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What to Consider When Buying a CNC Router

You can use a CNC router to cut just about anything you want – ranging from cabinetry to signs.

But the hard part with CNC routers is choosing the right one for your needs. How do you know which one will work for you?

Keep these general tips in mind which should form the foundation for making your decision:

What’s the Drive System?

CNC machines have 3 types of drive systems. Check ‘em out and when they make most sense:

Servo or Stepper Motor Systems?

Stepper motors typically have 50 – 100 magnetic poles. Servo motors usually have just 4-12.

The greater number of magnetic poles allows for improved accuracy and precision, and without any position feedback. Naturally, this makes precision much easier with Stepper motors. Stepper motors cost less and are easier to find. Servo motors often need a position encoder to do the same. While less common, the advantage of servo motors is they supply twice their rated torque for periods, and generally have greater efficiency.

What’s Your CNC Machine’s Weight?

Heavier machines are generally better constructed and give you stronger performance. That usually means lesser vibration and more accurate cutting.

However, you’ll have to consider whether you need to transport your CNC machine frequently. If that’s the case, then you may want to choose a lighter machine.

Software Considerations

You’ll never want to skimp on software. Machines only do exactly what you tell them.

What if you have a special operation you need performed? Ask the machine’s manufacturer about a custom software solution.

Router Bit Quality

Buy cheaper router bits and they wear faster and break more often, and you have to spend more time replacing them. You’re best off spending a little more up front to prevent all kinds of nuisances later on down the line.

There’s much more to consider when buying a CNC router. For now, however, those are the most important things to remember.


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