We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are CNC Routers?

By Carol Francois
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
About Mechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At About Mechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Computer numerical control (CNC) routers are a class of machine shop equipment use to remove material from a specific location on a piece of wood or metal. There are different types of CNC routers for different materials, as each material has different strengths and weaknesses. Computer numerical control refers to the computer programming that is used to control and program the router. CNC routers are used to create patterns or cutouts as needed.

A CNC router is attached to a table and uses computer programming to remove material from a piece of wood or metal in a specific pattern or shape. The router is usually attached to a three or four speed motor system. The four motor systems provide additional speed and increased accuracy. A recessed door hinge in a door frame is an example of the type of work done by a router.

CNC routers designed for use with wood typically spin at a rate between 13,000 and 24,000 revolutions per minute (RPM). Different baseplates, templates or jigs are used to create a specific pattern in the wood. These items are installed in the tool holders, which are accessible through the spindle nose. A spindle nose tightens and releases to hold the tool used to cut the material.

Different models of CNC routers offer a wide range of tool holding and changing systems. These systems are designed to allow machinists to quickly switch the tool sets to meet to different requirements. The greater the flexibility, the faster the work will be completed.

When using a CNC router, it is important to understand the software that controls the router's movements. The actual blade depth and cutting location is controlled by the computer programming, and CNC machinists must become skilled with the software installed on the router. Specialized software is available for different materials, with tolerance and material feedback settings that can produce a higher quality output than other methods.

A wood router can also be used for plastics and other soft materials, as long as the speed is high enough. Metal routers have built in waste collection to safely collect excess material. When installing CNC routers, give some thought to the location of garbage bins to collect the waste material.

There are two methods used to secure materials when using CNC routers: suction based on pods or a vacuum system. Most routers offer only one method. Each method has specific applications where it would be more efficient.

Suction pods are typically used to hold onto the material so that is can be moved and manipulated as required. A suction based system is most practical when the product needs to be undercut. An undercut is when a slot or groove is created in solid material.

Spoil boards or cull sheets are another method of vacuum suction used on a low density table. This method allows the pieces to be placed anywhere on the table and held securely in place by the vacuum suction created under the table surface. This type of system is slightly more expensive than the suction pods, as the motor is required to generate a greater level of suction over a wider area.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.