Carving, sculpting or just simply getting a satisfying cut with your woodwork – all of these tasks and more are made easier through the use of CNC Routers.
Imagine a beautiful, precise and predetermined cut or perfect milling along the grain of a sheet of wood that will form a part of the decor for a family home, or the act of bending malleable plastic to your will, creating incomparable industrial carvings.
As stated before, these jobs and more are possible with CNC routers now. In this article, we are going to look at CNC routers that are going to fit each and every purpose for people with different intents.
Whether you are just a beginner or a professional, we have made sure to cater every need of yours.
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How to choose your CNC router?
The CNC routers are a perfect addition to take into consideration for any maker’s workshop to get the creativity inside you out to see the daylight. cutting woods, some metals such as aluminum(cnc router for aluminum), Efficiently, and other materials with different textures and structures, the CNC router can do also some tasks 3D printers actually cannot.
To determine what CNC router is right for you, you must first determine who you are.
- Are you a beginner, professional, hobbyist?
- How often will you use your CNC router?
- What are your overall goals when working with a CNC router?
- How much are you willing to invest?
Answering the above questions is your guideline to choosing the right CNC router that meets your expectations and wallet size too.
The next minute you will be introduced to the most detailed guide for CNC routers that are out in the market, top CNC router brands, cheap cnc machines to premium ones.
Disclaimer: These reviews are meant for CNC routers only, these are not CNC mill reviews. Because there are some clear differences between these two CNC machines.
Let us tell you in few words the differences between these two: the most significant one being the price, a great CNC router can be purchased for around 800$ or less, the cheapest one may even be less than 200$.
Meanwhile, the CNC mill can not be afforded for that small amount of money, a decent one can cost you over 9000$, with a stiffer, well-built frame and bearings.
A CNC mill is more capable to work for all kinds of metals, from aluminum to steel compared to the router with ideal cutting precision.
Another difference is the speeds than each one runs on, the spindle of the CNC mill machine goes for about 1,000 Rpm which is much slower in comparison of a CNC router that goes 20 times faster.
Overall CNC Routers
As promised we will help you with the option of CNC router out in the market. When it comes to choosing the overall CNC, you can opt for MYSWEETY 1610 CNC which has everything you need and this is a machine that will go easy on beginners as well as professionals.
CNC Router for Small Businesses (SMBs)
If you are an owner of a small business or a profit-making workshop then you need to consider the BobsCNC E3 or the Shapeoko 3 XXL. They are sturdy and very rigid. Both these options are also one of the CNC Routers for professional purpose.
CNC Routers for Hobbyists and Learning Purposes
If you are a lover of tinkering around the house with crafts, if you are tight on the budget and not willing to invest those precious extra dollars earned with your hard work for a new CNC machine that you’re not going to use that much often, then you want a machine that’s easy to use.
Maslow CNC and the BobsCNC routers are two options that are relatively suitable for entry-level hobbyists, affordable, consistent and reliable for the great experience of crafty.
But! If you are considering using the CNC machine in a real business then these ones are not really suitable for you, this is actually a common mistake for many people aiming for a more affordable tool to grow their business with.
For the subject in hand here, you need to take in your mind that buying a CNC machine then upgrading it to a better one later might cost you a lot of time, energy and effort and it will never be as to purchasing a tool that was built to handle the stress.
However, if you can also check the list of CNC machine for hobbyists, to get a better idea.
mini CNC router
CNC Router for Aluminium
Molding aluminium can be a real challenge if you are newly introduced to the CNC machinery, finding a great option can be a challenge to you.
So If you need a more powerful CNC cutting tool and a better performer in cutting aluminium and other light metals then MySweety CNC router is your greatest option
DIY CNC Router
When it comes to choosing the router for people who want to assemble their machines all by themselves then you should definitely consider the vertical CNC Maslow router since its a bit different and another great option is the BobsCNC evolution 3 that’s made out of a laser frame and great for DIY enthusiasts.
Detailed Review of all the Routers
1. Shapeoko 3 XXL
Presented by the Carbide 3D shop, The Shapeoko 3 XXL can blow it all with an affordable price that works for you while handling the real works in your workshop. It is perfect and ideal, Sturdy yet accurate with a simple design and a gigantic cutting area that helps you carry your projects to another level. Now to the moment of truth: price vs quality and capability. For $1,699, it is a really fair cost for the CNC wood router out there that can offer you an industrial-like experience, it works really fine for both business owners and hobbyists who are willing to invest great money in return for great features. Shapeoko 3 XXL is a great professional Desktop CNC router that you should definitely go for without an extraordinarily costly investment.
If you are a little overwhelmed with the price you can go for the Standard size version that costs you around $600 less than the XXL, while the XL is priced at $1,499 but has fewer features than her twin sister.
Though this can really help you up the game for its perfect for industrial purposes especially with that powerful motor and spindle. Shapeoko 3 XXL is Compatible with a really wide variety of materials that you may prefer to cut with, including wood, aluminum, plastics, and other metals and materials.
It is a large CNC router kit that is easy to assemble using the step by step detailed guide provided to you, to operate with user-friendly CNC software that simplifies the CNC process for you to get the experience out of it.Offering this gigantic 838 x 838 x 76 mm cutting area under your hands, this CNC router kit also gives you additional tutorials to master the work.
2. Carbide 3D Nomad 883 Pro
Nomad 883 Pro us offered by Carbide 3D and compared to the Shapeoko 3 XXL it is more on the smaller side.
More fitting as a mill machine with more precise cuts in different kinds of material, yet if you are chasing for a bigger sized product than this is not the one for you with a working area of 8” (X and Y), 3” (Z), and Spindle Speed that runs at 2000-10,000 RPMOne of the great options for you to be happy with is the ability of the Nomad of working with any operating CAM software you prefer.
You are NOT limited to the MeshCAM, Carbide Create, and Carbide Motion or other softwares that comes with it in case you are not familiar with them.
However, if you considered using any of the software mentioned above then the operating Systems that work perfectly with them are: Windows 7,8.1, 10, OS X 10.9, 10.10, 10.11
The price of this desktop CNC machine is $2499 which is a fair price for the whole features and the precision of the cutting job that provides you with.
Nomad 883 Pro is more solid and intact compared to the Shapeoko 3 XXL is a bit on the lean side. This one is a good choice for smaller work projects though.
3. Next Wave Automation CNC Piranha XL
Next wave Automation’s CNC called the Piranha XL is a great CNC for wood engraving and small pieces cutting for the woodworkers, it can also work on other materials though. Piranha XL desktop CNC has a touchscreen controller that can be used along with a USB Controller not needing full equipment and generating with the software all the time.
The router also gets auto-edge and auto-sensing capabilities for better working experience. Piranha XL offers the same work as the CNC Shark HD has for you with even less money on your side, it will take 2500$ to get one from amazon.
Piranha XL can cut any material a cutter can cut yet it has a better tendency to work with wood, plastics, and soft metals such as aluminium. Just make sure you are using high quality router bits.With a working area of 12 x 24 x 4 inches, this machine has a lot to offer.
Using the software will allow you to actually get a larger piece of designed craft than the 12 x 24 that is actually available on the carving area cause the software can split the design to cut and then you will have to glue the pieces together to get one full intact craft. This one of the top machines for the hobby woodworker.
4. Maslow CNC
Maslow CNC is a 500$ kit CNC router machine, that comes With a gigantic size of working area that is 4’x 8′ which offers you a great experience for engraving and woodcutting a wide range of products from furniture to the wooden art pieces.
With this very affordable price, you can unleash your inner creativity, get it present it to the world and get paid for it. The users of Maslow gave great positive reviews on it being easy to operate with user-friendly software and the easy simple tutorial.
This machine is designed as a kit that is easy to ship, to assembly and to monitor offering you a magnificent experience for your projects. One of the most appealing features about this CNC router is your ability to shrink or enlarge your working area by making your own smaller or larger frame for the Maslow and works perfectly normal even the software and calibration process will take this new size in and adjust the working process to it.
5. MYSWEETY 1610 CNC Router Kit
MySweety 1610 CNC kit is really popular on Amazon, on the quality-price ratio, this CNC router ranks on top of it being more on the cheaper side of it for less than 200$ (including the spindle) yet this 3-axis CNC machine can actually do a decent job.
If you are looking for other cheap options then check out this post about cheap CNC routers.Upon arriving at your workshop, this machine comes as a kit that is easy to assemble together, you can find plenty of manuals online to help you on the task at hand.
It is interesting and amusing to put together and watch this tool in operation, just experiment around and enjoy yourself.
You should also take into consideration buying bits if you want to cut wood, plastics and other materials. Figuring out the software comes later. The MYSWEETY 1610 CNC Router is a desktop type of machine with a 160 x 100 x 45mm engraving area, so the types of work it is suitable for is limited on the small projects only, Your perfect choice for a pocket-friendly CNC machine.
6. Taishi Desktop CNC Router
Upon first use, you can see that Taishi Desktop CNC router has a lot of common points with the JFT machine in terms of mechanism specifications and technology.
Yet while the other is designed for more heavily tasks, Taishi router is not. Taishi Desktop CNC is more of a hobbyist first-time user type yet the frame has the solid build of the table and gantry that prevents wobbling and it makes absolutely no noise while operating, which is a great plus too.
This tool is a really great solid machine with an air-cooling system to keep the spindle operating in the good condition while running up to 24000 RPM.
You can go for this elegant machine if you are willing to put that money to great use all while experimenting learning and improving your skills
7. CNC Piranha FX Desktop Router
Compared to the CNC Piranha XL router machine, Piranha FX is more suitable for hobbyist and learning purposes, it is the base model offered by Next Wave Automation.
When it comes to the size required for high-intensity production this one has a weak point here being a kind of small unit with a 12 x 18-inch table and 12 x 13 x 3 inches of XYZ travel for you to work on. Piranha FX also offers you similar strong features such as the touchscreen controller and all the other operating options found in the more expensive Shark and Piranha XL models with a more affordable price to keep your wallet safe from shrinking in size just for a hobby oriented machine to use
8. 3018 GRBL MYSWEETY DIY CNC Mini Desktop Router Kit
3018 GRBL DIY CNC comes in a kit that is mostly constructed of Aluminium and accompanied with a simple detailed guide to easily assemble it, it also has a sturdy and more intact frame to support the whole process of crafting.
This small CNC carving and milling router has price of 205$ that keeps it a nice product for you to purchase in case you are not ready to afford for a premium one and the reviews online are only proof to it giving you that little boost for you to go for it. This 3 axis ( X, Y, and Z) CNC router is occupied with an Engraving area of 300 x 180 x 45mm and a spindle that runs at high-speed, approximately 7000 rpm.
Another positive for this machine is the fact that is user-friendly and a good choice for beginners. it’s easy to put together on the first use as It comes partially assembled and lastly, it can work on a variety of materials such as wood, plastics and even metals like: aluminum.
However, the small size of it can cause a problem. The 205$ that you are going to invest here are non-regrettable as you can see from the above 3018 MYSWEETY offers you great value for the money in return.
If you are looking for an introduction to CNC routing or a small production hobby tool for your tinkering that won’t take much space in your working area then this is it!
9. JFT CNC 3040 CNC Router/Milling Machine
The JFT CNC 3040 offers you industrial-like features right in your home, this Chinese CNC router machine is the right kind for the production of high-intensity levels with its water-cooling system that allows you more work done quickly and can handle longer continuous operation periods.
Consider this one for purposes of making a real serious, results-oriented commercial products that requires long hours of work non-stop. JFT CNC 3040 has a 22 x 14-inch cutting area, and 11.8 x 15.74 x 3.5 inches of XYZ travel, a spindle speed that can reach up to 24000 RPM and compatible for so many various CNC software out there under your hand reaching such as ArtCAM or CopperCAM Software.
The price is out for 2175$ which is worth it if you are willing to invest for a profitable work later.
10. CNC Shark HD 4
The CNC Shark HD 4 is a high performer presented by The Next Wave Automation with great features to take into consideration for any CNC router that is reliable and consistent for commercial purposes. The reinforced gantry and interlocking aluminum table is a great feature to reduce the wobbling during the operating time. The water cooling system is a big thumbs up to this machine too.
It is currently out of stock, you can find it on amazon when it is available again for purchasing.
11. Pocket NC
When working on Aluminium, you require a machine that has a strong build and has immense power, that’s the reason why we recommend Pocket NC.
This router has 5 axis with a rotating aluminum frame able to mold the craft in any shape you want. You can get Pocket NC for a really pocket-friendly price compared to its features at 4900$. Pocket NC can carve wood, plastics and steel, aluminum and more metals for more complex manufacturing of small scale parts.
The spindle is included in the price also and offered to you with a speed that ranges from 2,000 to 10,000 rpm. If carving aluminum is what you need to do, then this machine is what you need to get.
12. Bobscnc E3
The Bobs CNC machine is sent to you in pieces upon ordering it. It is a home-built kit constructed primarily in wood that makes a great kick starter or student CNC unit for you.
This Desktop CNC router kit has a lot to offer, first is the 17.7 x 15.3 x 3.3-inch cutting area, really generous! The price is 698$ which is good considering a DIY kit. Have a big note that the customer service has great reviews too. Being made from wood, Bobs CNC primer material makes this CNC router an environment-friendly machine with plastic joints. Assembling bobscnc router is a fun task to do for those who are looking to get their feet wet and indulge themselves in DIY CNC engraving and cutting.
Finally, choosing your CNC router is a great challenge that we hope we gave a better orientation in.This needs a more rational decision and better planning beforehand and of course a really good budget on the side for it. For this task, the choice out there for you is the Shapeoko 3 XXL, great for woodcutting both as a business or a hobby. With a remarkable size and a fair price If you think that you can afford it?
Then go for it. However if you have a tighter budget than there are two better more affordable choices depending on the size of the working area you are looking for which are the Maslow CNC for larger pieces and the MYSWEETY 1610 CNC Router Kits 1610, for the smaller ones. Lastly, if you are going for a more premium, high-intensity performer then the option for you to take your work for another level then you might go for CNC Shark HD 4.