How to control cnc spindle motor with ramps board?

To control a CNC spindle motor using a Ramps board, connect the motor to the board, configure the software settings, and use G-code commands to control the spindle speed and direction during CNC operations.

The RAMPS (RepRap Arduino Mega Pololu Shield) board is a popular control board option for DIY CNC machines and 3D printers. With some additional wiring and configuration, the RAMPS board can also be used to control a spindle motor on a CNC machine.

Wiring the Spindle Motor

The RAMPS board can connect to and control a brushed DC spindle motor. The motor typically requires higher current than the Arduino pins can supply, so an external motor driver is used. The driver takes a PWM (pulse width modulation) signal from the Arduino to vary motor speed.

The spindle motor power wires connect to the driver output. The driver control wires connect to the RAMPS board Z-axis enable pin to control spindle on/off and the Z-axis step pin for PWM speed control. Opto-isolators between the RAMPS board and motor driver provide protection.
How to control cnc spindle motor with ramps board

Configuring RAMPS for Spindle Control

To enable spindle control, the RAMPS firmware must be configured appropriately. The configuration.h file needs to have Z_ENABLE_PIN defined for spindle on/off control and Z_STEP_PIN for PWM speed output.

The firmware needs code to initialize the spindle enable and step pins as outputs. When spindle on is commanded, the enable pin is set high to turn on the driver and PWM output begins on the step pin. Speed is controlled by adjusting the PWM duty cycle.

Using Spindle Commands

G-code commands control spindle operation. Common commands are:

M3 - Turn spindle clockwise at set speed

M4 - Turn spindle counter-clockwise

M5 - Turn off spindle

SXXXX - Set spindle speed in RPM

The speed value is translated to the corresponding PWM duty cycle to achieve the desired RPM based on the motor specs.


The RAMPS board can control a spindle motor when properly wired and configured. With the addition of a suitable motor driver, the RAMPS board provides the interface needed for variable speed spindle operation on a DIY CNC machine. The flexible open-source firmware makes integrating spindle control very accessible.

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