2020 Buying Guide to CNC Machines
Are you looking forward to DIY CNC machine kit plans or coming up with an idea to buy an affordable CNC machine for wood, metal, foam, stone, plastic, acrylic, leather, fabric, textile, glass with small business, home use, school education, hobbyists or industrial manufacturing? Check out the 2020 new CNC machine buying guide for CNC machinists, operators, beginners, wood fabricators, metal fabricators, stone fabricators, foam fabricators, woodworkers, metalworkers, and stoneworkers, we'll offer you the best CNC machines of 2020 with expert customer CNC machining service to meet your custom CNC projects, ideas, and plans within your budget.
What is a CNC Machine?
CNC machine is a type of Computer Numerical Controlled machine tool with multifunctions of cutting, carving, engraving, milling, drilling, grooving, turning for hobbyists, small business, small shop, home business, home shop, school education, and industrial manufacturing. A CNC machine is composed of machine frame, CNC controller, spindles, gantry, CNC operating system, CNC software, motor, driver, T-slot table or vacuum table, ball screw, guide rail, power supply, collet, vacuum pump, limit switch, rack, and pinion. CNC refers to an idea of controlling a machine tool via computer instead of manually controlled by a machinist. New machine tools in CNC programming have enabled the industry to consistently produce parts to accuracies undreamed of only a few years ago. The same part can be reproduced to the same degree of accuracy any number of times if the CNC program has been properly prepared and the computer properly programmed. The operating commands which control the machine tool are executed automatically with high speed, high accuracy, high efficiency, and repeatability. A CNC machine is also known as computer numerical controlled machine, computer-controlled machine tool, C and C machine, CNC machining tool, CNC kit, CNC maskiner, CNC equipment, CNC power tool, CNC cutter, CNC cutting machine.
How Does a CNC Machine Work?
CAD: Computer Aided Design, that is, computer-aided design. 2D or 3D workpiece or stereo design.
CAM: Computer Aided Manufacture, that is, computer-aided manufacturing. Use CAM software to generate G-Code.
CNC: Computerized Numerical Control, CNC machine tool controller, read G-Code to start processing.
In modern computer numerical control systems, the design of workpieces highly depends on software such as computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM). The computer-aided manufacturing software analyzes the design model and calculates the movement instructions during the processing. The movement instructions and other auxiliary instructions required during the processing are converted into a format that can be read by the numerical control system through the post-processor. The generated file is loaded into the computer numerical control machine tool for workpiece processing.
After inputting the program instructions into the memory of the CNC system, the computer compiles and calculates, and through the displacement control system, the information is transmitted to the driver to drive the motor to cut the designed parts.
Step 1, Design a 2D or 3D drawing via CAD software.
Step 2, Convert the CAD file into G-code via CAM software.
Step 3, Setup CNC kits.
Step 4, Start CNC programming.
Step 5, Start machining.
How Many Types of CNC Machine?
By type, there are five most common types of CNC machine that can be found in manufacturing: CNC milling machine, CNC router machine, CNC laser machine (laser cutting machine, laser engraving machine, laser etching machine, laser marking machine, laser welding machine), digital cutting machine, CNC lathe machine, CNC plasma cutting machine.
By end-use, there are two basic types of CNC machine: hobby CNC machines (mini series, small series, benchtop series, desktop series, tabletop series, portable series) and industrial CNC machines (wood, stone, metal, foam, plastic).
By function, there are ten common types of CNC machine: CNC cutting machine, CNC milling machine, CNC routing machine, CNC carving machine, CNC engraving machine, CNC turning machine, CNC drilling machine, CNC grooving machine, CNC sanding machine, and CNC nesting machine.
How Much Does a CNC Machine Cost?
According to different machine configurations, CNC machines have a price range from $2,000.00 to $260,000.00. If you want to buy a CNC machine overseas, the fee of shipping costs, tax, and customs clearance should be included in the final price. CNC router machine cost is from $2,580.00 to $150,000.00, CNC milling machine cost is from $3,000.00 to $120,000.00, CNC laser engraving cutting machine cost is from $2,400.00 to $260,000.00, CNC lathe machine cost is from $2,800.00 to $11,180.00, CNC plasma cutting machine cost is from $4,000.00 to $30,000.00.
What are CNC Machines Used For?
Computer numerical control is a technology that uses digital information to control mechanical movements and working processes. Numerical control equipment is a mechatronics product formed by the penetration of new technologies represented by numerical control technology into traditional manufacturing industries and emerging manufacturing industries. Computer numerical control technology and equipment are the enabling technology and the most basic equipment for the development of emerging high-tech industries and cutting-edge industries. National defense industries such as the information industry, the biological industry, aviation, and aerospace in various countries around the world have widely adopted numerical control technology to improve manufacturing capabilities and levels and to improve their adaptability and competitiveness to the market. Industrialized countries have also listed numerical control technology and numerical control equipment as national strategic materials. They not only vigorously develop their own numerical control technology and their industries but also implement a blockade and restriction policy in terms of "highly sophisticated" numerical control key technologies and equipment. Therefore, the vigorous development of advanced manufacturing technology with CNC technology as the core has become an important way for the developed countries of the world to accelerate economic development and improve their overall national strength and national status.
CNC machine tools are mechatronics products that integrate mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, microelectronics, and information technologies. It is a working machine with the advantages of high precision, high efficiency, high automation, and high flexibility, stable and reliable processing quality in mechanical manufacturing equipment. The technical level of CNC machine tools and its percentage in the output and total ownership of metal cutting machine tools is one of the important indicators for measuring a country's national economic development and the overall level of industrial manufacturing.
|Table Sizes||2' x 2', 2' x 3', 2' x 4', 4' x 4', 4' x 6', 4' x 8', 5' x 10', 6' x 12'|
|Types||CNC Router, CNC Laser, CNC Mill, CNC Plasma, CNC Lathe|
|Functions||Carving, Engraving, Marking, Cutting, Turning, Drilling, Milling, Grooving|
|Applications||Hobbyists, Small Business, Small Shop, Home Business, Home Shop, School Education, Industrial Manufacturing|
|Capability||2D Machining, 2.5D Machining, 3D Machining|
|Styles||Mini, Small, Benchtop, Tabletop, Desktop, Handheld, Portable, Large Format|
|Price Range||$2,000.00 - $260,000.00|
Features and Advantages
The operation and monitoring are all completed in the CNC unit, which is the brain of the CNC machine. Compared with ordinary machine tools, CNC machines have the following features:
1. Strong adaptability to the machining object and the characteristics of single-piece production of molds and other products, providing a suitable machining method for mold making.
2. High precision and stable quality.
3. CNC machine can run multiple coordinates linkage and can make parts with complex shapes.
4. When the machining parts change, generally only need to change the CNC program, which can save production preparation time.
5. The CNC machine itself has high precision and high rigidity, and can choose a favorable processing amount and high productivity (generally 3 to 5 times that of ordinary machine tools).
6. The high degree of machine tool automation can reduce labor intensity.
7. Conducive to the modernization of production management. They use digital information and standard codes to process and transmit information, and use computer control methods, laying a foundation for the integration of computer-aided design, manufacturing and management.
8. Higher requirements for the quality of the operating personnel and higher technical requirements for the maintenance personnel.
9. High reliability.
Compared with traditional machine tools, CNC machines have the following advantages.
1. Highly flexible.
The machining parts of CNC machine tools depend on the CNC program. It is different from ordinary machine tools. It does not need to be manufactured. Many molds and fixtures need to be replaced. It is not necessary to readjust the machine tool frequently. Therefore, it is suitable for the occasion where the processed parts are frequently replaced, that is, suitable for the production of single parts, small batch products and the development of new products, thereby shortening the production preparation cycle and saving a lot of cost of process equipment.
2. High processing accuracy.
The machining accuracy is generally up to 0.05-0.1MM. They are controlled in the form of digital signals. When the CNC device outputs a pulse signal, the moving parts of the machine tool move a pulse equivalent (generally 0.001MM) The reverse error of the transmission chain and the average error of the screw pitch can be compensated by the CNC device, so the positioning accuracy is relatively high.
3. The processing quality is stable and reliable.
Processing the same batch of parts, using the same tool and processing program under the same machining conditions, under the same processing conditions, the tool path of the tool is exactly the same, the consistency of the parts is good, and the quality is stable.
4. High productivity.
CNC machine tools can effectively reduce the processing time and auxiliary time of the parts. The spindle sound speed and feed range are wide, allowing the CNC machine to perform powerful cutting with a large cutting amount. They are entering the era of high-speed machining. The rapid movement and positioning of moving parts and high-speed cutting processing have greatly improved productivity. In addition, it can be used in conjunction with the tool magazine of the machining center to realize the continuous processing of multiple processes on one machine tool, reducing the inter-process turnaround time of semi-finished products and improving productivity.
5. Improve working conditions.
CNC machine is adjusted before processing, enter the program and start, the machine tool can automatically and continuously process until the end of the process. All the operator needs to do is input, edit, load and unload parts, prepare tools, observe the machining status, and inspect parts. The labor intensity is greatly reduced, and the labor of machine tool operators tends to be intellectual. In addition, machine tools are generally combined to be both clean and safe.
6. Take advantage of the modernization of production management.
The processing of CNC machine tools can accurately estimate the processing time in advance, the tools and fixtures used can be standardized, modernized management, and it is easy to standardize the processing information. It has been organically combined with computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM). It is the basis of modern integrated manufacturing technology.
How to Buy a CNC Machine?
We will recommend the most suitable CNC machines to you after being informed by your requirements.
We will offer you with our detail quotation according to the consulted computer numerical controlled machine tool. You will get the most suitable specifications, the best accessories and the affordable price.
3. Process Evaluation:
Both sides carefully evaluate and discuss all the details (specifications, technical parameters and business terms) of the order to exclude any misunderstanding.
4. Placing an order:
If you have no doubts, we will send the PI (Proforma Invoice) to you, and then we will sign a contract with you.
We will arrange the CNC machine production as soon as receiving your signed sales contract and deposit. The latest news about production will be updated and informed to the buyer during the production.
6. Quality Control:
The whole machine production procedure will be under regular inspection and strict quality control. The complete CNC machine will be tested to make sure they can work very well before out of factory.
We will arrange the delivery as the terms in the contract after the confirmation by the buyer.
8. Custom Clearance:
We will supply and deliver all the necessary shipping documents to the CNC machine buyer and ensure a smooth customs clearance.
9. Support and Service:
We will offer professional technical support and free service by Phone, Email, Skype, WhatsApp, Online Live Chat, Remote Service. We also have door-to-door service in some areas.
Demo Video Show
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CNC Machine Stories
- How to Use ArtCAM to Make 3D Woodworking Projects with CNC Router?Category: CNC BlogsMay 16, 2020
How to use ArtCAM to make a tool path for 3D woodworking projects? which should be familiar with CNC beginners and machinist. Let us starting to learn the six steps to make relief carving path with ArtCAM for CNC router machine.
Mar 18, 2020Looking for a CNC router for 2D/3D woodworking projects in 2020, Follow the CNC router buying guide to 2020 best CNC routers for woodworking to fit your business requirements in modern furniture making, cabinet making, door making, sign making, wood crafts and other popular custom woodworking plans.
CNC Machine Reviews
- Jane from United StatesPosted on Apr 21, 2020
If you are a computer person, or even relatively technologically savvy, this will be easy for you to use. If you are not, it comes with an instruction manual which I highly suggest reading before using. I use the laser engraver primarily for leather engraving. First, I focused the laser beam into a pinpoint. Then I tested with different settings of laser power and engraving depth. Full laser power, full engraving depth, expect a lot of smoke, and burn edges. I am using 60 watts laser power, 30 engraving depth for leather with minimal smoke and nice results.
The more impressive thing for me was the detail that this thing is capable of. I can literally engrave fonts that are around size 8 and they burn crystal clear with my settings. I suggest doing a lot of experimenting because in the end, once you get the right calibration, this thing is capable of incredible detail and quality engravings. You may also want to mess around with the contrast settings if you are engraving complex images. For tiny details, you may want to try using the lowest possible settings in the laser power and laser engraving depth.
- Keagan from United StatesPosted on Apr 15, 2020The machine was well packed and well designed. The CNC plasma table was quick to set up and easy to use. It works as advertised. I've cut some 1/2 and 3/8 mild steel, all runs well. An amazing cutter. I also used this unit for cutting straight cuts and circles in tight spots on sheet metals. I will happy to use this machine tool to make the tricky metal cuts easier.
- Gerald from United KingdomPosted on Apr 10, 2020I've been using my new STL1516-2S2 lathe machine for a couple of days now and I am very impressed with this unit. I wore out a smaller manual wood lathe in three years and decided this CNC model is the one I wanted as a replacement. Not only because of the increased length and diameter capacities, but it has all the features that I didn't have before, such as CNC controller, double spindles, and cutters feature. Amazing lathe and I am enjoying more woodturning with the new set up. This unit is of higher quality, made in China. Five stars all the way!
- Samuel from AustraliaPosted on Mar 20, 2020This is my first lathe to own. I have used a number of other lathes and this one is at the top. It is very quiet and smooth. The great lathe machine that not only turns bowls. I also make wood spindles on this lathe. This is plenty powerful for almost any job within the size limit of the lathe. Perfect for all my projects. It is an excellent tool for making wood stair balusters. Speed settings are easy to change. It will give you a good range of speeds for just about any project.
- Matthew from CanadaPosted on Mar 13, 2020
I really like this hobby laser engraver, it works perfect for what I need. I followed the English manuals, and did three jobs with my own logos. One was on wood. One was on leather. One was on acrylic. All came out as well as I expected.
- Christopher L Eby from United StatesPosted on Mar 09, 2020
I bought this unit for use in the shop I am at, I am an automotive technician and this just makes life easier. I use it in place of traditional oxy/acetylene torches. The 4x4 plasma table cuts way faster, uses way less consumables. Works great for my purposes. This 4x4 plasma cutter also makes very nice cuts in thick steel. I have used it to cut 3/16th plate steel and its like a knife through butter, easy to use and decent build quality for the price.
- Hilliard from United KingdomPosted on Feb 28, 2020The lathe works very smoothly and has way enough power. This lathe is outstanding for bowls, vases and baseball bats, etc. It is very accurate, smooth and quiet. I can hold a conversation while using this lathe. The warranty and the brand influenced my choice, as well.??All in all, I am very satisfied with this tool. I've been turning wood since middle school and this is the best lathe I've had the privilege to own and operate. Outstanding little lathe! You won't be sorry to buy this!
- Nicholas from CanadaPosted on Feb 19, 2020
This is probably the best deal on a solid plasma cutter you are going to get. I bought my unit a bit over 1 years ago. While it's just for hobby use it sees a lot of work. Can't speak on how it runs on 110v as I've only ever run the unit on 220v. That being said I've used this to cut everything from sheet metal to 250 steel plate and everything in between. Aluminum diamond plate laid over sheet steel. I cut 250 steel plate with it to build some axle gussets, and I was surprise what it would cut. Well worth the money.
- Joshua from AustraliaPosted on Feb 18, 2020
I have had it for about two weeks and have used it almost daily. So far I have only been practicing on 20 inch by 40 inch blocks of wood. Spindle turning only. I like and enjoy the wood lathe. It is quite and vibration free. It does what I expected it to do.
- GEORGE from CanadaPosted on Feb 14, 2020
This is a VERY good starter laser engraver. I just got this last week and loving it. Very easy to put together. Most of all, so far I have got great support by emailing their support team. Very responsive and knowledgeable and truly interested in making you successful with the unit. I'm now testing with different settings. I would like to get a deeper cut with less burn, have not been able to master that yet. But certainly happy with the unit and works great. I'm using it mainly for wood engraving of small projects (pens and crafts and carving I do as a hobby).