CNC Router Machines

CNC Router Machines are numerical control tools that help to create objects out of wood.  In order to understand how these awesome machines work, you may want to look into CNC Router Plans.  These plans can be a lifesaver for those individuals who work best when they can see what they are working with.

cnc router machines

A Short History of Router Machines

A router is, at its most basic, a tool used that was used in woodworking to hollow out the face of a piece of wood.  The first ones to use routers were pattern makers and makers of staircases, but they have come to be used for many different types of projects over the years.

Modern advances in technology have enabled router machines to become equipped with computational numerical control features (CNC technology) that enables those using them to compose a design on a computer.  The design or drawing is then sent to the CNC router for a hard copy of the plan, but instead of producing an ink copy, the CNC router uses a cutting tool.  This enables incredibly complex and intricate designs to be produced without having to resort to multiple hours of exacting manual labor.

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How do CNC Routers Work?

Computational Numeric Controls work on the Cartesian coordinate system, which gives the machine using a CNC system three dimensional motion control.

As stated above, CNC Routers take the input from a design or drawing made on a computer and outputs a three dimensional copy of the work.  Then, instead of an ink printout, the CNC router uses a cutting tool on some sort of hard object, creating the design or drawing in precise three dimensional details.

CNC wood routers typically spin faster than other CNC devices and can use surface facing tools as large as 3” or more in diameter.  Their spindle power also has from 5-15 horsepower, much stronger than metal or other types of routers.  Some also come equipped with smaller tool holders that allow much smaller precision tools to be used for fine detail work.

In order to work properly, CNC routers need CNC router plans, which come in the form of CAM and CAD software such as Artcam, Mastercam, Bobcad and Featurecam, all of which are made to be used by wood routers.

Most CNC Wood Routers are larger than their metal-working brothers.  Most have 6” and 10” air ducts that clean up wood shavings and dust as it is created to help keep the working and moving surfaces clean and free from shavings.

Mini CNC Routers for Woodworking

CNC Routers come in a variety of sizes, depending on the purchaser’s needs and budget.

An example of a good quality CNC Router is the CNC Shark Pro Routing System which costs $3,400, but can manage just about any routing job that is thrown at it.  You should expect to have to buy additional bits and a plan book.

Those hobbyists who are looking to use a CNC router for less strenuous projects might want to consider the Carve Wright CW005 Woodworking System (Version C) which, while it relies heavily on computer software, but will handle most jobs that hobbyists would consider undertaking and at $1,600 is not likely to break the bank. This is a power tool with a computer attached, so you do need to expect to maintain it and keep it clean, and it will make a lot of noise.