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Tips for Buying the Right CNC Router for Your Needs

Depending on your woodworking needs, a router could be your biggest purchase. For hobbyist woodworkers, handheld routers usually work fine. But for woodworkers that need multiple copies of an intricate piece on short order, CNC routers are the option of choice. There are several differences between handheld routers and CNC models, with the most notable being their difference in operation, difference in range of functions, and price difference. But, if you already know that you need a CNC instead of a handheld, it’s time to go about considering what type of CNC router is right for your business.

Four Considerations for Choosing the Right CNC Router

When you purchase industrial woodworking machines, there are four considerations that should inform your purchase, beginning with the grade of machinery you require to support your operation: domestic grade, light commercial grade, or industrial grade.

1. Choosing the Right Grade of Machinery

Light commercial models that are smaller in size and capacity are ideal for woodshops that experience a low to moderate production rate, while industrial models are necessary when your production is high. Another factor that determines machinery grade is intricacy of routing. Light commercial models generally have 3 cutter heads, while top grade industrial models may have as many as 5, allowing them to cut with greater intricacy.

2. Work Space Size

A light commercial grade CNC can be as small as a ping-pong table, while an industrial model could be several times larger, necessitating a warehouse style workspace. Because operations that need an industrial model generally have a large work setting in place, space usually isn’t a concern. But, if you operate in a smaller space and wish to increase your production, doing so could require you to increase your workspace as well.

3. Price

Light commercial models can be purchased new starting at around $5,000, while a top industrial model could cost over $200,000. As a result, many woodworkers choose to purchase industrial CNCs used from professional sellers of used woodworking machinery, a move that could result in a 50 percent or more price reduction without compromising a router’s reliability. Light commercial models are also commonly purchased used.

4. Assessing the Quality of a Used Router

If you decide to purchase your router used, it’s important to observe the following four steps to ensure that you receive a machine that performs like new for years to come: only buy from professional sellers of used woodworking machines; research a seller’s reputation at the Better Business Bureau (BBB), avoiding sellers that have unresolved complaints on their record; request a copy of a machine’s official logged service record, avoiding machine’s that have spotty maintenance; and conduct a firsthand inspection of the machine to assess it wear, or have a trusted third party perform the inspection for you.

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