What is a CNC Router and How Does it Work?
Computer numerical control (CNC) has been incorporated into a variety of new technologies and machinery. One popular machine used in this form of machining is known as a CNC router.
A CNC router is a machine that is very similar to the commonly used handheld router that is utilized for cutting various materials. A CNC router can aid in the cutting of materials like steel, wood, aluminum, composites, plastic, and foam.
A CNC router is similar to a CNC mill. It comes with the ability to use computer numerical control to route tool paths that enable the machine to function. CNC routers reduce waste and increase productivity, producing various items in a much shorter amount of time than using other machines.
How Big Are CNC Routers?
In terms of size, older and industrial-strength models of CNC routers are extremely large and can take up a good amount of space. However, newer desktop CNC routers are much smaller and can sit right on a large table. While these desktop machines are certainly not as powerful as their industrial-size counterparts, they are ideal for home use and can literally connect with a home computer. A user can simply use software on their home computer and program the desktop CNC router to perform specific production functions.
Example of Using a CNC Router
A good example of using a CNC router is to manipulate wood. Many woodworkers use CNC routers to cut and shape a wide array of wood types. For instance, if you want to design a rustic chair for your patio in the western U.S., you may choose to use a CNC router to cut the maple wood you have collected for such a project. By using CAD and CAM software on a computer, you can tell the CNC router exactly how to cut the wood at precise angles. You can then take these newly cut pieces of wood and use bolts or screws to put them together in a comfortable and rustic patio chair.
Like other CNC machines, CNC routers are very effective at crafting precise materials. However, the most common activities in which CNC routers are utilized include hobbies like woodworking, creating prototypes within the engineering field, producing pieces of art, and certain forms of production work. CNC routers are found in manufacturing centers, but they can be purchased for private use and often come in specialized kits that allow for easy assembling by the individual user. As time goes on, expect to see even more advanced CNC routers with great capabilities to be incredibly precise in their production processes.