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To Rout or Not to Rout

Routers Up Close


Noun.  A CNC Router machine is a power tool that has a shaped rotating cutter for making grooves, shapes, decorative mouldings and carvings.

The CNC Router will have a set table surface. The tool travels across this area in and X Y Z directions.  The tool will travel to the area needed and dip to the depth required to cut the material underneath it. Please see the illustration below.


The router has a rotary cutter that moves at speeds of over 18,000 RPM’s and is used to cut materials like wood, metal and softer metals like aluminium.

Note. There are some 5 Axis routers. This uses the same principle as the standard router but the tool head is able to tilt on different angles. The gantry on the 5 axis machine is higher so that it can manoeuvre over and around an object.

Which one should you choose?

There are many factors to consider when choosing a CNC router. One of them is table size.  The surface area of the material is one of the factors that will determine the table size that you need. Also the tooling options will be something that you would need to consider. If for example you wanted to be able to add a knife drill or second spindle. To make sure that you tool could reach all areas of the work surface you may need an extended Y Axis gantry. This will need to be looked at when trying to work out where it will fit in your work area.

What will I be mainly cutting?

What is the Main Type of material you will be using? If it is wood, plastic or soft metals like aluminium this could be for you. If you will be cutting harder materials you may need to look for another type of machine. See Milling Machines Blog

What size will the sheets be? Consider what you will be making. Buy a machine that will accommodate the size of the sheets you need.  You may have more space and want to have the choice of creating large format or smaller projects.

How many are you Making?

Is this going to make the odd project making about 5 – 20 pieces. Will you be making hundreds of the same thing? Are you a hobbyist or planning to go into large scale production?

How much am I willing to spend?

Budget is a big consideration.  How much can you afford?

To help you choose I will be reviewing different CNC Router machines in my later blogs. This blog looked into more detail about what a router is and how is works. So that when you decide what is is your going to make, you can make a more informed decision.

Thank you for reading this. Please see some my other blogs.

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To Rout or not to Rout
Article Name
To Rout or not to Rout
This is a blog that looks into what a router is and how it works. This will help people new to the subject
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How to Buy a CNC Machine
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