Adding a benchtop CNC router

For many shops, a benchtop CNC router can handle a lot of the routine work

By Dennis Stanworth

Posted on Friday, October 30th, 2020

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I recently purchased a small benchtop CNC router for my shop. I often need to have letters cut or a small background panel cut to shape, so I was excited to have my own router, albeit a small one. I was hoping I could use this to save a few dollars, speed up production and be more creative.

There are a few noteworthy small benchtop routers on the market under $10k. After much research I decided on the Shapeoko. It is a low-cost 3-axis CNC machine kit. It provides basic functionality while being simple to understand, assemble and operate. It has a 32-by-33-in. cutting bed and uses a compact router for the spindle. It uses standard 110-volt power. It accepts standard gcode, so you can use almost any CAM software with it.

I fabricated this bench for the router. It has a slide out shelf for extra workspace and a laptop holder that I bought online.

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