that you can choose from based on the diameter of your spindle.
If you have a 65 mm spindle you need the STC-65-S and if you have an 80 mm spindle you need the STC-80-S.
These adapters can handle speeds up to 24,000 RPM, power up to 2.2Kw, and torque of up to 127 oz-in.
You will need to supply at least 87 psi air pressure for tool changes.
It comes with two maintenance-free sealed steel bearings that ensure long life.
Additionally, it uses passive cooling and does not require any external setup for cooling.
For tool holding it uses an ISO10 interface that can hold tools in the ER11 and ER16 ranges.
How to Choose an ATC Spindle for your CNC Machine
Speed and Power
You need to consider the speed and power requirements of the projects you intend to undertake.
For cutting soft materials like wood and MDF you need high-speed spindles with speeds above 16,000 RPM, here the torque is not much of an issue.
However, if you want to cut hard materials like metal you need spindles that have high torque at low speeds below 10,000 RPM.
The spindle power determines the rate at which you can remove materials, so a high-powered spindle can be fast in cutting materials.
Size and Weight
You should choose a spindle that can be mounted onto the gantry of your build.
The size of the spindle should be within the mounting limits of your CNC router.
You should also consider the weight of the spindle, as ATC spindles are heavier than their regular counterparts.
If the weight is beyond the capacity of the gantry, it can sag and critically affect the accuracy of your CNC machine.
Also, if you use a heavy spindle, the stepper motors might not be able to drive the gantries with the added load.
You must select a spindle with a weight that is well within the capabilities of your steppers motors or you will have to change the stepper motors.
ATC spindles use pressurized air for releasing and locking onto the tool holders. Most of the ATC spindles use an air supply between 60 to 120 psi. When you choose an ATC spindle make sure you can supply the pneumatic pressure that the spindle requires.
This refers to the interface between the spindle and the tools you intend to use.
The tool holder holds the tool and is kept on the tool post from where the spindle sucks it up into it.
Choose a spindle that is compatible with tool holders that can accommodate the tools that you intend to use for your projects.
Spindles require cooling to keep the components within tolerable temperature to ensure accuracy and reduce wear.
Typically ATC spindles use passive cooling or liquid cooling. Air-cooled spindles are less common in ATC spindles.
Passively cooled spindles do not have any mechanism for cooling the spindle. Such spindles are designed to dissipate heat efficiently.
They are less compact when compared to liquid-cooled spindles due to their design that needs more space for dissipating heat.
Liquid-cooled spindles can last longer and have better accuracy when compared to other spindles.
However, they need additional equipment like a pump, reservoir, and radiator.