10 Advantages of CNC Machines and CNC Routers: Is it Worth Buying a Desktop CNC?

By: Jason
Published:

CNC routers and machines take all the safety risks and speed issues from human operators, and offer millimeter-perfect cuts – every time.

In this blog post, we will explore the advantages of CNC routers and CNC machines. We will ask the question: is it worth buying a desktop CNC router for your home workshop or business?

After reading this post, you will have a better idea of whether a CNC router is right for you!

1. CNC Machining Produces Little to No Waste

With traditional machining methods, a lot of material is wasted in the cutting and shaping process. This can be expensive and wasteful. CNC machines use intelligent CAD-CAM software that calculates the more effective and efficient way to cut the part from your workpiece, making your material go the furthest possible.

CNC routers are much more precise and efficient, meaning that less material is wasted in the manufacturing process.

This precision and efficiency makes CNC routers a more sustainable option for manufacturing. It also helps to keep costs down, as less material is needed to produce finished products.

2. Reliability and Consistency

CNC routers are extremely reliable and consistent machines. Once a CNC router is set up, it will produce the same results every time. This level of consistency is essential for businesses that rely on precision manufacturing.

Within CNC, this is known as repeatability. For example, the BobsCNC Evo 4, a popular wood CNC router, offers 0.002” to 0.004” repeatability – you know what cut you’re going to get, every time.

CNC routers also have a long lifespan. Many CNC routers can be used for thousands of hours without much degradation in performance. This makes CNC routers a wise investment for businesses that require long-term production, and they can be maintained with readily available parts and bits.

3. Safety

CNC machines are much safer than traditional machining methods. This is because they are often fully enclosed machines, so there is no exposure to moving parts or sharp tools.

Whereas with manual machines like lathes and mills, the operator comes into more direct contact with the machine, which can be dangerous. Benchtop milling machines can create rare accidents, mostly down to human error.

CNC routers also have safety features like emergency stop buttons, which can be invaluable in the event of an accident.

This level of safety is essential for businesses that require a safe working environment.

4. Versatility

One of the biggest advantages of CNC routers is that they are extremely versatile. With the right software, a CNC router can be used to create anything from simple shapes to intricate designs. This makes them perfect for both hobbyists and professionals alike!

Not only are they versatile in the designs they can cut (and you can create increasingly complex parts if you have a 4 or 5-axis CNC router), but they’re also versatile in the materials they can work with.

While you’ll struggle to cut tough metals with a CNC router (there’s simply not enough torque), even low-cost CNC routers can cut woods, acrylic, and much more. 

On the other hand, CNC milling machines can effortlessly cut through even the tougher metals for part prototyping.

5. Precision

Another great advantage of CNC routers is that they offer a high level of precision. This is thanks to the fact that CNC routers are computer-controlled.

This means that the machine can create precise, repeatable cuts every time. This is perfect for those who need to create precise parts or pieces! In fact, many CNC routers can create parts with a tolerance of 0.001 inches.

Precision is important because it ensures that your parts will fit together perfectly, and it also helps to minimize wastage. This is especially true with complex, multi-part projects that require exact fittings – like some CNC furniture.

6. Speed

CNC routers also have the advantage of being very fast. Thanks to their computer-controlled nature, CNC routers can work quickly and efficiently. This is perfect for those who need to get their projects done in a timely manner!

Speed is important for CNC routers because it allows you to work quickly and efficiently. This is perfect for those who need to get their projects done in a timely manner! Additionally, the speed of CNC routers means that you can create more parts in a shorter amount of time.

The fastest CNC routers are able to create parts at a rate of up to 60 inches per minute. That is amazing speed for a machine! Some fast CNC routers include brands like Carbide 3D and Inventables, with lower-cost brands like Sainsmart’s 3018 range still effective.

7. Affordable To Buy

Another advantage of CNC routers is that they are relatively affordable. In fact, there are a number of desktop CNC machines on the market that are within the budget of most people. This makes them a great option for those who want to start their own home workshop or business, but also for the average curious maker who wants to have a go at their first CNC project.

CNC routers start at around $200, which we recommend in our best cheap CNC router article. These are built from less sturdy parts generally, with some plastic rather than solid metal parts, so you won’t get the same precision or torque than you would for 

Then, mid-range CNC routers hover around the $1,000 to $3,000 range. Notable CNC routers include BobsCNC’s Evo range, the Carbide Shapeoko, and Inventables X-Carve.

CNC machines are generally more expensive, and can range from several thousand dollars, to potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars. They’re mostly used for industrial metal part fabrication.

The price of a CNC router depends on the size, power, and features of the machine.

8. Affordable To Run

Desktop CNC machines are also very affordable to run. This is because they typically use a small amount of power, and the cost of replacement parts such as bits is relatively low. 

In addition, many desktop CNC machines come with their own CNC software, which means that you don’t have to pay extra.

Skilled machine operators are required for manual machining, whereas CNC routers are relatively inexpensive to maintain – though very complex industrial CNC machines can also require skilled operators.

9. Easy to Use

CNC routers are also generally easy to use, if you’re willing to learn a bit of technical know-how. 

With just a little bit of practice, you will be able to create beautiful pieces of art with ease! In addition, most CNC routers come with software options that make the design process even easier – with sample projects you can press start on, and simple design interfaces within the CAD-CAM software, like V-Carve or Easel.

Even if you’re not familiar with CAD software, many of these CNC software tools simplify the process – especially if you’re only cutting a 2D shape – and you can even import designs from Photoshop or Inkscape to make things easier.

10. Customizable & Upgradable

CNC machines are also customizable, which means that you can create the perfect machine for your needs. Whether you need a machine that is large or small, simple or complex, there is sure to be a CNC machine that will suit your needs!

While now there are a lot of cheap pre-assembled kits you can buy and put together in an hour or so, that wasn’t always the case. It used to be standard to source the parts yourself, and build your own DIY CNC kit from scratch.

This level of customization also means that you can create a machine that is perfect for your specific applications. And then as your needs change, simply upgrade or change your CNC machine.

Some CNC upgrades include:

  • Laser engraver / cutter add-on
  • Enclosures
  • Dust collection
  • Emergency stop buttons

The Bottom Line

So, is it worth buying a desktop CNC router? We think so! CNC routers offer a number of advantages that make them perfect for both hobbyists and professionals alike, from making furniture and signs, to topographical maps, guitars, and more.

If you are looking for an affordable, easy-to-use, and versatile machine for cutting and crafting wood, acrylic, leather and other soft materials, then a CNC router is definitely the way to go! We hope this blog post has helped you in your decision-making process. 

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