A Guide To Buy Your First CNC Router Machine in 2023

A guide to buy your first CNC router

What Is A CNC Router?

CNC router is a type of automatic machine tool with CNC system used for automatic carving, engraving, cutting, milling, drilling and grooving on different materials, such as wood, foam, stone, plastics, acrylic, glass, ACM, copper, brass, aluminum, PVC, MDF, etc. It is able to produce very precise and complex shapes and contours by machining materials with a tool. A CNC router machine achieves these results via at least three axes, called X, Y and Z. The X-axis is horizontal, the Y axis vertical, and the Z-axis refers vertical to the other two axes. These, seen figuratively, result in a so-called portal, which is why CNC routers with such a portal formation (X axis designed as a bridge) are often called portal milling machines. In addition, some milling machines have an A, B and C axis representing a rotation around the main axes X, Y and Z.

What Materials Can Be Cut With CNC Router Machines?

CNC router machines have the ability to cut many different materials, including:













What is a CNC router used for?

What Applications Can CNC Router Machines Be Applied In?

Have a look at the versatile application possibilities of CNC router machines.

2D Carving.

3D Carving.


Aluminum Fabrication.

Acrylic Fabrication.

Exhibits and Fixtures.

Architectural Millwork.

Cabinet Making.

Sign Making.

Door Making.

Furniture Making.

Mold Making.


Musical Instruments.


CNC router applications

How Does A CNC Router Machine Work?

Based on the introduction mentioned before, a CNC router machine is controlled by a computer. All necessary data, in form of so-called G-codes, are assembled into a CNC program. The G-codes consist of a “G” followed by a number and type of milling work instruction. Since these codes are standardized, they may be based on a CNC router software used in almost all CNC router machines. When all data has been inserted and the CNC program is ready to play, the CNC machine can start its work. Manufacturers have added their own codes to the ISO G-codes. Therefore, various post-processors exist to generate ultimately “matching” programs from CAM programs for all different machines.

How does a CNC router machine work?

By a rotation of the respective tool, or a spindle adapted to the material, opposite the clamped workpiece, a cutting movement is produced, which is necessary for the desired chipping. This has already been determined in the records based on the G-codes. The movement of the CNC tool around the workpiece, ensures the predetermined shape. This can be done, depending on the design of the router, by displacement of the workpiece on a movable CNC router table. By using all axes, almost all workpiece geometries are possible e.g .:

3D models for architecture and model construction.

3D freeform surfaces.

Rotosymmetrical workpieces.

Lettering in 2D or 3D.

Engravings in 2D and 3D.



How Much Does A CNC Router Cost?

How much does a CNC router cost?

The CNC router cost is closely related with its configuration. Although the CNC router appearance sometimes you feel you see Is almost the same, the realization of the function is the same of (cutting, hollow, lettering, plane carving, relief and so on), but according to the different configurations, its price, accuracy, speed, and service life will be different. 

The small CNC router price range: $2,500.00 – $5,000.00;

The standard CNC router price range: $3,000.00 – $10,000.00;

The ATC CNC router price range: $16,800.00 – $25,800.00;

The 5 Axis CNC router price range: $95,000.00 – $180,000.00;

The smart CNC router price range: $8,000.00 – $60,000.00.

What Are The Additional Costs And Fees Of CNC Router Machines?

In addition to the machine itself, you’ll need to purchase a computer-aided design (CAD) software package in order to create the designs. Those usually run anywhere from $2,000 to $15,000. 

Training usually costs anywhere from $200 to $500 per day. Depending on the knowledge level of your staff, the process could take a few hours or several days. Installation also tends to run $200 to $500 per day.

Shipping starts at several hundred dollars and can cost up to $2,000.

Some dealers offer packages that bundle the cost of the machine, training, shipping, and installation. So be sure to ask if a package like that is available before deciding on your purchase.

How To Choose A CNC Router Table?

Table Types

The common types of CNC router tables include profile tables, vacuum tables, and adsorption block tables. CNC router profile table is also called fixture table. This kind of table is to directly press the workpiece with the pressing plate screw, which is suitable for cutting, hollowing and other processes, because as long as the air leaks, the vacuum adsorption cannot be absorbed. When to buy the profile table, customers can also choose the model that suits them based on the above two items when they buy the CNC machine. However, this is not entirely the case. If you use a tool with a relatively small diameter (such as a tool below 4mm) to cut, because the gap is small, some can also be vacuum-adsorbed on the table.

The vacuum table of CNC router is to put a density board directly on the table after the sealing tape is plugged, and the vacuum pump can be turned on to suck the workpiece. This table saves fixed time and is especially suitable for mass production in the wood door industry. Sometimes it is necessary to put a thin MDF board first. It is formed by wood fiber and glue under high pressure. There are ducts or gaps between the wood fiber itself and the wood fiber. Therefore, MDF board still has a certain of breathability. The purpose of placing the MDF board on the vacuum suction table of the CNC router is to prevent the milling cutter from hurting the work table. The pressure on the part close to the density board is much lower than the atmospheric pressure on the other side, forming the so-called negative pressure. Just like two pieces of glass together, it is not easy to separate the same principle. Once the seal is not tight, no negative pressure can be generated, that is, the pressure on both sides of the workpiece plate is the same, and it is easy to move.

Table Sizes

The most common CNC router table sizes include: 2′ x 2′, 2′ x 3′, 2′ x 4′, 4′ x 6′, 4′ x 8′, 5′ x 10′, 6′ x 12′.

How To Choose A CNC Router Spindle?

The spindle is one of the most important components of a CNC router machine. The CNC machine generally needs to be equipped with a high-performance spindle to play its role. The quality of the spindle directly affects the processing speed and accuracy of the CNC router machine, so how to choose the right spindle?

1. The standard for judging whether the spindle is of high quality.

1.1. Does the spindle motor use high-precision bearings? If high-precision bearings are not used, the performance is that the spindle motor will overheat after long-term high-speed rotation, which will affect the service life of the spindle motor.

1.2. Whether the sound is uniform and harmonious when rotating at different speeds, especially at high speeds.

1.3. Whether the spindle is under force in the radial direction. The main reference is whether it is possible to cut harder materials at high speed. Some spindles can only cut harder materials at very low speeds, otherwise the spindle performance will be severely lost, which will affect the spindle accuracy after a period of time, or even malfunction.

1.4. If you want to pursue high processing efficiency, the processing speed must be fast, while the amount of knife is large, such as processing solid wood materials, you need a spindle motor with a power of 2.2KW or more.

1.5. The standard configuration of the spindle of the CNC machine has different configurations according to the specifications of the equipment.

2. Choose the right CNC router spindle according to different applications.

2.1. The object engraved by the advertising CNC router machine is a relatively soft material, so the spindle power can be 1.5kw – 3.0kw. If you choose this way, you can achieve the purpose of routing and save costs.

2.2. The power of the spindle motor of the CNC wood router can be selected according to the hardness of the wood to be processed, generally around 2.2kw – 4.5kw, this combination is also the most reasonable.

2.3. The spindle power of the stone CNC machine is relatively higher, generally around 4.5kw – 7.5kw, the most commonly used is 5.5kw spindle motor.

2.4. The spindle power of the foam CNC router should also be selected according to the hardness of the foam to be processed. The general power of 1.5kw – 2.2kw can meet customer needs.

2.5. Due to the relatively large hardness of the metal CNC router machine, the power of the spindle motor is generally 5.5kw – 9kw.

Too much power of the spindle motor not only wastes electrical energy, but also increases the purchase cost. If the power is too small, the routing power demand will not be available. Therefore, it is very important to choose a suitable spindle motor power.

3. The relationship between the spindle speed of the CNC router machine and the routing materials.

The greater the hardness of the routing material, the lower the rotation speed of the spindle. This is actually well understood. Materials with high hardness need to be grinded slowly. If the rotation speed is too fast, the tool may be damaged. The higher the viscosity of the routing material, the higher the speed of the spindle used. This is mainly for some soft metals or man-made materials.

The diameter of the tool used in the CNC router machine is also a very important factor in determining the spindle speed. The practical tool diameter is related to the processing material and processing line. The larger the diameter of the tool, the slower the spindle speed will be. The determination of the spindle speed should be based on the use of the spindle motor. When the spindle speed decreases, the output power of the motor is also reduced. If the output power is low to a certain level, it will affect the processing, which will adversely affect the tool life and the workpiece. Therefore, when determining the spindle speed, pay attention to ensuring that the spindle motor has a certain output power.

What Are The Different Types Of CNC Router Machines?

Let’s have a look at the 10 most common types of CNC router machines according to different functions, axes, materials, and applications.

Type 1: Mini CNC Routers for Small Business

Mini CNC Router for Small Business

Type 2: Hobby CNC Routers for Hobbyists

Hobby CNC Router for Hobbyists

Type 3: Desktop CNC Routers for Home Shop

Desktop CNC Router for Home Shop

Type 4: Industrial CNC Routers for Woodworking

Industrial CNC Router for Woodworking

Type 5: ATC CNC Routers with Automatic Tool Changer

ATC CNC Router with Automatic Tool Changer

Type 6: Nesting CNC Machines for Cabinet Making

Nesting CNC Machine for Cabinet Making

Type 7: 4 Axis CNC Routers with Rotary Table

4 Axis CNC Router with Rotary Table

Type 8: 5 Axis CNC Routers for 3D Modeling

5 Axis CNC Router for 3D Modeling

Type 9: Metal CNC Routers for Aluminum

Metal CNC Router for Aluminum

Type 10: Foam CNC Routers for EPS and Sytrofoam

Foam CNC Router for EPS and Sytrofoam

What Softwares Can Be Used For CNC Router Machines?


Type3 is an all-round CNC router software solution to the graphic design requirements of woodworking. It runs under Microsoft Windows system, has the best graphic design software package, and is closely integrated with the processing process. From simple characters to complex pattern making, Type3 has powerful functions and flexibility to solve all professional engraving problems. Type3 fits all your habits, easy to learn and use. It is an all-round software for creativity and engraving processing. Type3 can accurately calculate the three-dimensional tool path, optimize the machine processing path, and finally generate the CNC routing path, and finally generate the CNC routing code. You can freely select various tools and drills such as cone type, spherical type, and cylindrical type for routing.


Ucancam is a special software that integrates computer aided design (CAD) and aided manufacturing (CAM). It is widely used in advertising, signs, gifts, decoration, art, wood processing, molds and other fields.

Ucancam series software has powerful graphics design and editing functions: it supports coordinate input and can draw graphics accurately; and provides functions such as batch copy, artistic transformation, dynamic cropping, and node editing to facilitate graphics editing and modification. Automatic nesting and interactive nesting can increase the utilization rate of materials and quickly typeset.

Accurate three-dimensional tool path calculation, fast and accurate. Ucancam post-machining program is convenient to set the code requirements of different machines. It can reduce the damage of the tool and the material, and avoid leaving knife marks on the cutting surface. Cycloid machining provides strong technical support for cutting hard stone, glass and brittle materials. At the same time, a variety of machining methods such as three-dimensional, centerline, drilling, inlay, edge and corner, intelligent, round carving, image carving and image relief are available for different needs of customers; processing simulation, simulation functions, convenient and quick display of machining results, reducing machining trial process, reduce machining costs.


The ArtCAM software product series is a unique CAD modeling and CNC and CAM processing solution produced by the British company Delcam. It is the preferred CAD/CAM software solution for complex three-dimensional relief design, jewelry design and processing. It can quickly convert two-dimensional ideas into Three-dimensional art products. The all-Chinese user interface enables users to design and process 3D relief more conveniently, quickly and flexibly. It is widely used in the fields of engraving production, mold manufacturing, jewelry production, packaging design, medal and coin manufacturing, and sign making.

Delcam ArtCAM software series can convert all plane data such as hand-drawn drafts, scanned files, photos, grayscale maps, CAD and other files into vivid and exquisite three-dimensional relief digital models, and generate codes that can drive the operation of CNC machine tools. ArtCAM includes a wealth of modules, these modules are fully functional, fast running, reliable performance, and extremely creative. Using the relief model generated by Delcam ArtCAM, a more complex relief model can be generated through Boolean operations such as union, intersection, difference, and arbitrary combination, superposition, and splicing. And you can render and process the designed relief. Users do not need to spend time and money to create real models. Through the screen, designers can intuitively see the real design results.


Aphacam comes from Lycome of Coventry, UK. It is a powerful CAM software. The CNC router software has powerful contour milling and an unlimited number of pocket machining tools. The pocket machining tools can automatically clean the remaining materials and customize the settings. Tool path and speed act on all windows at the same time for physical dynamic simulation.

Aphacam automatic nesting software is currently the mainstream software in the cabinet door processing industry. Its advantage is that a door type only needs to establish a processing model (tool path) once, and it can realize automatic nesting of any size without re-drawing. Compared with traditional software, the efficiency is significantly improved.

Cabinet Vision (CV)

Cabinet Vision is a 3D integrated cabinet custom design software under Windows system. It can easily realize accurate auxiliary design, and conduct professional graphic design in strict accordance with corporate design specifications. Dedicated to cabinets and wardrobes, easy to operate and powerful. Cabinet Vision can accurately assist in the establishment of walls, select and design corporate standard system product graphics, synchronously generate floor plans, elevations, side views, three-dimensional renderings and assembly exploded views, automatically generate multiple rendering views, and fully match the customer’s ownership Visual requirements, automatic generation of retail quotations and parts lists, automatic splitting, design and splitting only takes 30 minutes, zero errors, strict compliance with industry standards, complete accurate cabinet design, store design can be generated in real time in the store according to customer customized requirements A variety of renderings and retail lists, and then connect with the post-processing end of the factory to place orders remotely, and guide the factory to generate and process.

What Controller Can Be Used For CNC Router Machines?

Mach3 CNC Controller

Mach3 is an economical and powerful machine tool control system when running on a computer. It is the most popular CNC contorller in the world. The operation of Mach3 requires a computer with at least a 1GHz processor and a 1024×768 pixel display. In this configuration, the Windows system can run fully. Desktop computers will be more applicable and economical than notebook computers. When the computer is not used to control the machine tool, it can also be used to meet other functions of the workshop. Mach3 mainly transmits signals through the parallel port, and it can also be transmitted through the serial port. The drive motors of each axis of the machine tool must be able to receive step pulse signals and direct signals. All stepper motors, DC servo motors and AC servo motors with digital encoders meet this requirement. If you want to control an old CNC machine tool whose servo system uses a resolver to measure the position of the tool, then you must replace each axis with a new drive motor.

Ncstudio CNC Controller

Ncstudio CNC controller is a CNC router machine control system from China. The CNC system can directly support G code, PLT code format and fine routing generated by MASTERCAM, UG, ArtCAM, CASMATE, AUTOCAD, CorelDraw and other CAM/CAD software. In addition to the functions of manual, stepping, automatic and machine origin return, Ncstudio also has unique functions such as simulation, dynamic display tracking, Z-axis automatic tool setting, breakpoint memory (program skip execution) and rotary axis processing. The system can be used with various 3D CNC routers and 3D CNC mills. It is suitable for all kinds of complex mold processing, advertising decoration, cutting and other industries.

Syntec CNC Controller

Syntec is a popular CNC control system developed by Taiwan Syntec Technology Co., Ltd. Taiwan Syntec is currently the most promising professional PC Based CNC controller brand. Specializing in the R&D, manufacturing, sales and service of PC Based CNC controllers. The CNC router machine is equipped with Syntec system, stable performance, convenient and flexible operation, supports dual-program, three-program and four-program display, machine coordinates, program editing and processing monitoring are presented separately, each axis group coordinates are displayed independently, and each axis group can be simulated simultaneously . Rotate the program coordinates, you can simply write the processing program, perform three-dimensional processing on the inclined surface, and easily realize milling, drilling and tapping. Supports Yaskawa bus communication control mode, which greatly reduces wiring costs and space requirements, and improves cost performance. Equipped with the Yaskawa bus communication control method, it improves the wiring and expandability problems of the traditional pulse-type general-purpose controller, so that the system is more simplified, more expandable, and easier to assemble.

DSP Controller

DSP controller is a handle control system. The DSP controller can run offline. It can be completely separated from the computer during the engraving process and can directly control the engraving machine. Handle operation, humanized design, large screen display, multi-language interface, easier operation and more convenient maintenance. The algorithm is advanced, and the unique intelligent prediction algorithm is adopted to give full play to the potential of the motor, realize high-speed continuous processing, synchronize the curve and straight line, and make the curve smoother. Super error correction, with the ability to pre-check processing documents, prevent writing or design errors in processing documents, and prevent material placement beyond the processing range.

NK CNC Controller

NK series control system is an economical all-in-one machine with high reliability and high cost performance; imported micro switches, panel function keys can be configured, and timing ports can be customized, providing parameter import and export and simple and quick system backup functions. The terminal board on the back of the all-in-one machine provides the 24V power input port, USB port, handwheel port, brake input port, brake output port, analog output port, servo drive interface (X-axis, Y-axis, Z-axis) required by the system, 16 general-purpose input ports and 8 general-purpose relay output interfaces. The operation panel provides emergency stop button, power button and spindle override and feedrate override band switches.

What You Should Know Before Buying A CNC Router Machine?

What to look for when ordering a CNC router machine?

Before investing in a CNC router machine, or any wood CNC machines, for that matter: visit an existing user and get a firsthand account of the machine from someone who has actually lived through using it. Try to visit on your own, without a salesman around. You’ll hear pretty quickly how effective it has been for them.

If you can’t find a shop running the CNC machine that you want to look at, another way to gain insight about the machine is by receiving a demonstration either in-person or online-using something like Whatsapp. This is the best way to understand how the CNC machine works, and you can see it complete a job from start to finish.

How To Buy A CNC Router Machine?

1. Consult: we will recommend the most suitable CNC router kits to you after being informed by your requirements, such as the material you want to carve, the max size of the material (Length x Width x Thickness).

2. Quotation: We will send you free quote according to your required CNC router kits with affordable CNC router price.

3. Process Evaluation: Both sides carefully evaluate and discuss all the details of the order to exclude any misunderstanding.

4. Placing Order: If there is no doubt, we will send you the PI (Proforma Invoice), and then we will sign a contract with you.

5. Production: We will arrange the production as soon as receiving your signed sales contract and deposit. The latest news about production will be updated and informed to the buyer during the production.

6. Inspection: The whole production procedure will be under regular inspection and strict quality control. The complete CNC router machine will be tested to make sure they can work very well before out of factory. 

7. Delivery: We will arrange the delivery as the terms in the contract after the confirmation by the buyer.

8. Custom Clearance: We will supply and deliver all the necessary shipping documents to the buyer and ensure a smooth customs clearance.

9. Support and Service: We will offer professional technical support and intime CNC router service by Phone, Email, Skype, WhatsApp around the clock.

How To Buy A CNC Router Machine?


How to Setup, Install and Debug a CNC Router Machine?

Step 1. Setup the machine frame.

1.1. Open the packing box and check whether the appearance of the machine is intact;
1.2. Count the physical objects according to the packing list;
1.3. Place the CNC router machine with the four feet below on the base steadily;
1.4. Adjust the four feet to make them land on the ground smoothly and evenly, and make the work surface level;
1.5. Remove part of the outer cover, use clean silk cloth and kerosene (or gasoline) to clean the anti-rust oil on the lead screw and guide rail without leaving any lubricating oil and dirt;
1.6. Add lubricating oil to the motion mechanism such as the lead screw and the guide rail respectively;
1.7. Setup the outer cover, and be careful not to wear and collide with the moving parts;
1.8. Ground the machine frame well.

Step 2. Install CNC router accessories.

2.1. Install the cooling water tank of the spindle motor, connect the cooling water tank with the cooling pipe of the spindle motor, 2 cooling water in the water tank, the cooling water should be soft water;
2.2. Install the workpiece cooling system, connect the coolant tank to the water outlet of the bed diversion groove with a water pipe, and connect the upper water pipe. Add applicable workpiece coolant to the workpiece cooling box;
2.3. Install the tool setting instrument, connect and lock the signal line of the tool setting instrument with the interface of the machine tool setting instrument.

Step 3. Setup the electrical control cabinet.

3.1. Ground the electrical control cabinet well;
3.2. Connect and lock each input interface of the machine tool with the corresponding output interface of the electrical control cabinet with a control cable;
3.3. Connect the computer input control interface of the electrical control cabinet to the control computer with a control cable, and lock it with screws;
3.4. Connect and lock the interface between the operation keyboard and the electrical control cabinet with a control cable;
3.5. Turn off the power switch of the electrical control cabinet, and connect the power socket of the electrical control cabinet to a 220V, 50HZ power supply.

Step 4. Install CNC control system and software.

4.1. Turn on the control computer;
4.2. Install the attached CNC router machine control system.

Step 5. Equipment debugging and trial operation.

5.1. After checking that all signal cables are connected correctly, and the required grounding is good, turn on the power switch of the electrical control cabinet and warm up for 10 minutes;
5.2. Operate the operating keyboard to check whether the state of the machine tool and the movement characteristics are normal;
5.3. After the machine tool status and movement characteristics are checked correctly, run the idling test and add lubricating oil to the movement mechanism.

How to Use A CNC Router Machine?

1. Design and typesetting according to requirements. After calculating the path correctly, save the generated tool path as a different CNC router file.
2. After checking that the path is correct, open the path file in the CNC control system (preview available).
3. Fix the material and define the origin of the work. Turn on the spindle motor and adjust the parameters correctly.
4. Turn on the power and operate the machine.
Turn on the power switch, the power indicator light is on, the machine first performs reset and self-check operation, X, Y, Z, axis return to the zero point, and then each run to the initial standby position (the initial origin of the machine). Use the controller to adjust the X, Y, and Z axes respectively to align with the starting point (processing origin) of the routing work. Properly select the rotation speed of the spindle and the feed speed to make the CNC machine in a working waiting state. Transfer the edited file to the CNC router machine to automatically complete the routing work of the design.

How to Maintain A CNC Router Machine?

1. Clean the dust in the electrical box regularly (according to the usage), check whether the wiring terminals and the screws of each component are loose, to ensure the safe and reliable use of the circuit.
2. After the machine is used every time or tomorrow, be sure to clean up the dust and debris on the platform and transmission system (if it is not cleaned, a lot of dust and impurities will enter the screw, guide rail and bearing under long-term operation. It’s just that the rotation resistance of the lead screw and the bearing is large, which leads to the phenomenon of step and dislocation when the engraving speed is slightly faster), and the transmission system (X, Y, Z axis) is lubricated and oiled regularly (weekly).
3. It is recommended that the continuous running time of the CNC router machine be controlled below 10 hours per day.
4. The water pump and the spindle are mutually interrelated. It is necessary to check to replace the circulating water for the CNC machine, to keep the water clean to prevent the water outlet of the pump from being blocked, and to prevent the water-cooled spindle from running at high temperatures and causing component damage; to ensure the normal operation of the water pump, Never make the water-cooled spindle appear water shortage.
5. If the machine is not used for a long time, it should be lubricated regularly (weekly) and then run empty to ensure the flexibility of the transmission system.


After you get your CNC router machine, the technician will usually help to unpack and inspect the machine. After the power is turned on, you should carefully check whether the appearance is damaged and whether it is damaged by impact during transportation. If it is intact, check the random attachments for the machine configuration according to the contract with the random manual. The machine is installed by technicians (including hardware installation, removal of fixed parts, installation of the machine. Various cables for connecting to the power supply. Software installation, computer configuration, and installation of optional CNC router software). After the installation is completed, use the test drawing file provided by the manufacturer to carry out the test on the machine. If the test is completed correctly, the delivery and acceptance of the test is completed. The CNC operators are required to have a technical secondary school education or above, and have a proficient computer operation foundation. During the training process, they should be proficient in choosing different speeds for different materials and using different CNC router tools. This often requires experience accumulation and good mastery are of great benefit to extending the life of CNC router machines and tools.

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