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Forum topic by Wickerdave posted 11-26-2020 10:58 PM 529 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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10 posts in 261 days

11-26-2020 10:58 PM

Topic tags/keywords: cnc engraving cutting boards hardwoods

I need to purchase a CNC / Engraving machine. I have no experience but I know I can learn it and I have access to CNC experts. What I need is a machine that will rout designs at 1/2” deep in hardwoods, also I need it to be able to engrave company logos with the name address etc. and have it dark enough to be easily read. This will mainly be done on cutting boards so I need to be able to put a board that is 18” x 13” x 2” into the machine to engrave and router a design on. I don’t want to spend a lot of money on it but i need it to be reliable. Something in the $250 to $400 range would be great. I think the biggest problem will be to find a good machine that will accommodate that size of a piece to work on. Any advise would be appreciated.

-- Dave, Bella Vista Arkansas

6 replies so far

View Phil32's profile


1249 posts in 879 days

#1 posted 11-27-2020 01:39 AM

It is hard to visualize cutting boards with logos and words cut 1/2” deep. Will those be filled with colored epoxy, or will the end users have to figure how to clean out those holes? The readability will depend on font size & design. There are many other considerations: what router?, bits, duty cycle, production rate, what hardwoods? These need to be answered before choosing a CNC machine.

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

View Madmark2's profile


2096 posts in 1564 days

#2 posted 11-27-2020 04:32 PM

Your price range is unrealistic. For $400 you can get a laser engraver but not a router CNC. If you want to lase logos they’re fine but you’ll not cut 1/2” deep in anything with it. The router and bits will blow most of your $400 budget. Add a zero to the price or reduce your expectations.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View Wickerdave's profile


10 posts in 261 days

#3 posted 12-01-2020 04:00 PM

The routered designs would be 1/2’ deep, in Walnut, maple, cherry, mainly. The engraving of lettering and logos I suppose would have to be done with a laser to get the dark readability. I’m just a small shop just starting with a few clients for the engraved boards. I probably should continue to outsource the router design work for the time being.

-- Dave, Bella Vista Arkansas

View DS's profile


3621 posts in 3396 days

#4 posted 12-01-2020 09:33 PM

I think the biggest problem will be to find a good machine that will accommodate that size of a piece to work on. Any advise would be appreciated.

- Wickerdave

Your biggest problem won’t be the $400 machine, but, rather the $1200 software you will need to make programs for it.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View Mike_D_S's profile


626 posts in 3190 days

#5 posted 12-03-2020 12:00 AM

First off for what you say you want to do which is essentially 2D router work and in the size, there are less expensive software packages like Cut2D for $200 or less which will get you where you want to go as a beginner.

But the $400 budget for the machine is pretty low if you want it work reliably. My guess is you’re going to be looking at $2500 minimum for a solid used machine that is not too much of a DIY job even in that small size.

Even a Bob’s CNC 24”x24” kit is $1000 with electronics and router and you have the labor to assemble and test.

At the end of the day a good CNC machine opens up a lot of other potential product options, but you just need to do the math on the # of units vs the cost of farming out the router work and see if it makes sense to invest in a machine for yourself.

On the high side, provided you don’t break it, buying a good quality used machine means you could probably sell it without taking too much of a loss if it doesn’t work out.


-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

View northwoodsman's profile


479 posts in 4722 days

#6 posted 12-03-2020 02:49 AM

You are talking about two completely different machines. A CNC Router and a Laser Engraver. You can get a laser diode that you can use with some CNC’s but it is extremely weak and the reviews are poor. If you are going to do any serious laser engraving you need a machine with air assist to blow away the smoke and ash to get a cleaner, deeper burn. They aren’t cheap. If you are only going to do 2D routing I would look at the Shaper Origin. You have three expenses – the machine(s), the software, and the bits/cutters. Your budget probably needs to be about 10X what it is currently.

What is your market for these cutting boards? If you are putting logo’s and addresses on them they sound like give-aways. The budget for these items is generally fairly low and dries up very quickly.

-- NorthWoodsMan

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