CNC routers have a broad range of applications no matter what type of material you are working with. Whichever material you choose, a CNC will have the same benefits; the main ones being superior automation and efficiency.
Many CNC machines can be run throughout their whole cycle without the presence of an operator. Another major benefit of this technology is the high level of accuracy and ability to repeat specifications. That means that once your program is verified, whether you produce two, two hundred or two thousand work pieces, they will all be identical.
Though a CNC router is more often used for cutting wood and plastics, it can be used for cutting aluminum (or other non–ferrous metals). For cutting non-ferrous metal it is not so much that you need a different router but that you will need to use it differently.
Here are a number of differences to keep in mind:
- The “sweet spot” for metals’ optimum speeds and feeds is much smaller than that of wood. If you don’t stay within this optimum bracket, your cutters will begin to wear out much quicker or break frequently and your surface finish will be low quality.
- Some metals, such as aluminum, have a tendency to stick to the cutting tools. Build-up of aluminum deposits on the edges of cutting tools and result in the bit welding itself to the metal. It order to cut successfully with aluminum you should:
- use a feeds and speed calculator
- use carbide coated bits
- clean chips and deposits regularly and thoroughly
- make more passes at shallower depths to make cleaning easier
- use fewer flutes and increase cut width
- don’t reduce the speed rate too much
- use a mist to lubricate to help prevent chips from sticking to the cutting edges
Types of CNC Routers Used for CNC Woodworking
Learn more about CNC router manufacturing options, equipment, applications, and training with CAMaster
CNC machining uses routers and CAM software applications to carve, etch, laser, or burn raw materials into fabulous products and parts. There are different types of CNC routers on the market. They all work with a variety of materials, including wood, metal, plastic, or stone.
CNC routers come in two basic types:
- Gantry Style: This style of CNC router uses the router spindle to work fixed or secured materials
- Fixed Bridge Style: Fixed bridge style CNC routers use a 3-motor drive to cut on x, y, and z axes
Either style of CNC router is an excellent choice for precision cutting. However, it is also suggested that before running a new part, you run an air cut – which does a trial run of the project before adding material. This will help reduce the chance of errors.
Both styles of CNC routers use multiple materials. If you wonder whether a CNC router used for woodworking can also create products with metals, it is surprising the number of materials a CNC router can easily handle.
Different Materials Possible for CNC Machining
Choosing which material to use in your CNC machining manufacturing process is a matter of preference, as well as consideration for how the product will be used. Therefore, choose carefully and consider trying your product ideas in different materials to see which works best.
Here are some common considerations for choosing a suitable material:
- Product or Part Use: How will the part be used? Does it require the strength of metal?
- Environment: Will your product be used in wet, dry, hot, cold, indoor, or outdoor environments?
- Stress Load: High-stress loads can cause parts to break.
- Operational Temperatures: Consider whether the material will be damaged by high temperatures during CNC router operation
- Manufacturing Costs: Choice of materials may come down to cost.
Contact CAMaster for Help Choosing the Best CNC Router
Get a great start to your new project by scheduling a consultation with a specialist at CAMaster when designing your product, so that all options available to you can be considered. Having a professional review may help alleviate any manufacturing hiccups along the way.
With your CNC router, you can choose to make your project in either wood or metal. Consider other materials available today as well, such as high-density foam or plastics. What you create with your CNC router is only limited by your imagination.
Contact CAMaster today for advice, product consultations, tools, applications, and parts for your business needs.