Exploring CNC Options

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Exploring CNC Options

One of the latest tools to enter the hobbyist woodworking market is the CNC – a machine featuring Computer Numerical Control (CNC). While there have been some interesting conversations on this subject from traditional woodworkers, the versatility of a CNC and what it can produce is quite impressive and impossible to ignore. Originally used for production cutting and duplicating parts, CNCs now have simplified the designing process and have opened up an entire new world for any woodworker. Lettering, engraving, carving, and even three-dimensional cutting are now commonplace, and turning out a professional looking project is easier than ever before. 

Things to consider when buying a CNC

All CNCs require design software to create the files into “G-Code”, which is what the machine uses to decipher the movements needed. We recommend you buy an all-inclusive package; that way everything is compatible and designed to work together.

Other things to consider:

  • What things do you plan on making
  • Are you using it for production or occasional use
  • How much room do you have
  • And finally, how much can you afford to spend

Smaller Machines 

While many of these are truly full-fledged CNC machines, they can be a little limiting and can require creativity if you begin to do larger work. Traditionally, these machines utilize smaller palm routers with a rating of 1-1/4 HP.  

CNC Piranha FX

CNC Piranha FX Benefits:

  • Lower price – allows you to get into the CNC world and test the water to see if you like it

  • Small footprint – can fit under or on a counter and are virtually portable

  • High quality – while less in price, the results are every bit as good as a full-size machine

  • Learning curve is transferrable – in other words they work the same as larger machines, so if you decide to go big you are not starting over

Midsize Machines

CNC machines in this category open up the possibilities to large-scale projects. A midsize CNC will accept larger routers, typically rated at 2-1/4 HP. These machines will also typically accept aftermarket water-cooled spindle assemblies, which run cooler than a traditional router motor so they can run longer, thereby increasing the production capability.  

CNC Shark HD 4

CNC Shark HD 4 Benefits:

  • Heavier-duty, larger router capacity

  • Upgradeable to a spindle, suitable for production applications

  • Larger cutting area that allows for larger projects

  • More Z axis (height)

  • More available accessories

CNC Machines

View All CNC Machines

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