The Best CNC Kits for Beginners

Updated Mar 14, 2023
CNC Starter Kits

Taking up CNC as a hobby enables you to make all manner of things in your own home—from tools and parts to personalized toys and gifts. It can, however, be an expensive undertaking, with CNC machines costing thousands of dollars. A good way to save on this is by purchasing a CNC kit and building your own machine. However, with a myriad of CNC kits available, it’s not always easy to choose one that meets your requirements without breaking the bank.

Luckily, we’ve scoured the web to bring you a complete rundown of the best CNC kits for beginners. These machines will enable you to join the maker community, without being too daunted by steep learning curves, complex builds, or hefty price tags.

The Best CNC Kits for Beginners

1. BobsCNC E3

Materials machined

Wood, plastics

Working area

450mm × 380mm × 85mm (17.7″ × 15.3″ × 3.3″)

Prices from



→ Check availability on Amazon

One of the newer firms on the CNC scene is BobsCNC, whose E3 router kit is amongst the cheapest on our list. Don’t mistake this for a lack of experience, though: strong reviews for the E3 stand as testament to the quality of the machine itself, and the expertise of the team behind it.

BobsCNC keep prices down for their machine by stripping away the extraneous and ensuring what remains is cost-effective. Saving users money isn’t the only aim of BobsCNC, though—they’ve also created a machine that meets the needs of beginner users with big ambitions.

Starting out is a breeze, with clear and simple assembly instructions provided on the company’s website. Once you’ve put the machine together, you can run the machine simply by plugging it into your PC’s USB port.

The E3 excels at cutting wood, with the ability to cut composites and hardwoods alike at a depth of up to 3.3″. As another plus, it’s easy to change bits even without using tools—and protection against dust damage is included for certain key components. Users, meanwhile, are quick to dispel any fears that the all-wood model may lack robustness: it’s as sturdy as any metal hardware out there.

2. FoxAlien 4040-XE CNC Router Machine

FoxAlien 4040XE CNC Machine

Materials machined

Wood, PCB, carbon fiber, resin, acrylic, metal, nylon, form, medium-density fiberboard (MDF)

Working area

400mm × 400mm × 65mm (15.75″ × 15.75″ × 2.56″)

Prices from



→ Check availability on Amazon

FoxAlien claims to be guided by the mission to remove the obstacles hindering digital manufacturing and innovation. To fulfill this mission, the company develops the easiest to use but professional products, one of which is the FoxAlien 4040-XE CNC router machine. According to FoxAlien, the XE stands for extreme; it captures the advanced capabilities of the CNC machine, which boasts better performance and high accuracy due to its powerful spindle and stepper motors.

The 4040-XE machine comes in only one size, with a working area of 400mm x 400 mm x 55 mm. For this reason, it can handle both small and large materials. In addition, its advanced capabilities make it ideal for cutting, drilling, and engraving different kinds of materials, including PCB, carbon fiber, wood, metal, MDF (medium-density fiberboard), resin, nylon, foam, acrylic, and more.

Furthermore, FoxAlien has simplified the machine’s user experience by integrating the power supply, wires, emergency stop, and control board into a box, increasing its safety and making it easy to clean. Operating the 4040-XE is also simple as the machine comes with a 3.5” touchscreen LCD through which users can control the GRBL-control software.

Though the FoxAlien 4040-XE majorly ships in a disassembled state, the assembly process does not take much time. Per FoxAlien, this takes between 15 and 30 minutes as the main parts, such as the motors, are pre-assembled.

New machine? Need a little inspiration? Check out our list of 32 CNC products you can make and sell to start creating something awesome!

3. Genmitsu 3020-Pro Max CNC Router Kit

Genmitsu 3020 Pro Max CNC Router Kit

Genmitsu 3020 Pro Max CNC Router Kit (source)

Materials machined

Aluminum, copper, brass, graphite blocks, gold, leather, vinyl, resin, wood, acrylic, MDF, PCB, PVC, nylon, plexiglass, carbon fiber

Working area

From 300mm × 200mm × 72mm (11.81″ × 7.87″ × 2.83″)

Prices from



→ Check availability on Sainsmart

Featuring an aluminum and steel frame, the Genmitsu 3020-Pro Max CNC Router Kit boasts unmatched strength, which is further boosted by a high rigidity all-metal spindle holder. As a result of the combination of these factors, this machine can drill, cut, mill, and engrave on a wide array of materials without compromising its precision. In fact, increasing the speed does not affect the precision. (The machine has an accuracy of ±0.1 mm.)

Moreover, the 3020-Pro Max is future-proof – you can easily upgrade some of the components based on your needs. For instance, thanks to the sturdy spindle holder, you can replace the 300-watt spindle (that comes with the machine) with a 400-watt spindle, making the 3020-Pro Max even more powerful.

The ease with which you can upgrade the various components permeates to other aspects, including assembly. You only need 15-30 minutes to assemble the various parts that make up the Genmitsu CNC machine. Once you have put everything together, you can select one of three supported software: Easel, Carveco Maker, and Candle.

4. X-Carve

X-Carve products

Materials machined

Wood, plastics, aluminum, circuit boards, corian, linoleum, brass, copper

Working area

From 750mm × 750mm × 114mm (29.5″ × 29.5″ × 4.5″)

Prices from



→ Check availability on Inventables

Next up on our list is the X-Carve: the ideal machine for CNCers who want an ultra-customizable experience. Available in only the 750mm size, the new X-Carve gives you ultimate control over your machine.

It’s up to you whether or not to buy the recommended spindle, mount, motion controller, waste board and stepper motors, or provide your own. You’ll also be given a wide range of options for additional parts and accessories, helping you adapt your X-Carve to meet your needs.

Of course, there are options for users who are looking to get started in a matter of hours, too. Bundles including the core components and rail kit, alongside a limited number of recommended components, start from $2,047.00.

According to the manufacturer, the X-Carve takes about 16 hours to assemble. But if you feel that this is too long a time for your comfort, you can purchase X-Curve Pro, which has an assembly time of less than two hours. The X-Curve Pro also offers an extra advantage over the standard X-Carve CNC machine because it is designed to be faster at completing bigger jobs. The X-Carve Pro starts at $9,995.00.

Users also have the choice to buy CNC software to accompany their new purchase. A more tempting offer, however, is the user-friendly Easel software. This comes as standard with the X-Carve, and is all that’s required for users to start machining. This nifty tool makes it easy to create drawings from scratch, making it quicker to take your ideas from design to CNC fabrication.

5. MYSWEETY 2 in 1 CNC 3018 Pro

MYSWEETY 2 in 1 CNC 3018 Pro Machine

MYSWEETY 2 in 1 CNC 3018 Pro Machine


Materials machined

Wood,  bamboo, paper, ceramic, stone, PCB, plastic, acrylics, leather, ivory

Working area

300mm × 180mm × 45mm (11.81″ × 7.09″ × 1.77″)

Prices from



→ Check availability on Amazon

MYSWEETY 2 in 1 CNC 3018 Pro is so named because it features both a spindle motor and a laser head (laser module). The 7W laser module can be used to carve wood, metal surface paint and plating, ceramic, stone, ivory, leather, and plastic. It, however, cannot work on metal such as stainless steel, iron, and silver or glass and jewelry. On the other hand, the spindle motor can be used to cut all types of plastics, acrylics, PVC, PCB, and wood.

To support the 775 spindle motor or the laser module, the CNC machine is created to be sturdy. Made of aluminum, the machine boasts high stability and strength, guaranteeing accuracy and efficiency. All these capabilities are packaged in an affordable product whose price starts at $338.00. Of course, this amount is likely to go up the more you select additional components such as drill bits.

What about assembly? The MYSWEETY 2 in 1 CNC machine comes with assembly instructions. But if you encounter issues that hinder the assembly process, the company is available to provide support services. The manufacturer, however, cautions that if you wish to use the laser module, you must first detach the spindle motor.

6. Stepcraft D-Series


Image source: Stepcraft

Materials machined

Wood, plastics, aluminum, brass, copper

Working area from

300mm × 420mm × 140mm (11.81″ × 16.54″ × 5.51″)

Prices from

899.00 (≈ $950.00)


→ Check availability on Stepcraft

German CNC firm Stepcraft have only been around since 2012, but they’ve spent that short time making plenty of waves in the community. The company produce a range of computer-controlled hardware, including their laser, 3D printing head and drag knife. Here, however, it’s their D-Series CNC machines that we’re bringing into focus.

Stepcraft offers three different sizes of D Series machines: the d 420, d 600, and d 840. The smallest machine comes in with a working space of 300mm × 420mm × 140mm, ranging up to a maximum of 594mm × 883mm × 132mm. You have the option to buy your machine ready-to-run or as a kit. You can also purchase a CNC machine that comes with the Win-PC NC software or one that does not have the software as an add-on.

Luckily, choosing to construct your own machine doesn’t mean sacrificing days of your time: thanks to Stepcraft’s EasyBuild manual, the process takes just a couple of hours.

The kit you buy from Stepcraft includes almost everything you’ll need to get started—but newcomers should be aware that you won’t get a spindle in the box. You’ll also have to provide your own machine control software—though with plenty of open source options available, this should pose no problems for even the most budget-conscious makers.

Once assembled, users can benefit from the sturdy machine’s rapid working speed, high degree of accuracy, and the ability to switch quickly from one application to another. Supporting a variety of materials, this is a great choice for hobbyists looking for a solid CNC machine.

7. Comgrow ROBO 3018 CNC Router

Comgrow ROBO 3018 CNC Router

Comgrow ROBO 3018 CNC Router

Materials machined

Wood, leather, cardboard, stainless steel, aluminum, acrylic, PCB, TPR (thermoplastic rubber), coated metal

Working area

300mm × 180mm × 45mm (11.8″ × 7.1″ × 1.8″)

Prices from



→ Check availability on Comgrow

The Comgrow ROBO 3018 CNC router is particularly suited for beginners. It comes as a pre-assembled kit that is packaged as six modular parts. The assembly stage is equally straightforward as it only takes about 15 minutes. According to Comgrow, you only need to put the pre-assembled bed and gantry units together and subsequently tighten six screws, and, voila, you’ll have the machine ready to work for you.

This machine has an aluminum frame and thickened gantry, attributes that add to its stability, making it ideal for even the most high-precision projects. The machine uses a screw-driven system, which, according to Comgrow, offers higher accuracy than the belt-driven system. In addition, the ROBO 2018 CNC machine is compatible with laser engravers, meaning you can upgrade it if the need arises.

Did you know you can also control the ROBO 3018 CNC machine without a PC? This is thanks to an offline controller that has a dedicated LCD screen. You can also transfer files to an SD card, further freeing you from the need to have a PC on standby. Still, it is compatible with Linus and Windows computers.

8. Carbide 3D Shapeoko 4


Materials machined

Wood, aluminum, plastic

Working area

444.5mm × 444.5mm × 101.6mm (17.5″ × 17.5″ × 4″)

Prices from



→ Check availability on Carbid3D

Like many innovative CNC machines, Shapeoko started life as a Kickstarter project. Its creator, Edward Ford, learned how to build his own machine from scratch just months after joining the CNC community. After a few years of learning and building, he set out to help others achieve the same goals he’d pursued. Enter Shapeoko: an easy-to-build, cheap CNC mill.

Though the machine itself has gone through some radical transformations since, the core aims of the project have remained the same: a CNC kit that’s simplelow cost, and straightforward to build.

There is one small downside we need to address first: Shapeoko can no longer boast its Kickstarter era price tag of just $300, and now weighs in at a heftier $1,700. However, there are still plenty of reasons why CNC newbies should check it out.

Shapeoko comes partially assembled, meaning that it can be built within just one hour. It’s also capable of full 3D machining, and cuts through aluminum, wood, and plastic. The machine is also hackable, and can be modified to machine carbon fiber, PCBs and steel, as well as to add a range of accessories. It also accepts standard G-code, meaning there’s no need to learn new software: any CAM software works with Shapeoko.

Finding the machine’s working area a little too snug? No sweat! Carbide 3D also offer XL and XXL models. With respective cutting areas of 33″ × 17.5″ × 4″ and 33″ × 33″ × 4″, you have all the space you need to bring even your biggest dreams to life!

In addition, if you are a professional looking for a CNC machine that offers great accuracy, rigidity, and cutting performance, Carbide 3D also offers a pro lineup of CNC machines christened Shapeoko Pro. Like the Shapeoko 4 CNC machine, the Pro also comes in three sizes: standard, XL, and XXL (the dimensions are the same for both the Shapeoko Pro and 4 versions). The Shapeoko Pro has a starting price of $2,400 (for the standard version). 

Looking for a ready-to-use machine instead? Check out Carbide 3D’s Nomad 883 Pro.

9. Ooznest WorkBee Z1+ CNC Machine

Ooznest WorkBee

Image source: Ooznest

Materials machined

Foams, woods, plastics, aluminum, carbon fibre, rubber, wax, leather, PCB

Working area from

270mm × 270mm x 88 mm (10.63″ x 10.63″ x 3.46″)

Prices from

£1,335.00 (≈ $1,637.00)


→ Check availability on Ooznest

Ooznest prides itself on being a manufacturer that supplies the maker community with the tools they need to turn their 2D thoughts into 3D realities. Guided by the tagline, “manufacturer your ideas,” Ooznest develops and sells the WorkBee lineup of CNC machines that enable makers to manufacture functional parts from different types of material, including plastics, wood, foam, carbon fiber, rubber, leather, wax, PCB, and aluminum.

The company’s first attempt, the OX, was already a smash hit. Ooznest even described the machine as “the perfect CNC kit”. However, there was still room for improvement, and users didn’t shy away from providing their own suggestions on how to improve. Rather than resting on their laurels, Ooznest listened—and responded with the WorkBee. And again, based on users’ feedback, the company developed the newest generation of its CNC machines: The Ooznest WorkBee Z1+.

The WorkBee Z1+ machine builds upon the successes of the OX and the first generation WorkBee and takes into account the team’s additional experience and customer feedback. This new machine boasts the ability to cut through a variety of materials with depths of over 44mm to 0.1mm accuracy, provided you use the recommended 18mm spoilerboard.

The WorkBee Z1+ comes in various sizes that you select before making a purchase. These sizes are priced differently. The smallest CNC machine, with a working area of 270mm x 270 mm, starts at £1,335.00. Other sizes include 520mm x 520mm (from £1,400.00), 520mm x 770mm (from £1,442.50), 770mm x 770mm (from £1,465.00), 770mm x 1270mm (from £1,550.00), and 1270mm x 1270mm (from £1,595.00).

The price ranges from £1,335.00 to £3,929.70, depending on whether you select optional parts and software. These additional components include a milling motor, CNC dust show, mill kit, touch probe, enclosure, and surfacing bit.

As was the case with the OX and WorkBee, Ooznest designed the WorkBee Z1+ to be easy to assemble even for a total novice, with no use of power tools. The company even provides handy, IKEA-style instructions showing how each piece fits together—but, should you experience any issues, they’re always ready to help out via email, phone, or forum.

The WorkBee Z1+ employs a screw-based drive system along the X, Y, and Z axes. This may be a machine for hobbyists, but there’s plenty here to impress even a professional.

10. WhittleCNC


Materials machined

Wood, plastic, wax, foam, aluminum

Working area

From 228mm × 356mm × 50mm (9″ × 14″ × 2″)

Prices (without a discount)

$485.00 (without a router) or $499 (with a router)


→ Check availability on WhittleCNC

WhittleCNC started life on—you guessed it—Kickstarter. Its creator, Zachary Adams, had spent years looking for a high-quality, low-cost, desktop-sized CNC machine. Finding all available options lacking, he did what any true innovator does and built his dream machine himself.

What he created is a fantastic machine. The WhittleCNC features a removable cutting bed and adjustable cutting depth, allowing users to cut materials of varying sizes and depths. The machine is strong and durable, with an extremely robust frame. It is also incredibly easy to assemble. In fact, the site promises that “if you have a Phillips head, and scissors, you can be up and running in less than two hours”.

Given the crowdfunded background of the machine, it comes as little surprise to learn that WhittleCNC has a real passion in helping new members of the maker community take their first steps in the world of CNC. The company’s website even offers newcomers a few easy CNC projects to try out as examples.

Meanwhile, even someone who’s never used a CNC machine before will find controlling the WhittleCNC to be a cinch. As well as supporting Inventables’ Easel software, you can also control WhittleCNC from Google Chrome using the app. This CNC machine also supports the Estlcam software.

You can even purchase add ons to use WhittleCNC as a laser engraver or 3D printer. The best part? You can get it all for just $485.00.


There are plenty of CNC kits to choose from as a beginner. The options vary based on their capabilities and, perhaps more crucially, their price. This is why our list of the best CNC kits for beginners features machines that cost less than $300 and those priced at over $3,900 (with add-ons). That said, if you are still unsure of what to pick, here’s a breakdown based on different categories:

  • Best low-cost CNC machine for beginners: Comgrow ROBO 3018 CNC router
  • Best high-range CNC machine for beginners: Ooznest WorkBee Z1+ CNC machine
  • Best versatile CNC machine for beginners: MYSWEETY 2 in 1 CNC 3018 Pro (it supports both a spindle motor and a laser head but does not cost a fortune)
  • Best industrial-grade CNC machine for beginners: Carbide 3D Shapeoko 4 lineup (as it comes in different sizes, including a Pro version)

We hope this guide on the best CNC kits for beginners will help you in your journey toward becoming a seasoned machinist or maker.

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