January 23, 2022

How to choose a CNC router

Choosing a CNC router depends on various things besides price, which is the most common thing that people usually look at. Different CNC routers perform differently and have varying processing materials or areas. Users also have their preferences when choosing CNC routers depending on processing requirements and the type of job.

A CNC router that best meets your processing needs is the best. It will help if you don’t buy a CNC router because it is cheap, and it’s rare to find the best machine at the lowest price. Moreover, you must look at your industry requirements and select a machine that fits the job requirements. For example, if you are engaging in an industry specializing in solid wood doors, an automatic tool changer or a multi-purpose wood engraving machine is ideal.

It is also good to test your engraving machine by running a few more field trips running plants of large companies; this is also good for machine configurations, equipment debugging, etc. If you get any errors, you must notify the manufacturer to get a machine that best suits your needs.

CNC Router

What to look for in a CNC router

There are a lot of factors you should consider when choosing a CNC router. We have listed a few critical things to look at:

  • The Machine configuration

Make sure you fully understand what you want the machine to do for you, that is, knowing precisely the application that pushes the machine’s configuration.

Evaluate your product parameters and specify them to the manufacturer of the machine. By doing so, you aren’t only making the manufacturer design a product specific to your needs but a product that will also meet your market demands.

Other things to consider on machine configuration are the levels of automation that range from simple conveyors to complex systems involving a lot of robots. These are essential for the manufacturer of your machine. 

Specifying your production requirements will help the Manufacturer design a device that fits all these requirements from the beginning. Your primary purpose as a customer is to explicitly state all your product requirements to avoid any mistakes when designing the machine.

  • Software

The CNC machine requires software that will tell the machine what to do and act as per the product specifications. You should bear in mind that the software should tally with the hardware of the CNC machine. The software itself must be able to perform as intended by the user.

  • The Workflow

It will help if you consider buying a machine that will interface with existing equipment and processes, things like material flow logistics and the software design that will program the CNC machine.

  • ROI Return on Investment

There should be an affordable financing program and elevation of quality. It is always best to consider the return on investment of the machine that involves immediate labor savings, a new business that comes with production flexibility, machine performance, etc. A CNC machine usually works independently with minimum supervision making it ideal for reallocating labor to maximize personal skills.

What to consider for in a CNC machine

  • Availability of spare parts

Taking into account the fact that any machine can break down or will at some point wear down, always look for an easily repairable device or one that has spare parts to avoid stopping production for a long time.

  • Maintenance

Maintenance involves a lot of things, including the manufacturer’s parts structure, availability of help, and support (the time frame of the given support). The availability of support for a certain period will reduce costs of the technician requirement to the customer.

Choosing one for a small shop

Before you buy your CNC machine for your small shop, you should consider your motives and have a roadmap of where you want to go and the destination of that roadmap.

What are you making, and is it profitable to match the costs of buying a CNC and the expenses you will incur. The size of the products you make or plan to make and their shape and volume will determine the type of CNC machine you will buy. So start by examining what you are currently making and decide if there are any changes you would like to incorporate into your form of the building because adding a CNC machine will change how your shop operates.

Installing a CNC machine has everything to do with dimensions. The physical size of the table and certain external common restrictions found, including clamping, gantry, and spindle movement, can be overcome by making wise decisions that are inventable.

You can liken the idea of installing a small CNC machine to the concept of tilling. Tilling involves using small, uniformly sized tiles to cover a large area. Same as using a small CNC to perform a big project after breaking it down into small parts. So always discuss the volume of the features you intend to do overtime and the continuous hours your machine will be running with the salesperson.

Small CNC machines are ideal for shops that have limited floor space. With many varying CNC machines and manufacturers, you can always get a big one that is sizable enough to fit in your shop. You cannot limit your small shop to a small device. If you want to upgrade your machine, you can always start by extending the parts, assessing the progress of your work production, and moving further to a whole sheet machine.

Choosing one for a big shop

A big shop can accommodate a large CNC machine, but the issue goes back to the type of products you are making. Is it suitable and viable according to your preferences and the workpieces you are working on?

You should consider the size and volume of products you make if they are worth a large CNC machine.

Moreover, looking at the availability of the CNC parts and the cost of repairing. Will you get the part if it wears down or it breaks down? What charges will you incur, and are they worth the return on investment? Avoid buying a giant machine just because you have a lot of space; explain your production type and the products you make and get an ideal machine suitable for your work specifications.

Choosing one for home use

Choosing a CNC machine for home use can be tricky. You have to evaluate the space you will be mounting your machine and the safety. 

Home use may require a small CNC depending on what you intend to do with it and the products you will be making. 

Quality also matters, which needs looking at the feed rate, spindle power, torque, etc. It comes back to writing down what you want to make, why you are making the products, how many you intend to make, who will be involved in the production process, and the reason you are making the products.

Mentioning all these specifications will lead the manufacturer on what kind of machine is ideal for your home use needs. For example, if you are into woodworking and carving, the most accessible machines are the Awards CNC machines or the Carbide 3D Shapeoko 4.

As you have seen, choosing a CNC router depends on many things, and you should take note of your work specifications to get the correct one explicitly designed for your business.

David D. Hughes
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