For any newbie, it is very important to choose a cheap CNC router kit to lay the foundation for more intricate and complex projects. Buying a cheap kit allows you to make mistake which otherwise are not possible if you buy a very expensive machine.
If your plan to work on small scale hobbyist projects, then you can save by assembling your own CNC Router in a DIY way.
With a multitude of options and increasing number of bad quality CNC routers in the market, getting the best CNC Router is not an easy task.
In this post, we bring to you tried and tested list of 8 Best Cheap CNC router Kits which are affordable for beginners and pros.
Wood , Plastic and related items
A Rigid laser cut frame with SG20U Supported Rail System
Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO
Wood, All types of Plastic and Soft Aluminium
It comes with GRBL support and runs on arduino.
MYSWEETY 1610 CNC
Wood, Plastics and Soft metals like Copper and Aluminium
Control software is GRBL, Supported in Windows XP / Win 7 / Win 8 / Win 10.
Has a high Speed 775 spindle motor
Upgrade Version CNC 3018 Pro
Wood , Plastic and related items. No Hard Metal
Control software GRBL which is compatible with Windows XP / Win 7 / Win 8 / Win 10.
Taishi 3 AXIS 800W CNC Router
Wood, Plastics, Soft Metals, Alloys
Precise engraving with the help of Mach 3.
BobsCNC E4 CNC Router Engraver
Wood , Plastic and related items
Arduino-based Microprocessor and DW660 router, easily attachable to a USB port.
CNC 3018 Router Kit by NUOXINUS
GRBL control software supporting Support system: windows xp, win7, win8, win 10, linux.
VEVOR CNC Router 3020T
Woods, Plastics, soft metals, acrylics, PVCs, and PCBs.
Ball Screw Drive System for high precision and efficiency.
Even if you are buying a cheap router kit, you should never compromise on certain factors. Read the guide to know what to consider when buying a cheap CNC machine.
Being clear about your project is the first step you do before buying a CNC Router Kit. The list covers top rated affordable CNC router kits and hence comes with its own limitations. Most CNC routers here are suitable for small craftsmanship and hobbyist projects and is incapable of handling engraving projects of industry grade.
Imagine buying a CNC Router whose table doesn't accommodate the material you want to work with. Scale your working material, cutting area and choose the right fit from the CNC router kits available.
Three types of Drive system are used in CNC Routers
- Rack & Pinion
- Lead Screw
- Ball Screw
Out of all three, Ball Screw works the best. It provides better precision and finish. So do consider the same while comparing.
Industry uses mainly two kinds of motors in CNC Routers i.e Stepper and Servo .
Stepper is more easy to use, priced lower and much more abundant. It is also considered more reliable, although it comes with much less efficiency.
Vacuum system holds your work piece in place. It sucks the air out and keeps your work piece steady. Heavy work pieces would need a strong vacuum and the value of which is measured in pressure.
The quintessential part of CNC Routers which assists the motor in work. It comes in various sizes, shapes and speed. Spindle speed defines the type of project you want to carry out. Spindle requiring 0.8kW and 24,000 rpm is sufficient for machining aluminum, plastic, wood or laminate with cutters up to 5mm.For materials like steel which needs more power, we need constant 3.3kW spindle with a lower rpm (15,000 to 18,000 rpm) for cutters up to 10mm.
Sharp, Compatible bits will provide clean cuts and use less power. Choosing the wrong bit can make a good result turn an average. Bits vary with the type of finish needed and the type of material used. Straight router bits are used for grooves and decorative inlays meanwhile raised panel bits are used for larger cuts to products like panel doors.
Your CNC Routers should have software compatible with your desktop computer or other device concerned. Operating system plays a big part as many CNC routers are compatible only in specific ones. For e.g MYSWEETY 1610 CNC Router Kit is only compatible with Windows and not with Mac, Linus or other Operating systems.
Users have reported damaged or missing parts in CNC Router kit packages on arrival. Good customer support would ease the process of replacement .Many companies provide support for assembling the DIY Kits. Most CNC Routers also come with a warranty which should be confirmed with the seller. Also, some do come with after sales repair services.
If your work demands frequent shifting of the machine, you may consider buying a steady yet less heavy router kits. For Home based projects heavier CNCs are required as they are more sturdy and provide more stability to the build.
CNC projects can create a lot of dust which can affect your health and interfere in the machine systems. Check to know how much dust would be created, what type of waste would be created from your project and accordingly buy a CNC router with a good capacity dust collection port.
The cost of the CNC routers kits can vary anywhere from 100$ to over $150k. Remember there are other expenses like Installation, Software, and so forth, you have to consider. If the purpose of buying is to produce industry standard products, then buying affordable router kits won't suffice your needs.
8 Best Cheap CNC Router Kits Reviews
Bobscnc Evolution 3 comes with the ideal solution for small and hobbyist projects.
It has a rigid laser cut frame from Baltic Birch plywood which ensures durability and stability. The E3 CNC router also comes with the DW660 router. DW660 is highly dependable, lightweight router which gives out high performance.
DW660 router is executed by Arduino-based microprocessor which connects through the USB port and makes the process quite easy. The same is compatible to run on Linux, Windows, Raspberry Pi and OSX.
E3 router runs on the popular SG20U supported rail system with a GT2 belt drive on X and Y axis. E3 weighs 26 pounds and has dimensions 25 x 19 x 25 inches making it highly portable and easy to use. It also has a large working area of X: 450 mm, Y: 380 mm Z: 85 mm and hence accommodates different kinds of material.
The router is equipped with a DeWalt spindle and it can work with collection ports of 1/8 inch and ¼ inch respectively.
E3 is a great first home-built kit for Beginners and DIY Artists. Instructions for the DIY Kit are available for download on the manufacturer’s website.
Want to know more about the Bobscnc E3 read this complete review about bobscnc e3
Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO is a great tool for starting CNC learning. It's an upgraded version of 3018 with new mounting for the X and Y rods and lead screws. Genmitsu is capable of cutting all types of plastics, soft aluminum, woods, acrylics, PVCs, and PCBs, and a wide range of other material. The router has an effective carving depth at 1.8 inches.
Genmitsu 3018 uses the latest firmware GRBL as control program. Its an open-source software for controlling movement and runs on Arduino based microprocessor. This platform has become the industry standard due to the abundance of resources and support available. The Kit also comes up with CD having firmware upgrade software with instructions. Please note that the kit doesn’t come with a limit switch.
This model has a decent cutting area of 300x180x45mm and a Spindle with 775 motor capable of handling RPM of just around 9000.
The input is supported by Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10. CNC 3018 Pro comes with an offline controller which solves the hassle of booting up your pc for every small work.They have also reduced quite a lot of time by installing the files on the controller. However you have to use carbide create or easel to generate custom code.
Detailed instructions are provided for the assembly. Users faced difficulties assembling possibly caused by the varying fits of screws and couplers. Be sure to check out the step by step guide online .
MYSWEETY has earned a lot of respect and reputation from the woodworkers community for its cost effective CNC routers in the market. MYSWEETY DIY CNC Router Kit 1610 also lived up to the expectation of what fine grade MYSWEETY CNC Routers delivers.
This benchtop CNC router comes with a 160 x 100 x 45mm cutting area, fairly limited to the types of projects to be handled. MYSWEETY is able to engrave a variety of aluminum, plastics, wood, acrylic, PVC, and PCB. Mysweety 1610 Router is one of the best affordable CNC Routers and that's why in our list of cheap CNC router kits.
The router has GRBL control system and is compatible only with Windows Operating System. Also included is a high-speed 775 spindle motor and a new Nema 17 stepper motor which runs at a speed of 7000RPM. These Motors were really impressive and deliver quality cuts with speed and accuracy, a rarity in this price range.
Package includes ER11 holder which is difficult to install. Solution comes in the form of various open source platforms and online guide, where the process is explained.
MYSWEETY DIY 1610 is a lightweight 11 pound CNC router with an easy assembly and installation.
Mysweet Upgraded version 3018 CNC is very interesting router kit for this price range. The CNC 3018 Pro includes a GRBL control programming that is bolstered by Windows XP, 7, 8, and 10. 3018 Pro has the capability to make your home based project a success at affordable price range.
One such notable feature is its offline controlling. Offline Controllers can do some simple curving, punching, curving rectangle shape without being connected to the computer. Additionally the controller comes with preinstalled software, so you don't have to download anything online.
CNC 3018 Pro is lightweight and compact with dimensions 17.8 x 9.6 x 7 inches and a very friendly weight of 15.35 pounds. This makes it really easy to work with. This model has cutting area of 30 x 18 x 4 cm, decent for CNC machines for small hobbyist projects.
The best bit of leeway of the CNC 3018 Pro is the offline controller . But you can't use the offline controller and the PC together. One has to be disabled to use the other.
The model accompanies a spindle motor that can run upto 1000 Rpm . This allows the CNC router to cut your work pieces with speed and exactness. Additionally, it includes a stepper engine that produces 0.25N/M torque. In this way, it can make exact and smooth etchings on plastic, wood, PVC, acrylic, and PCB materials. Although it fails to deliver when metals are used.
Taishi 3 AXIS 8000W CNC router is a professional cnc router kit with impressive functions and capable of engraving soft and hard materials. It has thick 15 mm aluminium plate that give it a sturdy build quality. The strong built and unique functions makes it capable of producing industry grade products at an affordable rate.
Taishi 3 AXIS 800W CNC Router has aluminium alloy plate tipping the scales at more than 120 pounds with a little 35 x 26-inch impression and 21-inch gantry height. It is a stable machine with 0.8 KW air-cooled axle cutting and a running speed up to 24000 RPM.
A feature that stands out is the use of Mach 3 for control system. Mach 3 provides more precision and intelligence to the control system. It produces accurate and smooth carvings in wood, PVC, MDF board, and acrylic materials.
The Router kit has a NEW 0.8KW air-cooled VFD spindle which makes it work for long hours in a secure way. The same feature also helps Taishi 3 AXIS 800W CNC Router enhance its processing ability for materials like aluminium, alloys and hardwood. The item comes equipped with the New 1605 Ball Screws lot drive system, to prevent backlash and provide precision.
A solid build, the Taishi 800W CNC is an asset for the hobbyist or small-materials craftsman. Taishi can cut with an accuracy better than 0.04mm and reset to within 0.05mm. The smooth motor operation, the low noise level, large work area and its carving speed of 300 to 3500mm per minute makes it the best cheap CNC machine available in this price range .
BobsCNC Evolution 4 or E4 engraving kit has features similar to its previous edition of Engraver E3. BobsCNC E4 has a laser cut frame, and the body made out of Baltic birch wood like its predecessor. This model weighs 42 pounds, and stands 18.9 inches tall, with a length of 30 inches and a width of 37.2 inches.
This model has a larger compared to its predecessor E3 with a cutting area of 24" x 24" x 3" . It also has T-slotted Spoil Board . This model also includes hardened washers. BobsCNC E4 has a Arduino-based Microprocessor and DW660 router that can be connected to a USB port. Unlike some other router kits it is compatible with Windows, Linux, Raspberry Pi, and OSX platforms, a definite feature which stands out. Though the firmware is functional only in 3 axis.
BobsCNC E4 CNC router is also equipped with router bits in the size ranges of ¼ and ⅛ inches. People prefer ¼ over ⅛ because it's bigger, stiffer and stronger. No software is included in the kit but you can use free software to make g-code files for their CNC machines.
You will find in the package motors, controller, and power supply kits for your usage. The assembly manual and instructions can be downloaded from the manufacturer’s website.
CNC 3018 by NUOXINUS is a dependable CNC Machine for your small projects. It is capable of engraving all types of plastics, soft aluminium, woods, acrylics, PVCs, and PCBs but lacks handling any heavy duty cutting or carving. It is a solid Aluminium built, 16.35 pound CNC with an effective cutting area of 300 x 180 x 45 mm.
Assembly of the NUOXINUS is quite simple with the pictorial guide in their instructions. A small CD disc included in the package has all the GRBL Control software that can be installed into your Windows or Linux OS using a USB port.
The 775 spindle motor (12-36V) works better than good considering the cost that went into it. ER11 extension collet is also included. Do follow the instructions while fixing ER11 Holders.
One of the greatest advantages of this machine is the offline controller. This feature lets you work without being connected to a computer.
CNC 3018 is lightweight, compact and easy to assemble. And at the price it's available ,we had to include this in our affordable CNC router kit list.
Vevor CNC router is a user friendly desktop CNC router ideal for home based projects. It is equipped with 3 rotating axis which gives it more degree of freedom to make more precise cuts. Control system in Vevor works on Mach 3 which enhances its precision. It supports Windows 2000 / XP, win7-32 bit, win7-64 bit.
The frame of the kit is made of Aluminium and its alloys giving it more stability. The cutting area of 11.8"x7.9"x2.0" which is quite decent considering price to quality ratio. It weighs 47.3 pounds which makes the machine remain stable on your workbench.
Another striking feature of the machine is the Spindle speed. Varying speeds can reach upto 8000 rpm giving you the flexibility of working with different materials.
Vevor 3020T can be used to carve large 3D designs , prototypes in soft wood, MDF board, PVC, and PCB. It lacks precision finish when used to engrave metals. It comes with few cutters but we recommend you buy cutters with different sized shanks
We made sure to pick and review the best cheap CNC router kits based on several factors that matter to a new user and also for a professional. A CNC router is utilized for activities which include hobbies like woodworking, creating prototypes and making carvings plastics, aluminum, wood, metals, PVC, PCB, acrylic materials and other similar materials.
The user should buy the CNC according to the needs of the business and the funds at disposal. Buying the best affordable CNC router kit can be difficult and that's where our guide is going to help you make that decision.
Editor’s Choice - BobsCNC E3 Engraver Kit
BobsCNC E3 is the overall best choice CNC Router Kit . Great for entry-level aspiring hobbyists and craftsmen. BobsCNC E3 is real value for money as it can produce smooth and precise engraves on different types of materials like: wood, plastic, aluminum etc.
Best CNC for the Money - MYSWEETY DIY CNC 1610
MYSWEETY 1610 features as the best budget buy on the basis of features provided to create professional crafts at a reasonable cost. It is compact, lightweight and portable yet capable of producing smooth and accurate engraves on wood and plastic materials.However its not suitable for heavy duty work and commercial production.
The prices, features and engraves varies with each product. Finally it's your call to get the right fit for your project considering the parameters provided.