How CNC Machining For Woodworking Is Different

While we may have told you just how wide our capabilities are when it comes material usage with CNC machining, some will be surprised to know that it doesn’t stop at just metals and plastics.

One of the biggest surprises is that the same CNC machine that’s used in metal projects is the same system that is used in wood projects. Here’s why that is.

CNC Routers and Mills

Some CNC machines are routers and some are mills. Theses are similarly-functioning machines that were created for entirely different purposes, and as a result vary in setup and utility.

Typically, CNC routers are used to cut softer materials like wood, plastic, foam or soft metals. Routers work on an X,Y,Z coordinate system, and because wood usually comes in large sheets, routers have a large cutting surface. Because of this, routers have high cut rates.

On the other hand, mills are used for harder materials. This is typically what is used to create metal parts. Hard materials cut more slowly, so mills are slower in nature than routers. Milling works by using rotary cutters to remove the hard material from a workpiece that feeds in different directions. It is also one of the most commonly used processes within machining for precision parts.

So, the routers are CNC-controlled just like the mill used to tackle metal and hard material projects but the specifics of how wood routers work is what really matters.

How Wood Routers Work

A lot of similarities with CNC mills but here are some main differences in how they work:

  • As we’ve mentioned, the wood router is a faster cut and the cutter actually spins faster than a mills cutter with a range of 13,000 to 24,000 RPM
  • Surface facing tools up to 3 inches in diameter or more are typically used
  • Spindle power ranges from 5 to 15 horsepower
  • Smaller toolholders are typically used, and the tools just get held directly to the spindle nose.
  • Wood routers bed sizes are typically bigger than that of mills
  • Specific software can be used to program wood projects

Also, some routers may have multiple heads that run separate programs for a more diversified cutting function. Another feature of CNC wood routers is they typically have a built-in dust collection system.

That’s a little information on how your next woodworking project can work at Texas Metal Tech. Call us today at (281) 893-0411 to see how TMT can help!