Top 10 CNC Products for Wood Routers

Updated Feb 24, 2022
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Computer numerical control (CNC) machining has been in existence since the mid-1900s. As a result, it has garnered a myriad of applications in various industries, most notably the manufacturing and metal milling sectors as well as woodworking. At the same time, CNC machining is also used in small-scale applications by hobbyists and DIYers. 

The versatility in terms of what you can use them for, as well as the varying magnitude of their use cases, is because CNC machines and routers are available in different sizes. They come in small, medium, and large (industrial) body sizes, each with its own attributes, including cost, speed, power, degrees of freedom (axes), and more. It is noteworthy that your CNC machine’s footprint – whether small, medium, or large – does not limit you from undertaking woodworking. 

Therefore, in this article, we have come up with a list of the top 10 CNC products for wood routers. The projects highlighted herein are perfect for both beginners as well as experienced CNC users, both of whom can benefit from Scan2CAD’s ability to convert an image to CNC. So, before listing the top 10 wood router CNC ideas, let’s discuss what CNC is as well as how Scan2CAD can help you simplify your workload.

What is CNC?

Computer numerical control (CNC) refers to the use of a computer to automatically control machining tools such as routers, 3D printers, laser cutters, plasma cutters, mills, drills, and lathes. Thus, CNC goes hand in hand with CNC machining, which is the use of a CNC machine to drill, engrave, carve, or cut various materials, including composite, plastic, wood, metal, or ceramic. 

The CNC machine performs various movements thanks to its motorized, rotary nature – the higher the motor’s power is, the faster the machine will be. The machine is also supported by a movable arm that changes the position of the cutting bit based on specific instructions known as G-code.

G-code is a programming language that instructs CNC machines on what maneuver or movement to undertake. It also specifies how fast the machine should move, the direction of motion, and the depth of the cut. As a CNC machinist, you can create a G-code program from scratch, modify an existing G-code using an editing program, or generate G-code through vectorization using a G-code converter such as Scan2CAD.

Generating G-code Using Scan2CAD

With Scan2CAD, a leading vectorization software, you can convert various file formats to G-code. These include JPG to G-code; images saved using formats such as PNG, BMP, and TIF, to G-code; raster PDFs to G-code; and vector file formats such as DXF to G-code.

Though there are tens of known G-code file formats, Scan2CAD lets you convert any non-G-code format .CNC, .TAP, or .NC, three of the most popular G-code file types.

Having detailed how to generate G-code, let’s now hop onto the wood router CNC ideas.

Top 10 Wood Router CNC Ideas

Living Hinge Furniture

A living hinge is a flexible wooden hinge connecting two rigid wooden portions. The flexible hinge is made using a CNC router, which cuts a beautiful, precise pattern into a thin wooden panel, removing all structural rigidity, thereby making the cut piece foldable. A combination of the rigid and flexible portions within the same wooden board enables you to create unique, artsy furniture such as chairs, wardrobe or closet doors and carved sides, and more. 

Living hinge chair

Living Hinge Chair (source)

Signs

CNC machines are standard in sign shops. This is because they can be used to carve specific patterns into wooden panels. At the same time, there are several bits that allow you to engrave letters and words as well as logos. 

You can use CNC machines to make signs for your business (shop, restaurant, pub, or office), exhibitions, and more. And given the accuracy of the wood routers, you can rest assured that the signs will feature precise and professional finishes and, depending on the design you go for, and accurate portrayal of vintage accents. 

CNC sign

CNC Sign (source)

Wall Art

The preciseness of CNC machines, coupled with the fact that you can use Scan2CAD to convert images to G-code, means that you can fabricate artistic pieces. For instance, you can use wood routers to fashion flowers, exotic leaves, scenic vegetation, animal figures, clouds, inlay artwork, or even portraits from wooden panels. Simply, CNC machining offers endless possibilities. There are many wood router ideas you can think of and subsequently convert them into physical objects.

Coasters

Coasters do an excellent job at protecting your table from damage. Even so, they can also help beautify the tablespace. You can create artistic coasters that feature unique patterns as well as inlay artwork, thus ensuring that the coasters are not bland. 

CNC coasters

CNC Coasters (source)

Miniature Models of Planes, Cars, and Trucks

You can use CNC machines to carve out a car, truck, ship, or airplane from a block of wood. You can also rest assured that the CNC product will be accurate. This is because the process mainly focuses on creating a model that 100% replicates the real vehicle. CNC machining helps you maintain minimal tolerances with other connected components such as wheels (in cars and trucks) or wings (in planes). 

Crates/Cases/Boxes

A CNC machine enables you to create various types of boxes for disparate applications. For instance, you could carve out a unique case for your beer or soda bottles, complete with engraved circular beds, to facilitate the stability of the bottles during transit. 

You can also use the accuracy attribute of CNC machining to create interlocking wood joinery such as finger/comb joints. This way, you will ensure the various sides fit precisely. The perfect fit promotes strength, stability, and straightness.

Finger-jointed crates

Finger-jointed Crates (source)

Frames and Frame Stand

Frames and their respective stands are one of the many wood router CNC ideas you can machine. You could use the frame to enclose the outer edges of a mirror, painting, or picture. At the same time, using a CNC machine to create a stand ensures that the frame and base fit perfectly. It eliminates unnecessary wobbles that would be witnessed if unskilled carpenters made the stand. 

It is noteworthy that you can also use the CNC machines to add unique, decorative accents to the frame, further embellishing the painting, picture, or mirror.

Tray

The versatility of CNC machines lets you create a variety of trays, including serving and egg trays. As with all other use cases, you can opt to beautify the trays and add a touch of uniquity. You can accomplish this by engraving unique patterns. This way, the trays can also serve as decorative accents in whichever space. In addition, they can be categorized as one of the special wood router CNC ideas. 

Engraved serving tray

Engraved Serving Tray (source)

Holder

You can carve out various types of holders using CNC machines. These include pen holders, paintbrush holders, candle holders, keyholders, and cardholders/wallets. The holders could be fashioned into different shapes. In fact, and thanks to the living hinge concept, you can create cylindrical holders using CNC machines. 

Living hinge pen holders

Living Hinge Pen Holders (source)

Bespoke Shelves

Suppose you are looking to beautify your living room, bedroom, or office using unique and novel decorative pieces. In that case, you can rely on the versatility of CNC machines to help you accomplish this feat. You can create bespoke shelves that feature unique patterns and shapes that work in concert to beautify your space.

Additionally, you are guaranteed unmatched strength and stability. This is because you can carve the shelves from a single block of wood, 

It is worth reiterating that you can use Scan2CAD to convert your wood router CNC ideas, which may initially be saved as images or PDFs, to G-code. This will enable you to create CNC products for wood routers. As a matter of fact, you can try Scan2CAD for free throughout a 14-day free trial.

Parting Shot

CNC machining has emerged as a useful process that lets users create accurate, beautiful, and unique CNC products using different materials, including wood. In this article, we have explored wood router CNC ideas that you can use to guide your CNC work. These top 10 CNC products for wood routers are perfect for both beginners and seasoned CNC machinists. Hobbyists or astute businesspeople can also use them. 

All you need to get started is a CNC machine and G-code, the programming language that dictates the movements of the routers. With Scan2CAD, you can take care of the latter as this conversion software lets you convert raster images and PDFs to G-code. Try Scan2CAD today.

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