cnc engraving

13 Reasons Hobbyists Should Own a Home CNC Machine

Nothing will transform your home workshop quite like a small CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machine. Also referred to as a mini CNC machine, these are smaller versions of the advanced machine tools widely used across the manufacturing industry. Adding one to your own setup is nothing short of life-changing. Whether it is creating something from scratch or using a template, a personal CNC machine opens up a new realm of machining possibilities.

What are those possibilities, and why is owning your own CNC machine such a game-changer? We’ll explore the answers below, as well as break down some of the commonly-owned home CNC machines from lathes to engraving machines.

1) Customization 

When you are looking at high-grade CNC machines, it’s important to understand the value of customization. Customizing a part is about more than simply making it unique; it’s about combining new features with high levels of precision and accuracy.

Doing all of that by hand is both time-consuming and immensely difficult for all but the most skilled artisans. For most people, balancing the two requirements means sacrificing something; they are rarely going to have the ability to fully personalize each element of the final item.

Adding even an entry-level CNC machine changes the whole equation.

Suddenly, craftsmen can design pieces with unique and precise detailing and then recreate them exactly the same every time. Machinists and woodworkers alike can use CNC technology to streamline their production while still producing finished pieces of high quality.

2.) Flexibility 

Wood. Metal. Plastics. MDF. PVC. CNC machines work with a variety of materials, and many machines can handle more than one kind of workpiece. Woodworkers are among the craftsmen who often take advantage of increasingly affordable CNC router machines. With a good CNC router kit, it’s all about finding something well-rounded and built to last. Once you have your own wood router, you’ll be able to play around with the machine and learn how to use it to its full potential.

Armed with a CNC machine, hobbyists can handle a whole range of DIY projects. Desktop CNC machines are advanced enough to create precision designs but small enough to fit comfortably on your workbench. Their durability means you’ll have plenty of time to tinker on projects for years to come.

3.) Ease of Use

For hobbyists, harnessing the power of an advanced multi-axis CNC machine doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Most CNC machines, particularly the smaller benchtop models, are designed to be easy to operate. Even learning G-code and the basics of CNC programming doesn’t have to be a major challenge.

Most hobbyist CNC machines are essentially smaller professional models, with slightly reduced cutting areas and smaller footprints designed to fit naturally into your working area at home. In many cases, these are the same machines you’ll find in smaller tool-and-die shops. These models are equally at home in both arenas and are designed to be easy to learn and use.

READ MORE:  Benefits Of The CNC MAX Milling Machine

At CNC Masters, our milling machines come equipped with an all-encompassing guide to make sure each step is easy to manage. Rather than struggling through managing large, more complicated CNC mills, you can make it look easy with one of these set up at home.

4.) Fast Results

What is one thing you are going to crave when it comes to a machine such as this? You will want a solution that is not only effective at making your designs come to life, but also delivers fast performance.

Speed depends on high-quality technical specs – from spindle motor to ball screws – but also an intuitive, easy-to-use machine that helps the operator to understand ideal cutting speeds for different workpieces.

5.) Repeatability 

There is nothing more important than consistency whether you are dealing with metal, wood, or any other material. You always want the DIY project to come out the way you want it to. CNC provides that repeatability; run the same program a hundred times, and you should get the same result each time. That applies to CNC cutting machines, mills, 3d printers, etc.; CNC technology should deliver consistent, repeatable results across the different machine uses.

The real advantage lies with the operator. You can know in advance exactly what you’ll get at the end of the day, barring machine breakdowns or unexpected errors. Simplicity and quality are what make these machines valuable. You will never doubt their consistency and overall quality.

6.) Efficiency

Efficiency is the name of the game and that is where a quality CNC machine will stand out. Imagine being in a situation where you are trying to manage a woodworking project, but can’t seem to get things to remain consistent.

The best CNC routers eliminate inconsistency, reducing waste, lost time, and poor results. As a result, even the largest DIY projects can be done more quickly and efficiently.

Efficiency comes through speed, performance, and the quality of your final result. This is what you are going to care about the most and that is what the right CNC machine will deliver. As a result, you will never have to worry about how it is going to perform.

One particularly efficient (and affordable) CNC machine is BobsCNC Evolution E4. It uses a Dewalt router as its cutting tool.

7.) Optimization

The materials being used are always going to matter, but how is the machine going to optimize them for long-lasting results? This is where the quality of your CNC machine at home makes a difference. There is nothing other than investing your hard-earned money into a machine that hasn’t been engineered correctly. This leads to subpar results and low-quality designs.

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Focus on a machine that is going to optimize the materials and make sure things are done the right way.

CNC Master takes pride in engineering top-grade CNC machines that are rigorously designed to handle specific materials.

8.) Automation

You can’t talk about CNC technology without discussing automation. Even the most dedicated hobbyists have other things they need to spend their time on, and CNC provides a way to do what you need to do, and what you want to do, at the same time. CNC software is widely available online, and even upgraded versions of older CAM/CAD programs make CNC programming accessible to beginners.

In the end, hobbyists can take larger pieces, program the CNC machine, and walk back into the house while it does the work. Automation doesn’t have to involve large factories full of robots and gleaming machinery – it can be as simple as a CNC router executing a program while you eat dinner.

9.) Specialization

It’s not all about producing pieces as fast as possible. CNC machine tools provide precision and specialization. There are specialized CNC mini mills for jewelers, CNC engravers for laser-cut designs, and a host of other specialized machines. For hobbyists looking for more of a multi-purpose machine, benchtop vertical mills like the CNC Jr. from CNC Masters have all the power a hobbyist needs, in a smaller package.

10.) Versatility

There’s more than one machine tool, and more than one CNC machine tool also. Woodworkers can take advantage of CNC wood routers, while metalworkers can find benchtop milling machines. Are you a fan of making engravings? Well, a top-tier CNC engraving machine can be a game-changer for DIY projects, allowing you to create top of the line engravings that shine a light on your creativity.

There’s even a way to expand the capabilities of an all-purpose machine like the high-quality, heavy-duty CNC Supra, by equipping it with the right laser engraver attachment. Whatever your hobby and whatever you craft, there’s probably a CNC machine tool that’s perfect for it.

11.) Design and Planning

G-code, CNC programming, and CAD programs can seem like a big hurdle. But there are enough tools out there that even the design and planning stages, as tricky as they might be, are easily dealt with. Free online tools like LASER Grbl will work with most home computer operating systems, allowing anyone to pick up the basics of G-code, vector files, and more.

In fact, adding a CNC machine tool can be a huge benefit for hobbyists just from this aspect alone. Learning how to program a CNC machine requires operators to plan out each step of the program in advance, and to know exactly how each step builds towards the finished project. That advanced planning stands operators in good stead, making sure that every aspect of the project works together.

READ MORE:  What is CNC Milling?

12.) Small-scale Production

CNC machines give hobbyists, especially the ones who want to break into small-scale production, a way to produce multiple versions of the same workpiece. That’s one of the reasons behind the popularity of CNC-based machines like 3D printing machines, which are becoming more readily available. 3D printers work with a wide range of materials, including soft metals and acrylics, and often use an open-source plan. The printer starts with a single layer or “slice” of the part along the Z-axis, and then adds layer after layer and builds it up along the X-axis.

Whatever the exact machine used, home CNC machines allow hobbyists to expand their operations at their own leisure.

13.) Beginner-Friendly

Finally, most hobbyist-level CNC machine tools are user-friendly. Some technical knowledge is required, but even beginning machinists can usually pick up the basics quickly.

It is a great way to continue to work on your DIY projects at home without compromising on quality. The learning curve is going to be manageable and that is what makes using a CNC milling machine fun in the long term.

Thinking of buying a small CNC Machine? Look no further than CNC Masters 

CNC Jr/Baron/Max Engraver Attachment

Our collection of CNC Machines has options for your every need. For DIY enthusiasts, the Max CNC Mill and Baron CNC Mill make great additions to your workshop.

Looking for something a bit smaller but that still packs a punch? Our CNC Jr. Mill is perfect for the hobbyist in you. Included with all our CNC mills is free software to help you run and program your machine. Whether you’re crafting jewelry, PCBs, or woodworking, CNC Masters has a machine for you.

Final Thoughts

A small CNC machine is one of the better investments a person can make when it comes to getting creative. Rather than having to settle for mediocre, pre-designed solutions for your home, why not take it into your own hands now?

A well-designed, top-tier CNC machine is going to be an amazing addition to your shop or home setup and is going to give you the tools to make your projects come to life, all while saving time. This can be captivating and something everyone should aim for.

For those interested, please feel free to go through our selection of Table Top CNC machines at CNC Masters for a selection of the best CNC machines.

About Peter Jacobs

Peter Jacobs is the Senior Director of Marketing at CNC Masters, a leading supplier of CNC mills, milling machines, and CNC lathes. He is actively involved in manufacturing processes and regularly contributes his insights for various blogs in CNC machining, 3D printing, rapid tooling, injection molding, metal casting, and manufacturing in general. You can connect with him on his LinkedIn.

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