CNC routers are some of the most popular wood working tools among woodworkers. They are simply automated cutting solutions that help boost productivity and enhance the quality of manufacturing processes. Routers have the ability of cutting a variety of materials, ranging from wood to aluminum. With CNC routers, even the most unique manufacturing needs are well met. They offer the required versatility and efficiency in woodworking. We will cover in detail how the CNC router differs from the handheld router and its benefits.
What is CNC Machine?
The acronym CNC stands for Computer Control Numeric. It is a general term that denotes various processes that are utilized in manufacturing. As for the CNC router, it is a wood-cutting device that is completely controlled and manipulated using a computer or a laptop. The tool is not only used in cutting wood, but it is also used in cutting some other materials such as plastic and metal.
Types of CNC Routers
There are various types of them, include:
- Industrial CNC Routers: They make up approximately 80% of CNC routers available in the market. Most woodworking companies have these types of tools and use them for mass production of products such as signs, furniture, doors, and many others.
- Mid Range CNCs: They are as accurate and precise as the industrial category and have same internal components. The only difference lies in their size. They are a bit smaller and lighter when compared to the industrial CNC routers.
- Hobby CNCs: These are homemade CNCs. The owner themselves designs and makes these routers. The woodworker can download various plans or buy a plan. Each of these types of machines will have a unique design and built based on the parts used and the budget.
- Specially designed CNC routers: Are CNC routers that are designed for specific purposes. They include Multi Axis CNCs and Specialty CNCs.
When to Use CNC Routers
There are scenarios when it makes sense to use a CNC router. These include:
- Projects that require high precision: This is the major advantage of CNC routers. They deliver precise and accurate cuts with no variation from piece to piece.
- Productivity: CNC routers are a huge advantage if you want to focus mainly on productivity. They save a lot on labor, time, and ultimately money.
- Uniformity in quality: CNCs delivers exact copy products and thus they are ideal for maintaining quality in production. If you desire to maintain quality in production then they are the best option.
Advantages of CNC Routers
- The major advantage with CNC routers is the fact that they can be operated continuously and will only be switched off when maintenance practices are to be carried out. They offer high class accuracy and generally reduce the amount of waste.
- These tools offer immense advantages with its technology allowing innumerable products to be built out of it.
- It is quite a breeze to update your CNC router. Software packages for advancement make it so much easier to upgrade this power tool. They do not require the woodworker to purchase a prototype and one person can supervise several units of these tools with no need for manual operation. Once programmed, CNC routers deliver outstanding results.
- The woodworker gets some other benefits from the suppliers. For instance, its virtual application coaches the user on how to use the tool. You will therefore realize within no time that you can work easily with the machine.
- CNC routers are highly efficient. Unlike other wood routers, these machines require a few people to operate the machines. One person can handle several machines making it much cheaper to mass produce at a lower cost. They are the most effective in production and critics think they promote being out of work.
- These routers are ideal for any skill level. Unlike other types of wood routers that require experience and skill to handle, these machines can be handled even by amateur wood workers. They can take the position of the skilled carpenter.
Difference between CNC Routers and Handheld Routers
1. Difference in How they are Controlled
This is the most notable difference between CNC and handheld routers. CNC routers are controlled by computer programs that are usually pre-programmed. Some other CNC machine programs can also be added by the user. Since CNC machines are automated they are generally preferred in handling woodworking operations that require mass production of exact copies of products. The handheld ones are controlled manually and may not deliver exact copies of the same product. However CNC machines need special training unlike handheld routers.
2. Functional Differences
There is a wide difference between CNC and handheld routers when it comes to pure woodwork. CNCs are capable of producing highly detailed work within a very short time. With handhelds, they come with single cutting head which is unlike CNCs that have up to five. Therefore, with CNCs you can mass produce detailed woodwork.
3. Applicability Differences
Top grade CNC routers are generally ideal for industrial level applications and come at a higher price. Therefore, most woodworkers would rather settle for lower grade CNCs or use handhelds in handling the top grade CNC router work. In doing this, it takes the wood worker a longer time to complete the project. The second impact is that it results in wearing out of the router before its time. This in the long run will cost more in repairs than the amount used for buying a top grade CNC router. One rule to always remember is: buy only what you need.
4. Price Differences
Handheld routers are so much cheaper when compared to CNCs. You can get a handheld router under $1000 whereas a top grade CNC router may cost you up to $150,000. CNCs are highly priced due to their impressive capabilities. You can get a well-functioning top grade CNC router at a lower price by purchasing it from a professional seller who deals in used machines.
If thinking of buying a CNC router but just feel overwhelmed by the many guides about these machines, do not worry. Just like using other hand tools, it is quite easy to learn and use these machines. Once you understand all that is required to build or operate these machines, it becomes quite exciting to own and operate one.
1. E3 CNC Router Engraver Kit with DeWalt DW660 Router (450mm x 390mm x 85mm)
The E3 CNC Engraver has the following features: a rigid laser cut frame SG20U, supported rail system, GT2 belt drive on X and Y axis, 5/16-18 dual brass nut on the Z axis, home switches on all axis, MDF Spoil-board with 1/4-20 threaded inserts, DeWalt DW660 router (included), designed to use GRBL firmware on the KeyeStudio/Arduino Uno. The E3 gantry height from the table is 3.3″. The maximum height from the bottom of the DeWalt collet from the table is 4.5″. Without a tool change you would be able to cut 1.2″ into a 3.3″ thick stock or cut all the way thru a 2.25″ (or less) thick stock. With tool changes you would be able to cut thru a 3.3″ thick stock.
- The E3 is a full 3 axis machine
- Cutting Area: X: 17.7″ (450 mm), Y: 15.3″ (380 mm), Z: 3.3″ (85 mm)
- The assembled foot print: length: 24.8″ (630 mm), width: 25.2″ (640 mm), height: 18.9″ (480 mm)
- The kit comes with the controller, motors, and power supply
- It uses GRBL firmware on the micro-controller
- The micro-controller uses a USB to connect to the computer
- The spindle comes with a 1/8″ and 1/4″ collects
- Straight, vee, and rounded bits will all work
- You would be able to run with Microsoft Windows 10 as well as many other Operating Systems
2. CNC Piranha FX
Its compact 12-inch x 18-inch table and it also includes a convenient touch-screen interface makes it perfect for smaller-scale projects like carvings, plaques, ornamental boxes and precision parts machined from wood, soft metals, or plastics – all at a fraction of the price of a full-sized CNC. With its 3-D carving capability, including a 3-D models library, you can carve expensive corbels and cut intricate inlays and engravings.
The CNC Piranha® is so incredibly accurate that you can even use it to engrave custom circuit boards. Its creative potential is unlimited, and the entire machine can easily fit on one end of your bench. Just design your work with the included VCarve Desktop V8 Design software on your PC computer with USB 2.0 port, and then simply save the program directly to a USB flash drive, plug it into the Pendant, select your file, and hit the run button. No need to have your computer subjected to a dusty shop environment. PC & USB flash drive sold separately.
- Table dimensions: 12-inch x 18-inch
- XYZ travel: 12-inch x 13-inch x 3-inch
- Overall dimensions: 19-1/2-inch W x 20-1/2-inch L x 18-inch H
- Aluminum interlocking slotted table track for highly customizable clamping
- Includes VCarve Desktop V8 design software (software is not MAC compatible)
- Vector art 3-D sampler pack (software is not MAC compatible)
- Only compatible with Windors 7 and above
- Color touch screen pendant controller system
- Requires a PC Computer with USB 2.0 port (not included)
- Requires a DeWalt, Porter-Cable, or similar style Palm Router (sold separately)
- Requires a Bosch motor mounting bracket (161666) if Bosch motor is being used
- Currently not compatible with the touch probe (upgrade coming soon)
- Includes 1/4″ V- router Bit
- Includes 2 hold-down clamps
- Ships fully assembled
- Made in USA
3. Gowe® 10*13 Inch CNC Router
Can engraving much more materails by spiral flute bits, such as metal, steel, mdf board, solid wood, composite board plywood, stone. Spindle motor knob is useful for small positioning adjustment, with steady and strong support structure. Cover plates reducing pollution for the screws and shafts. The reinforced and thickened machine body make transportation absolutely to be safer and longer life time. The chrome shafts is not easy to deform, suitable for long time use. Flexible coupling can be used for high torque transmission. High precision stepping motor makes engraving more precise.
- X,Y,Z working area: 390×280×55mm
- Max. feeding height: ≤70mm; outside dimension: 615×485×390mm
- Table size: 525×320mm
- Lathe structure: 6061/6063 aluminium alloy
- Stepping motor: two-phase 57/1.8A
- Drive unit: ball screw
- Sliding unit: chromeplate shaft
- Maximum speed: 4000mm/min
- Engraving speed: 300-3000mm/min
- Repeat positioning accuracy: 0.05mm
4. JFT 3040 600w+ 4 Axis +Usb Port +Mach 3 CNC Router /Carving/engraving Machine (4 Axis +600W)
It can cut：pvc, acrylic, plastic, pcb, ic grinding, double color boards, bakelite, generation of wood model, real wood, hardwood, etc. Z axis travel up to 90mm, which can meet the carving large objects and add fourth axis use requirem. The XYZ axis is arranged travel limit switch, to avoid the operation process of the trouble. The new TBI SFU1605 ball screw，more strong and accurate. It’s accuracy is 0.02-0.03mm. High quality, all the products have passed the European CE certification; the best cost-effective，new exterior design, beautiful generous.
- Outline dimension: 660×540×470mm
- Bed dimension: 570×360×15mm
- Effective travel X: 300mm Y: 400mm Z：90mm
- Engraving area: 300X400mm
- The maximum thickness of the workpiece ≤ 130mm
- Stepper motor: new two-phase stepper motor, it’s torque is 0.59NM
- The maximum running speed: 4000mm/minute
- Engraving speed: 50～3500mm/minute
- Repeat positioning accuracy ≤0.03mm
- Input voltage AC: 110V
- Machine weight: 42Kg (4 axis)
Tips and Tricks when purchasing CNC Router
CNC machines today, utilize a complex arrangement of machines and controllers joined with controller programming to guide the router. Utilizing this system to control the machine, you can deliver a close impeccable item.
Purchasing can be an overwhelming assignment, without a doubt. This is the place the Buyers Guide proves to be useful. It will walk you through all the choices you have to make keeping in mind the end goal to restricted your decisions.
The following are a few tips and deceives you have to consider:
- Drive system: There are normally 3 sorts of drive frameworks on a router including Rack and Pinion, Lead Screw, and Ballscrew. Ballscrew is the most costly additionally withstands bigger material size and yields better exactness.
- Motor system: Servo Motors are best for rapid, high torque applications including nonstop load changes while Stepper Motors are less costly and best for low-medium velocity, high torque applications. More data…
- Spindle: Spindles are engines that do the genuine cutting with the utilization of a cutting device. Take a gander at the abilities of the shaft including RPM, torque, power prerequisites, load appraisals, collet sort and size, axle engine sort, and so forth. More data…
- Automatic Tool Changing System (ATC): If your application obliges utilizing more than one instrument, then an ATC System would help to change apparatuses productively, diminish administrator slip and reduction employment times. More data…
- Table size: Buy a vast enough steering machine that can deal with your ordinary material size while considering space for development or occupations that oblige longer material to be transformed.
- Machine Weight: The heavier the machine, the better it is developed, the better it performs. Notwithstanding, if your business requires successive transportation of the machine, you may need to look around for a solid and inflexible machine that measures the minimum.
- Software: Knowing the machine does what it is customized to do, contribute in progressive programming that gives precision, effectiveness, customary upgrades, and so on. In the event that you oblige fabricating complex parts, a particular programming bundle may be needed.
- Vacuum: The more hold down quality, the heavier material you can cut. Take a gander at the amount of vacuum weight the machine has and how well the table holds down material.
- Dust Collection: CNC Routers can produce a great deal of sawdust. Vacuum Systems can clean up the climate and the general zone of operation. Verify more or less the amount of dust will be made, what sort and weight of waste needs to be gathered, and where if you put the vacuum framework so it lives up to expectations generally adequately.
- Features: Look for Router frameworks that offer an assortment of gimmicks. Basically, machine emphasizes basically make things simpler for you. You need a machine that is gainful, can transform effectively and obliges practically no supervision once the settings are set up.
When bought, make beyond any doubt you keep up and tend to them as it is critical to dependably work with a sharp router bit. More data…
- Costs/Budget: The expense of a CNC Router relies on upon the brand, model, characteristics, alternatives, size, development, and then some. From entrance level to top of the line Routers, they can cost more or less $5k to over $150k. Remember there are likewise the expenses of establishment, preparing, programming, guarantees, readiness, consumables, and so forth. Do examination and plan to buy a dependable and top notch machine at the most extreme sum you can bear.
Undoubtedly, CNC routers are astounding instruments. They offer the capacity to have an outline accumulated to life a matter of minutes. Talented skilled workers can likewise deliver an item utilizing an exhibit of apparatuses.