Are you looking to perform factory-grade crafts in your small home shop? You would do well with the best cnc machine for small business.
What is a CNC router?
In simple terms, computer numerical control (CNC) refers to the intersection of high-tech and traditional craftsmanship. CNC tech involves automating 3-dimensional milling or cutting processes to achieve direct pre-determined cutting processes.
The CNC router helps you deliver consistent and precise work. The router also helps you achieve high product production rates.
If you love tech, CNC routers will caress your geeky side, creating a fun working environment that brings your design to life in minutes. That way, you can work with foam, wood, plastics, and other material to produce carvings panels, decorations, frames, sign boards, furniture, and mouldings – or anything that captures your wildest imaginations.
Best CNC machine for small business in the market
CNC routers are important engraving tools both for hobby workers and wood working professionals out there. As a result, there are many different CNC brands and products out there making it hard for most people to get the best router for your needs.
In this review, we have rounded up three best CNC routers for small shop:
1. Genmistu CNC 3018-PRO Hobby Router
This is a perfect tool for anyone looking not only to master operations of CNC but also start working smaller woodworking activities.
It is an ideal tool for students to learn a thing or two about automations under Arduino board programming environments.
What makes it one of the best CNC machines for small business? The router might not be as durable as most expensive models out there. But, it packs all the important features you might need to perform your engraving for light milling operations.
It runs on GRBL, an open-source software that controls its motion running on Arduino-based Gcode. The open source software has been standardised to make it easier and highly flexible for use by hobbyists and small shop owners like you. That way, you will gain cheaper access to a high-end CNC software.
This router packs a stepper motor-head that is ideal for working with soft materials including woods, acrylics, PVCs, soft aluminium, and PCBs. The motor, however, works slowly – at 0.25 N/M – but can successfully engrave wood, plastic. If you want to fine tune’ flexibility, you may purchase a laser engraver to attach to the motor-head.
Assembling the router is fairly easy. The kit comes with a mini-CD you watch as you install. If you hate staring at screens and would rather do a PDF tutorial, you can download a manual from Sainsmart Wiki.
The manual comes with pictures that detail what you need to do to get the job done. But if things still look murky for you along the way, there are a lot of GRBL-friendly web forums out there where you can meet fellow enthusiasts. They can help out. However, you have to let this sink in – for you to debug problems you will require a bit of nerdiness.
Running the kit is fairly easy. All you need is a USB cable and a computer/laptop running Windows, Raspberry Pi operating systems. The Router, however, lacks a limit switch. As a result, it might make you make mistakes and errors in the course of operation.
- Comes with a mini-CD and an online PDF tutorial.
- Made of high-quality materials
- No need for assembling – comes ready to use.
- Can handle different soft materials
- Uses open-source software – not inventive like competitors out there.
- Lacks limit switch
2. BobsCNC E4 CNC Router
This is not only the latest router model from BobsCNC but also the last one from the E-series One that is commanding rave reviews both on Amazon and eBay.
What makes the router a great pick in this list of best CNC machines for small business? The E4 can work perfectly on wood, large sheets of plywood, and aluminium.
It packs similar features to that of the E3 – SG20U supported rail system, laser-cut frame, GT2 belt drive, both on X and Y axis. Besides, the cutting space and the assembled footprint are much bigger.
Unlike the E3’s, the E4 kit weighs 42 lbs with dimensions 30’’ long, 37.2’’ wide and 18.9’’ tall. The milling area, on the other hand, packs 24’’ ( X-axis), 24’’(Y – axis), and 3.3’’(Z – axis). The working area is also big, making it easier for you to engrave bigger wood and work on large sheets of ply woods. That way, you can carve a design on bigger sheets using the latest Arduino Uno and get your job done within no time.
The model is ideal for construction and performing other heavy-duty engraving operations. This highly durable tool – and a trusted performer – will be good for you if you are running a lot of operations in your small woodworking shop.
Like the wooden E3, this tool also uses the DeWalt router as its cutting tool. However, you have to buy the bits separately. The router is compatible with Linux, macOS, Windows and almost all other CNC software out there. However, unlike the other routers reviewed here, it doesn’t come with a free software version. But you can use the open-source GRBL if you so wish.
In case some parts wear out, it is harder to get replacements. But that is not badly off, given the price of the router. Again, it doesn’t come assembled and assembling it might take a bit of time as opposed to other models. But the manufacturer is trying to simplify the problem by making the manual more detailed and user-friendly.
- Highly durable frame and table-top
- Easy to control
- High torque speed – 75 in-oz
- Highly compact- making it easier to transport
- Doesn’t look as much flashy
- Takes time to assemble
3. BobsCNC E3 CNC Router Engraver Kit
This is one of the best CNC machines for small business ideal for engraving wood or any other soft material tool. If you love connecting with your geeky side and have a knack for building impressive things that people love, you can’t go wrong with Bobscnc E3 Router.
BobscnC E3 features a well thought-out design – a strong and stable and laser-cut for accuracy. Besides, everything you need is packed in the kit: motors, electronics, a powerful DEWALT 660 router, and Arduinno board-based microprocessor.
The microprocessor runs GRBL motion-control software, although you can install other software for motion control – both open source and premium versions depending on your choices. The cutting edge, on the other hand, runs on SG20U supported rail systems. To run this router, however, you will need to connect it to a computer running Linux, Raspberry Pi, OSX or Windows operating systems.
Just like the CNC 3018-pro, you should note that this CNC wasn’t designed for creating stuff for the International space station or building over-the-top cabinets for the Oval office. The router kit is meant entirely for hobby use. However, there are still a great number of people using it to make parts, signs and crafts that bring them extra income. That way, it becomes the best CNC router for small shops out there.
It’s reasonably priced for its size and easy to assemble and use. Just download the assembly manual from www.bobsnc.com and you are good to go.
- Easy to assemble
- Compatible with other open-source and premium software, and OSX.
- Good starter CNC machine
- Excellent customer service.
- Some users reported difficulties running the CNC router.
- Multiple parts which can be intimidating to users
Purchasing a personal machine will go a long way in helping you tackle repetitive tasks and as a result produce high-precision parts. However, there are plenty of CNC machines out there. These machines can differ greatly too depending on specifications and modalities of operation.
In this review, we have discussed the best CNC machine for small business out there you can take advantage of. Some are primarily designed for home hobbyists and tech enthusiasts that would want to infuse technology with traditional craftsmanship. Others are designed to perform a pretty professional job in your woodworking shop. Choose what works for you.