This is a review of the Sainsmart Genmitsu 3018 Pro, a popular CNC router among hobbyists and beginners.
With so many different routers out there these days, finding the right one for you isn’t always easy.
As an experienced hobbyist who’s tested dozens of CNC machines, I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to routers.
So, to save you some time and money, I’ve conducted an in-depth review of the Gemitsu 3018 Pro to help you decide if it’s the right CNC router for you.
Genmitsu 3018 CNC Review – Summary
Sainsmart Genmitsu CNC 3018 Pro
With a good level of stability, an impressive offline control module, and various upgrade options, it’s certainly worth considering. This router isn’t without its faults, but it does represent decent value for money.
In this Sainsmart Genmitsu 3018 Pro review, we take a deep dive into every aspect of this machine. You’ll learn about everything from its precision, stability, and usability to compatible software, electronics, and all the important specifications.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about the Saintsmart Genmitsu 3018 Pro and whether it’s the right CNC router for you.
Size & Working Area
This CNC router is a 3018 model, which means it has a working area of 300x180x45mm, so it’s best suited to smaller hobbyist projects, such as making small designs and home decorations.
You can work on materials up to 35.56mm thick, although using longer tool pieces will mean having to use thinner materials. Some users have reported that getting the full 45mm travel on the Z axis can be difficult depending on the bit you’re using.
The working area has an aluminum T-slot that’s robust and durable, so it’s suitable for heavier materials and has a long tooling life. The kit comes with small clips for clamping workpieces to the table.
The entire machine is 400x330x240mm and weighs just 15.27lb, so it’s a very compact desktop router that’s small enough to fit in small home workshops.
Build & Stability
Stability is key to any good CNC router – the more stable a machine is, the more precise results you can achieve. So, it’s a positive that the Genmitsu 3018 ranks high in this regard.
The router is constructed of a part aluminum, part PF (a type of plastic) body, making it rigid enough to not vibrate and resist flexing while in operation. This helps ensure it cuts and engraves accurately with minimum repeatability.
The Z axis components are made of nylon, a highly resistant material that provides good durability. The nylon components also reduce the weight of the Z axis, which in turn makes the gantry lighter for more stable machining.
This router uses Sainsmart’s own basic spindle that is used on most the manufacturer’s machines. It uses a 775 motor and has a maximum speed of 10,000 RPM at 36V, which is more than enough to cut and engrave soft materials like wood and plastic.
Some users have reported only being able to reach 9,000 RPM, but that’s still fine for cutting soft materials.
The machine comes with an ER11 collet to mount on the spindle, so you can use CNC router bits with a diameter between 0.02” and 0.276”. The router itself comes with 10 bits included with a 20-degree cutting angle.
The Sainsmart Genmitsu 3018 Pro can be used to cut and carve a wide variety of materials, ranging from wood, plastics, and acrylics to PCV, PCB, and leather.
You can also use it to cut soft aluminum and copper, but it can’t cut harder metals like steel.
However, you won’t achieve as accurate cutting or as good as surface finish when cutting aluminum as you will with softer materials.
You can achieve higher quality aluminum and soft metal cutting by using the Genmitsu GS-775M spindle, which costs around $40.
This is the same size as the standard Sainsmart spindle so you can easily add it to the 3018 Pro, and as the router is built with out-the-box support for this spindle, you don’t need to modify the g-code.
The GS-77M has a maximum speed of 20,000RPM, so it’s a more effective way to precisely cut aluminum.
The router uses 12V stepper motors to drive the lead screw mechanisms on each axis. The screws on the Y axis move the bed rather than the gantry, and there is a copper nut to help reduce backlash.
Some users have reported that the router can be loud due to the anti-backlash nut being slightly loose so that it can move, but this doesn’t have a noticeable effect on engraving quality and you can reduce noise by adding some loosened screws.
This CNC router is built on an Arduino board that runs GRBL 1.1F. It uses CH34 drivers that help to reduce heat and improve spindle power while working to maintain optimum performance.
There is a fault indicator LED and short circuit protection, while the component layout of the board is designed to maximize stability. Overall, the electronic components are impressive for such a cheap machine.
One of our favorite things about the Genmitsu 3018 Pro is the impressive offline control module. This allows you to control the machine without needing a computer, and you can easily use it by connecting it to the motherboard via the included cable.
You can then insert an SD card with the g code you want to run into the controller and use it to operate the router.
The main advantage of this is that you eliminate the risk of the machine stopping due to a PC crash and then having to start over, so it’s a much safer and more efficient way to complete your jobs.
The offline controller has a 1.8” touch screen that clearly displays the readout, and you can use the buttons to move the axes, select cuts from the memory card, and exit cuts.
Alternatively, you can control the router directly from your computer using CNC control software. As this router’s firmware is based on GRBL, you can use any GRBL-based software. It comes with a kit for the CANDLE CNC control software for Windows and Linux. If you’re using Mac, you can use a free software like GRBL Controller.
The Genmitsu 3018 Pro also comes with a free three-month subscription to the Carveco Maker CAD & CAM software. If you want to carry on using the program after that, it’s $15 a month or $180 for an annual license. Alternatively, you can use free CAD/CAM software like FreeCAD or Fusion360.
Our Saintsmart Genmitsu CNC 3018-Pro review found that are several upgrades available for this option, the most notable being the optional laser module.
Sainsmart offers its own laser module add-on for the 3018 Pro which is super easy to use, as you simply plug it into the laser port on the driver board and you’re good to go.
The laser is ideal for engraving designs onto wood, plastic, leather and other softer materials with high accuracy. You can also engrave anodized aluminum.
You can easily adjust the focus by spinning the lens for making engravings of different thicknesses, and it has a large aluminum heat skin and cooling fan to prevent it from overheating. LaserGRBL is a free and popular software that you can use to make designs and control the laser module.
You can also upgrade your working area if you need more space thanks to the Sainsmart Genmitsu 3018 Y axis extension kit.
This extends the Y-axis to 370mm and allows it to travel 320mm, converting the machine into a 3040 router. It’s quick and easy to install and is well received among people who’ve used it, with a 4.4 star rating on Amazon from more than 260 reviews.
Like most hobbyist CNC routers, the Genmtisu 3018 Pro is a DIY router, so you need to have to put it together yourself. However, the parts come preassembled, which makes things pretty simple.
The instructions are included and many users say that the machine is simple to put together, and there are additional resources on the SainSmart Wiki page. However, some people have reported there being some steps missing in the instructions.
The Sainsmart website puts assembly time at the two-hour mark. It can be put together in around an hour, although it may take longer if it’s your first time doing this kind of thing.
One of the benefits of choosing a Sainsmart machine is that the company offers a lot better customer service than that offered by other companies who make 3018s and other small routers.
As we’ve already touched on, there’s the Sainsmart Wiki which loads of guides, tutorials, and comparison tables on the company’s various products. If you need further support, you can get in touch with Sainsmart by filling out a contact form, and the support team is generally very responsive and helpful.
There’s plenty to like about the Sainsmart Genmitsu 3018 Pro, especially for such an affordable router. For starters, it offers a good level of stability thanks to the aluminum frame, with a powerful enough spindle to easily cut all soft materials and even aluminum.
The electronics are pretty impressive for a budget CNC router, particularly the offline control module.
What we really like is the upgradability and the fact that it’s a user-friendly machine to upgrade.
You can easily add in a laser module and a more powerful spindle for improved metal cutting, among other upgrade options.
Overall, the Genmitsu 3018 Pro is a very good budget CNC router that represents good value for money and is a decent machine for beginners to start with.
For most users it’s probably worth spending a little more and going for the 3018 Prover, which we take a look at below, but the 3018 Pro is still a good hobbyist router in its own right.
If you want to buy the Sainsmart Genmitsu 3018 Pro for yourself, you can easily order it today through the Sainsmart website.
To buy the Sainsmart Genmitsu 3018 CNC Pro:
- Frame size: 400 x 330 x 240 mm
- Engraving area: 300 x 180 x 45 mm
- Weight: 15.27lb
- Frame material: aluminum & PF
- Spindle: 775 motor, 24V
- Max spindle speed: 10,000RPM
- Stepper motor: 1.3A, 12V, 0.25 Nm torque
- Supported OS: Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, Mac OS
- Rated power: 60W
- Max power: 120W
- Power supply: 24V/4A
- Collet: ER11
- Bits: 20 degree, 0.1mm tip, 3.125mm diameter
- Control: Online & offline
- Software: GRBL (comes with Candle & three month Carveco Maker subscription)
- Connectivity: USB
Sainsmart Genmitsu CNC 3018 Pro Alternatives
If the Genmitsu 3018 Pro isn’t quite what you’re looking for, here are some top alternative routers to consider.
Sainsmart Genmitsu 3018-PROVer
- Price: Check price on Amazon here
The Genmitsu 3018 Prover is the direct upgrade on the 3018 Pro and has several enhanced features.
For example, it uses more powerful but silent Toshiba TB6S109 drivers for increased performance, as well as an all-aluminum body for added stability.
Another difference is the acrylic baffles on the 3018 Prover, which ensure this machine is safer and cleaner to use as the baffles prevent chips from flying outwards.
- Price: Check price on Amazon here
The FoxAlien 4040-XE offers a larger working area than the 3018 Pro without the need for an extension kit, but that’s only one of the benefits of this impressive router.
It uses a 300W spindle with powerful NEMA23 stepper motors, making it suitable for carving a wide variety of materials including aluminum, carbon fiber, and nylon, at speeds up to 2,000mm/min. We also like the really user-friendly offline controller with a 3.5” screen.
This is one of the highest-rated CNC routers on Amazon, with over 70% of users giving it 5 stars.
BobsCNC Evo 4
- Price: Check price on Amazon here
It’s a fair bit more expensive than the Genmitsu 3018 Pro, but if you’re looking for a premium CNC router with a large working area, the BobsCNC Evo 4 is a great choice.
This is a very popular router with a 610x610x85mm working area, so you can work on much larger projects than with a 3018.
It has an all-wood frame which is really sturdy with a repeatability of just 0.0002-0.0004”, and by purchasing this machine you can benefit from being part of a very active user community.
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