CNC Router Machine

What Materials Can a CNC Router Cut?

Nowadays, computer numerical control technologies are used in incorporating several different types of new machineries. One of such modern equipment includes CNC routers. CNC routers are a kind of cutting machine whose workability is completely controlled by a computer.

These advanced routers just work as the typical hand held routers that are used for cutting different types of materials. Just like conventional hand held routers CNC routers also do the same job but more effectively and without wasting the material while cutting. They also give protection to the material surfaces while cutting.

Almost all types of materials including woods, composites, steel, plastics, glass, foam, acrylic, metal materials etc can be cut by using CNC machining. Not only CNC routers are applied to cut the materials but designing and engraving them too. CNC routers come with a spindle in each of them that spin them at higher speed and cut the materials with excellent accuracy.

Moreover, CNC routers can perform so many tasks that other carpentry machines like panel saw, spindle moulder, boring machines etc used to do. They are also used to make some kinds of joineries during woodworking, such as mortises and tenons, tongue and groove, dovetail and so on.

Along with the specific materials that can be cut by using a CNC router, I will also focus on how it really works on those particular materials. I have also consider including a few more important tips of CNC routers user instructions while using it for cutting. So, let’s zoom in to the further segments quickly!

Although CNC routers are considered as the advanced technology machining equipment, the user should be very much concerned about the materials’ texture and quality from every end. Otherwise, it can harm the materials and can ruin them too. So, the user needs to be alert with the using process as well as the settings of that machine before application.

CNC routers are one of the most versatile cutting, framing and engraving machinery that can work on various materials. Such one router is a super saver for your business as it saves you from purchasing different tools for different types of cutting and designing purposes. Moreover, not only for perfect cutting, using a CNC router on your desired materials would provide you perfect finishing with optimal accuracy.

There are wide ranges of CNC routers with different cutters that result in varieties of distinct designs and finishes. Most of them are capable of cutting, edging and engraving a vast range of materials. Some of the common materials are provided below:


Woods are the most common component that used to be routed by using CNC routers. Each type of wood is different from the other on the basis of density, texture, hardness, stiffness, toughness etc. Some of them contain natural cellulose, lignin, sap or resin. So, it is really important to remember that the woods might have different textures from time to time because of the above stated ingredients in them. Therefore, make sure that the woods you are going to apply your CNC router on must be dried well.

Solid surface like stone and ceramic

Sedimentary stone with low toughness like granite, sandstone, and common ceramics can be cut by CNC routers. Most of the time CNC routers are applied on such stiff materials in order to provide finished edges to the materials. You need to choose hard abrasive ends to route hard stone materials and require an instant cooling system for cooling the materials immediately after cutting.


Metals like aluminium, alloys of brass, pure copper, gold, lead can be routed by using a CNC router. But you need to take extreme care while applying a CNC router on them. Always try to keep your cutting environment temperature ambient as CNC routers produce extremely hot temperatures while spinning fast. Along with that choose the cutting ends according to the materials’ density and after determining the hardness of the same.

Hard plastic material

Poly methyl-methacrylate products or hard plastic materials behave well while cutting with CNC routers. Hard plastics are stiff enough so they require less aggressive channeled cutting ends of the router that cut the materials effectively without wasting. Try to create shallow cuts and keep the work environment temperature tolerant and cool. Otherwise, the faster speed of the router will create a hot ambience and melt the plastic while cutting.

Soft polyethylene sheets

Low density polyethylene or soft plastic materials are easily and quickly cut by the CNC routers. Such polymer products can produce curls or long chips while cutting with blunt and abrasive cutting ends. Moreover, soft plastic’s melting point is also lower than hard plastic. So the user needs to maintain a cool ambient temperature and set sharp end cutters for cutting soft plastic materials. Avoid deep cutting at once, try to make shallow cuts instead and control the temperature by using a fan while applying automated CNC routers.

Foam based materials

CNC routers are easy going on Polymer foam based sheets. The characteristics of these materials are that they are of low shear strength which makes them cutting or shaping effortlessly quicker than other materials. Just make sure that you try to use sharp cutting ends with aggressive channels of high RPM rate and avoid abrasive or shallow ended cutting ends while using the router on foam based materials.

Things to consider before cutting materials by CNC router

Though CNC routers are made by keeping all possible safety factors in mind, there are still a lot of precautionary measures that need to be taken care of. These rules will help you to avoid any kind of accident or injury during the application of your CNC router in your project.

So, keep reading further to know those tips:

  • Avoid operating CNC routers in any damp or moisten place

  • Do not leave the working place keeping the routing machine on

  • Do not put any material forcefully into the router

  • Set the proper Horsepower every time to cut according to the materials’ requirement

  • Make sure that you have inserted correct bit for the particular job

  • Avoid staying too close to the cutting tool while it is working

  • Keep the all of your work ingredients securely clamped during the routing

  • In case of sudden broken of the router bit immediately switch off the machine or it can damage your work piece

  • Clean your CNC router after every use and maintain it diligently.

  • Replace the damaged part of your CNC router while needed and in regular basis


You may now have a clear and concise idea about which materials are best to use CNC router on along with brief application procedures of the same. Based on your preferences, you can try and workout a particular material.

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