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Many small companies and makers dream of having their own CNC milling machine for material processing. However, a professional CNC machining centre costs over $10.000.
This is where the much simpler CNC machine kits for milling come into play! A CNC router kit has the essential advantage that the expensive assembly costs incurred when purchasing a completely assembled CNC milling machine are eliminated.
Imagine how nice it would be to have a low cost desktop cnc machine to produce perfect parts for your hobby or work.
In addition, you get to know the milling machine in detail during assembly. You will know where each element is located, which part has which functionality and you will also understand the electronic wiring and functionality after the completion.
CNC milling: Overview of popular kits and machines
Use your cnc milling machine to drive through the workpiece like a knife through butter.
Precise guides, clearance-free bearings and a rigid structure make this possible. The milling machines of the following manufacturers offer reasonable entry-level milling machines for little money. Attention: Accessories such as the popular Proxxon and CAM software engraving spindle are usually not included in the kits.
At a handful of suppliers you can order comparatively inexpensive kits with little assembly effort. Below you will find an overview of suppliers for cheap cnc router kits.
MillRight CNC M3 – CNC Machine
The M3 from MillRight CNC is an affordable desktop CNC milling machine to mill hardwood, softwood plastics, PCBs, aluminium and more. All required hardware is included witht his home cnc machine.
Some highlights that are included in the kit:
- XYZ travel ~ 10.25″ x 10.25″ x 2″
- DeWalt DWP611 router
- NEMA 17 Stepper motor
- Power supply 24 V, 120 W
- high quality protection coated MDF frame
- UNO controller with GRBL motion controller for most standard G-Code
CNC Piranha Fx
Carve 3D modells, mill PCB layouts, engrave signs or create awesome jewelry. The CNC Piranha Fx by Next Wave Automation is a compact milling machine for your desk. It has a comfortable touch-screen interface and is ideal for small scale projects.
- XYZ travel: 12″ x 13 ” x 3 “
- Touch Screen
- Already pre-assembled
- Router (spindle) not included
BZT CNC PF600
The smallest model PF600 of the PF series from german manufacturer BZT-CNC comes with very smooth running ball screws and a repeatability of 0.02 to 0.03 mm.
The stepper motors with 4.2 ampere per axis offer a lot of power for the feed. The small portal milling machine is thus not only suitable for engraving but also for real metal milling. The complete price without accessories and milling spindle is over $2000.
- XYZ cutting area: 280 mm x 405 mm x 110 mm
- max speed. 8000 mm/min
- End stop switches on all axis
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BobsCNC E3 CNC Router Engraver Kit
- XYZ cutting area: 17.7″ x 15.3″ x 3.3″
- laser cut frame made out of wood
- Router kit includes controller, motors and power supply
- Home switches on all axes
- Dewalt DW660 router included in kit
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Proxxon Micro Mill MF70
The entry-level machine Micro Mill MF70 from Proxxon is especially recommended for beginners, hobby cnc millers and model builders who only want to machine small and relatively simple workpieces.
The small milling machine is well suited for the easy processing of wood, aluminium, plastic and GRP.
Typical areas of application for the Proxxon milling machine are engraving of jewellery, milling door bell signs or also the milling of printed circuit boards.
The precision of aluminium milling is approx. 0.1 mm, depending on the feed speed and cutting depth.
However, professional users and industrial companies who normally want to machine steel with maximum accuracy and cutting speed and at the same time require precision in the 1/100 range should lower their high demands on this comparatively inexpensive machine.
- XYZ travel 134 x 46 x 80 mm
- Spindle speed adjustable from 5000 to 20000 RPM
- weight approx. 7 kg
To sum it up, the MF70 is a cheap cnc machine that gets your home milling jobs done.
DIY CNC Router Kit 3018 with GRBL
According to the manufacturer, the DIY CNC routerkit 3018 CNC milling machine is not intended for production use but for fun and study. Engrave plastic, wood, acryl, wood and similar materials. Manufacturer also notes that hard materials like hard metal or jade should not be engraved.
- XYZ working area 30x18x4.5cm
- Spindle included
Qiilu 1500mw Laser Engraving Machine
Not quite a CNC milling machine but maybe a good alternative for people who are looking for a tool to engrave things. With its 1500 mW laser diode you can engrave materials like wood, acrylic, bamboo, rubber, leather, paper and more. This machine can run without a PC because there is an App for iOS and Android available. In my opinion it is important to use the laser goggles to protect your eyes from the laser light.
- XYZ Carving space: 42 x 42 x 78 mm
- Resolution: 350 dpi
- Laser wavelength: 405 nm
The combination of GRBL and Arduino has already proved its worth with the open-source CNC router kit Shapeoko (Link: http://carbide3d.com/shapeoko/).back to menu ↑
Start your own projects with X-Carve. The X-Carve is an easy, reliable, powerful and customizable desktop DIY CNC milling kit.back to menu ↑
Additional CNC router kit sources
There is also the Ox CNC cutting machine here: https://www.smw3d.com/ox-cnc-kit/
Top Reasons why to get a CNC router kit
Especially for beginners, assembling your own cnc machine is very exciting and will be helpful in the later professional use.
The knowledge gained from the assembly is not only beneficial for working with the milling machine, but also in case of a necessary repair. You can perform a fault analysis much more effectively if you are aware of the individual components and their functions. A personal relationship with a milling machine that you have lovingly assembled piece by piece also develops, which makes the handling of the machine something special.
Last but not least, such a setup of a hobby cnc machine is a lot of fun!
You will also learn, how to integrate a CNC controller on your own.
Top Reasons for a kit
- Save money
- Learn how the machine works
- Assembing makes fun!
Some suppliers of CNC milling and engraving machines offer on their website the possibility of putting together a milling machine according to their own ideas.
Many of these milling machines are oversized, far too expensive or do not meet the actual requirements of the future owner, and if you take the following points to heart, you will be able to make a good choice for your machine.
Top 7 questions for your future CNC milling machine
Before deciding to buy a CNC milling kit, you should answer the following 7 questions in advance:
- How large are the workpieces and what machine sizes are necessary?
- What are the maximum dimensions of the milling machine? Consider your room/door sizes.
- Which power supply does the milling machine require? (230V or three-phase current?)
- Which materials to mill. Is a coolant system necessary? Should wood, aluminium or steel be milled?
- Which geometries are targeted? 2.5D or 3D? How many axes of motion does my machine need?
- What accuracy is required and how long may the machining take? An engraving machine usually has less high demands on the accuracy or rigidity of the portal.
- Is the budget sufficient for both the CNC milling machine and the expenditure of accessories such as 3D edge finders, tool length switches, calipers, milling cutters, collet chucks, coolants, vices, proximity switches, convenient converters and so on?
Alternatives for CNC milling machines
If you are looking for alternatives to CNC milling machines, think about a laser engraver. A laser engraver can mark surfaces and you can create awesome signs or graphics on almost any workpiece.
Check out my complete guide about laser engravers right here.
Most manufacturers of CNC milling machines can supply the right accessories for the machine. It makes sense to order the accessories and the machine from the same manufacturer, because you can be sure that it will work together.
Finally, please make sure that your future machine is equipped with retrofitting options and that a suitable instruction manual is included.