The CNC machines have been in the hobbyists’ news for a long time with their fantastic motor and stepper kits in the market. DIY Users who have long been waiting for ways to build their preferred motors now have the freedom to build and to know which stepper motor or router is right for their project build.
The CNC machine when correctly assembled makes it easier to handle otherwise difficult cuts and it works great on engravings which is the reason many people consider the CNC motor drivers as very important to successful projects.
With CNC motors it has never been this easy for instance – working on wood carving, shaping a plastic, cutting aluminum, and other types of hard materials.
In fact, the CNC has a whole lot of routers and motors that can help you to accomplish any project you set your mind on – you do not only get the job done faster but also well built.
However, choosing the right stepper motor that is ideal to get your project on the go can be a bit difficult if you don’t have the right information on which motor or router will work best.
This is because starting a project and getting stuck on the way can be very frustrating, especially, if you are just guessing on the right motor that fits for the job.
We have felt the same pain; this is why we, therefore, decided to do some in-depth research on the Best CNC motors that money can buy. This list is based on users’ reviews so you can get the best possible value from your buy.
But first some basic understanding of some terms you likely will come across in this guide:
- 1 Stepper Motors
- 2 The Right Stepper Motors
- 3 How to Choose Steppers Motors and Controllers for DIY CNC machines
- 4 Top CNC Motors For Your Best Build
- 4.1 1- Beauty Star DIY Mini CNC 300w DC Spindle Motor
- 4.2 2- STEPPERONLINE Nema 23 CNC Stepper Motor – Voltage: 24-48V
- 4.3 3- Air Cooled CNC Motor and Spindle Speed Power Converter 500W
- 4.4 4- VFD CNC Spindle Motor Kits：110V 1.5KW Water Cooled Spindle Motor
- 4.5 5- Konmison 500W Spindle Motor- Mini CNC Lathe Air Cooled
- 4.6 6- NEMA23 Stepper motors With Hight Torque – 48v/5A
- 4.7 7- Huanyang Water VFD Spindle Milling Motor – 110V 1.5KW
- 4.8 8- CNC Nema23 Stepper 4 Axis Motor Dual Shaft – 350W 24V
- 4.9 10- Square Air Cooled Spindle Motor 2.2KW – Engraving Router, Milling Grinding Cutting Machine
- 4.10 11- Waterproof Water Cooled Spindle Motor 2.2KW- Carved Metal Milling Engraving Machine
- 4.11 12- Blushless 400W Air Cooled Spindle motor kit
- 5 Final Thoughts
If you are hoping to start off with building a foam cutter or a router as a project then choosing the right stepper motor should be your ideal priority. They are a very important component of any cutting or engraving machines.
And they can be very handy when used correctly to work on your build.
To get to know what makes a good stepper motor, here are some features that should determine the type of stepper motor you need.
A stepper motor is rated with its holding torque. The holding torque is rated Newton per meter/centimeter (N.m or N.cm)
For instance, the bigger the torque rating the higher it can perform on any project.
For example, to know how to compare different sets of motors, there is always an inscription on NEMA23 like 175/oz/in – which means the stepper motor can support 175 ounces or a 1″ length of an arm merged to a motor shaft. So, a number like this known as holding torque is a very important one.
The current, as well as the voltage the stepper needs, are both essential information that you need to be mindful of as you build a successful project.
Stepper motors are either unipolar or bipolar. This means the names are determined by the way the coil is connected.
If you aren’t the techy stuff guy, the bipolar motors make things straightforward and they also offer great torque because of how the coil is wired. Besides most stepper motors built by CNC are bipolar machines.
The Right Stepper Motors
Deciding on which stepper is right for your project is determined by the building components at your disposal including the design you want on your build and the material you intend to cut.
When a hot wire cutter is applied on foams, the hot wire instantly cuts out the foam by melting the material.
So invariably the foam is not cut per se but melted to shape by the machine which makes it easier to manage. Many welders use this method also known as cutting by radiance.
So what this means is that, the weight on the stepper is nothing when the hot wire is applied.
Stepper Motors For Routers
Generally, for CNC routers, you should need at least NEMA 23 and from 175/oz/in and up; except your machine is a bit small like the ‘CNC engraver,’ which mostly comes with description to use for only soft materials.
For example, the cutting materials for routers play a big part in the build. Powerful steppers should go along with harder stuff, so if you intend to use the stepper machine on high materials, you will need a high torque of around 300-400 oz/in, and that might require a NEMA34 and with a sturdy frame to support.
Stepper Motors Current & Voltage
If you have your stepper motors on hand and you know the right torque rating to power your project, next is just to find an appropriate controller.
Every controller that will work with these steppers must have drivers in single modules or include in the controller panel.
The stepper driver’s central role is to supply voltage and current, which should be very adjustable in most cases. CNC steppers can run on a very low voltage and can be driven even by a higher current.
Ideally, NEMA17’s typically operate on a 12 volts steppers while NEMA 23 runs on 24 volts.
If the volt supplies less, the motor will run slowly. So, when choosing the right controller to use for your build, you need to evaluate the up-to-date rating of the stepper and be certain the module or the controller is adjustable to match.
Electric current supplies energy to the controller and motor. The delivered power has to do with the amount of current and its voltage. If you decide to increase the amount of current, make sure the voltage matches the controller’s voltage.
How to Choose Steppers Motors and Controllers for DIY CNC machines
The first CNC machine I built was a form cutter, and it wasn’t as easy as many would have thought as it was my first time. To get started, I did a lot of research on the internet and was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information on what I need to use for stepper motors or a CNC controller.
So here is what I did in choosing the best CNC parts.
Here is a simple method I used – ideal even if you don’t know much about techie stuff.
My method is to check vendors who sell complete kits that are similar to my project and identify the motors they are using. That was my first starting point.
Once I am able to identify the motor used for the project, the rest is straight forward.
This method worked for me, so if you are only interested in building a reasonably simple router or hot wire machine, this guide will be of great assistance.
So here are the best CNC motors with descriptions and specifications needed that will help you achieve your desired build.
Top CNC Motors For Your Best Build
1- Beauty Star DIY Mini CNC 300w DC Spindle Motor
If you are looking for a simple DC spindle, including having it on a budget and everything you need to make it work great, the mini CNC 300w DC spindle motor is your best bet. This spindle is ideal for cutting aluminum and wood, and its function is unbeatable.
It can make a 4-inch slitting saw and runs it very smoothly. The spindle does not slow down when it moves on the material so that you can smoothly run at the machine’s rigidity limit.
The set of collets is handy and an ideal fit on shafts and on pretty much any tool from just over 1/4″ on down, which is fantastic.
The little downside to this spindle motor is that the PSU terminals are not labeled in English, so it can take some time to figure out how to wire it correctly. For instance, it can take voltmeter help to determine the connection between the power supplies as they are all written in Chinese.
- Excellent for light build
- 300w ideal for small machines
- Adjustable speed controller
- Superb dielectric strength
- Voltage divider for measurement
- Air cooling ER collet is best used for cutting, speed drilling, etc.
- Small torque
- Not ideal for a bigger project
- 400v is not ideal for US users
2- STEPPERONLINE Nema 23 CNC Stepper Motor – Voltage: 24-48V
The Nema23 is a 2.3 x 2.3-inch faceplate stepper motor and is ideal for 3d printers, robot arm, and CNC machine.
To achieve the desired speed of the motor without missing any step, it is advisable to put the motor on a low-speed application to run at the specified speed.
This stepper motor has various torques, and the max is 3 Nm. The stepper motor comes with a stepper motor dashboard and a torque curve. It’s important to point out that there are different torques for different speed levels, and they decrease as the stepping speed increases the stepper motor.
The driver in the stepper generates a form of a magnetic field within the coil of the motor to bring about a step force. This is why the time it takes for the magnetic field to attain the max intensity depends solely on the coil inductions, the current limit, and the drive voltage.
The coil maintains its full strength for a short time when the drive speed increases, which makes the torque and the motor produce decreases.
The NEMA 23 stepper motor is one of the most popular stepper motors out there in the market, and it comes in step angle 1.8deg and size 57x57x56mm. It has four wires, each phase draws 2.8A, with holding torque 1.26Nm (178.4oz.in).
- great performance motor
- better than a unipolar motor
- multiple independent windings
- reliable holding torque of 1.26Nm
- the motor needs reverse current
- motor’s rotation is not perfect
This is a great-quality motor driven by a two-phase motor (2.8A per phase), so it’s an ideal motor driver for both small and medium-sized projects.
3- Air Cooled CNC Motor and Spindle Speed Power Converter 500W
If you are planning to get a more robust and superb spindle motor for working with wood and other lower power projects, this spindle will get the job done nicely. This quiet working spindle can get you to achieve a good result when its set on a 1/8″ bit and, running 11000 RPM at 1600 mm/m.
The spindle is specially designed to run smoothly and very quiet with excellent power for a DC unit. The spindle runs so quietly you hardly hear it after you turn it on with no noticeable runout and plenty of torque. With a 60% more torque than the 300w spindle, this spindle is outperforming others in its category and meeting users’ expectations.
This machine works flawlessly if you want to cut a bunch of teak panels, birch plywood, and aluminum engraving. The spindle is nicely packaged in a styrofoam box insert. The small size and the lightweight makes it easy to mount on homemade CNC.
As stated earlier, these small machines and spindles are ideal for routers and engravers that use high RPMs with less torque and can perform these functions at high speed and accuracy.
However, for metal or production work, this spindle is not powerful enough, and it bugs down when using Aluminum, except if you set it on a very slow speed. Also, some people complained about the spindle mount, and they say it’s pretty useless unless you make your adjustment on it.
Also, they mentioned that the price is a bit on the high side and should be reduced with fewer few collets (1/8, 1/4, 5/16, and maybe a 4mm) as most other sizes were never used.
- robust 500w engine
- Ideal for bigger projects
- Fast Speed
- Flawless cut on materials
- Excellent torque power
- Ideal for routers and engravers
- Not ideal for metal projects
- Spindle mount is difficult to adjust
4- VFD CNC Spindle Motor Kits：110V 1.5KW Water Cooled Spindle Motor
After a test of different spindles from many manufacturers, this spindle and the VFD (Variable Frequency Drive) is agreeably the best in the market. The spindle comes in four bearings, and this is very vital in maintaining precision. And it also makes the spindle to last longer.
Water is the cooling ingredient for this spindle, and it is of importance to mention that the water cooling part does not allow for air movement to cool the spindle, which is quite different from routers that uses air to cool by convention.
This spindle allows water to cool using the conduction of heat transfer through contact.
The good thing about this spindle is that as against air movement, dust will not be blown all over the shop, and the dust and chips from the milling and cutting can be easily removed using a vacuum or a dust collector.
The back of the spindle housed the water cooling tubes or hose, and it will accept a hose of
1/4″ (.25 inch) inside diameter and an outside diameter of 3/8″ (.375 inch).
It is vital to make sure that the water flows directly through the body to the spindle.
The spindle comes with a 1/4″ (.25 inch) collet, and you will need to wrenches to tighten the collet nuts into the collets.
The spindle needs the VFD to work correctly, and they are also referred to as spindle inverters. The VFD role is to create power from the wall and turn it into a frequency with voltage and current to make the spindle spin.
However, the frequency can be monitored to control the RPM of the spindle, with a potentiometer to adjust the speed automatically or adjust the RPM using the control software.
You can also follow on-screen from the VFD the current status of the spindle, including the RPM or frequency, any fault or error, spindle rotation that is likely to happen, and much more.
The VFD can be controlled manually or controlled using control software like Mach3 and LinuxCNC.
You can see on the face of the VFD the buttons for mode, Run, Reverse, Reset, Stop. You can set various options using the control menu.
- This spindle weight is ideal for lightweight medium-sized projects.
- Powerful 1500w
- Also, the 80mm spindle diameter can comfortably be mounted on a small or medium-sized workspace.
- comes with a user manual
- a hose can easily adjust for a perfect fit
- The user manual is not the best for DIY CNC customers
- Supplied host a bit challenging
Overall this spindle is great, which also comes with its imperial collets.
5- Konmison 500W Spindle Motor- Mini CNC Lathe Air Cooled
You can easily adjust this spindle speed with the software it comes with, which makes it probably a great bargain for your money. The spindles RPM shows a speed of up to 12,500/per rpm considered to be ideal with the published specs.
It’s very inexpensive, and anybody on a low budget can afford to have this spindle at home.
According to the customer’s review, the power spindle/supple combo makes so much noise on the power line that other pieces of equipment stationed in the shop were also affected.
The overall rating for this spindle after testing is not very impressive.
- Excellent 5000G/cm Torque
- Ideal for small and medium-sized build
- Convert PC to a machine controller
- Not ideal for mac pc users
- spindle rating is not impressive
- Spindle makes too much noise
- Very expensive
6- NEMA23 Stepper motors With Hight Torque – 48v/5A
This custom open build NEMA 23 stepper motor comes with high torque and gives more holding power and strength to take any build to the next level. Its plug-and-play extension feature connects with ease and fast install and is made with a shaft section to better torque.
This is considered to be among the strongest NEMA 23 stepper motors and is built to step angle 1.8deg, and size 57x57x114mm with four wires and each phase draws 4.2A, with a holding torque 3.0Nm (425oz.in).
This stepper motor can be used for any application.
- The spindle comes in a huge torque
- With a 3Nm holding and a 1.8 deg. step angle
- Built on 200 steps revolution and a rated current of 4.2 and a resistance of 0.9ohm.
- it also works with a power supply of 48v/5A
- The balm screw of 1605, 700mm are unbranded and it also comes in a BK mount support and a split clamping coupler.
7- Huanyang Water VFD Spindle Milling Motor – 110V 1.5KW
This spindle is very smooth to use, and it operates quietly. The spindle power interface has a GX16 proof aviation plug marked with numbers 1, 2, 3, 4. Number 1, 2, and 3 interfaces are connected with the inverter power U, V, W, respectively. While number 4 is connected to the earth wire.
The nicely made and professional looking machine is built to last long. To save money, you can buy the whole package set, which includes the spindle, VFD, the pump, and the mount.
You can run this spindle at about 3,600 RPM, and you still find it quieter than the pond pump circulating the coolant. The spindle is made to work quietly to the point where you barely hear it. Although, as it is water-cooled, it will take some minor additional work to set it up. However, the work is worth all the effort.
- This spindle water cooler comes in 3 pcs of 6002 bearing and a voltage rated current of AC110v, 5A.
- The max speed you can achieve with this spindle is 24,000 RPM and a radiant run of 0.01mm
- Comes in a stainless steel cover
- 6mm standard ER11 collet.
- The water jacket comes in high aluminum tube compression casting
- made to perform on high-temperature resistance grease lubrication.
- Can be complicated to set up
8- CNC Nema23 Stepper 4 Axis Motor Dual Shaft – 350W 24V
This stepper comes with a dual shaft motor with a 13.5mm long back shaft and a shaft diameter of 8mm. The threaded hole can be found on the back end cap when it can be used for brakes and encoder for handwheels.
This CNC NEMA 23 machine built has a functional motor, drivers, and power supply. However, because the manual is not written in English, you may find the board extremely difficult to pair with other computers.
According to users, the complaint was that the stepper motor could use well-detailed information to set it up except you have prior knowledge of how this stepper work. You might struggle to build it the way you desire.
- This stepper motor is a bipolar
- Its design with a step angle of 1.8 deg.
- holding torque of 2.8Nm
- rated current of 4.2A. and a voltage of 3.78V
- The frame size is 57 x 57mm
- ideal for mounting on a small workspace.
- The rear shaft length is 13.5mm and the diameter is Φ8mm
- No detail information for setup
- The board might be difficult to use with other computers
10- Square Air Cooled Spindle Motor 2.2KW – Engraving Router, Milling Grinding Cutting Machine
This is the Spindle Motor 2.2KW kit squared design. Some CNC enthusiasts and designers prefer the square design as it is usually easier and more securely mounted onto your CNC router machine.
The motor comes with the VFD inverter and 3 ER20 collets. Please install with caution as this motor is extremely powerful.
This unique external design and well-configured spindle motor kit are spectacular. You can use it to cut Aluminum of about 1/16″, you can use it accurately to mill, and the motor works great. According to users of this built, this spindle can be run with the same VFD setting.
However, you shouldn’t exceed the 18,000 RPM, which could prolong the lifespan of the spindle. The spindle comes with an excellent sound level, while most of the noise comes from the cutting rather than the cooling fan.
If you are going to buy this spindle, make sure you have an adequate understanding of your VFD setting and do not commit to what the seller insists on this particular controller. Above all, this spindle works excellent when used accordingly, and it gets a little warm after hours of use but sure works better than a router.
Specification and Advantages
- This spindle motor frame is made with stainless steel of 174mm length and 82mm width and a voltage-current of 220VAC.
- The spindle work on a frequency of 0 ~ 300 Hz
- can go on a speed of 18000 RPM max.
- It has an air cooling system
- Runout of less than 0.005m.
- The bearing lubrication is grease with a bearing size of 2×7007(P4), 2x7002C(P4).
- it weighs 7.5kg which is ideal to be mounted on smaller tables.
- Get hots after some hrs of usage
11- Waterproof Water Cooled Spindle Motor 2.2KW- Carved Metal Milling Engraving Machine
The water spindles are a great buy for your money. They are specially fitted with well-defined roles and are specially designed to function this way. When its speed was put to test at different times, the spindle runs smoothly to 24,000RPM.
The socket runout is less than .0001 and with a 6mm collet it still ran with a small number of tens. The collet which is brand new and used to check the tapper angle shows that the tapper angle looks great.
There is a 1/2″ runout variation of the collet pin from .0001″ to .0003″, which measures about an inch off the collet face. However, the collet nut thread didn’t come out a suitable size on the OD.
In all, the overall verdict on this spindle is good.
- This spindle motor is Waterproof
- can be used on metal ( steel, Aluminum,etc.).
- 4pcs Bearings
- High-Quality Bearings
- Precision tapered bore 0.01mm;
- Main Application: Wood, Glass, PVC industry.
- The spindle speed can’t lower than 9000rpm
- Runout off: Less than 0.02mm.
- The spindle motor Mainly suitable for non-metallic engraving
12- Blushless 400W Air Cooled Spindle motor kit
This spindle can be run on a machine similar to the Nomad 883. For many users, there is no better choice to running a hobby CNC router built from aluminum extrusion and belts as compared to palm router. The DC motor air-cooled is built to support the MACH3 software to control the speed of the spindle motor.
The controller works flawlessly, and the PCB is made of decent quality with a nice big heatsink on the MOSFETs. When in operation, it is very quiet even from a 36v power supply and get 9600RPM WOT.
However, the package does not come with documentation, but a link is provided for easy configuration.
- Fits perfectly with DC motors
- comes with a well-run DSP technology
- the driver is constructed to push the spindle to a maximum level
- bigger torque.
- easy to control the motor speed
- package does not come with documentation
Overall, either if you are just starting with your small business or you are already an established brand organization, the CNC motors are probably one of the few best investment you can make in your business.
And as you must have noticed, there are lots of things to consider when choosing part of your build. Getting the right stepper or router will all depend on what you want to achieve with your build.
This guide on the best CNC motors is meant to help you understand what to look out for when choosing the right material and what specifications are the best for any particular objective. This guide will point you in the right direction on what stepper motors or routers to use. Last but not least don’t hesitate to check other articles about CNC on our website.