In this effort, a six-degree-of-freedom (DOF) model is presented for the study of a machine-tool spindle-bearing system. The dynamics of machine-tool spindle system supported by ball bearings can be described by a set of second order nonlinear differential equations with piecewise stiffness and damping due to the bearing clearance. To investigate the effect of bearing clearance, bifurcations and routes to chaos of this nonsmooth system, numerical simulation is carried out. Numerical results show when the inner race touches the bearing ball with a low speed, grazing bifurcation occurs. The solutions of this system evolve from quasi-periodic to chaotic orbit, from period doubled orbit to periodic orbit, and from periodic orbit to quasi-periodic orbit through grazing bifurcations. In addition, the tori doubling process to chaos which usually occurs in the impact system is also observed in this spindle-bearing system.