Shapeoko now has the powerful Dewalt DW660 trim router as a spindle

I ordered the DW660 from Amazon and designed some brackets in CamBam, then milled them using my Dremel spindle. I’ve mounted the new spindle and have tried it with HDPE (cutting board). Works exceptionally well – no slowdown at normal speeds – speeds that would slow down the Dremel at least by half its RPM.

Check out my posting on the Shapeoko which includes gcode files for the brackets:

I’m currently working getting a proper clamp-down system on the bed. Additionally, I’m working on a light sensor-based limit switch using milled holders. Hope to get that build report up on the web site soon.

9 thoughts on “Shapeoko now has the powerful Dewalt DW660 trim router as a spindle

  1. Hi Zap,

    Quick question: What feed-rate and cutting depth are you using with your Dewalt tool on the Shapeoko? I recently purchased the same Dewalt for my CNC and am unsure of the proper speed settings for cutting wood. I have been using PyCam and have a double flute 1/8 bit. I have mostly used 150mm/min and a max step down of 1.5mm, but I am not sure that is optimal. I know this will largely depend on the material you are cutting.

  2. It depends on the wood. I would think soft wood would b similar to HDPE, which I use the following: 200 mm/min plunge rate and 1200 mm/min feed rate. That’s with a 0.7 crossover (70%). I use either a 1 or 2 mm plunge step. I have not had any problems using 1/8″ (two flute) or 1/4″ (three flute) with HDPE with the DW660.

    With hardwood, or roughly compare to delrin (which is pretty hard plastic and may be harder than hardwoods), I have done some work at about 250 plunge and 750 feed, but that is too fast, I think both of those are about a factor of 2 too fast, particularly the feed rate – it needs to be 1/2 or 1/3 as fast. For delrin, I am using a 0.5 mm plunge step, which I think is fine, although with slow feeds you may be able to get away with 1 mm. At the faster rate I have had problems with snagging and ruined work – the bit gets snagged and the z-axis gets pulled down into the work – and that is with an immediate manual emergency stop – things just happen too fast.

    I haven’t tried aluminum yet – I am waiting to completely seal my system including electronics and have a proper vacuum to minimize stray aluminum chips. There is also the issue of gantry torque, which causes the DW660 to rotate around the X-axis makerslide – I am looking at the new Shapeoko 2 design and they seem to have solved or partly solved that problem.

    For hard materials (hardwoods, delrin) I have had to use hold downs in four corners, but because the material is slippery, I also use at least two blocks to stop blocks that are bolted down to prevent horizontal movement. I can’t stress enough how important it is to properly hold down your work-piece when working on harder material.

    Hope that helps.

    • Thanks!

      I designed and built my own CNC and have been running it at much slower speeds. However, since I was experimenting when I designed my rails, I don’t think I can run it at a faster rate just yet.

      I did just receive the Makerslide rails and will be switching to them soon. Since you mention it, I am slightly concerned with the gantry torque you mention and not sure how the new Shapeoko fixes it. My design somewhat resembles the Shapeoko, should I be worred about the torque with my Dewalt 660?

      You can email me if that is more convenient.


      • Ahh, I see the dual x-axis makerslide now.

        One more question I forgot, have you tried playing with the speed of the dewalt 660 yet? I have seen others using router speed controllers on their spindles.

        • Also, I bought a speed controller from harbor freight for $25 and so far so good. It also is a great way to do an quick and dirty emergency stop using the switch on it (but not a true emergency stop that also stops the steppers).

          I’ve played around with the speed – a few things – first, taking the speed down by about half works fine in softer materials and reduces the screech from the DW660 significantly. On hard materials, I have to run it at full speed based on the cuttings shape.

          The controller does not allow you to set a specific speed – it just provides a relative speed control, but from all testing I haven’t had any problems with stalls, overheating, or such.

          Try to keep the motor and controller on a different circuit if you can from the stepper and arduino power supplies – even a splitter extension cord may help.

      • Actually, the gantry torque can work to your benefit – for example, if for some reason your commands are incorrect, the torque can protect destruction of parts like the bit. It also indicates that you are putting too much pressure on the work piece and need to reduce to step size or feed rate.

        The biggest concern I have regarding the DW660 is the amount of heat generated in the bearing – I try not to overload it with too great a feed rate. I have heard of the DW660 going out after about 100hrs of operation, I’m guessing because of bearing failure.

        I’m looking into a combo vacuum/air cooling system setup around the bearing area.

        • Thanks for these replies. I have been busy and forgot to check back.

          My newer CNC build, which uses the makerslide rails, is almost complete. I am anxious to try it out and hopefully turn up the speeds. I will be adding side panels and a vacuum to this build to reduce noise and dust.

          I am tempted by the speed controller from Harbor Freight, I had my eye on it too. How low do you turn it to still cut wood? I would only buy it with the hope that I could reduce the noise/heat of the dw660 while cutting relatively soft wood (pine, birch-plywood).

          The lifetime of the spindle (dw660) does concern me. If you were to upgrade, which would you look to get?

  3. When I spoke with you at the Seattle Makerfaire, you mentioned that the DW660 has a non-cylindrical cross-section. Where can I get ahold of the measurements for the arcs making up the true shape of the tool?

    • The clamps I am using are found on the shapeoko forum which I have linked on this post. The files are dw660b which is the top clamp and dw660d which is the bottom.

      Dimensions for the right arc (top view) for the top clamp (from CamBam) are:
      X = 36 mm
      Y = 50 mm
      Z = 0 mm
      Radius = 33.42155 mm
      Start = 308.9275 degrees
      Sweep = 102.1449 degrees
      Distance between arc ends: roughly 52 mm

      The sweep should be 90 degrees, therefore it isn’t a perfect arc dimension (or when I measured, the actual housing isn’t symmetrical when i measured it).

      The same arc on the bottom is:
      X = 35 mm
      Y = 50 mm
      Z = 0 mm
      Radius = 34.0588 mm
      Start = 310.2364 degrees
      Sweep = 99.52728 degrees

      If you want to try to get the measurements out of CamBam, just select the polyline and then go to Edit > Explode

      Let me know if you need more info.

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