Most woodworkers have variety of tools ranging from simple hand tools to complex power tools. However, there are woodworkers who are so advanced that they use computerized, automated machines. One of the power tools used by woodworkers is the router.
The router is a hand-held machine much like a drill with a cutter head or end mill at the end which rotates in an axis. The cutting head remains fixed in its position. The cutting head rotates at 24,000 rounds per minute. The cutting head, which is around 20 to 25 millimeters in diameter, can be exchanged for other tips of different shapes.
Routers have many different uses. The most common use is for rounding or putting a bevel on the edge of wood. They are also used for making a mortise like for a door hinge. They can also be used for making designs by carving into the wood with a rounded tool bit such as putting pattern onto a cabinet door.
The CNC router is connected to a computer. The design of the intended item is programmed into the computer using a graphics design software. Below this rotating apparatus is a moveable table. This table is quite large, ranging from 25 to 50 square feet, so that it can accommodate large pieces of wood. The material to be cut or shaped is placed on this table, held by air suction or vacuum.
A CNC router is used for making complex shapes and forms out of wood or other soft material such as plastic. By changing the cutting head, the machine can accomplish complex operations such as engraving, cutting, precision drilling, rebating and routing. To get rid of the wood chips and dust, a CNC router has air ducts which vacuum the debris and blow it outside.
Some CNC routers are made especially for making cabinets. This kind of router has a group of drills or cutting heads that are programmed to come down separately or as one. Using this configuration and spaced at 32 millimeters apart on centers, a cabinet panel could be drilled on all four edges as well as the top surface.
The person operating a CNC router should also be computer savvy and should be familiar with computer aided manufacturing programs or CAMs that are specially made for wood routers. The reason for this is that certain types of wood have different grains. That means one CAM software cannot be applied to different grains.
For the novice, average and even experienced woodworkers, a CNC router is very expensive. These machines are intended for use in large factories, not in private woodworking shops. However, this machine will truly give them an edge over other woodworkers.
Setting Up A Shop
Setting up a shop takes time and money. Check out the video for tips on setting up a shop in a space as small 8ft. x 8ft.