How Does a CNC Router Work?

How Does a CNC Router Work? 30.07.2018

Before even thinking of purchasing a CNC router, it is important to know exactly what it is, how it functions, and what the benefits of using one are. Here is a guide to help you fully understand what a CNC router can do for you.

What is a CNC router?

A CNC (computer numerical control) router is similar to traditional handheld routers, and can be utilised in the cutting of a variety of different materials, ranging from wood, steel, plastic, and foam. The characteristic that sets the CNC router apart from traditional routers is the ability to use computer controls to create “routes” for the router to cut along.

Traditional CNC routers were designed with industrial applications in mind, and thus were extremely large and required a great deal of space to house. However, modern innovations have seen the size of the CNC routers reduced dramatically, and as such they can now sit on a large household table. Moreover, with the advancement in computer technology, CNC routers can be used with software available for home computers.

Benefits of CNC routers

Unsurprisingly, with the use of computer numerical control, the CNC router is much more accurate than its handheld counterpart. This means that much more complex and intricate designs can be created, without the added obstacle of working out how to cut the material manually. Moreover, the use of computer control means that the cutting of materials can be carried out much quicker. Thus, using a CNC router significantly reduces waste material, as the cutting is much more precise. It also vastly increases productivity, as less time is needed to manufacture products. Lastly, the accuracy of the router remains the same regardless of the material being cut. Whereas in the past tricky materials would take longer with a handheld router, the CNC router allows a consistently high level of quality, whilst taking a much shorter amount of time to produce goods.

How does it work?

By using CAD (computer aided design) or CAM (computer aided manufacture) software, you can input exactly how you want the material to be cut. This information is then processed into the CNC router, which then carries out your commands onto the material you wish to cut. The router moves and cuts in three directions, the X, Y, and Z axes. The X axis usually represents the length, the Y axis represents the width, and the Z axis represents the vertical. The router moves and cuts along these directions with extreme precision and unison to produce complex shapes that would otherwise be impossible by hand.

If you want to know more about how a CNC router can help you run your workshop, contact us today!

Contact us today for all business enquiries, simply call us on

01706 873 344 or email us at sales@woodworkmachinery.co.uk