With the development of science and technology, CNC Router is widely used in wood, stone, MDF, acrylic and plastic etc. CNC router improved the work efficiency, saved the human cost of business, then, how to buy a suitable CNC router? STYLECNC for your analysis.
Is this the right CNC router for my application?
Lets get down to the first order decisions that will help you decide if in fact this type of CNC router suites your application.
First lets answer the following questions:
1. What type of materials do you plan to cut?
2. What is the most complex design you foresee cutting?
3. What kind of tolerances do you need to hold?
Keep in mind these are very basic questions. We will get into more detail later that will help you choose the right CNC router type, if you feel this is the right CNC router for you.
1. What kind of material do you plan to engrave?
The reason this should be the first question you ask is because it can quickly let you know if this type of CNC router is suitable. CNC routers are usually associated with carpentry, which is why CNC routers are usually associated with woodworking only. However, there are many other materials that can be engrave.
So, if your answer to question one was any of the following:
Then it is safe to assume that a CNC router could still be the machine for you. So lets continue to the second question.
2. What is the most complex design you foresee engraving?
The complexity of the design is another important considerations. What is meant by this is primarily the overall size and depth of cut per axis. Do you plan to use the CNC router for engraving, carving, drilling, or all of the above?
The versatility of this machine is one of it primary appeals. However, with its ability to engrave, carve, and drill there are drawbacks, such as speed. Now for the most part, this is not an issue. In most applications CNC Routers are quite fast and probably the fastest machine for the work.
However, if you are planning on only using this machine for cutting 2-D metal plate for example, a CNC water jet or CNC plasma machine would probably be more efficient.
The second considerations is overall size and depth of cut. Most CNC Routers are only equipped for 2.5-D cuts. Which is to say they are limited in one dimension as to how far they can cut without disrupting other surfaces. Imagine a sphere protruding out of a board.
A standard 3 axis machine would not able to cut that piece if the sphere protruded any further than halfway. However, there are multi-axis CNC machines which we will get into later.
There are also overall size considerations. CNC routers are great for larger cut and for small. However, if you are cutting very small parts then the chances are you may need a CNC milling machine. Which brings is to our third question.
What tolerances are required on your final product?
Now this is something that I am sure you have already considered but it is still worth discussing. A router is capable of leaving a near perfect finish while surfacing and overall the tolerances are good. A decent machine, you should expect a tolerance of .001" or better for a given distance. We will get into these details later on.
However, if you are producing small parts that need to be mechanically functional, again a CNC milling machine or other fabrications techniques are probably more suitable for your application.
The precisions and accuracy of the machine is something that should always be in the back of you mind as you search the market.
As a side note, if you are not a company and are simply looking for a versatile machine that can meet your needs, you can hardly go wrong with these machines.
Even if you are a hobbyist or small business, it will be hard to find alternative machines with the capabilities and versatility of CNC routers within the same price range.
If you have decided that the CNC router is still a viable choice then I suggest you refer to the following 12 key points:
1. Motor System: Servo Motors are best for high speed, high torque applications involving continuous load changes while Stepper Motors are less expensive and best for low-medium speed, high torque applications.
2. Drive System: There are typically 3 types of drive systems on a router including Rack and Pinion, Lead Screw, and Ballscrew. Ballscrew is the most expensive but also withstands larger material size and yields better accuracy.
3. Automatic Tool Changer System (ATC): If your application requires using more than one tool, then an ATC System would help to change tools efficiently, reduce operator error and decrease job times.
4. Spindle: Spindles are motors that do the actual cutting with the use of a cutting tool. Look at the capabilities of the spindle including RPM, torque, power requirements, load ratings, collet type and size, spindle motor type, etc.
5. Weight: The heavier the machine, the better it is constructed, the better it performs. However, if your business requires frequent transportation of the machine, you may want to look around for a strong and rigid machine that weighs the least.
6. Table size: Buy a large enough routing machine that can handle your typical material size while considering room for expansion or jobs that require longer material to be processed.
7. CNC router software: Knowing the machine does what it is programmed to do, invest in advanced software that provides accuracy, efficiency, regular updates, etc. If you require manufacturing complex parts, a specialized software package may be required.
8. Features: Look for Router systems that offer a variety of features. Simply put, machine features essentially make things easier for you. You want a machine that is productive, can process efficiently and requires little to no supervision once the settings are in place.
9. CNC router bits: Purchase quality router bits with a long life. Once purchased, make sure you maintain and care for them as it is important to always work with a sharp router bit.
10. Vacuum: The more hold down strength, the heavier material you can cut. Look at how much vacuum pressure the machine has and how well the table holds down material.
11. Dust Collection: CNC Routers can generate a lot of sawdust. Vacuum Systems can clean up the atmosphere and the overall area of operation. Check to see approximately how much dust will be created, what type and weight of waste needs to be collected, and where should you place the vacuum system so it works most effectively.
12. Costs/Budget: The cost of a CNC Router depends on the brand, model, features, options, size, construction, and more. From entry level to high-end Routers, they can cost approximately $5k to over $150k. Keep in mind there are also the costs of installation, training, software, warranties, preparation, consumables, etc. Do research and aim to purchase a reliable and high-quality machine at the maximum amount you can afford.
If you still have any questions, Contact STYLECNC with email, skype or Live Chat.