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How Do I Choose the Best CNC Router for Woodworking?

Article Details
  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 26 January 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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To begin your search for a CNC router for woodworking, you will need to first determine how you are likely to use the machine. The size and function of a CNC router for woodworking can vary significantly, so you will need to make sure you have enough available space in your workshop for the machine you are considering, as well as determining if the machine will be large enough to handle the jobs you want to complete. Research the most up-to-date technology and make sure the machine you are considering features this or similar technology.

One significant determining factor for choosing a CNC router for woodworking will be the cost of the unit. CNC, which stands for computer numeric control, is a process of operating the machine through a computer program. In the past, the best machines were extremely expensive, but the price of quality machines has come down significantly. Be sure to research the accuracy and speed of the machine in relation to the cost; faster machines that can make cuts within a certain tolerance will be more expensive, while slower, smaller, less accurate machines may cost less money. A hobbyist may be just fine with a slower machine, but a professional carpenter will want a machine fast enough to handle his or her workload.

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Some models of CNC router for woodworking will feature a tool changing design. This means the machine will be able to change bits automatically without the need for human intervention. The machine will know which bit to pick up and use for specific jobs, allowing a piece to be worked continuously without stopping. Less expensive machines will probably require the operator to change the bits by hand, leading to a slower cutting process. The machine is used to cut edges and even shapes within a piece using rapidly rotating bits mounted to a motor. Changing these bits by hand will require constant attention to the process.

Other features you should look for when searching for a CNC router for woodworking include cooling systems for the bit, a wide platform on which the piece can be secured for cutting, high-quality frame materials such as steel and aluminum, and easy to use CNC programs. One of the more overlooked features you may want to consider for your CNC router for woodworking is the dust collection system. A router will cut the wood with a bit rotating at a high speed, which means a fair amount of sawdust will be created. In smaller workshops or large workshops without sufficient ventilation, the sawdust created by the CNC router for woodworking can lead to poor air quality. A dust collection system will prevent the build-up of dust in the air, thereby avoiding breathing problems, poor visibility, and so on.

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