How much does it cost to build a CNC router? | The Edge Cutter

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If you are a beginner machinist or professional and looking to build your own CNC router, but don't know the cost, then this article might help. Here, you will get all the necessary details regarding the price range of the CNC parts if bought individually from the market.

So, let's begin. 

Cost of Different Types of CNC Routers

Beginner-level (or toolroom) 3-axes vertical machining center

$60,000 to $1,00,000

Beginner-level (or toolroom) 2-axes lathe

$30,000 to $60,000

DIY-grade CNC router

$1,000 to $3,000

Pro-grade CNC router

$5,000 to $1,00,000

Production 3-axes vertical machining center

$1,50,000 to $3,00,000

Production 2-axes lathe

$60,000 to $2,50,000

Multi-axes multi-spindle cum multi-turret vicious lathe with robot

$5,00,000+

Well, the above tabulated details are roughly enlisted. The cost of these routers may vary depending upon the brands of the different manufacturers.

The good part is that almost every CNC dealer is open to negotiate at a reasonable price with the consumer. On the other hand, you might end up wasting bucks on the CNC machine parts if you are a novice in this domain. So, now we will check out some parts/factors of the CNC machine that influence the increase or decrease in prices. We will also check out some feasible tips that could keep down the overall CNC router making expense.

Factors Which Influence CNC Router Price

Here are the considerable aspects that determine the CNC router prices limit: 

  • Machine Size - It is generally measured in X or Y or Z movement
  • Machine Weight - Heavier chassis = sturdier machine
  • Speed -  Revolution Per Minute, tool/bit replacement time, maximum rapid mode movements
  • Power - Servo motors' capacity, torque of the router spindle
  • Manufacturing Country - Taiwan, Germany, Korea, Japan, China
  • Additional Options - Chip conveyor, coolant pressure, robotic part loader, auto-tool changer, pallet pool, tool/part probing, bar feeder, etc.
  • Configuration of the machine -  2 axes lathe Vs 9 axes lathe

    All these factors of a CNC router make the most ups and downs in prices. 

Price of DIY Built CNC Routers

Here we will check out the overall estimate required to build different types of CNC machines:

1. Hobbyist CNC Router

Hobbyist CNC Router

If you are looking to build a CNC machine at the lowest cost possible, then go for making a Hobbyist CNC router. This is the most widely used CNC machine for cutting plastic, panels to non-ferrous metals, woods, etc.

This type of CNC can easily fit your home basement and you will not have to spend a substantial amount of money for that miniature CNC router building. You can easily find the parts of a hobbyist CNC machine on Amazon. Else, it is better if you get the parts from a registered dealer; this will cut down much of your expense down. For example, shipping cost, delivery tip, etc. which you otherwise have to pay if bought online. Before buying, you must know that the hobbyist machines are only capable of handling light-duty engraving/cutting projects.

Note: The hobbyist machine is not meant for business purposes, if you don't want any extra expense (labour cost, operating cost, etc.) upon yourself.

Now coming to the cost of building a Hobbyist machine, it will be maximum $1200 but not more. With that being said, you can do some quirky upgrades making it a little different compared to normal what it should be in that price range. Like, you can make a CNC aluminium router if you want to give more time to your cutting projects rather than building the machine.

Other added options are those from Sherline Products. The company sells small-frame manual machines and CNC machines including a computer to operate the device.

However, Tormach is also a good option if you want to buy a readymade CNC machine (hobbyist machine) at the best price. Though they market their CNC models as “personal CNCs”, they are far more capable compared to the cheap mini-routers which you can purchase online. The price of the mini lathes to the larger machines ranges from $7,000+ to $25,000+.

2. Beginner-Level CNC Router

Beginner-Level CNC Router

This type of CNC router is suggested if you only want to build something more than a DIY CNC router. A beginner-level CNC router is capable of handling all that stuff that you might expect from a CNC router. For example, wood carving, engraving, cutting or shaping jobs, and more. Moreover, you can make customized tools in case you are more into R+D. Haas TM-P3 is highly recommended for custom tooling for moulds, balancing, and other various things to stay a step ahead in this competitive market. The best part is that it takes only 1 day or 2 to grasp the working of TM-P3, which is otherwise 2 weeks or more to understand the concept of any traditional standard machine.

Haas is a reputed manufacturer of machine tools, in the United States, that is committed to produce top of the line beginner-level CNC routers. Whether it is a toolroom mill or lathe to small frame production device, the cost would not be more than $30,000. If you want to make one rather than buying a ready entry-level machine, then it will cost between $30,000 and $60,000 maximum.

Tips to make a smart deal in Haas machine purchase:

Haas is firm on the fixed price of its CNC models. However, you get enough chances to make budget bound product selection and purchase when they(Haas) provide many other relevant options. 

3. Production CNC Router

Production CNC Router

Now comes the expensive CNC router type. Production CNC machines are indeed pricey enough to avail. This type of CNC router is used to perform the same task repetitively while maintaining precision and accuracy. This, in fact, decreases working time and employee workload, thereby promising a higher profit limit. You can expect to run the machine 24*7 at a stretch and so, can be pushed to the machine's maximum potential without worrying about getting it damaged.

Note: Building a production-grade professional CNC machine requires in-depth and practical knowledge. You might have to spend hours with a pro-grade machinist. It is even better if you manage to visit a production CNC machines manufacturing firm to check it's making and assembly. This will also help you get a better idea regarding the cost of the parts required at each step of the machine making.

There are innumerable CNC manufacturers available these days. But, it is hypothetically not possible to enlist all of them here. So, we have compiled a list of some such companies, from which you may request a couple of quotes regarding the self-making charges of a Production CNC machine:

  • Matsuura (best for getting Japan-based CNC mills)
  • Haas (US based; budget friendly production machines)
  • YCM (Chinese company; offers value for money product)
  • Makino (excels among most others and is therefore a bit expensive)
  • Okuma (sturdy machines; reasonable price) 
  • Nakamura (Top of the line Japanese lathes)
  • Doosan (renders a wider variety of machine options)
  • Hurco (best place to avail an easy-to-program controller machine)
  • Mazak (traditional muscle)
  • DMG Mori (luxury German product)
  • Romi (Brazilian cost-effective machines)
  • Brother (budget friendly compact cum fast mills)

    There are many more but these will serve as the beginning of where to look for to get started with a CNC router building.

    However, the only drawback is some companies do not prefer mentioning the product cost online. In that case, you are only left with the option of contacting them or finding a local dealer of CNC machine parts, discussing the pros and cons of buying the same, purpose of buying, and then eventually getting started with your machine making.

    Tip: Always make sure to stay in touch with varied CNC dealers and local manufacturers, go through the parts view well, don't miss the pricing part, and most importantly, do not rush while making the final decision before purchase. Besides, the longer you take to decide, the greater is the chance to get the maximum price drop by the dealer (as he would want to close the deal even at the minimal profit). 

Excess Expense of CNC Routers

Other than the cost of constructing a CNC machine, there are many other things that add to the final budget of the router. Here are they:

  • Tool holders (drill chucks, bit collets, end mill holders)
  • Cutting tools (drill, end mills, etc.)
  • Job holder ( vises, clamps, etc.)
  • CNC programming software (it varies depending the yearly subscription or one time payment followed by maintenance fees per annum of a few thousand bucks or something close close to this range)
  • Measuring tools (micrometers, height gauges, calipers, surface tables, etc.)

    Prices of these additional accessories spend on the manufacturer's brand reputation and most importantly the purpose for which you need it. You will always have to keep an estimate of double of the cost required to make the CNC router (that also includes the cost of the accessories). This gives you a clearer idea of the overall cost that you might meet in the end. 

Purchasing Second-hand CNC Equipment

Well, this is a lengthy part to discuss. So, we will keep it a topic for another day and today we will only talk about the factors that are worth attention.

It is a very economic option cum idea to save your expense of buying new CNC parts and accessories. However, you must be careful while selecting and purchasing used items as they could be defective or sometimes no longer usable. For example, if any machine part has been crashed hard, then it is no way possible to retrieve the equipment into its previous form for second-hand utility.

Other than being defective or badly damaged, the normal durability of a CNC machine is not more than 10 to 15 years maximum. The longevity also depends on how you handle the machine, what preventive measures have been taken for both user and device safety, and what type of job is being done with that CNC machine frequently. Well, it is important to inform you that despite this being a budget-friendly idea of CNC machine making, the new CNC parts are bound to surpass the older ones both in performance and hence, price.

Tip: While buying used CNC equipment/parts, do not forget to check out the maintenance measure record of the parts you are about to buy. 

Lastly, while buying the used equipment, try to get a reasonable explanation of why the seller wants to give it off at a low price. If the reason is that the workshop no longer deals in projects that require this machine's utility, then it is a satisfactory reply. Or, if it is that the seller's business is running at a loss and so he/she wants to sell the CNC equipment, it is yet again a fair deal. If the cause behind the sale seems unclear to you, trust your instincts and decline the deal straightaway.

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