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CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) routers are designed to cut, drill, cart, and rout a variety of materials, including wood, plastics, rubber, acrylic and certain types of metal. They are automated machines that operate with incredible accuracy and speed.
CNC routers are used in variety of industries, including furniture design, circuit board manufacturing and plastics manufacturing. They can be used to carve wood, create moldings, design craft items - or the can be used to high-tech manufacturing. The list of possibilities is quite long.
About CNC Routers
Modern CNC routers are much more efficient than the hand tools of the past. They rely on computers to tell the motors how far to move and where to cut. You'll need an employee to set up the machine and tell it where to cut, but after that the process is entirely automated. The employee can walk away until the process is complete.
There are several types of CNC routers, each with varying price ranges:
- Two-axis models are designed primarily for hobbyists.
- Three- and four-axis models are the most common for industrial applications. The four-axis allows for more detailed carving work.
- Five-axis models are only used in very advanced and high-tech industries, such as automotive and aerospace.
Speed and automation are the greatest advantages CNC routers provide over traditional hand tools. You can accomplish jobs at a much faster pace and with fewer employees - saving both time and money.
CNC Router Average Costs
Most CNC machines cost tens of thousands of dollars. But before you faint from sticker shock, consider the long-term savings the machines provide.
- The most basic of three-axis models sell for anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000.
- Mid-range machines used for panel processing and signage are likely to cost anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000.
- High-end machines often cost $50,000 to $150,000.
Additional CNC Router Costs and Fees
In addition to the machine itself, you'll need to purchase a computer-aided design (CAD) software package in order to create the designs. Those usually run anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000.
Training usually costs anywhere from $500 to $1,000 per day. Depending on the knowledge level of your staff, the process could take a few hours or several days. Installation also tends to run $500 to $1,000 per day.
Shipping starts at several hundred dollars and can cost up to $3,000.
Some dealers offer packages that bundle the cost of the machine, training, shipping, and installation. So be sure to ask if a package like that is available before deciding on your purchase.