What is a CNC Router?

Last Updated on March 27, 2021 by James

For cutting various hard materials like wood, steel, composite materials, plastics, glass, etc. a computer controlled cutting machine is used commonly known as CNC. CNC is the term for computer numerical control which is controlled by a handheld router. Therefore, it is called a CNC router.

There are various types of CNC machines; some are controlled through a computer numerical control and are called a CNC milling machine. CNC router is one of the varies types of CNCs.

A CNC router is basically used for high quality and productive works in the industry. It can produce the same identical products and in a much easy way as compared to a jig router.

It can be automated to produce precise and exact results which are the best part of CNC router tables.

Not only time reduction for the finished product, but it also reduces waste and the frequency of errors.

Applications of a CNC Router

A CNC router is used for producing various products like door designs and texture, interiors as well as exteriors designs, nameplates, frames, office furniture, guitar, and other musical instruments. Not only this, but it also automates the trimming process of plastics and wood.


Depending on the type of CNC machine, you need to follow the right process for the best efficiency. You need to upload the image into the drawing software, i.e., CAD and convert the file in vectors. Later, select the tools and the toolpath that is required for building the product.

We get several options to select the right tools from .25 inch v-bit to .75 inch core box bit. We need to choose as per the given requirements. We can also change the speed and cut depth of the router.

After the tools are selected, move towards the toolpath selection as per our design. Once the toolpath is selected, we need to upload the vectors into G-code Software which commands the CNC router.

After uploading, the file is converted into G-code script which is a machine language. Now, locate the center point as all the coordinates such as X, Y, Z are visible. Then we need to load the piece into the table and tighten it with a clamp and screws so that it doesn’t move during the cutting process.

After properly fitting the part we need the router to be above the center point. Once the machine is jogged till the point comes to absolute zero, we need to jog it again in the upward direction till few inches, and then the machine is ready for the processing.

Press the run G-code function in the computer, and thus the machine starts cutting the part into our desired form.

Overview of Cam (Computer-aided Manufacturing)

CAM software is just like a design to manufacture software which makes a picture or CAD design to a G-code. This G-code is a machine language that a CNC can understand. This code is just a command given to a CNC machine to perform a given task.

Sizes and Configurations of the Router

According to the uses, CNC routers are available in several sizes.

For household purpose by next wave CNC to industrial CNC routers for manufacturing products for commercial use like cabinet making, aerospace, and boat making industries.

CNC router usually consists of the following parts:

  • A dedicated CNC controller
  • One or more spindle motors
  • Servo amplifiers
  • AC Inverter frequency drives
  • Linear guides
  • Ball screws
  • A workspace bed or table.

In addition, CNC routers also consist of vacuum pumps

It is usually seen in two types:

  • 3 Axis CNC formats
  • 5 Axis CNC formats.

The CNC router comes in two sizes:

Working Methods

This machine works through a computer. It is therefore called a Computer Aided Machine (CAM). There are two software applications – One software that can make the design as per the requirements in CAD format and second software that can convert the cad into a G-code (CAM) program which is a machine language and operates the machine as per the given design.

Types of Cnc Router According to the Materials Used

The various types of CNC router according to the materials used include:

CNC Wood Router – This is used to carve/sketch any image, letters or anything in a piece of wood.

Milling Machine – With the use of rotary cutters at a definite angle and as per given design this is used. It is basically used in industry and machines shops for making machines parts which are of various shapes.

Stone CNC Router – This CNC router is used for polishing art and craft in stones and for designing in marbles, stones, etc.

Polyurethane Foam – This CNC is used for producing such shapes that are very difficult if done manually. It is best suitable for complex shapes.