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Used CNC Routers: How much Value Do they Offer Compared to New Routers?

In woodworking, routers are used to “hollow out patterns” in pieces of wood, be it for practical purposes such as doorknob holes or for intricate designs. Routers come in two basic types; manual routers and electrical routers, also referred to as spindle routers due to their spindle like cutting mechanism. Although some woodworkers prefer the manual router, those whose business features high output prefer spindle routers, the most popular of which is a CNC router, which is built as a table that features a gantry to which the spindle mounts. A computer that movies it along three axes (X, Y, Z) after receiving instructions from the router’s operator controls the cutter head. Some CNC routers operate with a single motor system; while the most advanced models use a four motor system for increased speed and accuracy.

Why Do Woodworkers Purchase Used CNC Routers Instead of new Ones?

Depending on its model, a CNC router can be one of the most expensive woodworking tools on the market, with the largest models easily costing over $250,000 new. However, one can also purchase a smaller CNC router for around $5,000 new. Therefore, the value of buying used naturally concerns a router’s sticker price. But it also deals with its quality of construction and the production needs of the company that would purchase it.

Quality of Construction

You can expect most CNC routers to offer quality construction, but some are designed for heavier jobs than others, with smaller models usually intended for the smallest jobs and lowest production rates. As a result, trying to save money on a new router by purchasing one that doesn’t meet industrial capacity is beside the point. The unit will wear out in a shortly and become a consistent repair expense.

Production Needs

Going hand in hand with quality of construction, a company’s production needs ultimately determine what capacity of router it needs in terms of production rate. To meet industrial production demand, you need an industrial router, and that means purchasing a larger router with elite capacity, hence the value of shopping used. Buying a late model industrial router used could result in a 50 percent decrease in the machine’s original price, and in some cases the discount is greater.

How Do You Know When a Used Router is Dependable?

Assessing the quality of a used CNC router follows the same four-part process of assessing the quality of other industrial used woodworking machinery: (1) Shop with professional sellers of used woodworking machinery. This is step is especially important when shopping for CNC routers, as their intricate construction requires careful evaluation by a professional. (2) Buy from sellers that don’t have customer complaints on their record at the Better Business Bureau (BBB), or you might become the next complaint. (3) Request a copy of a router’s official maintenance record, avoiding routers that show spotty maintenance or lack a record. (4) Try to conduct a firsthand inspection of the router, or have a trusted third party conduct it for you.

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