October 13, 2022 3 min read

CNC routers are amazing tools, but how does a CNC wood router work? Below, we’ll take a closer look at exactly what these machines are and what they can do for you.

What is a CNC Wood Router?

A CNC, or Computer Numerical Controlled, router is an automated device. It takes two-dimensional designs and makes the cuts required to turn them into a reality.

CNC routers are versatile automated devices that can fill an array of different roles.

These diverse machines can accomplish anything from cutting to routing or engraving. They often find uses in factories where they speed up the manufacturing process. Since CNC routers work at incredibly high speeds, they’re useful for cutting and trimming workpieces.

They’re extremely efficient, have a high degree of accuracy, and cut down on material wastage. Thanks to their versatility, they also excel at cutting costs.

How do CNC routers work? Let’s find out.

How Does a CNC Router Work?

CNC wood routers are fairly complex pieces of machinery that consist of four main components. To answer the question, “How does a CNC router work?” we need to look at each of them in greater detail.

  1. The worktable - This part of the CNC router holds the workpieces in place. It also provides a level platform where the machine can perform cutting, routing, and other operations.
  2. The spindle - The CNC part which holds the router bit or other type of cutting tool. It spins at high speeds, allowing the blade or cutting bit to remove parts of the material.
  3. The drive system - This is the part of your CNC machine that’s responsible for moving the spindle along various axes. 3-axis CNC machines have three moving paths (axes) along which the drive system can move the spindle.
  4. The controller - The controller is responsible for interpreting the code that comes from the computer. It sends out corresponding signals that tell the drive system where to move the spindle.

The spindle is an essential part of any CNC. It holds the bits, and its size determines how big a cut you can make.

So, how does a CNC wood router work?

  1. The operator programs a design into the computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software, and equips the CNC router with the right bit or blade.
  2. The CAM software converts the design into geometric code (G-code) that the CNC can understand.
  3. Upon sending the design to the CNC, the software sends a steady stream of G-code to the controller.
  4. The controller interprets the G-code and activates the spindle.
  5. While the spindle rotates at extremely high speeds, the drive system receives signals from the controller.
  6. The drive system moves quickly to and fro along the axes, so the spindle can use the blade or bit in the correct locations.
  7. The process continues until the workpiece has achieved the final form demanded by the design.

While the process is relatively complex, it cuts down on many intricate parts of the manufacturing process.

Now that we’ve answered, “How do CNC routers work?” let’s take a closer look at what you can use them for.

How Do CNC Routers Work: Potential Uses

CNC routers are wonderful tools that can accomplish a myriad of different tasks. Thanks to their complex working mechanisms, these machines are incredibly versatile.

A few of the tasks you could potentially use a wood CNC router for include:

  • Cutting - From ripping boards to rough sizes like a timber mill would to cutting complex shapes, CNC routers make great cutting machines.
  • Planing - When programmed correctly, CNC routers can easily fulfill the role of a planer. They’re excellent at making level cuts, and can easily skim off a minuscule layer of wood to plane workpieces.
  • Routing - As the name implies, these devices are particularly good at routing designs. Whether you’re making carved headboards or furniture with detailed scrollwork, wood CNC routers are a valuable tool.
  • Engraving - Most CNC routers take engraving bits, so you can use them to do anything from branding to fine engraving.
  • Trimming - CNC routers often find themselves employed in factory settings as trimming machines. Thanks to their great accuracy, these devices are brilliant for removing unneeded edge materials post-manufacturing. They also work well for cleaning up sides and edges between different stages of the process.

Now that you can answer the question, “How does a CNC router work,” you’re more or less ready to get one for your business.

We’d love to help you find the right CNC router for you, so feel free to contact us. We can help you find the right size, and put together a package that meets all your business’ needs.

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