Troubleshooting Spindle Issues That You Can Fix Yourself And Those You Can't

You can't work if the spindle isn't running on your machine. With every manufacturing moment precious these days, you don't have time for downtime. Here are some common spindle problems that you can DIY — and a few that you probably need to send to a pro for more complicated calibration.

The Do-It-Yourself Fixes

Do not attempt any DIY fixes if you're not qualified to do so. Get someone who is trained to fix your machine when it goes on the fritz.

If your spindle's running backwards after installation, check if it is a 3-phase motor with terminal blocks. Then find two power leads and switch them so your spindle runs in the direction it's supposed to.

If your spindle stops over the tool but won't pick it up, first check to verify the ejection stroke, then adjust the sensor so that it reads correctly.

If your tool changer clamps break, check the machine offsets for each axis and the timing.

Those are three top issues that you can be shown how to fix yourself by your supervisor or other trained machinist. And if your spindle's leaking air out the front of it, don't worry. That's perfectly normal.

The Maybe Send Out to a Pro Fixes

Sometimes the parts for the fixes aren't readily available on-site. Sometimes the spindle fix is beyond everyone's skill set. Sometimes you just need professional diagnostics to find out why a spindle vibrates or jerks like crazy, creating poor machine performance. Here are a few situations that might warrant outside repair:

  • You keep getting faults and trips on your equipment.
  • Your spindle's running hot, won't turn, or locks up.
  • Your tool is not clamping, is unclamping, or is not holding the tool tight enough to complete the process.
  • Your spindle isn't releasing the tool.
  • The sensors aren't working properly.

One compelling reason that you might need to outsource your spindle fix is that your machine is custom-built. If that's the case, your custom machine spindle supplier may have to create another custom machine spindle to get you up and running.

There are many other reasons for spindle issues. It could be the high axial or high radial load. It might be that your tooling is unbalanced. Other failures include actuation issues while your machine's running or improper input power.

Spindle machines may look like they are hardy enough to endure the wear and tear of manufacturing, but they're actually precision instruments that need TLC to do their specific job to exacting standards. So don't DIY unless you know for sure that the fix is in.