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The guide to buying a CNC machine router

A CNC machine router is a computerized version of a handheld router. This automated device specializes in cutting, drilling, boring, and routing a variety of materials.

What makes the CNC router special is the fact that it can process lighter materials. CNC routers are typically geared toward machining softer, low-density workpieces, such as those made of copper and aluminum. And while the lower torque and speed of router bits may seem like a limitation, CNC routers are exceptionally fast.

What it lacks in mass (compared to milling machines), the CNC router makes up for in performance. It can produce precise, accurate, and complex shapes and contours with a high degree of repeatability.

If you’ve decided to buy your first CNC router, here’s a comprehensive guide to help you make the purchase. We assume that you have already conducted a detailed evaluation of whether or not you need a CNC router.

Main components of a CNC router


Some of the main components of a CNC router are:

– Spindle: The spindle is the life and blood of a CNC machine. It uniquely represents the versatility of the router. CNC spindles differ in handling, machining, cooling, etc.

– Motor: The motor is the heart of your machine – the organ responsible for making the machine work. CNC motors can be either stepper motors or servo motors. The motor determines the performance of your CNC machine.

– Table: The CNC milling table helps you to clamp your workpieces. These are made from a variety of materials, from aluminum-based T-slots to MDF spoil boards. The former needs to be replaced regularly when required.

– Control system: Control systems are the brains of CNC machines. They interpret the CAD/CAM software and execute the G-code programming that enables mechanical action.

– Motion Control Drives: CNC mills typically move through at least 3 axes – the x-axis, the y-axis, and the z-axis. Their motion defines the required tool path and associated motions (linear, rotary, etc.) that support machining.

Visit also: CNC Machine parts

What materials can you machine with a CNC router?


As mentioned earlier, CNC routers are very versatile and can machine the following materials:

– Wood

– Medium-density fiberboard (MDF)

– foam

– plastic

– acrylic glass

– Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

– Stone

– Certain metals (such as copper, brass, aluminum)

– Glass

– Aluminum composite material (ACM)

A CNC router can process the above materials by woodworking, carving (2D/3D), fabricating, milling, shaping, engraving, tapping, grooving, and more.

Why do you need a CNC router?

Now that you have a clear understanding of what a CNC router is, it’s time to answer why shops need them in the first place. Compared to manual machining, CNC routers offer the following advantages:

  1. CNC routers can reduce the initial cost by 30%, which improves your shop’s cost balance.
  2. it can machine a variety of materials, from plastics and foam to marble and copper.
  3. because they are computer-controlled, CNC routers introduce automation that reduces operating, labor, and machining costs – increasing your bottom line.
  4. It reduces waste, which could contribute to higher operating costs.
  5. If you’re working with large workpieces, you can buy CNC routers with compatible cutting arrays to make the job easier.

– CNC routers offer impeccable repeatability, which can be a big issue when producing high-precision jobs.

  1. Due to high speed, greater accuracy, and less waste, CNC routers can increase the production capacity many times.

2.CNC router machines are widely used in various industries, from advertising to woodworking.

3.Operations with CNC routers are much easier because they are automated.

  1. it minimizes the need for physical handling and processing of workpieces, which improves safety conditions for your employees.

Important considerations when buying a CNC router

Given the above benefits, you may be eager to get your hands on the latest CNC router. But before you start looking for a router, there are a few factors you should consider:


Budget is often the most important consideration when buying a piece of equipment. For example, a hobbyist or a do-it-yourselfer obviously can’t spend as much as a production unit. When you consider that CNC routers can cost anywhere from $2,500 to $180,000, the question of cost becomes a bigger issue. And that price range can vary depending on configuration, brand, specifications, and more. The best way to analyze whether the investment in a CNC router is justified is to perform a cost analysis, calculate the ROI and quantify the value that the machine will provide. This holistic assessment can narrow your budget range with the appropriate realistic expectations.

Type of CNC Router


Not every CNC router you come across will be suitable for the task at hand. Therefore, it needs to be calibrated to the specific application and capability. Fortunately, CNC routers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, giving users a world of choice! Some of these include:

– Benchtop CNC

– Mini CNC Router

– Lightweight Router

– Benchtop CNC Router

– Material based CNC

– 3-Axis, 4-Axis, 5-Axis CNC Routers

– They can also vary depending on whether it is the basic model or feature-rich industrial models.

– Size and capacity

– The capacity of a CNC router is a product of project size and requirements.

– If you’re a beginner, your projects will differ significantly from those of an experienced woodworker. Typically, a CNC machine with a 4×8 work surface will serve beginners, students, and small stores. Similarly, a mini CNC router would be more appropriate for small businesses, while larger companies opt for top-of-the-line industrial models.

– When calculating the acceptable size, you also need to balance it with the available space in your workshop.

– Accessibility

– While we’re on the topic of space, it’s also worth noting that the positioning of your CNC router also makes a big difference. For example, it could allow or block access to some parts. Similarly, you’ll also need to consider the location of power connections and the amount of electricity needed to run the machine. Finally, you need to check the positioning of your inventory and how finished products are transported from the machine so you can minimize movement.

– Duty cycle

– Duty cycle determines the number of hours you can run the CNC router.

– For example, a duty cycle of 100% would mean that the machine can run for 10 full minutes. On the other hand, a duty cycle of 20% would mean that it can only operate for 2 minutes out of 10.

– So depending on your project requirements, delivery deadlines, and the planned useful life of the machine, you can choose a machine with a lower or higher duty cycle.

– Longevity


Under normal conditions, a CNC router is a powerful workhorse. While wear and tear is an inevitable side effect of use, machine durability is often a concern. First of all, it is a sign of high quality. You don’t want to use machine tools that are dull or use collets that cause the workpiece to slip. Durability is also a product of the maintenance activities that must be performed to keep the machine performing at a high level.

Customer service

Customer service is often overlooked when choosing a CNC router. However, you need solid customer service, AMC contracts, and 24×7 support to make your experience easier.

Supra Vertical CNC Knee Mill

If you’re looking for a CNC milling machine that will meet most of your expectations and last a long time, the CNC Supra Vertical Knee Mill is a good place to start. Here is a brief overview of its features:

– Available in 9×49 and 10×54.

– Power requirement: 240V single-phase AC.

– 3HP variable speed spindle motor.

– 52PC clamping set.

– 3-axis CNC Bridgeport X, Y, Z type ball screws with preloaded ball nuts.


A CNC router can be a great addition to your workshop. However, before you spend the big bucks, ask yourself the following questions:

– Where and how do you plan to use the CNC router?

– What specifications and configurations do you need?

– How can you get the most out of your CNC machine selection?

These guidelines can help guide you in finding the best CNC router for your shop. All it takes is a little research to get the machine of your dreams.

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