What Does A CNC Router Do?

If you are involved in the production industry and carpentry, you have probably heard about CNC routers. They are very popular machines that are easily found in most workshops, but what are they and what can they do?

If you are thinking about bringing a CNC router into your workshop but you are not sure what they are or if you will even use one often, then here is everything you need to know about CNC routers. Read through our guide on CNC routers so you can make an informed decision on if you should bite the bullet and purchase one.

What Is A CNC Router?

A computer numerical control (CNC) router is a cutting machine that is computer controlled and mounts a hand held router.

A CNC router is very similar to a CNC milling machine. Instead of routing by hand, the tool path is controlled by a computer. It is used to cut various materials like wood, glass, plastics, and even steel. They can also cut joinery such as mortises and tenons. It performs similar tasks to other carpentry tools such as panel saw, spindle modular and boring machines.

They are constantly being recommended to carpenters over handheld routers because CNC routers help limit mistakes and are generally easier to use.

As they are computer controlled, a CNC will help stop even the most experienced of carpenters from making an error that can be time consuming to fix. Because of this, carpenters who use a CNC router are more efficient and save both time and money after investing in a CNC router.

How Do CNC Routers Work?

To get a CNC router to cut, you first need the data to tell the machine which direction to cut and how far it should cut too. All of this data is told in a digital format like a .dxf file. After the file is converted to a 2D or 3D image using softwares like G-code, it can then be embedded on the device or installed on a separate computer connected to the CNC router. Then, the CNC will know where and when to cut and will get to work.

CNC routers consist of four components: the cutting bed, the control, the spindle, and the drive system.

The cutting bed supports the material while the CNC is doing its job and cutting by using the spindle. The drive system is the arm that connects to the spindle and allows it to move in the direction that the controller tells it to go in.

The spindle moves in three different directions along the X, Y, and Z axis. The X axis goes right to left, the Y axis goes left to right, and the Z axis goes up and down. This allows a CNC router to carve any shape or design with ease, while a human operated machine can take longer and is more likely to make mistakes.

The final image is relayed to the controller which tells the arm where precisely to move. The spindle cuts with incredible speed and before you know it, everything is done precisely and without any error!

As we said earlier, CNC router machines can engrave a lot of materials like acrylics, PVC board, wooden board, and rubber board. This is why CNC routers are popping up in workshops across a lot of sectors of industry – they are capable of cutting through a lot of polymers that are used in a lot of production.

Should I Get A CNC Router?

CNC routers are recommended to anyone who works with carpentry or struggles with cutting out shapes and designs in materials. They are handy for making routing an easy job, but CNC routers are useful for so many more reasons too.

Although they all work a little differently depending on the make or model, CNC routers are extremely easy to use and come in a range of shapes and sizes to fit any workshop.

They used to be a lot larger but as CNC routers have progressed over time, they have gradually become a lot smaller so even smaller businesses can fit a CNC router into their workshop – some are even small enough to fit on a desktop! This makes them incredibly popular devices as they are easy to set up and use.

They are also very economical and are good for the environment as they reduce the number of waste in production processes. This is because CNC routers are more precise and make less mistakes than a normal router does, so less materials are wasted due to human error.

So, if you invest in a CNC router, you may also save money on materials as well. Using a CNC also frees up more people to work on other projects, so you can get more done in the same amount of time.

A CNC router can also help keep you and your workers safe in the workshop. CNC routers run automatically in a closed operational area, so you and your workers can safely step back while the CNC router is running. This helps to keep everyone in the workshop safe from injuries and accidents as they don’t have to stay near the CNC router while it is working.

Precise and quick, CNC routers are becoming a must-have tool in every workshop.


From making pipelines to aircraft, musical instruments to billboards, CNC routers are being used in nearly every production industry to make a huge range of products. They are so much easier to use when compared to traditional methods and limit the amount of errors and mistakes that can happen during production. This will help you save on money, time, and resources so you can produce high quality products more efficiently.

It’s no wonder why CNC routers are so popular across the globe, and if you still haven’t brought one into your workshop yet – then what are you waiting for?

Get yourself a good working CNC router and start saving yourself a lot of hassle!

Michael Moore