If you are a hobbyist, maker, or small business owner looking for a CNC that has a cutting area of 4'x4', this guide will help you pick the one you need.
The key advantage to buying a 4x4 CNC router is that it gives you the ability to work on 4x8 sheets at a much lower cost compared to a full-fledged 4x8 CNC machine.
This is achieved using a software feature called tiling.
As a 4x4 CNC has to travel 4' length in X and Y directions, the linear motion components need to be seamless and the frame should be rigid enough for that long travel.
Considering all the important factors for a 4x4 machine, I chose the best high-quality 4x4 CNC routers on the market for this guide.
There is quite a variation in the prices of these machines due to the differences in speed and accuracy.
I break everything down for you so that you can make a wise choice.
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These are the best 4x4 CNC Routers available on the market today:
|1. Avid CNC PRO4848-Best Overall||Check Price|
|2. OpenBuilds LEAD 1515||Check Price|
|3. CAMaster Stinger II||Check Price|
|4. ShopBot PRS Standard 48-48-8||Check Price|
|5. Stepcraft Q.404||Check Price|
|6. BobsCNC KL744||Check Price|
Best 4x4 CNC Routers
1. Avid CNC PRO4848 (Avid CNC 4x4) - Best Overall 4x4 CNC Router
|Parameter||Avid CNC PRO4848|
|Footprint||67” x 65 ¾” x 43 ⅜”|
|Work envelope||49-½" x 49-½" x 8"|
|Linear motion drive||X&Y - Rack and pinion; Z - Ball screw|
Quick summary of Avid CNC PRO4848
Avid CNC is a US-based CNC brand that specializes in CNC routers for serious hobbyists and small businesses.
Avid offers two products with a 4x4 cutting area, the CRP4848, and the PRO4848.
I chose the PRO4848 for the extra speed and power it offers.
Also because I think the price difference between the CRP4848 and PRO4848 is not that significant.
Avid CNC is designed to be modular so that you can start out small and then add upgrades later to meet your demands as they grow.
This means you can convert this 4x4 CNC router from Avid into a 4x8 CNC router or a 5x10 CNC router later by only adding the extra components.
This expandability is a major advantage to buying the Avid CNC compared to a welded frame CNC.
The NEMA 23 version of this CNC Router with standard gantry and 8” of Z travel will cost around $4,725.
The frame for the NEMA 34 version will cost $100 more.
However, this will only contain the framework and linear motion components.
You will have to purchase stepper motors, spindle, electronics, and controllers separately.
You can purchase these additions from Avid CNC or else you can use components of your choice.
Avid CNC provides everything else you need as a bundled kit to make buying easy.
Size and Build
PRO4848 CNC Router has a 49-½" x 49-½" work area with a footprint of 67” x 65 ¾” x 43 ⅜” and weighs around 313 lbs.
This means you have the space to work with a 4'x4' sized sheet.
You can also mill a 4'x8' full-sized sheet on this CNC as the sides of the bed are open.
The best way to do this is by a technique called tiling.
For using the tiling technique, you need a CAM software that offers that functionality like the Vectric Aspire CAM.
However, tiling does reduce your efficiency a bit as you have to manually move your sheet material after it's done with one half.
For full efficiency, you need a dedicated 4x8 CNC router like the Avid CNC PRO4896.
If you get the optional leg kit with the PRO4848 the overall height increases to 77 ½” and the weight becomes 377 lbs.
You can also add a secondary Z-axis on an Avid CNC PRO which lets you use two tools without the need for a tool change.
This will need you to have an extended gantry that adds 10” to the X-axis footprint. However, the available work area would still remain the same.
If you want to make or use a table of your own, you will have to provide a table that is strong and rigid.
This is because the motion in Avid CNC is quick which can cause substantial jerks/vibrations in the entire setup.
You will need a rigid table to withstand and prevent jerking.
You can cut materials with a maximum thickness of 8” on the Avid CNC PRO 4848 and if you were to shell out around $150 more you can use the increased Z-axis travel of 12”.
The frame is made of heavy-duty aluminum and steel plates which provides it excellent rigidity and allows you to cut hard materials fast.
Aluminum CNC milling is quick and easy on the Avid PRO4848, and you can find several tutorial videos on YouTube showing you how this machine performs with Aluminum.
Milling steel is also a possibility, but if steel milling is a main part of your workflow, then this machine is far from ideal.
You need either the Avid benchtop pro or a proper benchtop CNC mill.
The X and Y axes use a rack and pinion drive mechanism that is fast and accurate when compared to other drive mechanisms.
The key advantage of a rack and pinion drive system is the high speed it offers compared to screw drive systems.
Rack and Pinion systems deliver this high speed without compromising on accuracy.
The gantries slide on precision-made profile linear guide rails that add to the overall rigidity of the machine.
The X and Y axes have a resolution of 0.0005”.
The Z-axis is driven by a precision ball screw mechanism which gives it a resolution of 0.0002”.
It has an accuracy of 0.005” or better and repeatability of 0.002” making it an excellent choice for high precision jobs.
The rapid speeds on Avid CNC Pro4848 are 500 ipm for the NEMA 23 version and 1000 ipm for the NEMA 34 version.
You can achieve a cutting speed that is around half of the rapid speeds on both variants.
This is the biggest advantage of Avid CNCs because they are astonishingly fast compared to almost any other CNC under $10k.
The default package does not come with a spindle and you will have to purchase one from Avid CNC or any other manufacturer.
Avid CNC offers a 4 hp and 8.7 hp spindle for the Pro 4848. The 4 hp spindle costs around $1,995 and the 8.7 hp spindle costs roughly $3,995.
Additionally, you will have to spend $116 for the 4 hp spindle mount and $140 for the 8.7 hp spindle.
The 4 hp spindle has an ER20 collet that can hold tools with a maximum shank diameter of ½” and the 8.7 hp spindle has an ER32 collet with a capacity to hold ¾” shank tooling.
The depth of cut for the 8.7 hp spindle is 2.3 times that of the 4 hp spindle for the same speed, tool, material, and feed rate.
Both of these spindles come with a Delta VFD for speed control and is a plug-and-play system.
An upgrade that you should consider if you run a business, is the S30 ATC spindle upgrade from CNC Depot.
This is a third-party spindle upgrade for Avid CNC machines that converts the single tool spindle to an Automatic Tool Changer.
If you buy the S30, you don't need to buy the spindle from Avid CNC, however, you'll need to buy the spindle mount.
Having an ATC can dramatically improve production if you constantly work with multi-tool projects.
Controller and Electronics
Avid CNC has two controller options to choose from, either a NEMA 23 build or the NEMA 34.
The NEMA 23 motors have a torque of 420 oz-in and the NEMA 34 motors have a torque of 960 oz-in.
Avid CNC Pro4848 uses two motors on the X-axis to improve accuracy and prevent racking.
An industrial-grade NEMA enclosure is used for housing the controller and drivers which allows this CNC machine to have an industrial-grade machine appeal.
The controller uses an ethernet smooth stepper that is fast due to parallel processing and is compatible with various software and operating systems.
The controller has support for several electronics hardware like limit switches, E-stop buttons, and Z-probe.
The electronic hardware and cables from Avid CNC are designed to be plug and play and do not require you to solder or crimp them.
The most used control software for Avid CNC Pro4848 is the Mach4 software.
Mach 4 can give you industrial-grade precision and control and is quite fast when compared to other control software programs.
Mach 4 software costs around $200 for a lifetime license and it can work offline without the need for an internet connection.
Sadly, it runs only on Windows OS computers.
Note that if you buy the Plug and Play CNC Control System from Avid, either Mach3 or Mach4 are your only compatible choices.
In any case, going with GRBL based control is less than ideal here as it prevents you from adding a 4th rotary axis down the lane.
A rotary axis is really useful for woodworkers for CNC turning pens, spindles, or any rounded products.
As it is a customizable machine you will have to assemble each part and it can take you a whole weekend to put it together.
The assembly instructions are clear and detailed, with well-illustrated images for reference.
Community and Support
The customer support is US-based and is prompt and reliable in providing you assistance from assembly to any issues that you may face while running.
Avid CNC provides a one-year warranty on all its mechanical and electronics products.
This CNC has stood the test of time and is highly popular among woodworkers and people who work with 4' sized pieces.
If you run a business, this CNC is my top recommendation for a 4x4 CNC Router.
2. OpenBuilds Lead 1515 CNC
|Properties||OpenBuilds Lead 1515|
|Footprint||60” x 60"|
|Work envelope||46” x 49” x 3.5"|
|Linear motion drive||Acme lead screw|
Quick summary of OpenBuilds Lead 1515
The OpenBuilds Lead 1515 CNC router is a great 4x4 CNC option due to the high-quality milling it offers at an affordable price.
The Lead 1515 is designed and manufactured by the makers of the OpenBuilds online community.
As it has a design that developed from the open-source movement it has a no-nonsense approach.
You can choose the electronics of your choice with the LEAD 1515 CNC or you can buy the structural components and build the electronics part yourself.
Size and Build
It has a footprint of 60” x 60” (1500 x 1500 mm) and has a travel of 46” (X) x 49” (Y) x 3.5” (Z).
Even though the travel is less than 4’ x 4’ it can accommodate a 4’ x 4’ workpiece as the work area is slightly larger than the axis travel.
You can cut materials with a maximum thickness of 2.5” if you are using a ½” thick spoil board.
It can cut hardwood, acrylic, and HDPE among other soft materials.
You may mill aluminum sheets using the correct feeds and speeds with multiple passes.
The chassis of LEAD 1515 CNC is made of C-Beam aluminum extrusions. If you want to extend the size these extrusions are easy to work with.
The spoil board is not included in the kit, this is to reduced the packaging size. You will have to source a spoil board from your local hardware store.
All axes on the LEAD 1515 uses 8mm Acme Lead Screw rods as the drive mechanism. These have some backlash but are better than belt drive systems.
The gantries are supported by V-wheels made of Delrin and move over extruded guide rails.
For moving the axes, four stepper motors are used. The Y-axis used two stepper motors, one on each side to prevent racking.
The basic bundle does not have a spindle and you can purchase one that fits your requirement.
OpenBuilds offers a Dewalt 611 router that you can add on when you purchase the kit.
The Dewalt 611 router is a popular choice among woodworkers and performs well. However, it is not so popular for cutting metals due to its lack of low-speed settings.
If you want to work on wood or similar materials, the Dewalt 611 does a decent job but you will have to add the dust shoe as it is a necessary accessory for CNC woodworking.
Controller and Electronics
LEAD 1515 uses the Blackbox motion control system which is an excellent controller.
It is made by OpenBuilds and uses GRBL 1.1 firmware. For the stepper motors, it uses Toshiba stepper drivers that are known for their quiet operation.
If you are a hobbyist the NEMA 23 stepper motors with 175 oz-in of holding torque is adequate for most operations.
You can also choose the high torque motors from OpenBuilds that have a holding torque of 345 oz-in.
For controlling the machine you can use OpenBuilds CONTROL which integrates well with the Blackbox controller.
It has built-in features for calibration and adjustment and is the best choice for any Blackbox controller-based device.
It is free to use and does not require you to purchase a license.
You can use OpenBuilds CAM software for creating G-code from your design files.
OpenBuilds CAM and OpenBuilds CONTROL are easy to use and integrate with each other seamlessly.
The kit arrives dismantled and you need to assemble it. The parts are packaged in well-labeled packages.
They have clear assembly instructions and several videos that will help you through the assembly process.
Community and Support
The customer support team of OpenBuilds is highly responsive.
One of the biggest advantages of buying the LEAD 1515 is the online community at OpenBuilds.
You will get walkthroughs on most of your queries in the highly active community.
OpenBuilds also provides a one-year limited warranty for its products, which is a great thing.
The LEAD 1515 CNC is designed for those who love DIY and want to tinker with open-source hardware and do not prefer all the bells and whistles offered by branded CNCs.
A more detailed review of this CNC router- OpenBuilds LEAD 1515 CNC Review 
3. CAMaster Stinger II - Best 4x4 CNC Router for Production
|Parameter||CAMaster Stinger II|
|Footprint||70” x 81”|
|Work envelope||49” x 49” x 8"|
|Linear motion drive||Helical rack and pinion|
Quick summary of CAMaster Stinger II
Stinger II from CAMaster is an industrial-grade CNC router that can churn out parts with good repeatability and speed.
Stinger II has two versions, the 3’ x 4’ version, and the 4’ x 4’ version.
The 4’ x 4’ version with the standard accessories costs around $14,000.
The Stinger is the most expensive machine on this list, and it is with good reason.
It has a very heavy build and the right components to go with it.
The biggest difference between the CAMaster Stinger II and the Avid CNC is the heavy welded steel frame of the Stinger II.
Welded steel makes it more rigid and heavy, a great advantage when it comes to CNCs.
All this makes this 4x4 CNC router ideal for businesses that need to run their CNC for several hours every day.
If you can choose the right CNC projects that sell and price your work correctly, you should be able to recoup your investment in this CNC quite quickly, considering how fast and efficient it is.
Size and Build
It has a footprint size of 70” x 81” and has a work area of 49” x 49” which can quite clearly accommodate a 4’ x 4’ sheet.
It is quite heavy at 900 lbs, but you do not need a stand or table to place it as it comes with a stand of its own.
The chassis is made of welded steel which means it cannot be taken apart into pieces. But this also means you get a machine that is highly rigid.
All the structural components that go into the machine are of industrial quality and ensure excellent accuracy.
If you do woodworking primarily, then you need to build a solid dust collection system for this powerful CNC router.
The X and Y axes are driven by a helical rack and pinion drive system and use high precision 25 mm guide rails and ball bearings to support the gantry.
The rapid speed that can be achieved on the Stinger II is 1,000 ipm and you can cut materials at a speed of 500 ipm.
The quality of the components and the build gives it repeatability of 0.001”.
The standard machine comes with a 3.5 hp variable speed Milwaukee Router.
It has a variable speed range between 10,000 and 22,000 RPM.
You can control the router on/off via G-code but you need to manually select the speed.
CAMaster offers the X3 upgrade which allows you to have two additional spindles along with the primary spindle. This is useful when your project requires frequent tool changes as it eliminates the need to change tools.
Controller and Electronics
This CNC machine is controlled using WinCNC Industrial Controller. The machine comes with a Windows PC, 19” monitor, keyboard, and mouse.
The PC cabinet houses the controller board and other daughter boards for controlling Stinger II.
Stinger II has industrial-quality electronics components that give it good tolerance and long life.
It comes with limit switches on all axes that allow you to home the axes easily. Additionally, it has a Z-Zeroing plate for quickly zeroing the Z-axis.
The controller also supports an emergency stop switch for quickly stopping the machine in case of emergencies.
The PC provided with the Stinger II runs Windows 10 Pro operating system.
For controlling the machine Camaster provides WinCNC control software.
It is similar to LinuxCNC control software and has a minimalistic and simple design.
You can use any CAD/CAM software and use the G-code from it on WinCNC control software.
You also get a subscription to Vectric Vcarve software which is excellent software for CNC machines.
The machine comes assembled and there is very little that you need to do to set it up.
Due to the welded steel construction, it cannot be taken apart and is shipped as such. You can have it up and running in under an hour.
It comes completely built, tested, and ready to run out of the box.
Community and Support
CAMaster has an excellent official forum where its users can share ideas and find solutions to queries.
You get a warranty of one year for the Stinger II and free technical support for the life of the machine.
The official support is quite good and responsive with email as well as call support for its customers.
4. ShopBot PRS Standard 48-48-8
|Parameter||ShopBot PRS Standard 48-48-8|
|Footprint||72” x 79” x 67”|
|Work envelope||57” x 49” x 8"|
|Linear motion drive||Rack and pinion|
Quick summary of ShopBot PRS Standard 48-48-8
ShopBot CNC machines are designed for continuous production work and can run all day long.
The only available 4x4 option from ShopBot is the ShopBot PRS Standard 48-48-8.
It is best suited for medium-scale businesses that need to churn out parts with good accuracy all day long.
The PRS Standard 4x4 version costs around $14,000 with a basic 110 V router.
Size and Build
It has a footprint size of 72” x 79” x 67” and comes with the stand, additionally, you should also provide a clearance of at least 18 inches on all sides for easy access.
You can cut workpieces with a maximum size of 57” x 49 “ and a maximum thickness of 8 inches.
The frame is made of steel making it suitable for rugged use. The steel members are put together using bolts which means you can disassemble the CNC if needed.
All three axes use a rack and pinion drive mechanism for moving the axes. Rack and pinion drive systems are fast and accurate.
It lets you achieve a rapid speed of 500 ipm and a maximum cutting speed of 360 ipm.
You will get a repeatability of 0.002” on the ShopBot PRS Standard along with a resolution of 0.0006” which means you can make a minute cut variation with good repeatability.
Choosing a Spindle for Shopbot comes with plenty of options-one 110 V router and three spindle options.
The spindles offered are rated for 2.2 hp, 4 hp, and 5 hp. The router costs around $385 and the 5 hp spindle costs around $4,360.
Controller and Electronics
You can plug in ShopBot PRS Standard into a standard 110 V wall socket which is a good thing for small shops without a three-phase 220V supply.
They use their own proprietary controller for controlling this CNC router which is housed in a sealed industrial enclosure.
All the axes on the ShopBot PRS Standard have limit/homing switches and also have a Z-axis touch probe to easily zero the Z-axis after a tool change.
ShopBot provides their own proprietary control software called ShopBot Control Software that is used to control all their CNC machines.
It is offline software and can be installed on both Windows and Mac OS computers.
You can use this software to control the CNC and run cut programs.
ShopBot ships the CNC router as four modules that need to be assembled. The gantries are pre-assembled and just require to be placed onto the tracks.
The assembly is fairly easy and can be done within a few hours, however, it cannot run straight out of the box.
ShopBot provides onsite assembly and training for its customers.
Community and Support
You get a two-year warranty on this machine with unlimited tech support from ShopBot.
The company is based in North Carolina and they design and build their machines in the USA.
They have an excellent community of users who speak highly about the good customer support provided.
The online community is active and will help you find solutions to most of your queries.
PRS Standard from ShopBot is a truly production-grade CNC machine intended for heavy use by businesses.
5. Stepcraft Q.404 (4x4 CNC Router)
|Footprint||63” x 59”|
|Work envelope||49.8” x 49.8” x 5.7"|
|Linear motion drive||Ball screw drive|
Quick summary of Stepcraft Q.404
The Q series CNC machines from Stepcraft offer entry-level industrial-grade quality.
Stepcraft combines German engineering and American manufacturing quality in its CNC machines.
The price of Q.404 starts at around $10,999 on their official website.
At that price, this CNC router competes with Avid CNC than Shopbot or CAMaster.
Size and Build
Q.404 has a footprint of 63” x 59” with a weight of around 550 lbs, make sure the table you use is strong enough to withstand jerks.
You can cut workpieces with a maximum size of 49.8” x 49.8” and a maximum thickness of 5.7 inches.
The frame is made of structural steel and is welded together with excellent squareness which gives good accuracy and rigidity.
To ensure the flatness of the work bed aluminum extrusions is placed under the work bed which prevents sagging.
For work holding you get a hybrid T-slot table that has MDF slats and aluminum T-tracks.
All three axes are driven by a ball screw drive system that is highly precise. You can achieve a maximum feed rate of 475 inches per minute on the Q.404.
The gantries move on steel linear guides and the entire linear motion components are precise enough to give you repeatability of 0.0006 inches.
All the drive components are concealed which prevents dust and debris from entering them, this reduces the maintenance required to keep them clean.
Stepcraft provides multiple options for spindles and you will have to add them at an additional cost.
If your project requires multiple tool changes with a low cycle time, you can opt for the 3 hp ATC spindle which can be coupled with a tool rack with up to 10 tools.
The 3.25 hp router is a good option for those who need a powerful spindle but are tight on budget.
Stepcraft also offers a 3 hp air-cooled spindle and a 1.4 hp air-cooled spindle. The 1.4 hp spindle is a good option when you need to cut soft materials like foam.
Alternatively, you can also use any spindle or router of your choice with an appropriate mount.
Controller and Electronics
Q.404 uses four NEMA 24 stepper motors rated for 4 A of current, they are powerful enough to drive the axes without bogging down the feed rates.
It comes with limit switches on all axes that prevent the gantry from crashing into the frame.
Stepcraft uses a proprietary controller that can interface with your PC using a USB cable or a parallel port.
The controller has support for connecting jog pendants to control your CNC machine.
You will need to provide a PC or computer to act as the primary interface for the CNC machine.
Stepcraft provides UCCNC machine control software with Q.404. It is a fast and industrial-grade machine control software.
You can run it from a Windows PC with Windows 7 or higher and also from a macOS computer with OS X 10.3.9 or higher.
It can run G-code from almost all popular CAD/CAM software. However, it cannot be used to generate G-code and you will have to use other software to do it.
Stepcraft also provides free online video tutorials to its customers for learning UCCNC machine control software.
The machine is shipped completely assembled, this is because it has a welded frame that cannot be dismantled.
The initial setup will take you around an hour and you can also opt for on-site assembly provided by Stepcraft.
Community and Support
Stepcraft Q.404 comes with a one-year warranty and they provide excellent customer support.
The machines are German engineered but built in the US. They have a good US-based customer support team that can be reached over the phone or by email.
Stepcraft has a large online community although it's more popular in Europe compared to the US.
You can also join the Stepcraft community page on Facebook to share ideas and meet with other users.
The Q.404 is an industrial-grade machine that is a good choice for small production houses that needs precision and speed.
6. BobsCNC KL744 - Most Affordable
|Footprint||63.1” x 69.6”|
|Work envelope||48 "x 48"|
|Linear motion drive||Belt drive|
Quick summary of BobsCNC KL744
The BobsCNC KL744 is a 4x4 CNC router that sells for around $3,500. It is less expensive than most 4x4 CNC routers.
It has a unique design with a birch plywood frame. It is good enough for hobby work and does not vibrate too much unless pushed to very high speeds.
KL744 is too slow for any commercial work but works well for hobbyists.
The birch plywood frame only vibrates if pushed to very high speeds. Plywood frame is not as rigid as metallic frames.
KL744 is equiped with a belt drive system, and not rack and pinion like the other more expensive CNCs in this list. That does mean there will be a bit of compromise in terms of accuracy.
As with many budget CNCs, it runs on GRBL firmware on the Arduino Uno.
With BobsCNC KL744, you also have the flexibility to upgrade it to a 4x8 capable machine.
BobsCNC offers a 90 day warranty and 30 day return policy for the KL744 router machine.
Have you looked at the millerite cnc mega v xxl or the power router xl machines? if so why are they not on your list?