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CNC Routing Machine: Frequently Asked Questions

If you are thinking about buying a computer numerical control (CNC) router, you may have questions about its operation, abilities, benefits and drawbacks.  Computer controlled routers offer better overall routing performance than manually, mechanically, or digitally controlled routers. But it pays to know the unique aspects of a machine before you buy it. Below, we answer frequently asked questions about CNC routing machines to help educate potential buyers.

How do CNC routers work?

A CNC routing machine uses software to convert code from a computer into electrical signals that control the machine’s motors. Those who operate the machines can program them with new codes for new work pieces, or access pre-existing codes.

What type of cutting can they perform?

Due to the precise movements of their motors that can cut along at least three axes, CNC routers are typically used for pieces that would require two or more passes if a different cutting machine were used, or pieces whose detail could not be cut by other machines.

What is their cutting accuracy?

Different routers have different cutting accuracies, but the best ones have a repeatability of 0.000” – 0.001” when measured with a dial gauge. Depending on the type of routing you perform, having a repeatability of 0.000” inches could be critical.

How much do they cost?

The cost of a CNC router depends on the kind you buy: an industrial, mid grade or hobby router. Top industrial models easily reach the six-figure mark, and top mid grade models easily reach the five-figure mark. Hobby models are typically a four-figure investment. The best way to buy industrial and mid grade routers at a reasonable price is to buy them as used woodworking machinery.

Do they require special training to operate?

Although some woodworkers learn the options and abilities of a CNC router through trial and error, those who need it to operate it at full capacity as soon as possible receive training. Training is also recommended considering the significant investment required for most CNC machines.

Do they have any disadvantages?

The possible disadvantages of CNC machines concern training. First, special training is indeed necessary. Second, a mistake by its operator could cause the computer system of a CNC machine to crash, an event that could lead to significant downtime.

What are their basic advantages over other routers?

A CNC routing machine has several advantages over manually, mechanically, and digitally controlled routers. Five of these advantages are: less waste pieces and rework due to inaccurate cuts, significantly increased production rate, lower potential for human error and injuries, ability to produce complex pieces that other machines cannot, and reduced setup time between production runs.

RT Machine has the equipment you need

At RT Machine, we sell new and used CNC routers in a variety of models and price ranges. We also perform machine location to help you find any machine that we do not have in stock. Before you pay full price for an industrial or mid grade CNC router, browse through our quality used routers today.

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