Do you need a machine that cuts wood, plastic, or metal accurately and consistently? A CNC router table is ideal for making signs and other general routing jobs. These machines can also be used for engraving so there are multiple uses. It used to be that these machines were too cost prohibitive for home use and small shops but due to an increase in interest, there are more affordable models. Here are some tips to choosing a CNC router that fits your needs and budget.
What projects are CNC routers ideal? They are for projects that would take too much time and craftsmanship to cost effectively accomplish. This includes elaborate designs and making inlays for metal. With CNC lettering, the designs will be smooth and accurate.
Software will allow you to program lettering and designs. Once you learn how to use the software these machines are easy to operate. A CNC router is perfect for details in furniture making and the results will be professional. They are also ideal for sign making so lettering is even, accurate and consistent.
Smaller machines are great for home use and run off a 120 volt standard outlet. The motors on these CNC routers are usually just 1 or 2 horsepower and are best suited for home workshops. These table top models are a fraction of the cost at about $7000 and can be a good return on investment if you sell furniture.
If a new CNC router is out of your price range then consider purchasing a used CNC which can save you 50 percent or more. Make sure you do research before looking for a used machine. Don’t purchase one just because it’s a good deal; it will be wasted money if it won’t do what you need it to do. Older machines are lower in power than new ones but that shouldn’t be important for small workshops.
If you prefer more consumer confidence then consider buying a reconditioned machine from the manufacturer. Reconditioned machines are professionally inspected, worn parts are replaced and they are usually repainted to look new. Most come with a warranty so you can have some guarantee in case it needs repairs.
Make sure you check on support for your equipment especially if you are unfamiliar with the machine. Many manufacturers help you with installation and even provide software training at little or no cost. Then you’ll need ongoing support so you can maintain your equipment and resolve any problems that come up. Also ensure that you get a manual for your equipment so you’ll have a reference at your fingertips.
Use the internet to do some research and read user reviews. Ask others in the industry for recommendations and help with locating the right CNC router for you.