While they’re not particularly widespread, there are several CNC router and laser combo machines to pick from – so which are the best?
In this guide, we cover everything there is to know about CNC router and laser combos. This includes how they work, what they’re used for, and what benefits they bring in.
We’ll then review the best CNC router and laser combo machines on the market, explaining everything you need to make an informed purchase.
What is a CNC Router and Laser Combo?
A CNC router and laser combo machine does what it says on the tin – offer both CNC router and laser engraving capabilities in a single setup.
These machines weren’t really a thing in the not-so-distant past, but the ever-increasing spread of affordable hobbyist CNC machines has seen some manufacturers offer machines that kill two birds with one stone.
After all, CNC routers and laser engravers are among the most popular machines among hobbyists.
Some combo machines come as a complete setup with both a router module and a laser module built into a single setup. Others are CNC machines by nature but are compatible with separate laser attachments.
The former are typically easier to use but are also more expensive.
Benefits of a CNC Router and Laser Engraver Combo
So, why would you want a CNC router and laser engraver combo? Well, there are two main reasons – efficiency and price.
Regarding the former, having two modules in a single machine simply makes it easier to work on projects which require both.
Say you want to create a model with a CNC router and then laser engrave it with details, such as a chess piece, or if you want to personalize it using a laser, like a phone case, mug, or a piece of metal art (if the laser is powerful enough to engrave metal).
If you can do it with one machine instead of two, it makes the entire job easier and saves you a lot of space, which is often important in hobbyist workshops.
Going for a CNC router and laser combo can also be a lot cheaper than buying two separate machines.
That’s not to say there aren’t expensive, premium options out there. But machines like the Mysweety 2 in 1, which we review below, can be bought for around half the price it would cost to buy a router and laser engraver separately.
The only real downside is the lack of choice, as there are currently only a handful of machines on the market.
Serious hobbyists and professionals may be best off choosing two separate machines that offer exactly what you need, but for beginners or the space-conscious hobbyist, a CNC router and laser engraver combo can be a really useful tool.
Now, let’s take a look at the best.
Best CNC Router Laser Combos – Reviews
Mysweety 2 in 1 – Best Budget CNC Router and Laser Combo
- Price: $339 — Available on Amazon here
The Mysweety 2 in 1 is a great choice if you’re looking for a more affordable machine.
While it may be the cheapest CNC router and laser combo, it still offers decent cutting and engraving capabilities and is a good option for beginners.
This is a small desktop machine with a working area of 300x180x45mm, so it can easily fit in your home workshop.
It can be used to cut and engrave a wide variety of materials including:
- Metal surface plating
The clamps can hold materials up to 30mm thick, so it’s suitable for a wide variety of projects, from small woodworking projects to personalizing keyrings. It even comes with 10 CNC bits so you can start cutting and carving right away.
One downside of this CNC router laser combo is that only one module can be attached at any one time, but this isn’t a surprise considering the very low price. Luckily, both modules are easy to remove and attach again.
Sainsmart Genmitsu 3018 PROver + Laser Rotary Roller – Great for Engraving Cylindrical Objects
- Price: $380 — Available on Amazon here
Sainsmart’s Genmitsu 3018 PROver is an extremely popular hobbyist CNC router that doesn’t have a laser module built-in, but the manufacturer does offer a bundle with a Y-axis laser engraving attachment.
This is another 300x180x45 benchtop machine that’s perfect for hobbyist workshops.
The 3018 PROver is popular for its reliability, safety, and usability. It has an all-aluminum body which provides good rigidity, while the acrylic safety baffles contain dust and prevent chips from flying out, so it’s really safe to use.
It can be used offline with the included controller which comes with a 1.8” screen that clearly displays readouts and makes it easy to use without a computer, or you can control it using GRBL.
The laser module is made by Sainsmart and comes pre-installed, so it’s a plug-and-play tool that’s incredibly easy to integrate into your router. It has five width-adjustment positions and can be adjusted from 30 to 90mm for working with different size materials.
One of the best things about this combo is that as the laser module is a Y-axis laser rotary attachment, it acts as a fourth axis when attached to the CNC router. This makes it ideal for engraving cylindrical objects, so you can use it to personalize things like mugs and glasses.
There’s also the option to buy the laser module separately and pair it with the Genmitsu 3018 PRO, which is the same size as the PROver but is slightly less stable and doesn’t use as high-quality drivers, but it’s still a decent budget option.
MakerMade M2 – Best CNC Router and Laser Combo for Large Working Area
The two machines we’ve covered so far have both been desktop size for small home workshops, but MakerMade 2 in 1 isn’t.
This is a much larger 4x8ft CNC laser router, so it’s ideal for working on much larger projects. You can even view the range of Maslow CNC projects other owners have created.
So instead of working on hand-size workpieces, with this machine, you can use the CNC router to cut wood for furniture and doors and then use the laser engraver to add fine details – as just one example.
The MakerMade offers exceptional value for money, as most other similarly sized CNC machines are much more expensive.
The reason it’s so affordable is because MakerMade is a community-driven startup that’s focused on making high-quality CNC tools available at a much more affordable price than other manufacturers.
This is a wall-mounted CNC router, which means it won’t take up a huge amount of floor space like any other 4×8 machine would. It’s highly accurate with a variance of 1mm, so it’s a really reliable machine for working on large projects.
The laser module is sold separately but it’s made by MakerMade specifically for the M2 and fits seamlessly into the router clamp, so you can easily switch between modules within minutes.
It’s a very precise and reliable laser and has a built-in fan to help achieve optimum performance and efficiency.
BobsCNC Evo 4 + JTechPhotonics Laser Module
- Price: $1,230 + $350-$750 laser kit — Available at Amazon here
The BobsCNC Evo 4 is a very popular CNC router that’s compatible with a laser engraving module made by JTechPhotonics.
This is a medium-size machine with a working area of 610x610x85, so it’s great for projects like signs, advertisement boards, and home decorations.
It’s widely known for its stability, with a rigid, laser cut wooden frame and an SG20U supported rail system, which results in an incredibly low repeatability of 0.05mm to 1mm.
You can upgrade the Evo 4 using the JTechPhotonics laser module kit specifically made for this CNC router.
It has everything you need to get started, including a laser shroud, safety goggles, a fan, mounting screws, and 10ft extension cables. Plus, it fits seamlessly into the standard BobsCNC spindle mount that comes with the Evo 4.
What we really like about the laser module is how you can customize it to precisely suit your needs.
You can choose from three power options – 2.8W, 4.2W and 7W – and you can also upgrade to a magnetic shroud for improved safety and a high res lens for increased precision.
The most expensive kit will set you back $734.96.
The laser module is also compatible with the smaller and less expensive BobsCNC Evo 3, which can save you a few hundred dollars.
This certainly isn’t a cheap option, but you get a medium-sized working area, a top-quality hobbyist router, and a really good laser module, so this is a great option for more serious hobbyists.
Snapmaker 2.0 – Top Quality 3 in 1 CNC Machine
The Snapmaker 2.0 isn’t just the best CNC router and laser combo on the market, but it also triples up as a 3D printer, making it by far the most comprehensive single-set-up hobbyist CNC machine on the market.
This is one of the very few machines that’s built specifically for multi-purpose CNC work, rather than the laser module being an afterthought, so it’s extremely intuitive and easy to use.
This CNC router and laser combo comes in three different sizes, so you can choose the one that best suits your budget and needs.
- The A150 is 160x160x145mm
- The A250 is 230x250x235mm
- The A350 is 320x350x330mm
The price we’ve quoted is for the A350.
One of the best things about the Snapmaker 2.0, and which separates it from the other machines we’ve reviewed, is its modular design. Not only does this make it super easy to put together, but it also opens up a lot of possibilities for simple upgrades and customization.
The CNC carving module uses an ER11 collet and has high concentricity for precise and consistent results.
It supports spindle speeds from 6,000 to 12,000RPM, so you can work on a variety of different materials and adjust the speed depending on your project. It also has an MDF platform to help ensure stable and precise carving.
The laser engraving module is similarly stable and precise, with a repeatability of 0.005mm.
It’s also very intuitive, as the autofocus means the optimal laser height is selected automatically, making your job easier and removing the risk of human error that comes with manual adjustment.
We also like the camera capture feature, which automatically takes a picture of your workpiece material and uploads it to the Luban software as a canvas.
You can then import images onto the canvas for easy editing, and the machine will then engrave them according to your finished design.
Another benefit of this CNC router laser combo is that you get the Snapmaker Luban software for free when you purchase this machine. This software is specifically designed to support each of the machine’s three functions and has some really useful tutorials to help you get started.
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