High-Speed Cutting Without a High-Speed Machine

During a recent “Breakfast and Learn” event, Big Kaiser offered an in-depth presentation on spindle speeders, which enable manufacturers to run high rpms and small tools on machines that otherwise wouldn’t be capable of doing so.


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Many attendees to DMG MORI’s “Innovation Days” open house a few weeks back started their day not at the machine tool builder’s Chicago-area facility, but at a complementary event across the street. There, Big Kaiser Precision Tooling offered early-to-rise attendees not only a full breakfast and coffee, but also an education.

For instance, Jack Burley, vice president of sales and engineering, spent about half an hour taking attendees through the ins and outs of spindle speeders. These devices enable manufacturers to run high rpms and small tools on machines that otherwise wouldn’t be capable of either.

Burley covers the topic in the above video quite thoroughly. However, it's worth emphasizing that there are certain things Burley says prospective users should look for in any spindle speeder, regardless of design: 

Low thermal distortion. While this is important for all models, air-driven spindles have the advantage here because the main machine spindle does not rotate during operation. In contrast, gear-driven designs work via a set of planetary gears that amplify the rotational motion of the main spindle. 

High speed. Gear-driven models can achieve speeds ranging to 24,000 rpm, making them well-suited for boosting machines with an inherent 5-6,000 rpm using tools ranging from 0.06” to 0.625” in diameter. Air-driven models, in contrast, can achieve speeds ranging to 120,000 rpm, although torque becomes more of an issue as speeds increase (of course, neither design is suitable for heavy cutting).  

High Accuracy. Users will realize no benefit at all from a speeder with dynamic runout that’s worse than that of the machine spindle itself.

Automatic Tool Change. Users should not have to stop the operation to hook up lines or manually install the device. Big Kaiser products fit in the machine’s ATC just like any other tool.

Low noise.