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What Are the Different Types of CNC Woodworking Machines?

By Carrieanne Larmore
Updated May 17, 2024
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Different types of CNC woodworking machines include desktop, mid-range and industrial. Each of these machine types targets the needs of different segments of the market by offering selected features in a particular price range. For instance, a hobbyist may need a portable CNC woodworking machine for occasional use, while a business may need a large, heavyweight machine to handle daily projects. Additional parts are available for certain models in each machine type to expand their use, such as multi-axis spindles for 3d engraving.

Desktop CNC woodworking machines are also known as mini CNC routers. A common feature of these machines is that they are compact in size, allowing for easy portability or convenience in small workshops. A disadvantage of desktop CNC woodworking machines is that they are limited to handling only small engraving projects. Some specialty machines are available in the desktop format but only with limited brands, and these can be a costly investment. Plans for building a desktop CNC woodworking machine can be found online, and this option can result in paying a fraction of the cost of purchasing one new.

Mid-range CNC woodworking machines are more advanced than those for hobbyists but may not feature some of the bells and whistles found in industrial machines. The mid-range machines are typically marketed to small business start ups or serious hobbyists wanting to produce advanced woodwork. The precision of these CNC woodworking machines usually match that of the industrial machines, but are built to handle smaller projects with a lighter daily usage. Some makes and models offer expandability options by allowing the woodworker to purchase add-ons. While the cost of these machines is higher than that of a desktop, they are still a cheaper investment than industrial machines.

Industrial CNC woodworking machines are for businesses needing to fulfill high production levels on machines that can handle such a workload, as well as producing larger projects. These machines are commonly used to create intricate doors, cabinetry and furniture. Industrial CNC woodworking machines feature many of the same parts as the mid-range versions, but allow for larger-scaled projects. In addition, most models include a vacuum table, dust collecting capability, high powered spindles and automatic tool changing. Since they are typically very bulky and heavy, they need to be placed in large workshops where portability is not expected.

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.
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