Looking for the best CNC machines for your next wood carving project? Have no more worries! This article has been curated just for you as it reviews 5 of the best computer-controlled wood carving machines that have been made available.
This article also outlines the technical specifications, pros, and cons of the best CNC woodworking machines so that you would easily be able to make the best choice for your next woodworking project.
What are CNC machines anyway? First off, CNC is a short form for Computer Numerical Control. These machines, simply put, are used to monitor, automate, and control the movements and processes of a machine.
The technology with which CNC routers are built makes use of pre-programmed computer software to control other basic machines and is used to perform a range of complex processes, which include grinding, routing, milling, punching, turning and lathing.
Formerly, these complex processes/movements are usually guided by hand but with a CNC machine, they are instead controlled by a computer program that guarantees precision and quality of the process. Manufacturers and factories need to find a good CNC woodworking machine because the quality of the CNC router in operation directly determines the quality and efficiency of the product produced.
Our Favorite Choice Of CNC Machine Summary:
|BobsCNC Evolution 4 (Best Overall)||CHECK BEST PRICE >>|
|CNC 3018 Pro (Best Budget)||CHECK BEST PRICE >>|
|CNC Router 4040-XE (1st Alternative)||CHECK BEST PRICE >>|
|BobsCNC Evolution 3 (2nd Alternative)||CHECK BEST PRICE >>|
|SainSmart Genmitsu CNC (3rd Alternative)||CHECK BEST PRICE >>|
5 Best CNC Machines Review Details:
1. BobsCNC Evolution 4 CNC Router Kit with the Router Included (24″ x 24″ cutting area and 3.3″ of Z travel)
This machine is, without doubt, the overall best CNC machine for wood carving and that makes it the most premium choice. This CNC woodworking machine has an unconventional design and it has just been released recently.
A hallmark of the company from which it was manufactured, the Evolution 4 is a DIY kit made with a birchwood frame. This birchwood frame was made to give the user a generous cutting area which reduces the restrictions on what you can do with the wood carving machine.
The E4 CNC router comes with the Makita RT0701C Router and Arduino based microprocessor and requires a connection with a computer and that connection can be obtained through a USB connection.
With a 24-inch by 24-inch by 3-inch cutting area and a small 30-inch by 38-inch by 19-inch footprint, the router is perfect for more petit beginner projects and will not take up too much space on a desk or workspace.
If you’re looking for your first CNC router and you like the idea of assembling your first machine yourself then the E4 CNC Router Engraver Kit is the machine for you and will teach you all you need to know about getting started with precision cutting.
Have in mind that BobsCNC has built up a reputation for offering quality customer service so if you’re just getting into CNC routers, having a reliable way to get in touch with the manufacturers in the case that you run into any issues, is worth considering.
|Cutting area:||610 x 610 x 85 mm|
|Machine footprint:||838 x 994 x 530 mm|
|Accuracy:||0.002 to 0.004 inches|
|Frame:||Laser cut 6 mm baltic birch with rigid box and beam gantry|
|Router spindle:||Makita RT0701C (10k – 30k RPM)|
|Processor firmware:||GRBL v. 1.1|
|Recommended G-code sender:||UGS Platform|
|X and Y-axis:||GT2 x 6 mm belt drive|
|Z-axis:||Tr8 ACME rod with Delrin nut|
|Rail system:||Supported rails, 5/16″ stress-proof steel|
|Power supply AC:||12 VDC 8 amps|
|Drive motors:||NEMA 17 stepper motors|
|Holding torque:||Nm 0.53|
|Home switches:||Self-squaring gantry|
|Servo resolution X- and Y-axis:||0.0125 mm|
|Servo resolution Z-axis:||0.0025 mm|
- There is no need to lubricate the Z drive.
- It is simple to assemble and an assembly guide comes with the kit.
- The CNC machine has a large workspace.
- The price might be a little on the high side.
2. Upgrade Version 2 in 1 3000mW Engraver CNC 3018 Pro GRBL Control DIY Mini CNC Machine, 3 Axis Wood Router Engraver with Offline Controller
If you are on a budget, this CNC machine could be the best choice for you as it is the cheapest and most budget friendly CNC machine of the best ones that have been made available.
Designed for the absolute beginner, the Upgrade version is a great tool for starting CNC learning. If woodworking is your hobby, you can use it to add features like curved words and exquisite patterns. If you are a student just learning CNC, it can help you engrave models which you are coding and designing.
The 2-in-1 CNC 3018-PRO with 3000mW Module is an upgraded version of 3018. It has an Integrated Driver Chip, Fixed Heat Sink, External Fan, and a Sturdy Casing. All these help to extend the life of the control board.
This particular CNC wood carving machine is not easy to damage because of the quality of materials it has been made of. With an effective engraving area of 300 x 180 x 45 mm, the 3018 pros can easily accommodate most projects.
Suitable for carving wood, plastic, acrylic, PCB CCL, soft metal like copper and aluminum, and other like materials, but can not carve hard metal, jade, and other hard materials.
|Spindle:||775 spindle motor (12-36V) 24 : 10000r / min|
|Supported System:||Windows XP / Win 7 / Win 8 / Win 10|
|Spindle motor:||DC24V, Max 120W, 10000 rpm|
|Power supply:||Input: AC100-240V, 50/60Hz,1.3A Output: DC24V 5A|
|Stepper motor:||Fuselage length 34MM,Current 1.33A, 12v.Torque 0.25N/M|
|Drill bits:||3.175 x 20 x 0.1. Includes 10 pieces.|
|Clamps:||4 pcs, Hold the thickness of 0-30mm, the inner slot width 6mm|
Specification of Laser:
|Electric Current:||< 5A|
|Input Voltage:||DC AC 12V|
|Working Temperature:||-10 ~ +40|
|Size:||33 x 33 x 100 mm|
|Power Supply Interface:||Leadline|
- The machine is very easy to assemble.
- The 3018 pro has a 2 in 1 built-in design.
- It has been made with high quality and affordable materials.
- You can take control of your 3018-PRO Desktop CNC machine with offline control, and provide manual control of your mill without any computer.
- The machine can be applied to different materials ranging from wood to plastic and even acrylics.
- The router is budget friendly.
- Laser module power is relatively too large.
- You have to wear laser goggles whenever you want to work with the machine.
3. CNC Router Machine 4040-XE, 300W Spindle 3-Axis Engraving Milling Machine for Wood, Metal, and Acrylic
The 4040-XE CNC Router uses 300W spindle and NEMA23 stepper motors, which are more powerful and efficient. The maximum moving speed is 2000mm/min and the spindle speed range is 0 ~ 10000.
The control board, power supply, emergency stop, and wires are integrated into a design box, which is simple for operation, easy to clean and safe. The controller has a 3.5” touchscreen LCD which also functions as an offline controller.
The 4040-XE is capable to drill, cut, and engrave many different kinds of material such as wood, metal, MDF, acrylic, foam, resin, nylon, fiber carbon, PCB, etc. It is a very great choice for home use and business.
The machine’s large engravable area of 15.75” x 15.75” x 2.56” (400 x 400 x 65 mm) makes it capable of handling both small and large material.
The CNC machine is based on GRBL, it is compatible with GRBL-control software. The main parts of the 4040-XE are pre-assembled, it only takes an average of 30 minutes to fully assemble. Wires are labeled clearly for fast connection and bundled into a drag chain for easy management.
The machine comes with a 300W spindle which is switchable to 15W power module max. (Power module is NOT included). Aviation plugs are included also. Aviation plugs are safe and easy for maintenance.
|Active Working Area:||400 x 400 x 65mm|
|Stepper Motor:||NEMA 23|
|Maximum Moving Speed:||2000mm/min|
|Input Power Supply:||110V/10A|
|Control Method:||Computer/Controller offline control|
|Support Software:||Compatible with GRBL control software|
|Support Operating System:||Windows XP/7/8/10, Linux, Mac OS|
|Machine Size:||(760 x 620 x 360mm)|
|Support Add-ons:||5W/15W power module; DWP611 router (need a different z clamp). (Add-ons are NOT included)|
|Item Weight:||57.6 pounds|
|Package Dimensions:||33.46 x 27.95 x 10.24 inches|
|Power Source:||AC / DC|
|Plug Format:||B – US style with ground plug|
|Included Component:||1/8-Inch Collet|
- The CNC machine is easy to install.
- 4040-XE is suitable for work on a wide range of materials.
- The router can work offline.
- Power module is not included in the package.
4. BobsCNC Evolution 3 CNC Router Kit with the Router Included (16″ x 18″ cutting area and 3.3″ Z travel)
The BobCNC Evolution 3 was the best and the most accepted CNC wood carving machine before the company decided to do some upgrades as it wasn’t totally perfect. If you are not comfortable with the premium price of the Evolution 4, you could go ahead to get the Evolution 3 for your next woodworking project especially if you have experience working with CNC routers.
The BobsCNC E3 CNC Router Kit already has a lot of 5-star ratings on Amazon and is made of assembled laser cut wood. This particular CNC router is a good choice mostly because of the noteworthy accuracy and decent workspace the kit comes with.
Be sure to make note of the moderately-technical assembly process. After all, the machine can’t be used to achieve its purpose if you are not able to figure out how to assemble it. Some users have reported that the machine is challenging to put together if you don’t already have technical experience.
If you’ve got some problem-solving skills and an appetite for tinkering, the E3 CNC Router Kit is your chance to get a ton of milling value for your money. If you’re a beginner, however, we recommend investing in a slightly more expensive machine, first, to get a more guided assembly process.
- A rigid laser cut frame.
- SG20U supported rail system.
- GT2 belt drive on the X and Y axis.
- ACME TR8 on the Z axis.
|Product Dimensions:||27 x 32 x 21 inches|
|Pattern:||Laser cut Baltic birch|
|Torque:||75 Inch Ounces|
|Performance Description:||16” x 18″ x 3.3″ Cutting Volume|
|Included Components:||Makita RT0701C Router with 1/4″ collet|
|Assembled Product Weight:||26 lbs|
|Cutting Area:||X: 17.7″ (450 mm), Y: 15.3″ (380 mm), Z: 3.3″ (85 mm)|
|Gantry clearance:||3.1” (80 mm)|
- The router can be used to engrave on the smallest of items, including a pen.
- It is perfect for both softwood and hardwood projects.
- This router is the best router for the money.
- Has a noteworthy accuracy.
- Can be quite difficult for beginners to work with.
- The package doesn’t include software.
5. SainSmart Genmitsu CNC Router Machine 3018-PROVer with GRBL Offline Control, Limit Switches & Emergency-Stop, XYZ Working Area 300 x 180 x 45mm
One fantastic thing about this router and the main advantage it has over most other CNC machines for wood is the fact that the router is pre-assembled. This pre-assembled desktop CNC machine allows you to be up and running in less than 15 minutes instead of trying to assemble the router from scratch for over 2 hours, making it a walkover for beginners.
This machine, like its predecessors, is ideal for those looking to dip their toes into CNC without breaking the bank. It’s built on the open-source Arduino platform and uses the open-source GRBL for reading G-code and motion control. It’s also suitable for softer materials and you can throw in an optional laser engraver upgrade.
The 3018-PROVer gives you a premium look and feel for your machine as it has an all-aluminum body with an oxide blue look. The 5mm acrylic baffles can block the ‘flying’ pieces of wood/other cutaway materials so that you can safely monitor the engraving process.
Things go wrong sometimes. The ability to smash a big red button to stop the machine dead in its tracks is not to be underestimated, and is a common safety feature on professional power tools, so its presence here on the 3018-PROVer is a welcome upgrade. If a project gets out of hand the PROVer has an emergency stop control that is very visible and easy to access for the immediate shutdown of your machine.
Take control of your 3018-PROVer Desktop CNC machine with controls at your fingertips. The 1.8” display will clearly display readouts and provide manual control of your mill without any computer. This machine comes standard with a newly designed offline controller with a 1.8″ display so you can view readouts clearly and control the CNC router without connecting to a computer.
If you are an experienced CNC engraving enthusiast looking for an upgrade, you can add the matching SainSmart laser module kit to the machine (optional). With this module, it can absolutely give you different ways to unleash your creativity.
|Effective Engraving Area:||260 x 155 x 35mm(10.2 x 6.1 x 1.4”)|
|Frame Size:||400 x 330 x 240mm (15.7 x 13.0 x 9.4”)|
|Z-Axis Component Material:||ABS|
|Spindle:||775 motor, 12V~24V, 10000 RPM|
|Rated power:||60W; Maximum power: 120W|
|Step Motor:||1.3 A, 12V, 0.25 Nm torque (2.2 in-lb)|
|Drill Bits:||Tip 0.1 mm, 20 degrees, Diameter 3.175 mm|
|Supported OS:||Windows XP, Windows 7 32/64 bits, Windows 8, Windows 10, Linux, Mac OS|
|Software:||GRBL control (Candle)|
|Power Supply:||24V/5A, with CE, FCC & PSE certifications|
- The design for this CNC machine is modified for safety, especially with the emergency stops in place.
- It is very beginner friendly.
- The machine comes pre-assembled from the manufacturer.
- Not suitable for heavy duty work.
A CNC woodworking machine makes work easier but having the best tool to do the work definitely gives one peace of mind. By now, you have certainly made the best choice of CNC depending on what your need might be.
For beginners who do not have any experience working with CNC machines for wood, the SainSmart 3018-PROVer and the 4040-XE CNC Router are amazing choices especially since they come pre-assembled from the manufacturer unlike the others that you have to assemble from the scratch. Professionals are sure to make right choices as a result of their experiences because they know exactly what technical specifications to look for in CNC machines for their projects.
If you want to build it yourself (DIY) the entire CNC machines for wood carving, you can check out this guide. It is a complete step-by-step blueprint on how to build a CNC woodworking machine.