What is a CNC Router?
CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control. A CNC Router is a machine that has a bunch of different cutting bits that allow it to shape and cut a wide variety of different materials. All of this is controlled by a computer. It can cut or shape wood, light aluminum, composites, and plastics. The computer tells the machine what tool head to use and what path that tool head is supposed to take.
The coordinates that the tool head is told to follow are sent to it from a separate CAD (computer-aided design) program. This allows the machine to be able to do big sweeping cuts or fine detail routing. Almost anything that you can draw can be uploaded to the CNC to be routed.
CNC router tables can range in size. They can be small to fit on top of a work bench. These are generally light duty and are geared toward the hobbyist. They also come in industrial size. The one we have at Mill Cabinet Shop is a five foot wide twelve foot long. They do make them bigger, but they are generally for specialty industries.
We use the CNC router to for interior and exterior decorative trim pieces, repetitive routing projects, furniture, cutting out complex shapes, and big signs.
A CNC router can reduce waste, frequency of errors, and the time the finished product takes for completion. For example, CNC routers can perform the tasks of many carpentry shop machines such as the panel saw, the hand router, and the boring machine. It can also cut mortise and tendons.