What You Need To Know About CNC Routers
Are you looking forward to DIY CNC router kit plans or coming up with an idea to buy affordable CNC routers for wood, aluminum, stone, foam, plastic with home use, small business, hobbyists, school education or industrial manufacturing? Check out the 2021 new CNC router machine buying guide for CNC router beginners, operators, machinists, wood fabricators, metal fabricators, foam fabricators, stone fabricators, woodworkers, metalworkers, and stoneworkers, we'll offer you 2021 best computer numerical controlled router machines with custom CNC routing service to fit your CNC projects, files, ideas, and plans.
What Is A CNC Router?
A CNC router is a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machine tool for automatic routing, cutting, carving, engraving, drilling, grooving, milling, sanding, polishing of soft wood, solid wood, hard wood, plywood, MDF, stone, foam, ceramic, plastic, acrylic, glass, PVC, PCB, ACM, brass, aluminum, copper and other soft metals. A CNC router machine is composed of CNC controller, CNC software, CNC operating system, frame, spindles, gantry, motor, driver, guide rail, ball screw, power supply, T-slot table or vacuum table, vacuum pump, collet, limit switch, rack and pinion. A CNC router is also known as computer numerical controlled router, computer-controlled router, C and C router, CNC router machine, CNC router kit, CNC router table, CNC routing machine, CNC carver, CNC cutter, CNC engraver, digital router, CNC carving machine, CNC cutting machine, CNC engraving machine. CNC router machines are widely used in industrial manufacturing, small business, small shop, home business, home shop, school education and hobbyists.
How Many Types of CNC Router?
CNC router table sizes mainly include 2x2, 2x3, 2x4, 4x4, 4x6, 4x8, 5x10 and 6x12 in feet, someone may call the table sizes as 16x16, 16x24, 24x24, 24x36, 24x48, 48x48, 48x96, 60x120, 80x120, and 80x160 in inches, someone may call the table sizes as 4040, 6040, 6060, 6090, 1212, 1218, 1224, 1325, 1530, 2030 and 2040 in millimeter (mm).
Types: hobby CNC series (mini series, small series, portable series, desktop series, benchtop series, tabletop series), industrial CNC series (CNC wood router, CNC metal router, CNC stone router, CNC foam router, CNC plastic router, CNC aluminum router, CNC glass router), and axis series (3 axis, 4th axis, 4 axis, 5 axis).
How Does A CNC Router Work?
A computer numerical controlled router machine needs at least 3 axis to complete the routing works, called X, Y and Z. The X-axis is horizontal, the Y-axis vertical, and the Z-axis refers vertical to the other two axis. A computer controller reads G-code or other machine language instructions and drives a tool. The spindle holds the tool, moves along X, Y and Z axis, following the tool path generated by the CNC software. In a 3 axis router machine, the tool is always vertical, and undercuts are not possible. In addition, a router machines can be equipped with a rotary axis (4th axis) around the X, Y and Z axis, which is called as CNC router lathe machine. It is mainly used for cylinder carving and cutting projects and some 3D CNC machining projects. A real 4 axis router machine has one additional axis, which refers to X-Y-Z-A, X-Y-Z-B, X-Y-Z-C. Four axis are linked, which can work at the same time. 5 axis router machine has two additional axis, which refers to X-Y-Z-A-B, X-Y-Z-A-C, X-Y-Z-B-C. The machine moves a tool on five different axis at the same time. The spindle can be rotated left and right with 180 degrees around. These additional axis allow for shorter project time due to their capability of carving five edges of the material simultaneously. The position of the machine is determined by a computer. The computer will tell the motors how much to move in each direction. Any location within the machine’s work area can be defined by using the method of positioning. The machine can be moved within that space. The machine is connected to a computer, the computer will tell it where to move. First, the CNC operator should do the toolpath creation, the operator uses a CNC router software program to draw the shapes and create the tool path that the machine will follow. So, when you have some CNC routing plans, what kind of table sizes should be chosen? which all depends on your requirements and budgets.
What Is A CNC Router Used For?
A CNC router machine is commonly used for woodworking, sign making, furniture, cabinetry, fixtures, custom millwork, channel letters, model making, joinery, orthotic manufacturing, point-of-purchase (pop), jewelry manufacturing, CAD/CAM instructional, prosthetic manufacturing, educational, solid surface production, prototyping, radius mouldings, aerospace, foam packaging, countertop production, plastic packaging equipment manufacturers, mannequin production, metal working, musical instrument manufacturers, packaging, store fixtures, boat building, extrusions cutting boards, PCB fabricators, safety enclosures, conveyor manufacturers, engraving, pool cues, magnetic, gun stock manufacturers, knife template manufacturing, fan blade manufacturers, pistol grip manufacturers, korbal manufacturers, kneuls manufacturing, artistic carvings, name tags, MDF doors, puzzles.
What Materials Can Be Cut with CNC Routers?
Computer numberical controlled router machine is a fully automatic machine kit for routing in a variety of metal and non-metal materials:
Solid Wood/Hard Wood: Redwood, cherry, cottonwood, ash, oak, pine, birch, mahogany, poplar, beech, hard maple, walnut, teak, purple heart, tigerwood, hickory, leopardwood, cocobolo, bloodwood, aspen, basswood, alder, yellow birch, red elm, beech, cypress, gum, hackberry, pacific coast maple, pecan, red oak, bolivian rosewood, sycamore, sassafras, white oak, hondura mahogany, black walnut, spanish cedar, african padauk, willow, wenge.
Soft Wood: Soft maple, pine, fir, hemlock, cedar, spruce, redwood.
Composite Wood: MDF, OSB, LDF, plywood, masonite, particle board, melamine.
Plastic: ABS, PVC, PET, polyethylene, polycarbonate, polypropylene, polystyrene, cast and extruded acrylic, uhmw, phenolic, luan, vhmw, hdpe, mica, acetate, sintra, lucite, marine PVC, nylon, lexan, solid surface materials.
Stone: Tombstone, granite, natural marble, milestone, jade, artificial stone, bluestone, sandstone, ceramic tile.
Metal: Copper, brass, bronze, aluminum, honeycomb aluminum, mild steel, stainless steel.
Foam: Sign foam, polyethylene, polyurethane, polystyrene, EVA, styramfoam, urethane, precision board, foam rubber, silicone rubber.
Other Materials: PCB, ren board, fiberglass, vinyl coated panels, machinable wax, mat board, butter board, gypsum, magnetic rubber mats, composites, g10, leather, wood veneers, mother-of-pearl, delrin, rubber, modeling clay.
How Much Does A CNC Router Cost?
Different machine configurations and specifications have different costs, including machine frame, X, Y table (T-slot and vacuum), spindle, gantry, ball screw, guide rails, vacuum pump, driver, motor, CNC controller, operating system, collet, rotary 4th axis, limit switch, power supply, rack and pinion. Machines from different brands have different service and support, which will lead to different prices. Machines from different countries have different tax rates, different customs, different shipping costs. All of these factors will result in the final price. You will get a CNC router price range of $2,580.00 to $150,000.00 from STYLECNC. If you want to buy a machine overseas, and get the final price, please contact us to get a free quotation, we'll calculate the final price of your required machine.
|Table Sizes||2' x 2', 2' x 3', 2' x 4', 4' x 4', 4' x 6', 4' x 8', 5' x 10', 6' x 12'|
|Axis||3 Axis, 4th Axis, 4 Axis, 5 Axis|
|Capability||2D Machining, 2.5D Machining, 3D Machining|
|Materials||Wood, Stone, Foam, Metal, Aluminium, Copper, Plastic, Acrylic|
|Types||Hobby CNC Routers (Mini, Small, Benchtop, Desktop, Tabletop, Portable) and Industrial CNC Routers (CNC Wood Routers, CNC Stone Routers, CNC Metal Routers, CNC Foam Routers)|
|Control Software||Artcam, Type3, Cabinet Vision, Alphacam, Ucancam|
|Operating System||DSP, Nc-studio, Mach3, Osai, Siemens, Syntec, NK200, NK260, NK300|
|Price Range||$2,580.00 - $150,000.00|
|OEM Service||X, Y, Z Axis Working Area|
|Option Items||Dust Collector, Vacuum Pump, Rotary Device, Mist-Cooling System, Servo Motors, Colombo Spindle|
How To Choose A CNC Router Machine?
1. Motor drive, the router machines equipped with low power motors are only suitable for routing double-color plates, building models, small signs, three-dimensional crafts and other materials. This process has been popular for some time, but the power is too low, which greatly affects its application range. The machines equipped with high power motors are divided into two types: one type is a large format table, the format is generally more than one meter, but the accuracy of this type is generally poor. The other type is a medium format table, this type is generally used for fine machining and organic sign making.
2. Spindle motor, the spindle motor is also very important, because it is generally not covered by the warranty, and it needs to continuously work for a long time, so if the spindle motor has problems, which will affect the use of the machine.
3. Furthermore, it is the speed adjustable range of the spindle motor. The general speed adjustable range is thousands to 30,000 revolutions per minute. If the speed is not adjustable or the speed adjustable range is small, then the application range of the machine is limited, because different materials must be carved at different speeds.
4. Machine body manufacturing process: The high power machinery requires the body to be precise and stable when working. Therefore, long-term high power machining should use the casting body to ensure its accuracy and stability.
5. Controllers are also generally divided into two types: one type of controller is only driven, and all computing operations are completed by a computer. The computer is in a waiting state while the machine is working, and cannot perform typesetting work. Another type of controller is controlled by a single board computer or a single-chip computer. This controller is actually a computer, so as long as the machine starts working, the computer can immediately perform other typesetting work, especially when working for a long time, the advantages are particularly obvious.
6. Ball screw and guide rails are also important parts. High quality ball screw and guide rails are the guarantee of machining precision and performance when the machine is used for a long time.
How To Operate A CNC Router Machine?
Step 1, Turn On to Start.
1. Turn on the power of the control computer and monitor, and start the CNC routing software
2. Press the power switch.
3. Turn on the spindle motor cooling water pump and check the cooling water flow.
4. If the machine is turned on for the first time today, depress the handle of the lubricating oil injector once, and add lubricating oil to the lubricated part.
5. Perform the mechanical origin return operation in the software, and eliminate possible collisions before the operation.
6. Manually move each feed axis 1 to 2 back and forth within the full stroke.
Step 2, Workpiece Clamping.
1. Place the cushion material in the center of the workbench.
2. Place the workpiece to be processed on the mat.
3. Use at least 4 sets of pressure plates to fix the workpiece on the worktable.
4. Check whether the workpiece is clamped firmly.
5. Find the edge and set the workpiece origin:
a. Move the spindle along the feed axis that accurately sets the origin until the tool will touch the workpiece.
b. Start the spindle.
c. Switch to single-step movement with step size 0.01mm or 0.05mm.
d. Move in one step until the rotating tool touches the workpiece. At this time, a slight noise will be heard.
e. Zero the workpiece coordinates of this axis or record the current machine coordinates.
f. Move the axis to move the tool away from the workpiece, and pay attention to confirm that the moving direction is correct.
Step 3, CNC Tool Changing.
1. Disconnect the power of the routing machine to ensure that the spindle motor stops.
2. Move the spindle to a position where it is easy to change the cutter, and place the soft material directly under the cutter to avoid damaging the cutting edge when the cutter falls.
3. Fix the spindle with a small wrench, and turn the chuck nut clockwise (viewed from top to bottom) with a large wrench, taking care not to hit the cutting edge with the wrench.
4. If you need to replace the router chuck, unscrew the chuck nut and replace the router chuck to remove foreign objects in the router chuck and chuck nut.
5. Check whether the cutting edge of the router bit to be clamped is intact.
6. Install the collet and nut on the spindle.
7. Insert the router bit to be clamped into the hole of the router chuck, as far as possible according to the actual situation (but the cylindrical part of the bit cannot be fully inserted), and tighten the nut by hand. This step cannot be reversed from the previous step: do not insert the bit before installing the nut on the spindle.
8. Tighten the nuts with two wrenches, being careful not to use too much force, and also being careful not to hit the cutting edge with the wrench.
9. Confirm that the wrench is away from the spindle, and turn on the power.
10. Set the router bit again and set the Z coordinate of the workpiece origin.
Step 4, Start CNC Programming.
1. Confirm the following work:
a. The router bit is firmly clamped.
b. The workpiece origin is set correctly, especially the Z coordinate of the workpiece origin after tool change.
c. Workpieces are clamped firmly.
d. The NC program is loaded correctly.
2. Adjust the feedrate override to about 30% in the CNC software and start the CNC program.
3. After confirming that there is no abnormal operation, adjust the feedrate override to the normal value.
4. Someone must be on duty during operation.
Step 5, Shut Down to Stop.
1. Return to the mechanical origin.
2. Remove the router bit and the chuck nut is allowed to stay on the spindle.
3. Turn off the CNC machine kit.
4. Turn off the computer, this step can not be reversed with the previous step.
How To Use CNC Router Tools?
If CNC tools are installed correctly, the results will be more accurate, and the cutter is not easy to break during use. How to quickly and correctly set up bits for a C and C router machine? Please follow the five steps:
Step 1. There are many gaps in the chuck. Before installing the router bits, you need to clean the chuck with gasoline or cleaning agent, check and remove the residue in the router chuck gap.
Step 2. The cooperation between the chuck and the shaft is in contact with the tapered hole at the shaft end. If the contact is not good, the tool is not easy to install, and it is necessary to ensure that the tapered surface has good contact. The shaft cone surface must be scrubbed with gasoline or cleaning agent before loading the cutter.
Step 3. Put the router chuck into the pressure cap and gently turn the clamp spring. When the eccentric part of the pressure cap is recessed into the router chuck groove, push the router chuck evenly in the direction of the arrow to install it in the pressure cap.
Step 4. the router chuck is installed on the machine spindle together with the pressure cap. After cleaning the cylindrical shank of the cutter, install it in the holding hole. After confirming that the router chuck and the tool are aligned, screw the pressure cap into place by hand. Then use a wrench to tighten the pressure cap evenly until the tool is clamped.
Step 5. When loosening the cutter, use a wrench to tighten the cap in the opposite direction. If you need to change the router chuck, loosen the cap to bring out the router chuck and bit, remove the bit, and push the chuck in the direction of the arrow to push it out, and then as needed just replace the router chuck with another aperture.
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- How to Choose CNC Router Bits for Woodworking?Category: User ManualOct 29, 2020
As a CNC woodworker, you may wonder how to choose the right tool for your wood CNC machine? In this article, we will give you a brief guide to CNC router bits for woodworking.
Jan 06, 2021Looking for a CNC router for 2D/3D woodworking projects in 2021, Follow the CNC router buying guide to 2021 best CNC routers for woodworking to fit your business requirements in modern furniture making, cabinet making, door making, sign making, wood crafts and other popular custom woodworking plans.
Customer Reviews and Testimonials
- Любочка from RussiaPosted on Nov 19, 2020
This is one of the best buying and customer support experiences for me in last couple of years. It took me a little time to assemble and next one hour to do just a little CNC woodworking to test the basic functionality. This is very good CNC for beginners (I am a CNC beginner). If you are thinking of buying desktop size CNC to see if you like this type of "making things", I can't say nothing but amazing things for both STM6090 and especially customer support experience from STYLECNC.
- Evans from United KingdomPosted on Oct 27, 2020
I am a beginner at CNC, I’ve never used a CNC machine before and with in a day I was carving. An awesome machine for a beginner to learn as hobbyists. I used the manual and the help video. One hour to assemble and test, very friendly and easy to use. It’s a good buy for the money. I would definitely recommend this machine to someone getting into CNCs.
- Junior from South AfricaPosted on Oct 25, 2020
I had been looking to try a small CNC machine for sometime, but was always hesitant about this desktop CNC router machine. Saw lots of good online reviews for this one so decided to give it a try. Unpacking and setup took about 2 hours. All parts are nicely bagged and even comes with all the tools you need. I've done a few tests including some examples and my own creations. All worked fine.
- Theresa from United StatesPosted on Aug 28, 2020
I had been looking to try a wood CNC machine for sometime but was always hesitant about these cheap machines when other home machines were always around the $3000 mark. Saw lots of good online reviews for this one so decided to give it a try. It came within 21 days thanks to STYLECNC. Unpacking and set up took about 3 hours. All parts are nicely bagged and even comes with all the tools you need. I've done a few tests including the examples and a couple of my own creations. Most worked fine, but a few glitches that were my fault and not that of the machine.
- Austin D Felix from United StatesPosted on Aug 20, 2020
This is a useful small CNC MACHINE. I am QUITE happy with it. It was easy to assemble using videos readily available on YouTube and the included instruction "Manual". For my first CNC, it is a lot of fun. There is definitely a learning curve, but after putting in the time, I have made some awesome CNC projects. Everything works well and the customer support was great. I have found several Facebook groups that have been a wonderful resource in learning to use this exciting new CNC tool. I would happily repeat this buying experience.
- Mildred Williamson from United StatesPosted on Jul 12, 2020
My father bought the unit. It was easy to setup. We have had fun with it (Woodworking mainly). Amazing machine for someone who is looking to learn and make items on a 4 axis CNC router. Within two hours upon arriving at my workshop I had it up and running. Well produced complete STM1325-R3 came with everything to get it running using the CNC software that came with the machine kits.
- Austin D Felix from CanadaPosted on Jul 06, 2020
I used this machine to do some woodworking, both with a flat bit and a V bit, and it's run better than expected. It has run for a few times without any major problems, after assembling the kits. So that's awesome, and the results were very nice, especially with the V bit. I think the price is ok for an entry level CNC router to learn on and get a feel for getting an industrial CNC. It exceeded my expectations. Keep up the good work. Thanks.
- Roger M Lambdin from United KingdomPosted on Jun 28, 2020
I have made some 3D projects with the 4 axis CNC router, and everything is as expected. It is a little hard to learn if you are new to CNC, but there are manuals and setup videos that will drive you to go if you need help.
- Thomas Lentsoane from South AfricaPosted on May 26, 2020
I have never seen something so perfect like this in my life, I am Junior Mechanical Engineer, I work as a Draughtsman. I love designing and will like to own a business in the nearer future.
- George W. Bush from United StatesPosted on May 01, 2020I bought this for to celebrate the 10th anniversary of my workshop in May 21. It was easy for the assembly and software installation. Once I got it set up it did not get much use for a few weeks, COVID-19 in March intervened, I started seriously in April with cabinets making. I am very happy with my purchase does a nice job, and will certainly keep me a good attitude during Coronavirus. In all professinal wood CNC machines, and I had fantastic after-sales service and support from STYLECNC.