What Is a CNC Router Cutter?

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  • Written By: Jean Marie Asta
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 24 November 2019
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A computer numerically controlled (CNC) router cutter is a complex cutting machine that uses a large work area, a cutter, and an electronic computerized component to perform automated cutting techniques. The purpose of a CNC router cutter is to cut different materials, such as wood or metal, in an automated fashion with little help from a person. There are different types of routers that are used for certain purposes based on the field of study or discipline. Even hobbyists use the router and CNC machine to craft pieces of material for projects. The CNC router cutter is used for industrial and manufacturing purposes as well.

All CNC devices use some kind of electronic software and controller electronics in order to perform their automated cuts. These two components operate the mechanical system. Using a CNC router cutter provides better precision in the cuts of whatever material is being used. Traditional cutters have the capability of creating complex shapes by moving their cutting component in three axis directions, which include along the X-axis, Y-axis and Z-axis. Cuts along the X-axis are lengthwise, along the Y-axis are widthwise, and along the Z-axis are up and down.


The major parts of the CNC router cutter include the computer system and controller, the spindle, a cutting bed, and drive systems that are linear. A router cutter’s computer system and controller operate the motor as well as the drive system, giving directions for the spindle to cut the material in a certain fashion. The spindle in the CNC router cutter is the component that does the physical act of cutting, using different size router bits and operating at various speeds and horsepower. A router’s cutting bed is the work area of the machine, securing the material in place and sometimes even acting as a guide for the spindle to cut. The drive systems are the components that move the spindle along its axes and work in conjunction with the computer system and controller.

One type of machine that employs the CNC router cutter is an automated device that constructs floor panels by vertical orientation. It has a series of CNC router cutters that use computerized components to automatically cut panels into certain sizes. These same computerized components receive their data from a controller that is a certain distance away and operated by a person. The material that it cuts can be linoleum or plastic.


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