Best CNC Router for Small Shops [2022]- Compact

Best CNC Router for Small Shops [2022]- Compact

Best CNC Router for Small Shops [2022]- Compact

Choosing a CNC router for your small shop is about balancing footprint, cost, and performance.

Ideally, the CNC router should be compact enough to allow space for smooth operation and moving materials, while having a reasonable cutting area to make your desired products.

In this article, I’ll introduce to you some of the best small CNC routers available in the marketplace.

After a thorough examination of different CNC routers, I’ve come up with five CNCs that fit in a small shop.

These are also ideal beginner CNC machines if you are just getting into this hobby.

MellowPine is reader-supported. When you buy through links on my site, I may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.

Best CNC Routers for Small Businesses

These are the best small CNC routers that are available on the market.

CNC router for small shops
1Nomad 3Best for carving metals
2BobsCNC Evolution 4Affordable Woodworking
3Sainsmart Genmitsu 3018-PROVerBest for engraving
4Shapeoko 4Best Overall
5X-Carve

Best CNC routers for small shops

1. Nomad 3 CNC

Internal illumination on Nomad 3
Carbide 3D Nomad 3 CNC
Footprint19” x 17.5” x 17”
Work area8” x 8”
Workpiece thickness3”
Spindle9,000 - 24,000 RPM
OS capabilityOS/X 10.14 and higher, Windows 8, 10, 11 (Intel/AMD)
Assembly~30 minutes
Warranty18 months

Quick summary of Nomad 3

Nomad 3 from Carbide 3D is a desktop CNC machine, suitable for milling and designing prototypes.

It can mill on wood, wood composites, plastic, metals like aluminum, brass, lead, copper, and steel.

You’ll have to add coolant while using hard metals, this is a tricky part because of its enclosure.

Size and build

With a footprint of 19” x 17.5”, it has a work area of 8” x 8” x 3” which is ideal for small workpieces.

Nomad 3 has a height of 17” from its foot to the top. It weighs 65 lbs and can be placed on most work desks.

It has an enclosure, this adds a layer of safety from the milling operation.

Nomad 3 is heavy considering its small footprint because of its rigid aluminum frame. This helps it mill better on metals.

Linear Motion

Lead screws on Nomad 3
Lead screws on Nomad 3

Nomad 3 is driven by a lead screw mechanism on all three axes. It uses anti-backlash nuts, which help achieve smooth operation.

Three stepper motors are used to control the router's movement. A pair of linear rails support gantry load and helps achieve accurate linear motion.

Spindle

Nomad 3 uses a 130W spindle with a speed range of 9,000 - 24,000 RPM. It uses an ER-11 collet and can hold tools with a maximum of 7mm shank diameter.

Its high spindle speed readily allows you to gain more cuts per minute and improves the speed of milling operations.

Controller and electronics

Nomad 3 uses an Atmel 328 board flashed with GRBL firmware and is connected to the computer via USB cable.

Though the controller has four stepper drivers, Nomad 3 only uses three for its operation. This is because Nomad uses the same controller used by Shapeoko, which uses all four stepper drivers.

It uses homing switches on all three axes. This helps you easily home the router with its control software.

Nomad 3 has internal lighting. This, with the transparent enclosure, provides enhanced visibility while operating the machine.

Software

SoftwareOSUsed forInternet
MeshCAMWindows 7, 8, 10, Mac 10.14 and higher3D matchingOffline
Alibre WorkshopWindows 7, 8, 103D CAD/CAMOffline
Carbide MotionWindows 8, 10, 11, Mac 10.14 and higherMachine controlOffline
Carbide CreateWindows 8, 10, 11, Mac 10.14 and higher2D CAD/CAMOffline
Carbide CopperWindows, Mac, Linux, Android, IOSCAM for PCB millingOnline

Softwares provided with Nomad 3

Carbide 3D provides five software licenses with Nomad 3, these can fulfill CAD, CAM, Control, and Simulation operations of the Nomad 3 CNC router.

Carbide Create and Alibre Workshop are 2D and 3D CAD/CAM software that comes with Nomad.

Carbide Create is capable of designing 2D models and can generate G-code for those models. Alibre Workshop can do the same on 3D models.

MeshCAM, as its name denotes is a CAM software. It helps you create G-code from the design, this G-code can then be run on the Nomad 3 control software.

Carbide Copper is also a CAM software for making PCBs, it's not OS-dependent and can run on any browser. It needs an uninterrupted internet connection for its operation.

Carbide Motion is the control software that comes with the Nomad CNC. It seamlessly integrates with all the other Carbide 3D software and is easy to use.

It can also simulate a preview of the toolpath before starting the milling process.

Overall, the software package provided by Carbide 3D is inclusive and allows you to realize the full potential of Nomad 3.

Assembly

Pre-assembled Nomad 3 unboxed
Pre-assembled Nomad 3 unboxed

It comes in a pre-assembled form. The only work for you is to install the collet, the wasteboard, and connect all the wires.

Other than that, you’ll have to spend some time configuring and adjusting the machine with the software.

Carbide 3D’s community website has good articles on how to assemble the router. Nomad 3 can be assembled and put to work in under 30 minutes.

Community and support

Carbide 3D has an active community, and they are active throughout YouTube, Reddit, Facebook, and Carbide 3D’s community website.

They provide excellent technical support through phone and e-mail for their customers.

For Nomad 3, Carbide 3D provides a warranty period of 18 months with a 30-day replacement policy.

Overview

Nomad 3 comes preassembled and contains all the tools, software programs, and accessories needed to start carving within an hour of opening the box.

Though Nomad 3 has the highest price on the list, You can use it to craft metal parts with precision and speed.

It is primarily designed to be a useful tool for hobbyists, engineers, and makers of custom products. 

A more detailed review of this CNC router can be found here - Nomad 3 CNC Review [2022]

2. BobsCNC Evolution 4 CNC Router

BobsCNC Evolution 4 CNC Router

Bobs Evolution 4 CNC Router Kit with a Dewalt Router
Bobs Evolution 4 CNC Router
Footprint32" x 39" x 21”
Work area24” x 24”
Workpiece thickness3.3”
SpindleMakita RT0701C 10,000 - 30,000 RPM
OS capabilityWindows, Mac, Linux
Assembly1 day
Warranty90-days

Quick summary of Bobs Evolution 4

Bobs Evolution 4 is an affordable CNC router, best suited for woodworkers.

Evolution 4 for the most part is made up of materials like wood, plastic, and acrylic. So it doesn’t have a rigid built and is not suited for milling on metals.

However, it performs well on materials like wood, wood composites, plastics, acrylic, and foam.

Size and build

Bobs Evolution 4 has a footprint of 32” x 39”, with a work area of 24” x 24” x 3.3”.

Evolution 4 has a height of 21” from its foot to the top. It weighs 47 Ibs and can be placed on a standard 50” x 40” work desk.

It comprises a wooden frame/chassis, made from laser-cut baltic birch plywood. Though a durable material, it will limit your feed and speed rates.

Evolution 4 may get affected by climatic conditions, the plywood frame can warp because of humidity and temperature.

Linear Motion

Evolution 4 uses a GT2 belt drive on the X and the Y-axis. Belt drives are fast but are less responsive than other drive mechanisms.

It uses dual drive to achieve smooth machine movement along the X-axis. This also prevents racking.

The Z-axis uses a trapezoidal 8mm (Tr8) acme rod mounted with an acme nut, which makes it smooth and rigid to support the weight of the spindle.

Spindle/Router

Bobs Evolution 4 comes with a 1.25hp Makita RT0701C router and has a speed range of 10,000 - 30,000 RPM.

Makita RT0701C spindle has lightweight aluminum construction. It can hold tools with a shank size of ¼”. This spindle alone weighs around 4 Ibs.

Additionally, it has dual insulation that allows you to use it for dusty operations.

Controller and electronics

Evolution 4 uses an Arduino Uno board flashed with GRBL 1.1 firmware as its controller and is connected to the computer via USB cable.

The machine movement is achieved by four NEMA 17 stepper motors, each with a holding torque of 76 oz-in.

Evolution 4 uses limit switches on all three axes that prevent the gantry from crashing into the frame.

Software

BobsCNC does not provide any software with Evolution 4. But you can pair it up with different software, like Fusion 360, MeshCAM, Easel, F-engrave, and more.

BobsCNC sells some software licenses on its website, but only for Windows OS.

Evolution 4’s controller accepts standard G-codes. Hence Evolution can run G-codes from most third-party CAM software.

For sending G-code files, BobsCNC recommends Universal Gcode Sender (UGS) and for CAM operations, they suggest F-engrave and MakerCAM. All these software are open-sourced and free to use.

Upgrades

Evolution 4 extension kit
Evolution 4 extension kit

An extension upgrade kit for Evolution 4 is available on BobsCNS’s website. This kit helps you convert Evolution 4 to Evolution 5, as the only difference between them is the work area.

If you already have Evolution 4 and want to increase the work area, you should consider this upgrade.

If you are looking for a larger work area, then getting Evolution 5 is the best option as the extension kit costs $379, which is more than the price difference of $249 between Evolution 4 and 5.

It will increase the X-axis by 26.5”, increasing the work area to 50” on the X-axis. With this extension upgrade, Evolution 4 will have a new footprint of 58.7” x 39”.

The extension kit has a separate 30-day return policy and a 90-day warranty period.

Assembly

It doesn’t come preassembled, it comes in parts but can be assembled within a day.

BobsCNC provides a user manual, that has detailed illustrations and a step-by-step guide about its assembly.

The boxes are labeled for ease of assembly. Several assembly videos are there on YouTube, it’ll help you fasten up the process.

BobsCNC also provides a separate assembly guide for the Evolution 4 upgrade kit.

Community and support

BobsCNC’s website has a community page, and it has all the details of the official community handles of BobsCNC.

They have members-only Facebook groups for each product and extend significant support to their customers through these groups.

Their website also has a support page through which details about getting started, manuals, troubleshooting, FAQs, warranty & return conditions, and much more are available.

For all CNC routers under the Evolution series, BobsCNC provides a 90-day warranty with a 30-day return period.

Overview

Maple wood table tray made on Evolution 4
Maple wood table tray made on Evolution 4

Evolution 4 can do wonders in wood carving, It can carve intricate 3D designs on wood. You can use Endmill, V-Carving, Ballnose, and Straight bits with its spindle.

Cutting on wood produces a lot of dust, you must make use of a dust collection system. Else, the dust will impede the router’s continuous operation.

Evolution 4 is relatively cheap and can mill efficiently on softer materials like plastic and wood, wood composites.

BobsCNC Evolution 4 CNC Router
  • A rigid laser cut 5-Ply Baltic Birch frame with SG20U supported rail system.
  • GT2 belt drive on X and Y-axis and Tr8 Acme Rod mounted with an ACME Nut on the Z-axis.

A more detailed review of this CNC router can be found here - BobsCNC Evolution 4 CNC Router Review [2022]

3. SainSmart Genmitsu 3018-PROVer

SainSmart Genmitsu 3018 PROver with the offline control unit
SainSmart Genmitsu 3018-PROVer
Footprint16.5” x 13.5” x 11”
Work area11.8” x 7.1"
Workpiece thickness1.4”
Spindle775 type, 10,000 RPM, 120W
OS capabilityWindows, Mac, Linux
Assembly30 minutes
WarrantyNo warranty

Quick summary of Genmitsu 3018-PROVer

Sainsmart’s Genmitsu 3018-PROVer is a compact CNC router and is the successor of Genmitsu 3018-PRO. It is suited for milling on wood, wood composites, acrylic, plastic, PCB, and MDF.

It is a great CNC router for beginners, hobbyists, and small businesses to step on.

The PROVer series has two variants available, the 3018-PROVer and the 3018-PROVer MX3. PROVer can be converted to a PROVer-MX3 just by replacing its controller.

The only difference is that PROVer runs on GRBL and MX3 runs on Mach 3 control software.

Size and build

Sainsmart’s Genmitsu 3018-PROVer has a footprint of 16.5” x 13.4” and a work area of 11.8” x 7.1”.

It has a Z-axis travel of 1.4”. It has a height of 11” from its foot to the top. It weighs 21.9 lbs and can sit comfortably on a 20” x 20" workbench.

Genmitsu 3018-PROVer has a frame made of aluminum. This adds to the rigidity of the machine.

It has a transparent enclosure and that keeps the chips within. Additionally, the bottom rubber bushes help absorb vibration and provide a stable operation.

Linear Motion

Genmitsu 3018-PROVer uses a lead screw mechanism on all three axes to move the axes. It’s prone to backlash error but is quite good for engraving operations.

This machine has a unique Y-axis movement. Rather than moving the gantry, this router moves its work bed to achieve Y-axis movement.

Motion in each axis of 3018 PROVer
Motion in each axis of 3018 PROVer

Spindle

Genmitsu 3018-PROVer comes with a Genmitsu 775 spindle which has a maximum speed of 9,000 RPM.

The spindle is mounted onto a 42mm mount and comes with a pre-installed ER11 collet.

Genmitsu 775 spindle is not powerful enough to carve on aluminum but Genmitsu offers a swap in spindle upgrade that will let you carve on aluminum .

Controller and electronics

Genmitsu 3018-PROVer is driven by three NEMA 17 stepper motors with a maximum holding torque of 2.2 lb-in.

It uses an Arduino board flashed with GRBL 1.1 firmware as its controller. Optoisolators isolate the signals and prevent the board from high currents.

The controller comes with a LED display and can work in a stand-alone fashion. It can run G-code directly from a memory card.

You can also connect it to a computer via a USB cable for more versatile control.

The CNC router has limit switches on all three axes. It uses a contact-based limit switch mechanism.

For zeroing the Z-axis Genmitsu 3018-PROVer it comes with a Z-probe, which makes the job easy for you.

Software

With Genmitsu 3018-PROVer, Sainsmart provides a free three-month Carveco Maker subscription. This software can perform CAD/CAM operations.

After the expiry of these three months, you’ll have to subscribe with a monthly charge of $15 if you wish to continue using Carveco Maker.

For sending G-codes to the controller, you can use Universal Gcode Sender or GRBL candle software. Both are free to use.

Upgrades

Genmitsu 3018-PROVer can be upgraded with a 3040 extension kit. This extends the machine movement to 14” at the Y-axis and is priced at $60.

Sainsmart offers a spindle upgrade for the Genmitsu 3018-PROVer. We can replace its default Genmitsu 775 spindle with a Genmitsu 775M spindle.

This spindle has a speed of 20,000 RPM and enables the router to do aluminum engraving.

Sainsmart sells a mount upgrade. It is an aluminum spindle mount and replaces the default plastic mount that lacks the rigidity to hold the spindle for aluminum milling.

For engraving operation, a laser module kit is sold by Sainsmart for its Genmitsu 3018-PROVer machine.

Assembly

You can buy Sainsmart Genmitsu 3018-PROVer as a DIY kit or assembled and ready-to-go kit.

The fully assembled version can start cutting within 30 mins of opening the box but will cost you around $150 more than the unassembled version.

They have detailed explanations on their website about the assembly of the CNC router and its different upgrades.

The resource section on their website has manuals, assembly videos, drivers, master documents, and much more to help you get started.

Community and support

Sainsmart products have an active customer engagement with the company on the Amazon website. There, you’ll find answers to a lot of common questions.

Active discussions are happening about the Genmitsu 3018-PROVer on Facebook groups, Reddit, and the Autodesk forum.

Sainsmart provides a 15-day return policy for the Genmitsu 3018-PROVer CNC router but doesn’t provide any formal warranty for this machine.

Overview

Milling done using Sainsmart Genmitsu Desktop CNC
Milling done using Sainsmart Genmitsu Desktop CNC

Sainsmarts Genmitsu 3018-PROVer is one of the most used beginner CNC.

It’s widely used for small-scale carving operations and can mill on wood, wood composites, acrylic, plastic, PCB, and MDF.

It has the lowest price on this list and is one of the best CNC available under $500.

Sale
Sainsmart Genmitsu 3018 PROVer
  • Class leading values got even easier to use. Pre-assembled and no fuss with assembly taking less than 30 minutes out of the box. An entry-level CNC for anyone who wants to learn a new skill, work on an artwork project, design a DIY gift, or start a small business.
  • Still based on open-source Grbl v1.1 the PROVer has stepped up to more powerful but silent Toshiba TB6S109 drivers with added life and performance along with added Optocouplers to protect your mainboard from hard stops without risk of damage and eliminate signal noise for more consistent projects and longevity.

A more detailed review of this CNC router can be found here - SainSmart Genmitsu 3018-PROVer CNC Review [2022]

4. Shapeoko 4 CNC Router - Best Overall for Small Shops

Shapeoko 4 CNC router
Shapeoko 4 CNC router
Footprint33" x 24" x 19"
Work area17.5" x 17.5"
Workpiece thickness4”
Spindle12,000 - 30,000 RPM
OS capabilityWindows, Mac
Assembly~4 hours
Warranty1 year

Quick summary of Shapeoko 4

Carbide 3D’s Shapeoko 4 has three variants/models of different sizes, all suitable for hobbyists and small businesses.

Shapeoko can cut on wood, wood composites, plastic, acrylic, aluminum, and brass.

Size and build

ModelsFootprintCutting AreaPrice
Shapeoko 4 Standard33" x 24" x 19"17.5" x 17.5" x 4"$1,700
Shapeoko 4 XL50" x 24" x 19"33" x 17.5" x 4"$2,050
Shapeoko 4 XXL50" x 41" x 19"33" x 33" x 4"$2,300

Shapeoko 4 models - size and price

Shapeoko 4 is a desktop CNC router and will sit comfortably on most work desks.

The Shapeoko 4 Standard has a footprint of 33" x 24" with a work area of 17.5" x 17.5" and weighs 70 lbs.

XL has a footprint of 50" x 24" with a work area of 33" x 17.5". It weighs 137 lbs.

XXL is the largest size in this series and has a footprint of 50" x 41" with a work area of 33" x 33". It weighs 165 lbs.

Along the Z-axis, all three sizes of the router can move 4” and has a height of 19” from its foot to the top.

The chassis/frame of Shapeoko 4 comprises 85mm x 55mm extruded aluminum with a thickness of 5mm. This prevents the router from flexing and provides a rigid build quality.

Linear Motion

Shapeoko 4 drive mechanism
Shapeoko 4 drive mechanism

Shapeoko 4 uses a belt-driven V-wheel mechanism to move along the X and the Y-axis.

Carbide 3D uses 15mm wide belts, this helps reduce the slacking of the belt and improves the responsiveness.

For achieving the Z-axis movement, Shapeoko 4 uses a lead screw-driven mechanism. It provides better accuracy and rigidity than a belt-driven mechanism.

Spindle

Carbide 3D provides a Carbide Compact Router with an add-on cost of $80 while purchasing Shapeoko 4 CNC router. It comes with ⅛” and ¼” precision collets.

This router/spindle has a speed range of 12,000 - 30,000 RPM. It is mounted onto a 65mm precision-machined aluminum spindle mount. It holds the spindle tightly.

You can also buy Shapeoko 4 without the router and use a spindle of your choice.

If you’re looking to upgrade Shapeoko 4 with a larger spindle, Carbide also sells an 80mm mount on their website for larger spindles.

Controller and electronics

It uses an ATmega328/Atmel328 chip flashed with GRBL firmware and has four stepper motor drivers. This is the same control board that is also shared with Nomad 3.

Axis movement in Shapeoko 4 is achieved through four NEMA 23 stepper motors having a holding torque of 140 oz-in.

Shapeoko 4 uses a proximity sensor-based homing mechanism on all three axes. It helps the router home quickly without damaging the sensors, as there is no contact between them.

Software

With Shapeoko 4, Carbide 3D provides Carbide Create, a 2D CAD/CAM software that is free for anyone to use.

Carbide Create supports both Windows and Mac OS, also can work in offline mode. But as of now, it only supports 2D modeling.

Carbide 3D provides a paid version of the same software called Carbide Create Pro for 3D CAD/CAM operations. Its one-year license costs around $120.

Machine control is achieved through Carbide Motion. It follows common G-code standards. This gives you the flexibility of running G-codes from third-party software.

Upgrades

Shapeoko HDZ upgrade
Shapeoko HDZ upgrade

Carbide 3D provides a Shapeoko HDZ upgrade for both the Shapeoko 4 and Shapeoko Pro series of CNC routers.

HDZ in the name stands for Heavy-Duty Z-axis. This upgrade comes with a ball screw linear drive, Z-axis motor, 16mm aluminum backplate, and also increases the Z travel to 5.5”.

Assembly

Shapeoko comes in labeled boxes for easy identification of parts. Some parts, like the gantry, come preassembled.

Carbide 3D provides a detailed manual about the assembly of the Shapeoko 4 CNC router.

It’ll take around 4 hours to assemble the machine. Carbide 3D has a detailed assembly video on their YouTube channel.

Community and support

Carbide 3D has been in business for a long time and has a large customer base for its Nomad and Shapeoko series of CNC routers.

They have a dedicated community website from which you can track issues and find solutions to common problems. Carbide 3D also has a forum dedicated to the Shapeoko series of CNC routers.

Carbide 3D provides great customer support, they provide a one-on-one consultation to their new customers through video and phone calls.

Shapeoko 4 is covered under a standard 1-year warranty and Carbide 3D also provides a 30-day replacement guarantee.

Overview

Carbide 3D’s Shapeoko 4 can carve perfectly on soft materials and metals like aluminum.

Shapeoko 4 has three versions available to choose from, this provides great flexibility to people with different work area demands.

Carbide 3D has a good reputation in the industry and among its customers because of its Nomad 3 and Shapeoko series CNC routers.

They also provide custom-built software for their machines free of cost. This allows for a cost-effective CNC operation for most hobbyists and businesses.

A more detailed review of this CNC router can be found here - Shapeoko 4 CNC Review [2022]

5. X-Carve CNC Router

Image of X carve 1000 CNC Router
X-Carve CNC
Footprint49" x 39" x 14”
Work area30" x 30"
Workpiece thickness3.54”
Spindle speedMakita RT0701C 10,000 - 30,000 RPM
OS capabilityWindows, Mac, Linux
Assembly10-14 hours
Warranty6 months + 2 years

Quick summary of X-Carve

Inventables X-Carve has been in the market for almost 6-years and has an enormous customer base.

X-Carve is customizable, you can either purchase a fully loaded kit or a base kit. The fully loaded kit comes with a price tag of $2,600 and the Base kit with $2,047.

This CNC router can work on plastics, wood, wood composites, and non-ferrous metals like aluminum, brass, copper.

Size and build

X-Carve weighs around 211 lbs, it has a footprint of 49" x 39" with a work area of 30" x 30".

It has a height of 14” from its foot to the top, also has a Z travel of 3.54”.

The frames are made of 3 mm thick aluminum extrusions that give it good rigidity.

It uses a ¾” MDF work bed with three integrated T-slots. This helps you easily hold work materials.

Linear Motion

V-wheel-based belt drive drives X-Carve’s X and Y axes. It uses a 9mm wide belt. Belt-driven systems will eventually loosen and will require adjustments to maintain accuracy.

For the Z-axis movement, the X-Carve uses an acme screw drive with precision linear guides. This provides more accuracy to the spindle as it carves.

To prevent the Y-axis from racking, X-Carve uses a dual-drive mechanism on the Y-axis.

Spindle

X-Carve uses a Makita RT0701C spindle for cutting. The spindle is housed inside a heavy-duty aluminum body and weighs around 3.8 lbs.

The spindle is tightened to a 66mm extruded aluminum mount. This holds the spindle with a rigid grip. It uses router bits with a shank diameter of around ¼”.

Controller and electronics

X-Carve has four stepper drivers and uses four NEMA 23 stepper motors with holding torque of 212 oz-in to control the machine movement. X-Carve has homing switches on all axes.

Inventables uses an Arduino board flashed with GRBL firmware as a controller for the X-Carve. Inventables calls it the “X-controller”.

Software

Easel Software by Inventables
Easel Software

With X-Carve Inventables provides a three-year license to Easel Pro software. If you are to buy the license separately it’ll cost $20 a month.

It’s a beginner-friendly yet advanced software developed by Inventables. It also has the V-carving feature that allows you to make carvings easily using V-bits.

Easel Pro enables you to perform CAD, CAM, Control, and simulation, all from one software. But it only allows 2.5D designs. For 3D designs, you’ll have to look for some other software.

It is a cloud-based software and requires an uninterrupted network connection for loading and saving files.

Upgrades

X-Carve has been in business for so long, and to keep up with the time, Inventables has provided an upgrade kit for the stock X-Carve CNC router.

The upgrade costs $499 and is sold directly from the Inventables website. This upgrade is only for old stock X-Carves, newer X-Carves by default come with this upgrade.

This upgrade kit has a Z-axis upgrade, stepper motor upgrades, belt upgrades, and some stiffeners.

The upgrade kit offers four stepper motors with 50% more torque that can increase the material removal rate by three times. 

Assembly

X-Carve comes in parts for ease of shipment. Inventable has a detailed guide on how to assemble the product.

It’ll take about 10 - 14 hours to assemble the whole router. Your previous experiences with different CNC machines will help you in the process.

Poor assembly will slowly rob the router of its rigid build and accuracy. There are some great customer-made YouTube videos about X-Carve assembly. It’ll be a great help for you.

Community and support

With X-Carve’s long journey of about six years, it has gained a lot of customers. These customers make up a large community.

It has active community support on Facebook, Reddit, Autodesk forum, and on the Inventables discuss forum.

Inventables extend their support to the customers through their website, e-mail, and telephone.

X-Carve comes with an initial warranty of 6-months, it can be extended for an additional two years as well.

Overview

Inventables has the most extensive warranty period, you can avail a total warranty of 30-months for the X-Carve.

It is a robust CNC router, is easy to use, and provides a three-year license to their Easel Pro software.

Easel Pro is beginner-friendly software, it can help perform everything from designing to finally engraving the design on the work material.

A more detailed review of this CNC router can be found here - X-Carve CNC Review[2022]

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I choose a CNC router?

The main parameters to look into while selecting a CNC router are its work area, linear motion, spindle, coolant, dust collection, and controller.

These parameters differ for different applications. Milling on harder metals demands a rigid router with lubrication/coolant and smooth machine movement.

Similarly, milling on wood produces a lot of dust and needs a dust collection system for its proper operation.

For wood-only applications, you can also compromise on the router’s rigidity.

The controller plays a major role in achieving accurate machine movement. Some can work as a standalone controller, while others need a computer for their operation.

Your work area demand depends on your choice of work material sizes. Overall, the right CNC depends on the projects you intend to undertake.

Are CNC machines profitable?

Yes, it can be profitable. The major roadblock in CNC machining is its initial investment.

Small businesses can be built from a CNC machine, but you’ll have to be creative with your designs and machine operation for optimum output.

Because of the current competition in the market, the price per machine cycle has gradually reduced while the demand for CNC-crafted products has grown.

Your CNC business success will depend on the components you machine, profit margin of the machined products, CNC maintenance, and so on.

Is it hard to operate a CNC machine?

To operate and troubleshoot some of the commonly occurring CNC errors, a basic knowledge of computers, software, and G-code is essential.

Working with G-code requires a good understanding of math and coordinates. You can consider the CNC machine as a robot and the G-code as its command.

The robot only follows the given command. Likewise, the CNC reads and implements the G-code through its machine movements.

You can fix wrong/unwanted machine movements only by editing the faulty G-code. It can be overcome by understanding the fundamentals of G-code.

Other than that, CNC machines are just like any other machine. It needs maintenance, upgrades, and replacements from time to time.

About John

Hey I'm John. I talk about CNCs and Power Tools at Mellowpine. I'm a CNC hobbyist who has been making CNCs and writing about CNCs for a while. I currently also work as a consultant for business owners and hobbyists setting up their own CNCs. If you have any questions related to CNC, I'd be happy to answer them. Reach me at john@mellowpine.com

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John

Hey I'm John. I talk about CNCs and Power Tools at Mellowpine. I'm a CNC hobbyist who has been making CNCs and writing about CNCs for a while. I currently also work as a consultant for business owners and hobbyists setting up their own CNCs. If you have any questions related to CNC, I'd be happy to answer them. Reach me at john@mellowpine.com

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