CNC is an acronym for Computerized Numeric Control Machine. A machine; which is used for executing precise cutting, engraving, and milling operations. The feature that makes it popular among folks is its repeatability and bulk production volume.
A CNC machine will help you work with wood, ceramics, plastics, foam, and many other materials depending upon its specification. The operating procedure is stored into the computer using G-code and M-code.
We know that buying a CNC machine is an expensive idea, here! We will be presenting a list of 9 best yet cheap CNC machines. For knowing more about these pocket friendly as well as professional machines, read the following write-up.
- 9 Best Cheap CNC Machines In 2021
- 1. 3018 Pro CNC Router Kit [Upgraded] - Cheap CNC Machine
- 2. NEJE Master 3500mW - Mini CNC Machine
- 3. MYSWEETY DIY CNC Router Kit
- 4. CNC 3018 PRO DIY Mini Engraving Milling Router
- 5. Yofuly 3018 Pro-Max Wood CNC Router Kit
- 6. BobsCNC Evolution3 - Industrial CNC Machine
- 7. SainSmart Genmitsu CNC Router Machine For Beginners
- 8. DiYCNC Router Kit - Best For Hobbyists
- 9. WorkBee CNC Router Mechanical kit
- Things To Consider Before Buying A CNC Machine
- Frequently Asked Questions About CNC Machines
9 Best Cheap CNC Machines In 2021
1. 3018 Pro CNC Router Kit [Upgraded] - Cheap CNC Machine
3018 Pro CNC Router Kit comes with an effective engraving area of 11.8 x 7 x 1.8 inches. This affordable CNC machine is built with aluminium and Phenol-Formaldehyde, making it stiff and resistive to all impacts.
This machine efficiently works with a power supply of 24 Volts and 5 Amperes. Its stepper motor is compatible with 12 Volts and 1.33 Amperes with self-contained small protection circuit, restraining it from any damage.
It comes in an extra secure packaging with all the spare parts; a hardship of 60 to 90 minutes is required to fix the assembly in place, and to make it easy for you, an English manual and software are also provided.
It features GRBL 1.1f as controller software, and it works with imported files based on G Code format. However, if you are not familiar with GRBL, you can easily use Easel, UGS, or any other software; this feature makes it highly user friendly. This CNC machine is exceptionally compatible with Windows XP, 7, 8, 10, and even MAC.
With this superb tool, you can perform engraving, cut through, or drilling operations on wood or even natural composites because 775 spindle can efficiently cut through the thin wood board, bamboo, plastic, acrylic MDF, and PCB. In contrast, the same spindle can be used as an engraver on similar materials for cutting through operations.
This machine possesses a heat sink feature with the help of an external fan; for vanishing off the heat energy generated by the operations.
It is highly recommended for beginners. The most exciting feature is that it can work with an offline controller, too, as it has a storage capacity of 128MB to 1GB, which is quite sufficient for starters or hobbyists; however, professionals would find it limited. The beginners will find its manual axes adjustment familiar.
Another user-beneficial facility this machine brings is it’s after-sales service, as it comes with a 12 months warranty period and a 24/7 professional service is always available.
2. NEJE Master 3500mW - Mini CNC Machine
The unique feature of NEJE is that it has two processors that mean it can work with two software at the same time. Furthermore, it allows direct execution of BMP, JPG, PNG, and NEJE cloud files to enable the user to download tons of new media for experiments every day.
This mini CNC machine comes with an additional gyroscope sensor feature, which works as an accident protection device. It records the working position during start-up. It will automatically stop the whole setup in case of any change in direction or an accidental touch. In this way, the user remains safe from any accidents.
The NEJE DIY CNC machine comes with a large working area with an engraving range of 150 x 150mm for the NEJE controller, and with the use of a GRBL controller, it can be further increased up to 170 x 170mm.
It is a high precision tool with an accuracy of 0.075mm point distance; possesses an ultra-clear printing effect with 2266 x 2266 pixels. It contains a laser control circuit design, which encourages quick designing.
This master CNC is a smart choice for beginners and perfectly suitable for small batch engravers. This laser engraving machine is easy to operate due to breakpoint memory function. You can stop it anywhere in the middle of the operation to check the quality of work and restart easily from the same point.
This mini CNC machine setup is prepared to give you a long run since each laser has gone through an aging test to ensure that the heat dissipation does not exceed the limit of 70 ℃.
3. MYSWEETY DIY CNC Router Kit
MYSWEETY CNC router kit is not fragile as its name; it is a complete well-built, sturdy setup having dimensions of 260 x 240 x 220mm with a product weight of 10.88 pounds. That sounds like a massive professional working tool.
It features a relatively moderate working area of 160 x 100 x 45mm and an active plate of 180 x 100mm. The whole CNC machine is built of aluminum except for a few pieces, which are plastic made.
The 775 spindle is quick as it covers 7000 r/min at 24Volts and 9000 r/min at 36Volts. It works fine with the ER11 power supply but, to be noted, the kit does not come with ER11, and if you are not interested in buying any extra stuff, then MYSWEETY is not a choice for you.
This moderate professional CNC kit also contains a professional T8 screw made up of lead and is 4mm in dimensions, and also contains double copper nuts for eliminating the backlash issue.
The setup comes with an English assembly instruction book along with a CD, but it does not seem sufficient if you are starting the learning process from scratch. However, there are dozens of tutorials on YouTube from which you can learn all the stuff.
This DIY CNC setup is compatible with Windows XP, Win 7, Win 8, and Win 10. It also contains a good quality stepper motor new Nema 17.
For hobbyist woodworkers who are giving a thought to buy this product, make sure you do have a preliminary knowledge of assembling and commissioning. You will face a steep learning curve with MYSWEETY. However, it is suggested not to buy this product if you are a new entrant in the woodworking field and consider NEJE master as an option.
4. CNC 3018 PRO DIY Mini Engraving Milling Router
The 3018 PRO DIY CNC machine is manufactured by RATTMMOTOR, which is one of the most reputable brands in woodworking. The delivery package includes an engraving milling kit, power supply, ER11 collet set, few drill bits, and 1 set of Allen wrench.
CNC 3018 PRO is an entirely portable setup with a working area of 30 x 18x 4.5cm. Its highly compact size makes it an appropriate arrangement that can easily fit into your backyard or your home-based workshop. The best part is that the significantly smaller size does not affect its precision and longevity.
This DIY CNC is built using aluminium alloy, which makes it fit for long term usage. It is highly compatible with other Windows systems like XP SP3, Win 7, and Linux, but people fond of using Apple products do not buy this machine as it is not compatible with MAC or IOS.
This mini CNC machine comes with an ER11 collet to hold your jobs tightly with a power adapter of 24Volts. It works on a two-phase power supply with a Direct Current interface.
The 7000 spindle motor gives 10,000r/min. At 24Volts on materials like plastic, wood, acrylic, PVC, PCB, and other comparable materials.
This supermini engraving milling tool comes with a complete set of spare parts, making it convenient for the buyer to install it. Purchasers do not worry at all about the assembling as the kit comes with a detailed assembling manual. The OEM has also provided the CNC installation video link in case of any problem.
This mini engraver features a new upgraded control board, multi-function port, offline module intelligent recognition, power control button, import driver chip integrated cooling system, and shell protection from heat. Its dissipation system allows swift convection of heat through its upgraded system. The engraving CNC machine is made compatible with the GRBL controller, which you need to download from the CD provided along with the kit, which will ultimately allow the sending of Universal Gcode.
All of the features of the CNC 3018 PRO DIY Mini Engraving Milling Router have been designed to keep in view the necessities of a hobbyist, which helps it to target the exact market efficiently.
5. Yofuly 3018 Pro-Max Wood CNC Router Kit
If you are looking for something exclusive with ultimate precision and high strength, then Yofuly CNC 3018 Pro-Max is a choice for you. Built from aluminium alloy body, it gives you core strength with a 4040 10mm thick aluminium frame, which provides you a rugged structure. All of its components are manufactured by CNC operations to deliver eventual accuracy to the end-user.
This high-end CNC comes with an engraving working area of 11.8 x 7.1 x 1.8 inches. It supports the GRBL control systems and highly compatible with Windows XP, Win 7, Win 8, and Win 10. It also features an offline controller which helps to adjust the X,Y Z-axis locations without connecting it to a computer; Moreover, it has got a capacity of 1G, which is all the way sufficient for hobbyist fellows.
This machine comes with the titanium coated CNC router bits capable of milling plastics, woods, acrylics, and PCB. Titanium coating gives it longevity, wear resistance, corrosion resistance, and super strength. The main shaft can easily be adapted to a diameter of 52mm, which is professionally built using an air-cooled material.
This exceptional CNC possesses two manual rotation buttons through which X and Y axes can also be manually adjusted without using the software controllers.
This super user-friendly setup comes with an upgraded control board, which comes with the fixed heat sink containing the external fans, used to dissipate heat while doing high-end operations. These components are boxed up in a sturdy shell, which gives long-lasting services and provides long working hours, also support 3 axes control and laser module.
It also features super simple assembly as it comes with an English manual and assembling video assistance, which can be downloaded from the seller’s link.
6. BobsCNC Evolution3 - Industrial CNC Machine
The BobsCNC E3 router kit is a gigantic set up with 32 pounds, which means that it is quite heavy, possessing a size of 27 x 32 x 21 inches and an effective engraving area of 16 x 18 x 3.3 inches. People who are not concerned with the dedicated space to the machine can easily buy it, but fellows who have a small workplace should choose another setup from this well-structured list.
This humongous kit comes with all the parts you need for a successful engraving practice, like the DeWalt router, motors, electronics, and software for its controller and whatnot. To clarify, all of its parts are rock solid made of birch wood, which are made off using a CNC laser.
However, the downside of these wooden-made parts is that X and Y do not align with the z-axis, and due to this, the cutting precision of the job suffers a lot.
This super-economical kit features an Arduino microprocessor for interpreting the G code file. The GRBL controller has been pre-installed on the microprocessor for receiving sender codes swiftly from the controller to the system. This highly hobbyist-friendly setup is compatible with all versions of Windows, OSX, Linux, and Raspberry Pi.
It comes along with the Makita RT0701C router with ¼ and 1/8 inches (which shows good compatibility with all kinds of the vertical) and rounded bits but also make sure they have a shaft size of ¼ or 1/8 inches. However, small end mills will also be compatible with the kit.
It features SG20U supported rail system, but its gantry system flexes deeply as its rollers are a little misaligned, and you cannot fix it unless you are a pro.
This rock-solid machine comes with a well-defined assembly manual, as each step is clearly explained with a picture show. Moreover, a quick start guide is also available on the BobsCNC webpage for any assistance in case you get stuck with something.
The BobsCNC router kit is an affordable solution for all the beginners who are not keen on the precision of cuts and appropriate in getting your high school assignment done.
7. SainSmart Genmitsu CNC Router Machine For Beginners
In this list, we have discussed several CNC machines which are suitable for beginners and hobbyists. The SainSmart Genmitsu CNC router serves as the best pick for beginners and the right choice for individuals who are thinking of opting woodworking as a profession.
This Smart CNC is the latest version of 3018 Pro and has overcome several previous versions’ shortcomings. It features an effective engraving area of 260 x 155 x 35mm with all the body parts made of aluminium depicting a full oxide blue picture; that gives it long term life stability in milling a diversified range of materials.
It features GRBL V1.1 controller, and for running this machine swiftly, you should be a pro on this controller. It also incorporates Toshiba TB6S109 drivers, which helps eliminate the traditional noise made by the CNC machine when the job is being done.
Optocouplers’ added feature encourages a long lifetime of mainboards as it controls the stops during the operation and protects the cutting tools from any expected damage due to sudden breaks.
With this too DIY CNC appropriate for beginners, the manufacturer has sent almost all the pre-assembled mechanical components. However, electrical components still require a proper fix; therefore, people who buy this setup with the thought that it is ready to use as soon as it is out of the box, are a little mistaken.
It has a novel feature of acrylic safety baffles of 5mm wide, which works as dust containers for providing a debris-free environment and allows a clearer vision of the job being engraved.
It comes with a 1.8 inches TFT LCD, which helps a clearer vision of manuals and G-code provided by the manufacturer for more uncomplicated assembling instructions. An added specification of the offline controller helps to control the CNC router without attaching it to the computer. The PROVer also provides manual control of the router for free access to X, Y, and Z axes.
This incredible DIY kit comes with an emergency stop option, which can be used in case of an accident. It is also accompanied by several safety barriers to provide a safe working environment to the user.
Indeed SainSmart PROVer is a perfect choice for individuals who need a professional set up at a low price.
8. DiYCNC Router Kit - Best For Hobbyists
This DIY CNC kit comes with an engraving router, spindle motor, power supply, data lines, and three pieces of knives. It is just perfect for newbies, students, novel researchers, or craftsmen. Which means it can be an ideal leisure partner for working fellows. Although the manufacture provides mechanical components, some mechanical skills are needed to put the pieces in the right place.
The DIY CNC will continue surely reborn your hidden artist by giving you leeway or recreating things and repetitive procedures by providing you with an effective working area of 240 x 170 x 65mm. This machine is of very lightweight at 15.4 pounds compared to the mentioned robust DIY CNCs and provides positioning accuracy is 0.04mm.
The mini DIY CNC can easily engrave wood, plastic, acrylic, and other soft materials. It is to be noted that the DIY CNC designed for high-end users; therefore, it only targets the market of beginners. Acknowledging this, no component of this machine is made of high-quality material. Similarly, the spindle is built from a moderate strength material by which the manufacturer only recommends small cute and feeds.
This relatively smaller system comes with a GRBL controller for swift and easy controlling of your CNC wood router. Although it is a DIY CNC, the manufacturer has not incorporated the setup with well-defined assembly manual instructions. Therefore, you need to use your knowledge to fix this setup completely.
9. WorkBee CNC Router Mechanical kit
Reforzell serves as the manufacturer for WorkBee CNC router automatic kit, and Ooznest holds the flagship for the WorkBee CNC machine. It arrives in 1000 x 1500 mm with all body built of aluminium, which ensures its long life.
It comes in a fully padded package with all the mechanical components. To intimate before, it DOES NOT include electronic parts such as router spindle, cable kits, wire, power supply, PDF panel, drive board, working table, and other electronic equipment. So the buyers have an alert that you must be spending a fortune for buying these added items.
The mini DIY CNC is straightforward to assemble and comes with an extra handful of fasteners if you drop any during assembling. However, a proper assembling manual is missing, and instead of that, a PDF link is provided. Besides, there are plenty of videos available on YouTube, which can quickly help you fix it in place in over less than a day.
The WorkBee CNC holds the status of being ideal for beginners. Since it allows the newbies to start engraving with the manufacturer’s default settings, the professionals will require a continuous upgrade of locations.
Personnel interested in buying this extra small and efficient little setup must acknowledge that the WorkBee does not come with mechanical bits; therefore, an extra penny will be spent buying bits according to your needs.
Things To Consider Before Buying A CNC Machine
This buying guide is specially prepared for catering your thoughts while buying a CNC engraving machine. Starter woodworkers must consider the following points for an accident-proof first-time experience.
1. Safety Features
Safety is that premium property on which any machine should be assessed. While working on a CNC machine, some safety points should be considered as it has got several hazards because it includes electrical wirings and heavy mechanical components. Ensure that the CNC machine you are buying must have an emergency stop, as it helps in immediately stopping the machine in case of an accident or fire breakout. It must have a heat dissipating system, which may include a temperature sensor too. It will keep an observatory eye on the temperature rise of the cutting tools during manufacturing. It will continually dissipate heat with the help of heat sinkers or external fans installed in the machine. An additional safety feature of optocouplers could also be incorporated as it controls sudden stops of the drill bits during machining; hence, protecting the cutting tool from any expected damage.
These features will not only safeguard you from any accident but will also enhance the lifetime of the CNC machine itself.
2. Type Of Your Projects
Before going to shop for a CNC, you should know what kind of work you will handle with this machine. Either you are a hobbyist worker and will use the device in only your leisure hours, or a beginner who is just starting woodworking from scratch.
If you are a hobbyist or a learner, then the CNC machine’s sturdiness should not be a consideration for you. If you are a beginner and you are buying a CNC to start learning. You may not possess any preliminary knowledge of CNC machining. You must go for a setup that comes pre-assembled and is comparatively easy to work with, but if you are a professional worker. You have to meet the specific target at the end of the day, then you must need a well-built, strong setup, gives you precision and can handle bulk production.
3. Offline Controller Capacity
The offline controller helps you perform your job without connecting the router each time with your controller. Mostly offline controllers come with a 128 to 1G storage capacity, which is quite sufficient for beginners to moderate level woodworkers. With the help of an offline controller, you can download plenty of the jobs, save it in the memory, and can work on them without the hassle of connecting each time with the computer.
4. Dust Port
Dust port or you can call it safety baffles, containers that contain wooden waste within them. The dust port is essential as they encourage a debris-free environment and maintains a hygienic atmosphere. A buyer should check that whether the CNC machine has the feature of a dust port or not. It also helps to protect the woodworker from the flying wooden chips built during manufacturing processes. It also helps in maintaining a clean workshop.
5. After-Sales Services
After-sales service is such an important point to take care of while buying a CNC machine. Whether you are a starter or a professional good after-sales service is essential for everyone because there comes time when a new setup does not work as expected after unboxing. Then only a good after-sales servicing will help you get the machine fixed.
At times good after-sales service comes with high-end brands, and sometimes it is just the opposite of the general rule of thumb.
While buying a CNC engraving machine, do check up on the status of its upgrading ability. Mostly when beginners buy a setup, budget is the most significant restriction in purchasing a high-end process. Not only budget, their due to the low volume production they might not need accessories like dust port, proper heat management system, collet or end mill holders in initial days but when they think of expanding their volume these things must come in use. Hence, CNC is not a repetitive buying product; therefore, money should be invested in a particular product, which gives you the upgrading ability as time passes and production volume increases.
Budget is the final and the highest part of consideration while buying a CNC machine. This list has provided you with the low priced DIY CNC machines and high-end complicated professional machines. Now you need to decide which of these go with your budget.
Frequently Asked Questions About CNC Machines
What is a CNC machine?
A CNC machine is a complex manufacturing tool operated by a control system that encourages intricate and precise machining of wooden, metallic, plastic, or composite work jobs. Modern CNC machines perform automated machining operations of engraving, milling, lathe, and others.
What are the essential components of a CNC engraving machine?
Critical constituents in a CNC engraving machine are:
How many axes are there in a CNC engraving machine?
Generally, the CNC engraving machine consists of 3 main axes, i.e., X, Y, and Z. However, CNC engraving machines with more significant axes are also available in the market depending upon the complexity of jobs to be performed.
What are the working levels of a CNC machine?
The specifications of the CNC machine depend on the level of production. A beginner and a hobbyist require a lower to moderate level of strength machine, while a professional woodworker will need a machine to meet a specific target of production.
What are the advantages of using a CNC machine?
CNC machining allows operations to be performed with better accuracy and precision. It gives consistent processes with efficiency and less production time. CNC operations are also suitable for intricate and complex jobs in which handheld tools cannot achieve the desired finish.
What are the Laser engraving machines?
Laser engraving machines are basically of two types:
Type 1 laser engraving machine leaves the job prominently imprinted by the material’s discoloration, and Type 2 laser machines are efficient enough to cut the material forming an engraved design on the work job.
What does a CNC controller do?
CNC controllers are numerically coded programs that are designed for the perfect machining of intricate and complex jobs. Once these programs are installed into the same controller job, exact accuracy could be machined unlimited times without a single deviation.
Here in this article, we did our best on bringing the nine latest and efficient CNC engraving machines of 2021. All the features, technical specifications are elaborately defined with the products. It also includes the pointers we liked and the downsides of these products.
This buying guide will also help in your CNC machine buying venture. You have to decide what kind of a production volume you are going to cater to and your budget.
Keep one thing in mind buying a CNC machine is a long-term investment so make sure it does not lose any useful feature.