I picked up the Harbor Freight 1/2 hp, 2.4 amp, 26,000 rpm 1/4" collet trim router for under $20 on sale and was wondering if anybody else in the forum is using the same router as their CNC spindle? I must admit, knowing the pitfalls of shopping at Harbor Freight and having done years of commercial construction, I am pretty impressed at the quality of this tool for under $20! I haven't used it as my CNC spindle yet as I am still finishing up my machine but I have used it for some basic routing around the shop and it has worked great so far. The router itself is beefy and well made. It comes with a clear ABS type plastic base that while it has a great rack-and-pinion depth adjustment - seems flimsy and easily breakable. Doesn't matter since you take that off to install it in your CNC machine anyway. Other than that I have no complaints. It even comes with an edge guide and an extra set of brushes - all for around $20 depending on if it's on sale at the time.
Click here to read a review of the Harbor Freight Trim Router on LumberJocks
Realizing that 26,000 rpm is not the ideal speed for many materials - I also picked up the Harbor Freight router speed control which I know many people have used to great success and have recommended for just about any similar trim router to be used as a CNC spindle. I got the speed control on sale for $14.95!
I found free plans for a spindle mount for the HF trim router that fits like a charm and holds the router quite securely (click here to download the plans) . The plans call for the base plate to be HDPE but I used MDF when I built it because that's what I had sitting around. You can also buy the mount pre-made directly from modularcnc.com who also drew the plans.
I am really looking forward to putting this spindle to the test - I hope it works out. I think it will. I would really like to hear back if anybody else is using the same router.