How much does a CNC machine cost? This is usually the first question that people interested in CNC machines ask. This is a general question without a single definitive answer as there are a lot of CNC machines aimed at various users. In the following example we’ll take a look at the cost of CNC routers.
The price range is from $600-$4000.
These CNC routers are sold in ready to assemble kits and designed for home business or the hobbyist. Homemade router kits are made of aluminum or wood with simple features, but they’re enough to get you started. Usually these kits have ACME screws and stepper motors to move the 3 axes.
Some hobbyist routers include the controller system, but others don’t so you have to purchase it separately. The tolerance range is from .01 to .001. Since these are starter kits, don’t expect any special features or accessories.
The cost ranges from $4000-$25,000.
The average size is around 4 x 8 feet and can be used for light to medium scale work. These machines are run on three axes, with the Z axis restricted to about 6 inches. Some of these machines are pre-assembled but others come in a kit you’ll have to put together.
The cost of low end CNC routers depend a lot on the spindle used. Most are either the industrial type or a traditional router with around 3 to 6 HP. These routers are equipped with dust collection system, but you’ll need to purchase a vacuum system to make it work.
Majority of these kits are made of steel or aluminum frame and come with bearing blocks or linear rails. These machines have a ball screw assembly and run by stepper motors, with the tolerances range from .01 to .001.
These CNC routers have a price tag ranging from $25,000 to $60,000.
They may look a lot like low end routers, but they’re built from higher quality materials and heavier because of fortified steel frames. A typical mid-range machine is run by a servo motor with ball screws or a rack and pinion system. A CNC controller is included as well as a router spindle and dust collection mechanism. Some of these routers’ spindles have tool change capabilities, but it will add to the cost.
These machines are often used by companies to make signs and similar products. These machines vary in design, but the specs are not far off each other. The tolerance range however, ranges from .001 to .0005.
The price range is around $60,000 to $100,000.
These CNC routers measure around 7 x 20 feet and designed for industrial use. Built for heavy duty work, each router can weigh thousands of pounds and constructed from solid steel.
Given the price tag, it’s no surprise these systems are complete, come with high quality components and have extra features like a standalone vacuum system and ATC spindles. The computer and controllers are set in modules with tolerance levels of around .0001 to 0005.
Because they’re complex machines, training services are often provided for their use, and for a fee they’ll assemble the machine for you. As powerful as these machines are, they still follow the 3 axis system.
The cost is $150,000 and up.
These are large routers with 4 to 5 axes with all the bells and whistles. They are built for use in plants and various industries, and a single purchase includes all the tools and accessories you’ll need. A large manufacturing plant usually has many of these routers running.
Keep in mind the prices given above are just ranges. There are other factors which could lead to a higher cost like shipping, training and installation. If you’re buying a router that weighs several tons, the cost of shipping and installation could really go up. Some companies include shipping and installation in the price, but others don’t. Before you buy, talk to the seller first and clear the matter up so you know how much you’ll pay.
Besides the cost, you also have to consider the arrangement. For desktop and starter kits this won’t be a problem, but if the machine weighs several tons, you have to prepare the area.
The floor area may need fortification, the entryway may have to be expanded and adjustments made for the electrical and power components. The more powerful the router is, the higher its power requirement will be, so make certain the wiring is sufficient.
Large routers will be shipped in several pieces, and installation may take a while. The cost of installation is around $200 to $1000 daily depending on the complexity of the machine and the size. If you’re installing several machines in your plant, the installation could take days.
This is the reason we stated the importance of talking to the seller and making sure the cost of installation, shipping etc. are set down in paper so there are no unpleasant surprises later on.
For a small machine, a certified machinist is enough to set a router up. For large units, it is better to let the company’s technicians and installers do it for you, and the money you pay will be worth it. Do not attempt to install the router because you could damage it and void the warranty.
You need software to run your CNC machine, to be specific, CAD and CAM programs. You will use the CAD software for design and the CAM to create the tool path. There are free CAD programs online, but for high quality results, you’ll want professional quality products which cost $2,000 to $15,000.
The information we’ve posted here shows there are a lot of CNC routers you can choose from. Whether you’re running a multinational company that manufactures thousands of machine parts daily, or a hobbyist who wants to create wood sculptures, there is a CNC router which fits your budget.
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