Best CNC Router for Small Shop: Reviews 2019

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A good CNC router can give life to your designs quickly, they are superb machines. You will be able to engrave on most kind of materials including aluminum, wood, plastic, PVC, etc. with these machines. And the accuracy and precision you will get to see are just outstanding.

However, there are different sized CNC routers some comes with a giant shape which is industrial-grade and some come small which are designed for light-duty hobbyist tasks. And there is another category which is the mixture of both, power and small size.

For small shops, people look for CNC routers that are capable of tackling medium-duty tasks and comes at a decent size. But sometimes finding the right match gets hard, either you compromise the quality for the size or size for the quality.

And today we brought this very article to aid that issue. We have put together a list of 5 best CNC router for small shops where you get the right balance of both size and performance. So without wasting any more time, let’s get started!

Editor’s Recommendation: Top 5 CNC Router for Small Shop

Top 5 CNC Router for Small Shop Reviewed

The following 5 CNC router machine have made their way to this list through a couple of tests. Our expert team has checked their performance, durability, and value for the price. And they are here because they have passed. Besides that, we have seen people are pretty satisfied using these models and hope you will be as well!

1. Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO Router Kit

The Genmitsu CNC 3018 machine is best for the beginners who have just started learning CNC. And works best on wood materials, you can add different features to wood workpieces with this machine. Engraving models are also pretty easy with this machine. Nothing complex here, from assembling to using, everything is easy.

Assembling is a little tricky in some parts but the instruction guide should help you with that. The size is small which is highly suitable for the small shops. Plus, this Genmitsu CNC 3018 is highly portable as well. This machine packs a bunch of helpful features that every ideal machine should have. However, let’s have a look at them!

Features

Assembling: As mentioned, there is nothing complex in the assembling and using the process of this machine. All components don’t require to be positioned. That being said, Yes, there are some parts which might be new to you and figuring how to assemble them could be confusing but the instruction guide will help you, everything is written plain and simple there.

Versatility: The Genmitsu CNC 3018 machine is a highly versatile model. You can use this machine for cutting different materials including, soft aluminum, PVC, PCBs, woods, plastic, etc. With this machine, you will get deeper engraving up to 1.8-inches.

Accuracy: Accuracy is what matters the most in the CNC machine. If the machine doesn’t work accurately, your design and the material both going to turn to an absolute crap which nobody wants. Thanks to the manufacturer, this machine offers greater accuracy and you will enjoy watching it working.

Cutting area: The bigger the cutting area, the bigger material you will be able to engrave. This very machine comes with 300 x 180 x 45mm cutting which is definitely not a big one, but a decent and obvious size for small CNC machines. You can’t expect more big cutting area from a small CNC machine.

Software: This machine is integrated with GRBL high-performing open source software which allows you to control the movement of the machine. And GRBL is an industry-standard so there are thousands of resources on the internet to help you out when you are stuck with something.

Laser Module

If you want to step up the game, means upgrade the machine you are allowed to add the laser module kit to the machine. And with the laser module, you are going to get mind-blowing engraving performances, if you have never experienced something like that before, you will surely fall in love with it.

The Pros

  • Highly versatile CNC machine.
  • Comes at an affordable price.
  • Very simple to assemble and use.
  • Can add laser module.
  • Offers great stability and accuracy.
  • Decent cutting area.

The Con

  • Few users have complained that the software has issues.

Why we picked this?

From the portability to good performance, this Genmitsu CNC 3018 machine has everything. Offers great accuracy and allows you to upgrade the machine with a laser module. Besides that, with this machine, you won’t have to go deep in your pocket. Why shouldn’t we pick this model?

2. BobsCNC E3 CNC Router Engraver Kit

Are you looking for a CNC machine that comes at an extremely cheap price and yet offers excellent service? Some will say finding good quality at a cheap price is impossible but thanks to the BobsCNC who have made it possible. The BobsCNC E3 CNC Router Engraver Kit is a powerful CNC machine that can deal with some heavy-duty jobs as well. The size is small suitable for small shops and the performance is outstanding.

This is one of the top-rated CNC machines of the market right now. People are falling after this model because of both low-price and great features. It comes with few drawbacks as well but they are not that major. Let’s have a look at the features of this affordable machine.

Features

Assembling: Like the previous one the assembling process not that simple in this machine. That being said, not that hard either. If you have prior experience of assembling a CNC machine that it should be a breeze for you. And if you are new, then make a search on the web, you will find more than dozens of tutorials.

Software: This BobsCNC E3 CNC Router Engraver machine features an Arduino based microprocessor and DW660 router which can be attached to the USB port. And the best thing about the software is, it is a java software which is compatible with different operating systems such as Linux, Windows, OSX platforms, and Raspberry Pi.

Spindle: The manufacturer has integrated a DeWalt spindle on this machine which comes with collection port of 1\8-inch and ¼-inches. And the size makes sure that it is compatible with rounded and straight bits which sizes are between 1/8 to the ¼-inches range.

Portability: The size of this machine is 25 x 19 x 25-inches which is a medium size. And because of this size, this machine has been able to register its name on the list best tabletop CNC router. It weighs only 26-pounds which is not heavy at all if you compare with other CNC machines of the market.

Cutting Area: This machine comes with a big cutting area 450mm x 390mm. The large cutting area allows you to work on different sized materials. And the engraving depth can reach up to 85mm which is just great.

Laser frame: And the top of everything, this very machine comes with a rigid laser cut frame which helps to improve the durability and the stability of the machine. With the purchase, you will get the power supply kits, controller and package motors.

The Pros

  • Comes with a user-friendly design.
  • Offers laser cut frame.
  • Offers great stability and accuracy.
  • Highly durable CNC machine.
  • Comes at an affordable price.
  • Large cutting area.

The Cons

  • We have seen people commenting that they have found this model expensive.
  • There are some issues in the software control.

Why we picked this?

As we mentioned in the cons section, few people have found this machine expensive that is actually wrong. The amount of features this BobsCNC E3 CNC Router Engraver offers, according to that the price is extremely low. And the software issue can be solved by contacting their customer service. The pros of this machine easily outweigh the cons. Overall, it is a great catch!

3. NUXIUS Upgrade Version CNC 3018 Pro GRBL Control CNC Machine

Here comes another mini CNC machine which has an extremely low price tag, it is the cheapest CNC machine of this review and as you have guessed, this is not a machine for professional use. This is an upgraded version of 3018 and with the upgrade, we got to see some improvements which are really helpful.

It can effortlessly handle light-duty engraving and cutting tasks but not suitable for heavy-duty applications. Even it might struggle to tackle a few medium-duty jobs.

And that is where the manufacturer has done all the cost cuttings. Having that said, this very DIY CNC machine comes with some features which are worth taking a look at. The durability is awesome and the performance on the light applications is excellent as well. Let’s see what else this machine has in store for the users.

Features

Cutting area: Large cutting area is mandatory for industrial-grade CNC machines but when it comes to DIY projects, small cutting area works fine. However, this NUXIUS model comes with 30 x 18 x 4.5 cm cutting area which is enough for small and light applications.

Software: The machine features GRBL software which is compatible with only one operating system Windows. But the best feature of this machine is, you can work without a computer. And you don’t have to download any kind of file. Things have been more easy with the integrated mainboard custom software.

Assembling: Like others of this review list, assembling this NUXIUS model is pretty easy. Some parts and core components come pre-assembled which makes the assembling even easier. The installing process should not take more than 20-minutes.

Versatility: Not only wood, with this machine you will be able to work on different materials. You can use Acrylic, PCB CCl, Plastic, wood, soft aluminum and metals such as copper. That being said, do not make the mistake of using hard metals, you will end up damaging the machine.

Accessories: Not only the machine, with the purchase you will get some needed accessories as well which includes, DYI router kit, Plate clamp, Manual in CD, Carving knives, Extension rod, and Laser head.

Stability: With this DIY mini CNC machine you will get amazing stability, at least better than the previous 3018 model. In this 3018 pro machine, the base has been raising to 2mm to 4mm which offers nice stability.

The Pros

  • Comes at a cheap price.
  • Core parts come pre-assembled.
  • Offers great stability.
  • Doesn’t require a computer.
  • Highly versatile machine.
  • Comes with needed accessories.

The Cons

  • Not for engraving on hard metals.
  • Both the online and offline can’t be used together.

Why we picked this?

The only reason we have picked this NUXIUS 3018 pro is the price. The price is extremely low which makes it highly suitable for DIY lovers who are short on budget, this would be an excellent option. You will get both a decent amount of power and accuracy. That being said, it is surely not for heavy-duty applications.

4. Uttiny 3018pro-M DIY Mini CNC Machine

Do you love simple things? Then you might be interested in this CNC machine. It is the simplest and the smallest mini CNC machines of this review list. Designed for dealing with light-duty jobs. Doesn’t offer much power but enough for light-duty stuff. And as expected the price is also low but not as low as the previously reviewed model.

If you are looking for versatility, portability, and affordability, nothing could be better than this Uttiny 3018pro-M DIY Mini CNC Machine. Along with all these offers decent power as well. It is usable on few medium-duty applications but it is recommended to keep it on the light-duty jobs.

Features

Ability: This engraver is highly suitable for beginners. With this machine, users will be able to carve designs or texts on most kind of materials effortlessly. Engraving models on the materials are pretty easy as well.

GRBL Control: The manufacturer has used the latest controller system instead of the old ones. There is no complexity, all you have to do is turn on the computer into the CNC machine. Controlling the machine is also effortless.

Laser module: The way this machine is designed it can be integrated with different laser modules of 10000 MW, 7000 MW, 5500 MW, and 2500 Mw. That being said lasers are excluded.

Versatility: With this machine, you will be able to work off most kind of materials but except hard metals. This machine will be good with plastic, soft aluminum, wood, Acrylic, PCB CCL, metals like copper, etc.

Size & Cutting area: This machine comes with a decent cutting area, 300 x 180 x 45mm. And the size of the frame is 400 x 330 x 240mm. The frame material is Aluminum which offers decent durability as well.

Software: The machine comes with GRBL software which is compatible with Windows XP, Windows 7 both 32 and 64 bits, windows 8 and windows 10. Sadly, it is not compatible with other operating systems such as Linux, Raspberry Pi, etc.

Accessories: With the machine, the manufacturer sends all the needed accessories as well. It comes with a DIY router kit, four plate clamp, 10 craving knives, user manual, U disk, and an extension rod.

The Pros

  • Highly versatile CNC machine.
  • Highly portable.
  • Comes with the decent cutting area.
  • Easy to use and assemble.
  • Compatible with laser modules.

The Con

  • Not a long-lasting model.

Why we picked this?

When it comes down to simplicity and portability, there are very few models which can stand in competition with this C. Besides that, it is a highly versatile model, and can be integrated with different laser modules. However, avoid this machine if you need a long-lasting machine.

5. SainSmart Genmitsu CNC Router Machine

Here comes the last mini CNC router of this article and that is the SainSmart Genmitsu CNC Router Machine. The design of this model is almost similar to the Uttiny 3018pro-M DIY Mini CNC Machine, but this SainSmart CNC router comes in a bigger size than the Uttiny. Hence the price is also higher compared to that model.

This is the first CNC we are reviewing which can be controlled by MACH 3 a highly-professional software. So this is an attracting feature of this machine which has already attracted many eyes. There is nothing extra-ordinary in the power and accuracy, they are decent and enough for tackling light-duty applications.

Features

Software: As we mentioned, this is the first machine that comes with Mach3 software and is super easy to control. This software is compatible with other programs and can generate G-code. At the top of everything, this software is highly customizable.

Self-driven: This machine features two 5mm Acrylic baffles on both side of it, and that is what allows you to watch the entire operation of the machine safely. Plus, all the axis is integrated with a limit switch which prevents engraving faults.

Cutting area: The machine offers a large cutting area of 300 x 180 x 45 mm. With this area, you can work various sized projects. And the frame size is, 400 x 330 x 240 mm and it is heavily constructed with Aluminum.

Automatic positioning: And here comes the best feature of this machine. It comes with automatic tool setting function which will automatically find the accurate position for any project just by a simple click. Accurate positioning was never this much easy before.

Versatility: The SainSmart 3018 MX3 is a highly versatile CNC machine with which you will be able to make 3d designs easily. Plus, this machine can work on different materials, except for hard metals. Acrylic, soft aluminum, wood, plastic, copper, etc. can be engraved with this machine.

Accessories: With the machine, you will get a full toolbox where you will find all the necessary maintenance tools. And also comes with nut and screws box.

The Pros

  • Comes inexpensive.
  • Very easy to use and install.
  • Highly versatile machine.
  • Comes with needed accessories.
  • Features Mach3.
  • Auto positioning feature.

The Con

  • Doesn’t work well for professionals.

Why we picked this?

The SainSmart Genmitsu CNC Router Machine will be an excellent choice for beginners who have just started learning to engrave. With this machine, you will get 3d designing opportunity and also will be able to work on different materials except for hard metals. However, choosing it for heavy-duty applications will be a waste.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much does a CNC router cost?

There are different types of CNC router which comes with different price ranges. Industrial-grade CNC routers are expensive and can cost around 2000 to 3000 dollars. And mini CNC routers comes within 200 to 1000 dollars.

  • Can I CNC wood?

Obviously, in fact, wood is the most common material used in the CNC machine. And there is some CNC machine that allows you to use different materials such as aluminum, plastic, acrylic, PCB, etc.

  • Can CNC routers cut metal?

CNC routers can work various materials but that being said, most of the CNC routers are not suitable for cutting metal. You can use CNC machines for cutting soft metals like copper but using on hard metals will damage the machine.

  • Can you use a wood router on aluminum?

Definitely. Most of the CNC machine which is suitable for woods can work on various soft materials such as plastic, soft aluminum, acrylic, etc. But make sure you keep the machine away from the hard metals if you want longer lifespan of the machine.

  • What are the types of CNC machine?

There are basically 5-types of CNC machine which are widely used. Each of them comes with different functionality. The types are a milling machine, CNC laser cutter, 3D printer, Router, and CNC plasma cutter. Though their names seem very different all of them falls under the CNC machine category.

Conclusion

CNC machines come with a good price and that is why it is highly mandatory that you make no mistake at all in choosing the right model. And do not follow others, a model that worked fine for me, might not go the same with you. Know the factors which make a machine worthy, check if the machine has enough capacity to tackle your jobs or not. Do the research and then pick a model.

However, by going through this article we hope you find the best CNC router for  small shop. And if there is anything you are confused about, don’t hesitate to let us know!

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