CNC woodworking is a great hobby to take up, as it allows you to create many things, from decorations to personalized toys and gifts that you can give to your friends and family or even sell online. Like many hobbies, this can quickly become an expensive one. Some machines cost thousands of dollars but if you are just starting it’s best to go for a cheaper one as it will allow you to learn the ins and outs of CNC without the stress on breaking an expensive device.
FASTTOBUY 3018 – The Best Entry Level CNC Routing Table
If you’re a complete beginner, we recommend you start with a small desktop machine. The FASTTOBUY CNC 3018 GRBL Control DIY CNC Machine, 3 Axis Acrylic PCB Wood Carving Milling Engraving Machine, CNC Router Kit XYZ Working Area 300x180x45mm is probably the best beginner CNC machine to start learning this beautiful and challenging hobby. This is a 2 in 1 machine that allows you to carve wood and laser engrave surfaces (the laser head is not included in the package and has to be bought separately).
Easy to Install, Even For Beginners
The FASTTOBUY CNC 3018 is a router kit, which means you will have to install it yourself. As it is a machine made for beginners, the manufacturer stripped away all the extraneous so that the installation process is as simple as possible. Besides the instructions manual the router comes with, you’ll find lots of videos on Youtube on how to install it, in case you get stuck. The installation shouldn’t take more than an hour unless you are doing an assembly for the first time in your life.
The router doesn’t come with an emergency shut-off switch, although you can purchase one after-market, so for safety reasons we recommend you plug it into an outlet that is controlled by a switch. Although this is a safe to use machine, taking extra safety measures is always highly recommended when working with autonomous machines.
Works Only with Soft Materials
To start using it you will first need to install the Gbrl software on your computer, which you will find on the USB disk provided by the manufacturer. This runs both on Windows (XP/ Win 7/ Win 8) as well as Linux.
The last piece of software you will need is a G-code sender, which you will find for free online.
The FASTTOBUY CNC 3018 also comes with an offline controller and SD card slot which allows you to operate the CNC router without it being connected to a computer. This means you will have to manually adjust the three axes and the starting point of engraving as well as turning the spindle on and off yourself. Using the offline controller isn’t recommended for beginners.
Like all desktop CNC routers, this one is only suited for cutting soft materials, like wood, plastic, acrylic, PVC, and PCB. You could also try it on soft metal, like copper, brass, and aluminum but don’t expect it to do a fast job.
The FASTTOBUY CNC 3018 has a 300 x 180 x 45mm work area, which is large enough to do all kinds of beginner projects. The manufacturer also provides 51 sets of free material to give you a starting point.
Although it is one of the cheapest CNC routers you will find on the market, the FASTTOBUY CNC 3018 has great potential. Don’t get discouraged if your first projects look terrible. Once you get enough experience you will be able to create great-looking decorations or toys. And with the available upgrades, which we’ll cover below, you’ll have no problem completing professional-looking designs.
Good Strength and Stability
Like most CNC routers, the FASTTOBUY CNC 3018 is made out of aluminum. The workbench is also made out of thick aluminum, not only to make it more durable but also provides good stability while cutting or engraving.
Upgradable Once You Learned the Basics
What makes FASTTOBUY CNC 3018 the best entry-level CNC router is the fact that you can buy lots of upgrades once you start learning how to properly use it. Just make sure that the upgrades are compatible with your machine and that you don’t need to change other depending parts.
Thirst things you should invest in are some end mills, drill bits, and chamfer bits. Once you get a handle of the FASTTOBUY CNC 3018 you’ll want to be able to do more complex projects and these will help produce higher quality results. Buying new mills and bits means that you will need to change the collets as well.
Since this is a 2 in 1 machine you will also want to get a laser module. You have 3 options to choose from: 500mw, 2500mw, or 5500mw laser. All 3 modules can be used only for engraving wood. The 2500mw laser can also cut through 1mm of wood, while the 5500mw can cut to wood twice as thick. Additionally, the 5500mw can also engrave leather and soft plastic.
If you want to be able to work with harder materials you should upgrade your spindle. Unfortunately, you will also have to change the power supply and the mounting equipment to handle the new spindle. You might want to add a coolant system as well since the CNC isn’t designed to handle hand material.
Great Price for Value
One other thing that makes the FASTTOBUY CNC 3018 is the price. While professional CNC routers can cost up to thousands of dollars, thus making them inaccessible for amateurs, the FASTTOBUY CNC 3018 only costs a few hundred dollars. You’ll probably never find a better product at such a low price.
The FASTTOBUY CNC 3018 is, without a doubt, the best possible entry-level CNC router you can buy if you are just starting out. More Complex ones are available, if you feel as though you really know what you’re doing and have some experience already. Though, we recommend starting out with a simpler one if you don’t have any previous experience.
This one is easy to install and operate, even for a complete beginner. Once you get enough experience you can start upgrading some parts of the machine, which will allow you to build more complex projects.