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What is a CNC Router, and How Does It Work?

Updatetime: 2022-08-25 18:03View:


CNC routing is among several advanced machining applications operated by a computerized, automated process that controls the motion of tools for shaping, machining, cutting, or subtracting material used in manufacturing products. CNC is the acronym for Computer Numerical Control, a platform that controls machine tools via a computer program.

CNC programming of machines offers advantages of computer precision over manual control. Live operators control input commands throughout the process.

What is a CNC Router?

CNC routers are one popular application for CNC machining platforms. As an advanced type of tooling method, CNC routers operate with CAM software programs, a visual programming tool used to create geometric code or simply, g-code, the CNC computer language that operates the CNC machines. G-code controls the basic movement, time, and direction of the tool heads of the machines.

CNC Routers have similar functions as handheld routers—they are tools used to cut various shapes into various materials for different purposes. Though similar to handheld routers, CNC routers are a more robust and versatile machine that can cut many more materials with precision. A CNC router can use computer numerical control to automate the route of the tool paths that enable the machine to function. With such capabilities, CNC routers offer much more effective cuts than manual controlled routers with a marked increase in productivity and efficiency.
CNC Router Machine

How Does CNC Router Work?

In its most basic form, a CNC router consists of four components, the work table, spindle, drive system and controller. The work table supports and holds the material while the machine is working. The spindle grabs the tool to do all the cutting, engraving, drilling, milling, and more. The drive system is essentially an arm attached to the spindle that moves it in three directions. The controller directs the arm to move the direction of the spindle.

After the CNC router is started, the drive system allows the spindle to move and machine in three directions along the X, Y, and Z axes. The X axis is left to right, the Y axis is front to back, and the Z axis is top to bottom. This allows the machine to complete some very complex pattern processing and contour cutting more accurately and faster than manual engraving.
The running direction and cutting distance of the machine are commanded by the control system. This information is provided in digital format, which is then converted into a 2D or 3D image using G-code. Once the image is created, it is sent to a numerically controlled controller, which converts the digital signal into different voltages and currents. This allows the arm to move with high precision, and the machine produces the final product in a short period of time precisely according to the design pattern.
Although this sounds very complicated, in practice, CNC routers are very simple to use. This makes CNC routers very popular in workshops of all sizes. Like other CNC machine applications, CNC routers can produce an exceptional variety of customized parts with precision. Once programmed, a single set of prompts can accomplish three-dimensional cutting tasks for a range of materials. Such ease of operation that automation provides results in increased production capacity, less waste, repeatability, and safety.
CNC Router for 3D Engraving

What are the structures of the CNC router machine

In the above we mentioned the basic components of the CNC router. If you want to know more about the structure of CNC router, you can get more information here.
1. Bed structure
Including gantry, base, table, spindle unit, control cabinet, etc.
2. CNC router spindle
Spindles are divided into air-cooled spindles and water-cooled spindles according to different cooling methods. When processing different materials, the power and speed of the spindle are also different, which should be selected according to the actual processing materials and work efficiency requirements.
If you are an advertising company and the materials to be processed are relatively soft materials such as acrylic, wood, plastic, etc., the spindle power can be selected from 1.5KW-3.0KW. The spindle power of the woodworking CNC router needs to be selected according to the hardness of the wood to be processed, generally between 2.2KW-4.KW. Because of the high hardness of the material processed by the stone CNC router machine, the spindle power is relatively high, generally between 4.5KW-7.5KW.
3. Drive system
The drive system is the drive components and motion units that perform machine operation, including the spindle drive unit, spindle motor, feed unit and feed motor, guide rails, sliders, etc. Through the command signal issued by the control system, multiple drive units work together to complete the positioning and processing of the plane or 3D workpiece.
4. Motor
CNC router motors have stepper motors and servo motors. The main function is to convert the pulse signal of the numerical control device into the movement of the moving parts of the cnc wood router, so that the machine can work according to the instructions of the numerical control device.
Stepper motors are suitable for small size or CNC routers that do not require too high processing speed, which is an economical solution for general engraving and cutting needs. Servo motors are suitable for CNC routers that large scale or require high-speed processing, and have better processing results for applications that require improved positioning accuracy and resolution.
5. Inverter
A frequency converter is a power control device that converts a power frequency power supply into another frequency by using the on-off function of a power semiconductor device.
6. Rails
There are round rails and square rails. The square guide rail can withstand high load pressure in four directions, with high positioning accuracy and small friction coefficient, which can maintain the walking accuracy for a long time. Currently, all CNC routers produced by our factory use square guide rails.
7. Transmission mode
The CNC router has two ways of screw drive and rack and pinion drive. Small CNC machine tools such as 6090 CNC router and 6012 CNC router adopt screw drive mode, which has higher precision. Large CNC machine tools such as 1325 CNC router and 1530 CNC router adopt rack and pinion transmission mode, which can provide higher running speed without compromising accuracy.
8. Control system
The control system is the core of the CNC machine tool, including the control board, the control panel, the data transmission line, the display and the corresponding digital program. It is used to complete the storage of information, the transformation of data, the interpolation operation and the realization of various control functions.
9. CNC router table
There are aluminum T-slot workbench, vacuum adsorption workbench, T-slot and vacuum combination workbench. The aluminum T-slot workbench has a good effect on the fixation of small-sized sheets or hollow sheets. The vacuum adsorption table is more convenient and efficient for fixing large-sized sheets or irregular sheets.
10. Other auxiliary devices
Rotary axis for 3D machining of cylindrical materials. The vacuum cleaner, during the engraving and cutting process of the machine, collects other wastes such as sawdust through the vacuum tube into the dust bag to maintain the cleanliness of the workshop environment. Water-cooled circulation device, pneumatic device, tool changer, tool setting instrument, sensing device, etc.
Before purchasing a CNC router, knowing more about the machine configuration can make the CNC router more suitable for workshop processing needs and create more value for users.

What to pay attention to when installing CNC router

After you purchase the cnc wood carving machine, In order to ensure the progress of the CNC router equipment installation, debugging, please prepare according to the following requirements.
Environmental requirements
1. Work environment should be relatively independent, recommend indoor and dust proofed.
2. The floor should be solid hard and leveled to ensure the machine stable while processing.
Power requirements
1. Equipped with high voltage line, need to use thick copper cable which at least Three phase AC input to the machine should be able take over more than 5KW.
2. Grounding the machine properly for safety, machine have a PE barrier terminal block for all electrical components grounding.
3. Equipped with stabilized voltage supply during high circuit fluctuation, the voltage shouldn’t be higher than 400 volts.
4. Use 32A current circuit breaker (if machine with dust collector and vacuum pump then need bigger ones)
Machine set ups
An electrician must be read and understand the electrical schematics prior for connecting the CNC router engraving machine to local power system. Place all switches in off position before connecting power. Always lock the machine disconnect switch in the off position if the machine is left unattended. When the machine is installed, be sure that all motors rotate in the correct direction.

How to use the CNC Router

Here is a manual of the process using the CNC router, you can follow the text instructions. If you have any questions, you can search AccTek China on Youtube, then enter the keywords of the relevant steps to see the actual operation process through the video.
All axis return to machine origin:
Click REF ALL HOME command machine back to home position which is XY goes to left bottom corner and Z goes up, if any of the axis goes to wrong direction, pls stop the machine and check last page step 5, find correct backup file in the USB drive. Machine should ref all home on every machine start to prevent it loose coordinates.
All axis return to machine origin
Install a cutter:
Put the required type collet into the black clamping nut to ensure cutter stable, fix it tight by using the spanner(all included in the white tool box).
Install a cutter
Set working piece origin:
There are two ways set Zaxis zero.
1. Press arrow buttons by the keyboard to move XY axis and press PageUp/PageDown to move Zaxis. Find a workpiece start point and bring the cutter tip onto the workpiece surface then click Zero XYZ.
Set working piece origin
FYI: Press “Tab” on the keyboard to bring out Jog Mode page and click it switch to step mode to slowly move Zaxis to the workpiece surface. Click Machine Coord’s to switch the display of machine coordinate and workpiece coordinate, it displays machine coordinate when it’s in red.
Set working piece origin
2. We also can set z axis working origin by the tool sensor , input tool sensor thickness as below in offset page(usually it’s already set if the backup file is correct) Put the tool sensor onto the surface of workpiece, then press Auto tool zero.
Set working piece origin
Fix the workpiece
With vacuum table, turn the switch on and seal the workpiece area by the strips.
With Tslot table, please find the clamping fixture tool in the white tool box.
Fix the workpiece
Load G code file
Mach3 supports nc./mmg./tap./cnc. and other kinds format g code. Press Cycle Start to start processing.
Load G code file

Ease of operation is a significant advantage of CNC routers.

CNC operators require computer training to implement routing programs and knowledge of the material, and a degree of creativity. A combination of technological advancements and computer processes has reduced the time and amount of labor required to produce finished parts and increased output. In turn, ease of operation has increased production capacity. Parts are produced with precision, increased efficiency, and speed at an exponential rate.
Because of the increase in the production speed and capacity, resource consumption is greatly reduced, which, economically and ecologically, is cost-effective and environmentally responsible. The chance of human error is negated by computerization of the operations, further saving on time and valuable resources. It also greatly contributes to repeatability—the ability to mass-produce precision parts without variation. Finally, because workers are removed from the operational areas of CNC routers, from the vicinity of sharp tool heads and dangerous components, CNC production environments are far safer for workers.

Applications for CNC routing support several industrial markets.

Chief among them are woodworking manufacturing items such as furniture, wooden doors, tables and chairs, wooden crafts, etc. In addition, CNC router is also used in advertising industry, musical instrument industry, model making and other departments.

Material selection is substantial and diverse.

Plastics like acrylic, polycarbonate, HDPE, LDPE, PVC, ABS, or nylon, and materials such as plywood, foams, fiberglass, cork, foil, Nomex,metals, and synthetic rubbers like silicone, neoprene, and urethane are used for CNC routing processes.
CNC Router Application
With the advent of CNC automated machines, production capability for manufacturers has radically increased. Traditional methods of routing simply cannot compete with CNC routers. Today, it is the dominant method of fabricating parts and components used for the assembly of goods and products, and it is also used to create one-offs and for repair and prototyping work.
If you encounter any problems in the process of choosing an CNC Machine, you can consult online, we will provide you with a suitable solution, and hope to help you.

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Jinan AccTek Machinery

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Factory:  No. 3 Zone A, Lunzhen Industrial Zone,Yucheng City , Shandong Province

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