A CNC router is a tool used to cut various materials into a number of desired shapes. The automated process produces faster, safer, and more accurate results than a hand-held device, both saving time and producing less waste.
Before you decide to purchase a CNC router, read through some of the most frequently asked questions about these versatile machines.
What is a CNC Router?
A computer numeric control router, or CNC router, is a computer-operated cutting machine. Instead of manually controlling the spindle that holds the cutting tool, you let the computer do the work for you. The built-in software tells the spindle where to cut through the material while achieving a much more precise cut than one could do on their own.
The most common routers operate on these three axes:
- X-axis: Runs the width of the machine
- Y-axis: Runs perpendicular to the x-axis
- Z-axis: Runs vertically
How are CNC Routers Used?
CNC routers are most commonly used for woodworking, sign making, furniture making, metal fabrication, plastic fabrication, and much more. CNC routers come in various dimensions, making them a viable option for facilities of any size. The sizes range from large industrial machines to smaller desktop models, designed for individual, at-home use.
The machine’s ability to duplicate designs makes it ideal for mass production. You can direct the software program to produce as many copies of the same design as needed or create a variation on a previous design.
What Type of Materials Can a CNC Router Cut?
A CNC router can cut through a wide variety of materials, finely cutting through softer materials like wood and plastic while also cutting heavier, thicker materials such as non-ferrous metal and composites. This versatility makes it a valuable all-in-one-tool for any shop or business.
Do You Need to Know a Programming Language?
While you will use software programs to create your design, you don’t need to know any specific programming languages to run a CNC router. The design program will automatically generate the code needed to control the machine, allowing you to completely customize your design and make necessary edits along the way. Navigating the user-friendly machine control software doesn’t require any prior knowledge or expertise.
Why Use a CNC Router Instead of a Hand-Held Router?
A CNC router equipped with a spindle cutting head is automated, providing certain advantages such as:
- Speed: The cutting spindle moves along three axes simultaneously
- Accuracy: The spindle is more stable than a human hand, ensuring precise and accurate cuts
- Performance: A spindle on a CNC router operates at a much higher cutting power
- Safety: CNC router is a hands-off automated machine
How Large is the Machine?
CNC machines were originally designed for industrial purposes but are now available in more compact models. The smaller size has no negative impact on its power or efficiency. CAMaster produces CNC routers in four different sizes:
- Desktop: Bench-top router designed for individual use
- Entry Level: Best used in small shops where space is limited
- Mid-Size Production: Production machine built primarily for small businesses
- High Production: Industrial machine designed for high-production shops
How Long Will a CNC Router Last?
The lifespan of a CNC router depends on factors such as diligent maintenance and frequency of use, in addition to the construction grade of the machine. Ensuring proper use of the machine is essential; if used as intended, a CNC router will last at least 10-15 years for smaller models and up to decades for industrial-grade routers.
How Do You Learn to Operate a CNC Router?
You can use different methods to learn how to operate the machine and its software. CNC routers come with tutorials with detailed instructions, and if you need any further assistance, reputable CNC router manufacturers offer training. There are also many online user groups that provide tips and advice based on personal experiences.
The best way to learn how to operate a CNC router properly is to take a hands-on class. You’ll learn how to set up the machine, safely operate it, and utilize the software programs that turn your ideas into physical results.
How Do You Maintain a CNC Router?
Keeping your machine maintained will keep the production quality consistent and prevent any premature wear. There are three key elements to maintaining a CNC router:
- Regular Greasing: The machine bearings and rails require regular greasing to keep them lubricated.
- Regular Cleaning: Industrial CNC routers need daily cleaning to avoid chip and dust build up in the control panel and critical components.
- Replace Vacuum Filters: The vacuum pumps require the filters to be periodically changed to keep the vacuum motors working smoothly.
Why Buy a CAMaster?
CAMaster is an industry leader in CNC router production, producing a wide selection of machines at affordable prices. Our dedication to our customers is backed by a lifetime technical support guarantee and the best warranty in the industry. We will guide you through every step of the purchasing process and promise quality customer service throughout the machine’s lifespan.
Interested in learning more? Contact us today for more information about our wide selection of CNC routers.