5 Best CNC Routers for sign making in 2022: Reviews and Buying Guide

Don't miss any deals or latest information on woodworking and CNC. Join us on our Facebook too.

You want to create sign boards or just wooden placards which have something written on them using a CNC machine.

You are at the right place! In Bill’s own experience of working on making several wooden name plates and carved out symbols, we know that it may be a hard task finding out the best CNC router for sign making.

In this guide, we are going to help you choose the router that fits your budget and also get the job done. 

5 Best CNC routers for sign Making

1. ShopSabre CNC Router 

ShopSabre CNC Router

Jim Bombardo, founder of ShopSabre CNC built the brand on strong fundamentals which is why all their products are very sturdy and loved among woodworkers.

As a brand, they believe in industrial strength and customer service as two pillars on which help them thrive in the market.

When it comes to choosing the best CNC router for sign making, we are always looking for sturdy design and better reliability.

Shopsabre provides industrial strength gantry upright construction which ensures high level of precision which is important since even minute changes are always visible in signs. 

When working with shopsabre, you are going to get a CNC grade motion controller with PC compatibility that means you are going to have complete control over how things work and there’s flexibility if you want to amend any changes.

All the CNC machines made by shopsabre don’t require any assembly or installation. It makes all the tasks so easy. As far as customer support is concerned, they give you complete warranty with free lifetime tech support. 

List of ShopSabre CNC Routers 

IS-M series

The IS-M series is a machine of high quality and design that gives the end product the similarity of an expensive one at an affordable price.

The series of IS-M CNC router is made using secure one part combined steel tube frame construction. The gantry and the frames assemblage are put together for optimal weight strength and stresses that will ensure precision.

These routers can handle the biggest of woodworking projects. This machine provides the best conditions for stability and performance while being fast and accurate.

The IS-M series contain big round screws on all three axes ( X, Y, and Z axis, huge AC servo quality and overall the best quality.

These features make great improvement in all the different activities to bring the best quality for cutting and for overall accuracy. This machine is used for all industrial setting purposes. 

Product Name

Footprint

Cut area

Z clearance

Z travel

IS-M 408

96″ x 123″ x 98″

50″ x 98″ x 12″

12″ standard

16”

IS-M 510

108″ x 147″ x 98″

62″ x 122″ x 12″

12″ standard

16”

IS-M 612

120″ x 171″ x 98″

74″ x 146″ x 12″

12” standard

16”

Industrial Series (IS) 

The IS series is for industrial use, a top-notch machine built in America with the best components and of high technology.

Composed of the best specs and resembles an $80000+ machine for less of that price.

It is made using one-piece tube made of steel and a big gantry made of tube design and tube steel uprights. It also handles the biggest projects as has a very sturdy build.

Built similarly to the IS-M series but for industrial use, it comes with all the same benefits and features. 

Product Name

Footprint

Cut area

Z clearance

Z travel

IS 408

90″ x 135″ x 98″

65″ x 100″ x 12″

12″ standard

16”

IS 510

96″ x 155″ x 98″

75″ x 125″ x 12″

12″ standard

16”

IS 612

102″ x 185″ x 98″

85″ x 145″ x 12″

12” standard

16”

Pro Series

The ProSeries is the most popular in the company, which offers greatly advanced technology, longevity as well as power.

It is the best in the market and performs better than the rest of its kind in the market. It is built with optimum features that provide great end results.

It comes with life long support for technical assistance, also American made, which provides high value. 

One of its features is it’s heavy-duty structural steel frame tube, gantry with anti-backlash ball screw drive system on every axis. It is of high-quality work every time you are performing nested based sheet work. 

Product Name

Footprint

Cut area

Z clearance

Z travel

PRO 404

80″ x 84″ x 95″

60″ x 50″ x 12″

12″ standard

16”

PRO 408

80″ x 135″ x 95″

60″ x 100″ x 12″

12″ standard

16”

PRO 510

92″ x 155″ x 95″

72″ x 125″ x 12″

12” standard

16”


2. Axyz CNC Machines

Axyz

Headquartered in Burlington, Canada Axyz is a global brand that’s been making CNC router and waterjet cutting solutions since last 25 years.

They manufacture the best machines for innovation, industrial routers that deliver high productivity and perfect cutting quality all within a reasonable pricing.

They are quite well known for making bespoke machine and get it delivered to you within 4 to 6 weeks. 

When you are working on making signs, it is important for you to have a router that does very well in terms of precision and speed.

The router by Axyz are well versed when it comes to functionality and serve both the purposes of a hobby woodworker and someone working at scale inside a business. 

The Infinite series

This series suits best for sign making, metal fabrication, plastic fabrication, and woodworking

Pacer Series

The machine is very powerful and best for heavy-duty options ( plastic fabricators, metal and aerospace applications that work under high pressure). 

Trident series

Trident series is a CNC hybrid which means it works at a very high-speed and performs functions like a knife cutting.

It also comes with very precise programming capabilities to be able to handle various types of projects.

Machine from this series can also be sign-making and processing activities.

PANELBuilder

Mostly popular with working on aluminum composite materials as well as metal composite. 

Z series

This series is best for first time users, easy to use and low cost. If you are a first time and budget is an issue then you can go and buy this. 


3. Laguna Tools

Laguna Tools

Laguna tools is another huge name in industrial tools. Laguna tools is based in Irvine, California and has been manufacturing multiple products since last 36 years.

This brand was founded by Torben Helshoj in 1983 and since then they have come up with innovative solutions that have eased tasks of woodworkers. 

Laguna tools believes in making safe, quality and precise woodworking machine, something you want when doing tasks like sign making or other precision based products.

The best part about laguna tools is that you get videos as in tutorials on most of their tools which means when you buy a machinery, you also get a package of videos to show you how to work on these machines. 

Laguna tools offer three ranges of CNC router machines. They have a machine for each specific material: 

Automated Machinery

There are several machines to choose from that offer woodworking. The machines vary in size and features depending on your needs.

The machines offer multiple cutting angles that are easy to handle. The customer can choose the axis that suits them best.

These machines provide the optimum precision of the cuts as well as efficiency. They also are able to deliver a clean cut of the product.

They can cut through wood, plastics and non-ferrous metals. It also offers different features for optimum use and productivity.

Some CNC routers can be chosen from the IQ series and the swift series. 

Industrial machines 

These machines are able to cut different types of metals with fiber laser technology. This type of technology makes the operation much smoother and more effective.

It also reduces the frequency of maintenance and operating costs. There are several machines that deal with metal working, again all depending on the customer’s preference. 

Machines in this series are IQ series, Swift series and laser machines. These types of machines are mostly automated so all you need to do is feed the system with the required G-code and you will get the desired output. 

Classic Machinery

These include machines like bandsaws, shapers, sanders and lathe machines. These are just a series of machines that are classic and with time less and less people are going to be using them


4. CAMaster

CAMaster

CAMaster designs and manufactures fully integrated CNC routers for a wide range of applications and budgets. CAMaster is based in Cartersville, Georgia USA.

This brand is known for utilizing machinery, hardware, software and many different methods which enable them to serve their clients better.

Their CNC routers are very popular when it comes to sign making, cabinet making and milling of metals. They offer the best price vs performance options. 

What makes their products stand out from others is the customer service since they are in this industry since the last 50 years. They are known to consider their customers as partners. 

There are different categories of designs of routers to choose from: 

Cobra Elite Series

Built with versatility, it includes automatic tool change, extended gantry heights, drill banks, vacuum tables, knives.

SignPro Series

Designed specifically for making signs, its function varies from making CNC machining, digital cutting and finishing. 

Stinger Series

There are four different models of the Stinger Series depending on the one that fits your needs. They are powerful machines that have different features. 


5. Zentoolworks

Zentoolworks

Zentoolworks CNC is based in Concord, CA USA. Their shop is very popular when it comes heavy machinery since they have the required skilled professional who breathe CNC everyday.

No matter what complex part of machine you want to get assembled or fixed. They know their stuff very well.

All their machines are low on maintenance and so if you are a beginner, this factor is going to be highly helpful since the dust from cutting of wood for sign boards can sometimes hamper the functionality of the router. When it comes to getting a CNC machine for the purpose of sign making. You have 6 options that range in terms of price and functionality.

All the CNC machine featured below have stainless steel frame and motors from Nema. Zen Toolworks Inc. offers good customer support and so there won’t be any issue with the assembling of the router parts. 

Zen toolworks 7×7 F8 CNC Machine

Zen 7×7 has a 7″ x 7″ x 5″ Cutting Capacity and comes with 1.5” clearance under Z-axis. Nema 17 stepper motors are powering its spindle and it comes with anti-backlash lead screw nut design. 

Zen Toolworks 7×12 CNC Machine

With a Cutting Area: 7″x 12″ and PVC frame material is something that gives this CNC router its rigidity. This also comes with Nema17 and you can use mach3 control CNC software to make your designs.

Such machines are great for milling, engraving, carving, inlay work, sign making, PCB circuit working and 3D printing.

Zen Toolworks 12×12 CNC Machine

With a Precision of 0.001″, this is a machine for the serious woodworkers who care about accuracy. It has a cutting area of 12”x12” and comes with Nema23 stepper motor. 

ZenCNC Vision One

ZenCNC Vision one is one of the latest offerings by the company and it comes with 8×8” work space and an adjustable gantry that gives users 2.25”-4.25” of clearance between z axis and the table.

You get a T-slot aluminium table ensuring the rigidity of the place. 

Ultimate CNC Package

Consider the Ultimate CNC package as the best of all the machines so it has everything you need into a single package.

It has a cutting area of 12”x12” and a precision of 0.001”. This one uses a Nema23 stepper motor which means maximum power.  


Things to consider when buying a CNC router for sign making

When buying a router for the purpose of sign making. It is very important for you to know the parameters or verticals that you should consider when buying one. 

1. Price

If you are just a beginner then price is going to play a very important role when it comes to buying your first cnc machine.

Try buying a machine that costs you less than 1000$ or even better get yourself a second hand machine. Once you hone your woodworking skills on an old machine then you can easily go ahead and get a new one.

Though do make sure when buying a used or a cheap CNC machine, the machine is not too worn out. 

2. Functionality

This is a very important factor. Ideally if you are just going after a machine that will allow you to make sign boards or work on light projects then you can go after DIY routers where you can choose as per the demand of your project.

If you are not a newbie then you can even go after a CNC mill which will allow you multiple functionality. 

3. Customer support

Since you will be solely working with the machine. It can get difficult at times to know certain intricacies about woodworking machines.

A good customer support ensures you are taken care of by providing tutorials about their machines and also a dedicated customer desk just in case you have issues with the machine. 


How to create signs using a CNC router?

Making a sign using a CNC router is fairly easy and we have laid down a process that will enable you to work as you read the steps here:

Step 1: Open your CAD software and open a text file

In the text file, type in the characters and choose the font that you want to be carved out in the machine and type in the letters.

Now you can test the cutting program using scrap lumber or a simple piece of wood just to ensure everything is working properly. Align your text in the center. 

Step 2: Choose your material

This is the part where you need to choose the material on which your sign will be carved out by the cnc machine. We recommend you choose the MDF material or any other wood that can withstand the pressure of your router bits. 

Step 3: Choose the correct router bit

Choosing the correct router bit is very important. If you are totally new and don’t know the best router bit for sign making.

We recommend you use ball end router bit to do the machining since they are good to work on woods. You can also look for the best router bit to pick in the bit library in the software.  

Step 4: Adjust the router settings

When making a sign using your CNC router, you need to have more shadow in your sign to make it more readable which means deeper engraving.

You can adjust how quickly the machine moves as it cuts just in case you want to ease the process. 

Step 5: Coat your Sign board

Once your sign has been carved out, Now you can spray the wood with a coat of shellac just so that the sign is more readable this way. 

PS: To better visibility, you can use a wood that has been painted black or if you get a wood that is white then you can coat it with a layer of black lacquer. This will give more contrast to your lettering.


Conclusion

In order to choose from the five best options of CNC routers for sign making, you need to consider the one that fits your needs and your budget.

There is a wide array of machines that are available to purchase depending on the type of materials you are going to produce and what materials you are using. It also depends if you are skilled with the machines or a first-time buyer.

They all seem to have the same features it just depends on the range of pricing you are going for. In this case where you will be working on wood then go after a router which has happy customers already.

From our personal experience, We love the Zen toolworks machine because its affordable and a very reliable machine. 

The Edge Cutter is reader-supported website. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission.

10 thoughts on “5 Best CNC Routers for sign making in 2022: Reviews and Buying Guide”

  1. Dear Bill,

    Great reviews.
    I am looking for someone who has a Shopsabre or equivilent equipment that can reverse engineer hand carved clay mock ups via laser scanning, converting the data to surface maps, CAD drawing and CNC tool pathing and produce prototypes via CNC or 3D printing.

    These parts require 3″ to 5″ plunge cuts as well as exterior surfacing. These parts are cut from 2″ x 3″ x 6″ hardwood or acrylic blocks.

    Reply
    • Hey Greg,

      Sure we can help you out if you can provide us an active email of your that would be great for communication.

      I will raise this query among my known ones and will let you know of the updates

      Reply
  2. I am a new person just looking to purchase a CNC machine I would like to be able to build some cabinets down the road once I figure out how to use it I’m just wondering if I should buy a machine that can do that or should I just buy a beginners machine

    Reply
    • Hi Joseph

      I would advice you to invest in a beginner’s machine since the machines for Sign making are very expensive.

      Instead you should buy a desktop CNC or any of the CNC machine that costs in $500-$1000 range. Feel free to check our guide on the best cheap CNC machine.

      You will be able to make cabinets with those beginner machines and once you hone your skills, then feel free to invest in expensive machines.

      Reply
  3. We are a full service sign company looking to replace our 72″ x 120″ CNC router. We want to buy from a company with a reputation for great customer service & tech support.

    Reply
    • Amy

      We are not a E-Com company and so we do not sell machines directly.

      But I can recommend you some brands based on your location.

      Since you are looking to replace a 72″x120″ CNC router, you want something that’s sturdy and reliable

      GO for stepcraft CNC machines or else technoCNC machines,

      You can mail us with a more detailed query and we will happily introduce you to them 🙂

      Reply
  4. If you want to skip the g code and you’re basically going to just run flat stock, you could get yourself a Zund. There are 3D add ons, and it doesn’t run on G-code, so it doesn’t need a CAM interpreter. I use one every day.

    Reply
  5. Mujhe CNC router machine learn Karna
    Ketna rupees lahega
    Aur ketna time lagega
    This my number 👉7051751270
    Jawab dejeyega 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏

    Reply
  6. Will any of these machines be able to cut letters into beveled or uneven wood surface? I want to cut all the way through a 1/4 inch ply that’s beveled and uneven over the surface.

    Reply

Leave a Comment