CNC machines are high precision, three dimensions cutting, and milling machines that utilize computerized control and machine tools to produce a designed part. The CNC machine comes in different sizes, shapes, dimensions, and speeds. CNC machines are used in the manufacture of complex components, automobiles, medical and aircraft parts. CNC machines used computer programs to command the tools on the direction and depth of cuts. The following are the top five best CNC machines in 2021.
Top 10 Best CNC Router Machine
SainSmart Genmitsu CNC Router Machine 3018-PROVer – Best Starter Kit
SainSmart Genmitsu CNC Router Machine 3018-PROVer is one of the best metal CNC in the market. It features GRBL Offline control, Emergency stops, and limit switches. The 3018-PROver comes pre-assembled, and assembling of unassembled parts takes less than 30 minutes. The SainSmart Genmitsu body is made of aluminum, which offers long-term durability. It is powered by Toshiba TB6S109 drivers that offer silent but powerful performance.
The SainSmart CNC router is equipped with Optocouplers that enhance the silent operation and protect the mainboard from hard stops.
It also comes with a 1.8-inch display that shows readouts and controls, and there is no need for a computer. It allows the operator to adjust measurements and controls with minimum effort. In an emergency, the PROVer provides an easily accessible emergency stop button that instantly shuts down your CNC machine.
- Easy to Clean: The PROVer features an aluminum body that provides a smooth surface that is easy to clean and does not stain.
- Quick Assembly: The PROVer comes pre-assembled, and the unassembled parts take only 30 minutes to put together.
- Quiet Operation: The Toshiba drives run smoothly and silently
- Long-lasting durability: It is made of robust aluminum material that is resistant to corrosion. Optocouplers protect the machine from hard stops.
- Offline Control: It features a 1.8-inch display that enables you to work without the need for a computer
- Produces high precision finished parts.
- Highly Versatile: Can be for gear making, sign making, and woodworking
- Outdated software
Genmitsu CNC Router Machine 3018-PROVer Mach3
The PROVer Mach3 uses a PC as a CNC machine controller. Mach3 is software that makes a PC function as a CNC machine controller. The PROVer Mach3 controller board is compatible with Mach3, DrufelCNC, and Windows system. The spindle can either be powered by a 775 motor or a 100W DC motor. The PROVer Mach3 is easy to use. Changing and calibration is done with the click of a mouse.
This CNC machine is highly versatile. It can be used to cut plastics, PVCs, soft aluminum, and wood. It is made of high-quality aluminum material. This construction ensures that it offers long-lasting durability and also produces high-quality finished products and parts. The PROVer also provides a working area of 300x180x45mm.
- Highly versatile: The PROVer Mach3 can be used to cut various metals, wood, and plastics
- Compatible with Windows, Mach3, and DrufelCNC software and offers a user-friendly alternative to industrial CNC machines that require advanced training to operate.
- Safety Design. The 3018-PROVer Mach3 features a 5mm acrylic protective cover that prevents flying chips and metal pieces from harming the operator.
- It is delivered pre-assembled, and the unassembled parts require less than 30 minutes to be put into their required position.
- It is constructed with high-quality aluminum material for long-lasting durability and aesthetic looks.
- PROVer Mach3 controller board is compatible with Mach3, Windows system, and DrufelCNC software, while the spindle motor interface can be powered by a 100 W motor or 775 spindle motor.
- Requires a PC to operate.
VEVOR CNC 3018 CNC Router Kit 3 Axis CNC Router- Best High Efficiency
The Vevor CNC 3018 CNC router provides a three-axis working travel of 300x180x45mm. Its body is made of aluminum alloy, giving it long-term durability. The Vevor comes with an instruction manual that offers clear guidelines on installation and operation. It is connected to the computer through a USB port. The Vevor Controller board is compatible with Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10 for 32 and 64-bit processors. The Vevor is equipped with a high-performance GRBL control board that produces high precision motion control.
- Durable Material. The Vevor CNC 3018 Router is made from an aluminum alloy that is resistant to corrosion and offers long-lasting durability. The aluminum alloy also gives the Vevor a lustrous appearance.
- Easy to Assemble. The Vevor comes with a detailed, easy to understand user manual that gives out proper assembling procedure.
- Versatility. This CNC can be used for cutting and engraving a wide variety of materials. These include plastics, metals, acrylic, PVCs, and PCBs.
- GRBL control board offers compatibility with various OS such as Windows XP,7,8,10. It is easily connected to the computer via a USB cable.
- Unmatched performance. The Vevor is equipped with a 775 spindle motor on its z-axis. It also features a 42 stepper motor on every axis to enhance movement on all axis.
- It cannot be used without a computer
MYSWEETY DIY CNC 3018-PRO- Best Easy to Assemble
If you are a learner, this is the best machine for you to start with. It is easy to assemble and operate, while the user manual gives clear instructions on both. This CNC router provides a large working space, and it runs on all the three-axis. The Mysweety 3018-PRO is mostly made of aluminum with very few plastic parts. The spindle is powered by a powerful 775 spindle motor (24V) with a speed of 10000 rpm. With four clamps, the workpiece is secured. The spindle is regulated by 3 two-phase stepper motors to enhance efficiency and control. Mysweety also features a GRBL controller board that supports various Operation systems and other software. Main Features
- Provides a large working area across three axis
- Features High-Performance spindle motor that can rotate at 10000 RPMs.
- Supports various OS like Linus, Windows, and Mac.
- Can several materials such as metals, woods, plastics, PVC, and acrylic.
- Suitable for learners and beginners
- It is Versatile and can curve various materials.
- Supports a variety of operating systems i.e. Linus, Windows, and Mac
- Can only curve small jobs
- The most crucial components are made of plastics
DIY Mini 1610 PRO Milling Machine-Best for Small Jobs
The 1610-PRO is suitable for a small job. It provides a working travel 180x100x45mm. The Mini 1610 PRO comes with a GBRL control board that supports various Windows Operating systems such as win7, WinXP, win8, and win10. This CNC router is connected to a computer via a USB cable. The spindle motor is rated at 120W, 10,000 rpm.
Each axis is equipped with Nema17 42 stepper motors rated at 1.3A/0.3N.m. This CNC is versatile and can be used to machine plastics, metals, PVCs, and acrylic.
- Compatible with most Windows Operating systems, including Windows 7, Windows 8, and 10.
- Produces high precision finished product
- Durable body construction
- Cannot curve hard metals
- Requires computer to operate
- Can only work on small jobs
2 in 1 3000mW Engraver CNC 3018 Pro GRBL Control DIY Mini CNC Machine- Best Accuracy
The 2 in 1 3000mW Engraver CNC 3018 Pro GRBL features an integrated driver chip, fixed heat sink, external fan, and a sturdy casing.
The Aluminum body gives this CNC machine long-lasting durability and good looks. This machine offers an engraving area of 300x180x45, suitable for most small projects. It also features a GRBL controller board that is compatible with most Windows operating systems. The Spindle motor interface is connected to a 775 spindle motor (10000 RPMs, 24V). The 3018Pro offers high precision, with a focus of less than 0.1mm. It also comes with an offline controller and does not need a computer to function. This CNC machine is also very versatile, and it can be used on metals, acrylic, plastics, PVC but cannot engrave hard metals and other hard materials.
- It is one of the most accurate CNC routers.
- It runs smoothly and quietly.
- Aesthetic looks.
- It is easy to assemble.
- It is heavy.
- It cannot work without a computer.
Mophorn CNC 1610 CNC Machine 3 Axis CNC Router- Best Versatility
The Mophorn CNC 1610 Machine is a three-axis CNC router that features an aluminum alloy body with an engraving area of 160x100x40mm. The machine is equipped with a GRBL controller that supports most windows operating systems, including Windows XP, win7, win8, and win10, and is connected to a computer through a USB port. The Mophorn CNC is also equipped with an offline controller that allows operation without a computer. It also features high performance 775 24V Spindle Motor that rotates at speeds of 10,000 RPMs and three 42 stepper motors on the three axes.
- Can work with or without a computer. It features an offline controller module but also allows connection to a computer.
- It is versatile and can be used to engrave soft metals, plastics, acrylic, and PVCs.
- Compatible with most Windows and Linus Operating Systems
- Suitable for small jobs only
Yofuly CNC 3018 Pro Wood Router GRBL Control Engraving Machine
The Yofuly CNC 3018 Pro Wood Router features a control board equipped with a fixed heat sink, external fan, and a sturdy sell that protect the control board from damage. This CNC machine is also equipped with an offline controller that makes it possible to operate without the need for a computer. It is mostly pre-assembled, and the unassembled parts require less than twenty minutes to put together. It also features an SD card reader. This reader allows access into the root directory G-code files. The Yofuly CNC can be used to engrave plastics, PVC, wood, and acrylic.
- The offline controller allows it to be operated without the need for a computer.
- It can be used to engrave a variety of materials, including wood, plastics, acrylic, and PVC.
- It is durable.
- Easy to assemble.
- It can only be used to engrave soft materials.
BobsCNC Evolution 4 CNC Router- Best Multifunctional
The BobsCNC E4 CNC router is upgraded from the BobsCNC Evolution 3. It consists of a laser-cut frame, SG20U supported rail system, GT2 belt drive on X and Y axis, and ACME TR8 lead screw on the z-axis. The BobsCNC is connected to a computer via a USB port and can support Linus, Windows, and Mac.
- Easy to assemble and install
- Suitable for learners and enthusiast
- Supports most operating systems
- Quiet operation
- It consists of wood parts
- Low accuracy
FoxAlien Desktop CNC Router Machine 3018-SE V2- Best Customizable
The FoxAlien Desktop CNC Router 3018-SE V2 is equipped with a transparent enclosure to allow the operator to view the engraving process and make necessary adjustments if needed. The Spindle mount can accommodate various spindle modules, including FoxAlien’s 5000mW, 15,000mW, and 300mW modules.
It has a GRBL control board that is compatible with Windows, Linus, and Mac operating systems. The FoxAlien 3018-SE V2 is versatile and can be used to engrave various materials such as plywood, plastics, PVC, acrylic, and soft metals.
This CNC machine is equipped with limit switches and emergency switch for safety.
- Easy to install as most parts are pre-assembled
- Transparent enclosure for viewing
- It lacks an offline controller hence needs a computer to function
- Only suitable for small jobs
How Does a CNC Machine Work?
A CNC machine is a fully automated machine that uses an already written computer program to move the tool and autonomously remove layers of materials from a workpiece to produce a custom-designed part. This process is suitable for metals, plastics, wood, glass, acrylic, PVC, and some leather materials. The CNC uses a subtractive manufacturing process by moving material layers from a workpiece to form the desired part. The CNC machining process includes
- Designing a model using CAD software
- Converting the CAD file to a CNC Program
- Setting up the CNC machine
- Start the Machining process
Designing a model using CAD software
Computer-aided design software can be used to produce 2D and 3D models. This software allows engineers to develop an accurate 2D or 3D models with specifications such as geometries and dimensions. Always note that the CNC machine has limited capabilities and cannot produce any design. Before choosing a CNC machine, one should consider factors such as tooling design, characteristics of the material being machined, and its work holding capabilities. Some models may be too complicated for a CNC machine.
Converting CAD file to a CNC program
The CAD file is then run through a computer-aided manufacturing program, which develops the part’s geometry. It also converts its specifications to digital programming codes. These codes control the movements of the CNC machine tooling to produce the desired part.
Some fundamental programming languages include the M-code and the G-code. The G-code is the most commonly used language in CNC machines. The G-codes instruct the machining tool when to turn on or off, where to start from, which tool to use, what path to take, and how fast to travel. After generating the CNC program code, the operator uploads it into the CNC machine.
After uploading the program code into the CNC machine, the operator then prepares the machine by mounting the workpiece into the machine, attaching needed tools such as end mills, drill bits, cutting tools, etc.
Machining Operation Execution
The CNC program commands the CNC machine to perfume the tasks as per the G-code or the M-code. These instructions command the work tool on:
- what to do,
- the depth of each cut,
- the directions of the cut.
It also instructs the machine on which tool to use. This process continues until the machine completes the process of producing a custom-designed product.
What are the Factors to Consider Before Buying a CNC Router?
You need to know which Operating System the CNC machine is compatible with before purchasing.
Different CNC machines are compatible with various operating systems. A good CNC machine should support the most commonly used operating systems so that if you decide to change your OS, the machine’s operation should not stop.
You should know what the machine can do and what it can’t before purchasing.
If you are planning to produce complicated parts, you must choose a machine that is capable of doing that job.
Size of the Machine
The types of jobs you intend to fabricate will determine the size of the machine you buy. You should also consider the size of your workspace before buying.
Industrial CNC machines are large and are used for large-scale production. Benchtop CNC machines are used on smaller workpieces and small scale production. They are also used for training and learning purposes.
Spare Parts Availability
You need to ask yourself if the spare parts of the machine you intend to buy are readily available in the market. If it takes months for an ordered spare part to arrive, it may not be worth buying that machine.
CNC machines with high RPMs motors perform a given task faster and can be used to curve stronger materials than those with low RPMs.
Automatic Tool Changing System
CNC machines with ATC produces high precision custom-designed parts while reducing time wasted on manually changing the tools.
What is GRBL?
GRBL is open-source software that enables motion control for CNC machines and allows it to be compatible with other operating systems and software.
How Deep Can a CNC router cut?
This is determining by the power of the spindle. Manufacturers always provide specifications on the user manual on how deep your CNC router can cut.
Before buying a CNC router, always consider the factors we have stated in this article. If you are in the market for a benchtop CNC machine, you can choose from our list of the top ten best CNC machines. Always remember to consult your user manual before setting up your workpiece.
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