Since the release of CNC routers, hobbyists and professionals were able to work in a broader array of projects. With the new technology applied on a router, engraving, carving, milling, and cutting on different forms of materials seem to be a much easier task. While you can do those things on a manual or analog machine, the convenience, ease, accuracy, and precision won’t be the same as when you use a CNC kit. Now, if you’re planning to add a CNC router to your tools, one of the things that you might notice while scrolling through online catalogues is the price range that the machine typically has.
A CNC kit is notably more expensive than your average routing tool. And with hundreds of costly models that claim to deliver you the best features for your line of work, it’s hard to distinguish which one you should pick. Fortunately, we’re going to talk just about that in this article. If you’re looking for the best CNC machine for the money, we’ve got it for you! At the end of the article, we have short product reviews of two of the best CNC routers you can get at a reasonable price, depending on the functions they come with. Let’s get started!
What’s a CNC Machine?
A CNC (Computer Numeric Control) router uses specific software to let you manipulate it into carving or cutting the design you entered as the input. You can most likely compare this machine to a 3D printer, but the CNC router is equipped with accessories that make it suitable for catering to a wider range of mediums other than plastic materials. Because a CNC router can cut in high precision and accuracy, it’s deemed to be more efficient and convenient to use.
Things to Consider When Buying a CNC Machine
Assess your budget carefully and determine how much you’re willing to spend on a CNC router. As mentioned, these machines are on the expensive side of the price rate; the top-selling ones can go as high as $10000, while some are available for as low as $200. As you check how much you can afford, the choosing process is much easier. The most important thing is you get a general feel on how much the machine you want would cost you.
A CNC machine typically features laser cutter and engraving functions, and both need specific software programs to run. While this factor doesn’t affect most people, the initial software that comes with the package has limited designs and fonts. You can use other software that extends the limits of what you can do with your kit.
Are you going to use your machine on metals most of the time? Are you buying a CNC router to work on wood projects? This factor is significant because there are different kinds of CNC routers in the market, and you’d want to get the one that does the job for you. You have many options to choose from, so you need to pick the one that’s very applicable on your line of work.
Which one do you prefer when it comes to a machine-to-computer connection: through Bluetooth connectivity or a USB connection? People find wireless connections very convenient, mainly because the setup makes way for more workspace room. On the other hand, a wired setup doesn’t make much difference, performance-wise.
CNC kits are equipped with different spindle motors, and that affects the machine’s speed and ability in cutting and engraving. Inspect the CNC machine that you’re eyeing for this factor because the spindle rate determines the depth and speed that the router can handle.
In this section, we’re going to discuss two of our top picks that are both worth your money, depending on the applications you’re going to use the machine for. Let’s take a look!
- Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO Router Kit
If you’re just getting into wood routing or engraving, then the CNC 3018-PRO is just for you. At a low price of $249.99, you get what you need to get around your new hobby; who knows? Maybe you’ll get the hang of it and turn it into your own business. Its features mainly focus on versatility, allowing you to cater to projects of easy to medium complexity in an array of materials, such as wood, soft aluminum, plastics, PVC, and PCB. The CNC 3018-PRO is specifically designed to have an integrated system between its mainboard and its corresponding software for faster input and output pick up.
Additionally, this unit runs using an Arduino-based microprocessor and utilizes GBRL. The package comes with complete instructions for you to check out, as well.
- BobsCNC Evolution 3 CNC Router Kit
At first glance, the $898-price of this CNC machine is quite higher than that of the previous item, but we’ll tell you that each of the features that the kit offers is worth every penny. To start, the BobsCNC E3 is the perfect equipment if you’re planning to start a small business. Believe it or not, this unit provides you with almost everything you’ll need for wide project applications. The model boasts excellent accuracy and precision with its SG20U supported rail system and rigid laser cut frame. Its 5-amp spindle motor can kick up a speed of up to 30000 RPM, which allows you to work with different materials. The unit also comes with a spindle lock feature, which lets you change bits with no supporting tools required.
When it comes to stability and durability, the E3 CNC model gives you a great deal. Majority of the parts of the CNC machine is made of premium wood to prolong its life even when used frequently for several months. As for its operation and connectivity, you can use a USB cord to establish a connection with an Arduino microprocessor. In using this, we recommend you to use a software program like Universal Gcode Sender Platform; this software can be used through Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.
Investing in a CNC machine indeed kicks the budget bucket; however, the features and convenience it offers is worth it. In addition, there are low-priced units available in the market; you just have to look harder and be mindful of the factors you should consider. The two products we’ve discussed have different prices, yet both are ideal to be on your list for particular purposes.