CNC routers are versatile machines capable of a wide variety of applications, with one of its most popular applications being woodworking.
As a woodworking tool, CNC routers are capable of automation while still operating with a high level of accuracy and efficiency, making them one of the best tools to have in a manufacturing setting.
CNC Routers for Woodworking: How Do They Work?
CNC routers are capable of completing various woodworking tasks such as cutting, etching, routing, carving, drilling, and grinding to produce multiple wood products at incredible speeds and accuracy, including doors, cabinets, and furniture.
This is made possible through the use of computer software that drives the components of the machine, providing a set of instructions to be followed with unbelievable precision.
There are two pieces of software used to operate CNC routers for woodworking. The first software comprises the design tool (Computer-Aided Design, CAD) that you can use to create woodworking designs.
The machine then processes these designs as a series of coordinates along the x, y, and z axes for 3D motion. Meanwhile, the second piece of software communicates these instructions (Computer-Aided Machining, CAM) to the machine during the manufacturing process.
Bits and Mills Used in CNC Woodworking
CNC routers are capable of accomplishing a wide variety of woodworking tasks with incredible accuracy and precision, which include cutting, etching, carving, routing, drilling, and grinding. This is made possible by using router bits and mills that can be used to achieve certain cutting styles.
Routers use three different types of mills to accomplish most of the cutting in CNC woodworking. The two most common are the upcut and downcut, which refer to the direction chips are ejected. The last type is called compression cutters, which possess both upcut and downcut sections. They are great for cutting laminated materials with thin veneers like plywood.
Manufacturers use a variety of bits and mills to achieve particular designs in their finished products. That is because each type serves a different purpose. Therefore, selecting the most suitable type can help you achieve the design you want while maintaining accuracy and speed.
Here are some general recommendations in choosing bits and mills to work with:
- If you’re looking to create straight cuts on plywood, then spiral cutting end mills are an excellent choice. They can also be used when carving and etching intricate designs.
- For 3D designs, you can use a ball nose bit with an appropriate size to help you achieve the level of detail in your designs.
- High-precision cutting such as signs, badges, and engraving requires tapered bits capable of creating fine details. You can achieve this look using a V bit. Different angles are available (30, 60, and 90 degrees), depending on the designs you want to create.
CNC Wood Router Types
CNC routers for woodworking come in two basic types:
- Gantry Style: In the gantry style router, the material is secured on the table while the router spindle moves over the material during cutting.
- Fixed Bridge Style: In contrast, the fixed-bridge router utilizes a three-motor drive system to move the bed containing the material during cutting while the bridge remains stationary.
Types of Wood Used in CNC Woodworking
A CNC wood router is quite versatile, capable of processing a wide variety of materials, whether it’s plywood, hardwood, softwood, chipboard, or timber.
Hardwoods come from deciduous trees, characterized by broad leaves that start falling right before the start of winter. They are great for making furniture, flooring, and other construction components.
Softwoods generally come from coniferous trees with needle-like leaves and produce conifers. These trees retain moisture all year, so they do not shed during winter. Despite the name, some types of softwoods are actually harder than many hardwoods.
How to Select CNC Routers for Woodworking
Different applications call for different requirements. Aside from knowing what type of wood you’ll be working with, there are several other considerations that you have to make to ensure that your CNC router is capable of meeting performance requirements. Consider the following when choosing a CNC wood router:
- Power of the Motor
- Size of the Board
- Cutting Tool Kit
- Axes of Guidelines
- After-Sale Maintenance Requirements
- Warranty Information
- Consumer Reviews
Find the Best CNC Routers with CAMaster
Buying CNC routers for woodworking is a significant investment that merits careful consideration before making a purchase. Before you make a final decision, make sure to consider all available options to make a fully-informed decision.
Consult our CNC specialists to learn more about the requirements of your project and find the most suitable CNC router. Contact CAMaster today to gain access to product advice and information on the best CNC routers to take your woodworking projects to the next level!