Best Desktop CNC Machines

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Technology is surely an amazing thing. But the CNC technology is truly a wonderment in and of itself.

Whether you are a beginner wanting to try out the magic of a CNC router or a long-time hobbyist looking for an affordable and high-quality desktop CNC, buying a CNC can be a daunting task. There are simply too many technical details to consider.

We have done our best to give you the top 10 desktop CNC machines that are affordable, durable, and ideal for newbies and experts alike.

There is also a user-friendly buying guide at the end that summarizes all the technical factors that you need to look for when buying a CNC.


QUICK PICKS

Here are my recommended products picked out through amazon you would be interested in depending on your budget…

Top 10 Best Desktop CNC Machines Reviews

Here is a list for top rated Best Desktop CNC Machines;

1. VEVOR CNC Machine with Offline Controller | Editors’ Pick

  • Frame material: Aluminum and Bakelite
  • Working area: 11.8”x7.1”x1.8”
  • Axis: 3 axes (XYZ)
  • Motor speed: 10,000 rpm
  • Weight: 16.7 pounds

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • Acrylic baffles
  • Durable
  • PWM/TTL support
Things to Consider!
  • Some bolts can be loose

Overview

Vevor’s 3-axis DIY CNC machine is a state-of-the-art laser engraver that comes with a highly durable Aluminum and Bakelite frame with two 5mm acrylic baffles on the sides that allow for extra safety when the engraving is in process.

The engraving operates on 3 axes – X, Y, and Z – and covers up a working area of 11.8”x7.1”x1.8” which makes it easy to work with many small to medium-sized items. In fact, the CNC router works great with many soft items like plastic, aluminum, acrylic, PVC, and wood.

It uses three 42 stepper motors for each axis and the 775 spindle motor for the Z-axis can go up to 10,000 rpm for a good 24-volts. And each of the stepper motors supports a current of 1.3 amps on 12-volts

In addition, the contraption is equipped with a powerful 5.5w laser that can be controlled through the GRBL control software. And the GRBL control board has PWM and TTL support which allows for excellent laser performance. And you can easily connect the machine to your computer through a USB port.

But if you want offline control, then the machine comes with an offline controller as well, which allows you to manually adjust the axis position without the need for a computer connection.

Lastly, the control software is compatible with Windows XP, 7, 8, and 10. And a USB is included which contains all the details related to assembly along with the software files.

The only precaution that you need to take while using the machine is to make sure that you don’t continuously use the laser head. It is recommended that you give enough pauses in between – ideally after every half an hour of production.

Read More: Best Cheap CNC Machines


2. Engraver 3018 Pro GRBL Control DIY Mini CNC Machine

  • Frame Material: Aluminum + PF + ABS
  • Working Area: 300x180x45 mm
  • Axis: 3 axes (XYZ)
  • Motor speed: 10,000 rpm
  • Weight: 2.99 pounds

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • 2-in-1 Engraver and Router
  • Integrated Heat Sink
  • Lightweight
Things to Consider!
  • Assembly instructions can be confusing

Overview

If you are looking to learn some CNC skills as a hobbyist or simply trying to pass your woodworks class, this DIY Mini CNC machine by Titoe is sure to have all that you need to complete your tasks.

With a 3000mW engraver, you can easily get high-powered and high-precision engravings that feel smooth to the touch and pleasant to the eye. In fact, the precision focus is less than 0.1mm.

The machine includes a 775 spindle motor that supports a max of 24-volts, with an rpm of 10,000. And the engraving area measures 300x180x45 mm, so this gives ample space for reasonable-sized items.

You also have the option to switch between the woodwork engraver or the laser router, which allows you to work with various different materials such as wood, bamboo, plastic, acrylic, leather, and even soft metal surfaces like copper.

But the best part about this machine is its control board which features a heat sink and an external fan that keeps everything cool, a USB port, and PWM support which lets you use the laser more efficiently in terms of power.

And to top it all off, the board is protected with a shell which adds extra durability to the product.

Not to mention that the frame of the CNC machine is made from a combination of aluminum, PF, and ABS, which makes the structure quite strong and resistant to wear and tear.

In addition, there is an offline controller as well, which means you can use the machine without connecting it up to the computer. But if you want to work online, you will benefit from the open-source GRBL software which works on all Windows versions from Win-XP till win-10.

You may also like: 10 Best DIY CNC Routers Reviews 2021


3. Mophorn CNC Machine 3018 Wood Engraving Machine

  • Frame Material: Aluminum + black injection molding material
  • Working Area: 11.8”x7.1”x1.8”
  • Axis: 3 axes (XYZ)
  • Motor speed: 10,000 rpm
  • Weight: 15 pounds

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • Durable
  • T8 stainless Screw
  • Ergonomic design
Things to Consider!
  • No cooling system

Overview

With a smooth and ergonomic design that is perfect for small projects, the Mophorn CNC Machine comes with external dimensions of 40x30x24 cm and a sturdy frame made out of aluminum and black injection molding material.

The machine can be easily assembled and features a high-quality GRBL control board, supporting a 12-volts laser, control for 3 axes (X, Y, and Z), and offline capability which lets you operate the machine from an offline controller without the need to connect to a computer.

With a working area of 11.8×7.1×1.8 inches, the machine can be used to carve out wood, plastics, soft aluminum, acrylics, PVCs, PCBs, and other similar materials.

And that’s not all, to ensure high performance, the Mophorn comes with T8 screw rods driving units and three 42 stepper motors along with a 775 24-volt spindle motor that gives 10,000 revolutions per minute.

There is also PWM and TTL support which gives more precision and better control of the laser. To be more precise, the positional accuracy of the engraver is between 0.08 to 0.1 mm.

Lastly, you can easily control the machine through the computer by connecting it through USB and using the GRBL software to specify the engravings.


4. Sintron CNC 3018 Pro Router Kit GRBL Control

  • Frame Material: Aluminum + Acrylic
  • Working Area: 300x180x45 mm
  • Axis: 3 axes (XYZ)
  • Motor speed: 10,000 rpm
  • Weight: 18.08 pounds

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • Heavy-duty
  • Value-for-money
  • ER11-chuck on the spindle motor
Things to Consider!
  • Slightly bulky

Overview

A high-quality, robust, and long-lasting CNC Router, the Sintron CNC Pro is the perfect desktop CNC you can get for a reasonable price that will allow you to work on a number of different materials.

With approval marks from the CE, FCC, and UL, the Sintron 3018 Pro, signals impressive safety standards and comes with a sturdy frame made from Aluminum and Acrylic.

This heavy-duty monster has got both the right desktop size with dimensions 22.44”x18.9”x5.2” and the right strength for long hours of work. This means you can easily get even the most intricate of patterns on your materials.

In fact, the machine can do 3-axis engravings simultaneously, so even 3D designs are possible.

And the materials which can be engraved include PVCs, wood, acrylics, PCBs, and soft aluminum. Plus, the machine supports offline mode so you won’t need to always have your computer around. You can operate the machine even without it.

Also, like all other high-quality brands, the Sintron CNC uses the open-source GRBL software to operate the machine through the computer.

But the best thing about the Sintron is that it features a 775 spindle motor that is integrated with the ER11-chuck. An ER11-chuck is an industry standard clamp that is used to hold any material in place.

This is very useful in a CNC machine because the motor is able to hold the work item in the right position. This allows for more precision and better final results.

The only downside of the Sintron CNC machine is that you cannot use materials any harder than brass or aluminum 6061. If you do that, the spindle motor will either burn or cause some of its parts to break.


5. Yofuly Pro CNC Router Kit GRBL Control

  • Frame Material: Aluminum + PF
  • Working Area: 300x180x45 mm
  • Axis: 3 axes (XYZ)
  • Motor speed: 10,000 rpm
  • Weight: 15.66 pounds

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • 5500 mW power
  • Includes a stepper motor
  • Good customer service by Yofuly
Things to Consider!
  • Does not work on glass

Overview

If you are looking for a CNC with the extra power to give you high-end and aesthetically pleasing engravings, then Yofuly’s 3018 Pro CNC router kit just might be the one for you.

This is because it features a 5500mW engraving output power module, which means you can use the CNC to carve out high-precision artworks in a reasonable amount of time.

With the frame material consisting of Aluminum and PF, Yofuly’s CNC router is quite durable and comes with a working area of 300x180x45 mm and a frame size of 440x330x240 mm.

You can easily engrave materials like Plastic, Wood, PCB, and Acrylic against 3 axes – X, Y, and Z – using its 775 spindle motor which supports a maximum of 24-volts and has an output of 10,000 rpm.

One thing to note about it though is that you cannot use it to work on hard metal, iron, glass, 201/304 stainless steel, jewelry, and silver.

And of course, like all other CNC routers, Yofuly offers the open-source GRBL software v3.0.14 to specify the engraving art. The software supports all kinds of image extensions including .nc, .ncc, .ngc, .tap and .cnc. And the software can work on Windows XP, 7, 8, and 10.

But if you want to work offline, then the CNC 3018 Pro is equipped with an offline controller that allows you to manually adjust the axis to specify the starting point of the engraving.

And the storage capacity of the controller is up to 1 GB and includes an SD card reader which can be used to store all your code and image files.

Lastly, the CNC has a new and improved control board that includes an integrated driver chip, a heat sink and an external fan to cool things off, and a shell that keeps everything in place and ensures the board lasts for long.


6. BobsCNC Evolution 4 CNC Router Kit with the Router

  • Working Area: 24”x24”x3.3 mm
  • Axis: 3 axes (XYZ)
  • Weight: 58 pounds

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • Large working area
  • Wider working area
  • Power Efficient
Things to Consider!
  • Heavy

Overview

The BobsCNC Evolution 4 is a nice starter CNC router that is best for simple woodworks and beginners experimenting with different designs.

It doesn’t have many fancy specifications like many other more expensive CNC routers, but it does have several other features that make it a worthwhile purchase.

To start with, it comes with a high-precision and high-power laser module and the SG20U rail system.

In addition, it has a GT2 belt drive for the X and Y axis, while the ACME TR8 is reserved for the Z-axis.

Further, it has an output power of 600 watts on 115 volts and can work on many soft materials. It has a working area of 24”x24” with a 3.3” Z travel which allows for some impressive engravings.

The Evolution 4 includes the NEMA 17 Stepper motors and is compatible with the GRBL 1.1 firmware. This means that the cutting is quite efficient since the NEMA 17 has 200 steps per revolution that can work on a current of 1.2 amps against a voltage of 4.


7. DIY Mini CNC Router Kit 3 Axis Milling Cutter Machine

  • Frame Material: Aluminum + Plastic
  • Working Area: 300x180x40 mm
  • Axis: 3 axes (XYZ)
  • Motor speed: 10,000 rpm
  • Weight: 14.49 pounds

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • Beautiful Design
  • Long-lasting Mainboard
  • Easy assembly
Things to Consider!
  • Laser Head is not included

Overview

There aren’t many CNC manufacturers that pay a lot of attention to the aesthetics of the machine. And because of this, most of them end up looking like a big piece of block that comes in the way.

But this can end with CareJoy’s Mini CNC Router that is designed to perfection. It has a sleek and modernistic structure that looks as amazing as it engraves. Even the offline controller has a cool look!

Not only is it easy to assemble the CareJoy’s CNC 3018 Pro – you can do it in practically less than 30 minutes! – but also it has some great features that make it a real favorite among DIY artists out there.

Starting with its frame, the material used is a combination of aluminum and plastic which makes the machine pretty durable, while the dimensions of the frame are 16.5”x14”x11”.

The working area is quite spacious as well, measuring 11.8”x7.1”x1.6”, which can be used to work on a number of different types of material such as plastic, acrylic, PVC, PCB, and wood.

Of course, since it’s only a DIY, you cannot use it on hard surfaces like those of hard metal or jade.

As far as the motors are concerned, the CNC comes with a 775 spindle motor and has the ER11 chuck – the ER11 is a high-quality collet that holds the work material in place, making the engraving more precise and quick.

For offline work, you can use the state-of-the-art offline controller which does not require you to download any files. But you can easily go online and use the GRBL open-source software, which is supported by all Windows versions from XP to 10.


8. Laser Engraving PCB Wood Metal CNC Machine Router

  • Frame Material: Aluminum + Phenolic Resin
  • Working Area: 300x180x45 mm
  • Axis: 3 axes (XYZ)
  • Motor speed: 10,000 rpm
  • Weight: 17.6 pounds

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • Many engraving modes
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
Things to Consider!
  • No offline control

Overview

With a lightweight and ergonomic design, the Gdrasuya10 CNC Pro is a strongly recommended choice for beginners and enthusiasts alike.

Having a table-board of size 300×180 mm and an engraving area of 300x180x45 mm, the CNC router is great for carving wood, bamboo, paper, plastics, leather, rubber, horn, sponge sheets, and much more.

The only materials that it does not work on are hard metals, glass, stone, ceramics, jewelry, silver, and other types of reflective, translucent, and transparent items.

It has many engraving modes as well which allow you to work with images, texts, scans, contours, and even pixels.

And as with all other modern CNC machines, the Gdrasuya10 3018 pro is equipped with a 775 spindle motor that works up to 24-volts, with an output of 10,000 rpm, and has an integrated ER11 chuck.

The step motor has a fuselage length of 34mm that works on a current of 1.33 amps on 12-volts, and the 10 pieces of included drill bits have a diameter of 3.17 mm.

However, the downside to this machine is that it does not support offline control. For online control, you are offered the open-source GRBL software that is supported by Windows XP, 7, 8, and 10, on both 32 and 64-bit systems.

Finally, the frame is made of aluminum alloy and phenolic resin, so which makes the machine quite resistant to deterioration.


9. Mophorn CNC 2418 Router Kit GRBL Control CNC Machine

  • Frame Material: Aluminum + Black Injection Molding
  • Working Area: 240x180x40 mm
  • Axis: 3 axes (XYZ)
  • Motor speed: 10,000 rpm
  • Weight: 14 pounds

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • Easy assembly
  • Lightweight
  • T8 Stainless Screw Driving Units
Things to Consider!
  • No offline control

Overview

With an effective working area of 240x180x40 mm and a durable frame made out of aluminum and black injection molding material, the CNC 2418 router kit by Mophorn is a value-for-money, high-quality, and aesthetically pleasing machine that can help you get started on some cool new projects.

It works on 3 axes – X, Y, and Z – and has one 775 24-volts spindle motor that gives an output of 10,000 rpm, along with three 42 step motors, in addition to the T8 screw rods driving units, which allow for extra power and precision.

Not only can you easily assemble this machine, but also use it effectively to carve out plastic, wood, acrylic, PVC, printed circuit boards, and materials that are soft with a regular shape. It doesn’t work quite well with shapes that have uneven surfaces.

However, unlike many other machines, you cannot use this one in offline mode as there is no separate offline controller. In online mode, the machine allows you to control the engravings using the GRBL software.


10. 3 Axis CNC3018 PRO Router Wood Engraving Machine

  • Frame Material: Aluminum + Phenolic Resin
  • Working Area: 300x180x45 mm
  • Axis: 3 axes (XYZ)
  • Motor speed: 10,000 rpm
  • Weight: 17.6 pounds

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • Durable
  • Good for industrial processing
  • Value-for-money
Things to Consider!
  • Assembly can be a bit confusing

Overview

The DNYSYSJ’s CNC 3018 PRO is a highly functional CNC Router that can be used on work materials like wood, bamboo, plastic, paper, leather, horn, and even sponge sheets.

It has an engraving area of 300x180x45 mm with a table board of size 300x180mm. So this gives ample working space and allows for high-quality engravings.

The frame of the machine, on the other hand, is made from Aluminum alloy and Phenolic Resin and it has a size of 400x330x240 mm.

The CNC Router is equipped with a 775 spindle motor supporting up to 24-volts and giving an output of 10,000 rpm. The motor also comes with the ER11 chuck which means that the work material is held tightly in place while the engraving takes place.

Furthermore, it has a step motor of 34-mm fuselage that supports 1.33 amps on 12-volts. Additionally, there are ten 0.1-mm drill bits, each with a diameter of 3.175 mm which gives the machine extra engraving precision. And to add more power, the CNC comes with a 5500 mW engraving head.

There is support for both offline and online modes. With offline mode, you do not need to use a computer to control the CNC machine. You can simply use the offline control to set up the starting positions of the 3 axes – X, Y, and Z – and the machine will take care of the rest.

With the online mode, you get the industry-standard open-source GRBL software that has a huge community. This allows for better online support in case anything goes wrong. And the software is compatible with all versions of Windows from XP to Windows 10.


Buying Guide about Desktop CNC

The CNC Router industry is surely booming with time. As technology advances and becomes more affordable, there is no doubt that one day, CNCs will become a household commodity.

However, even today, there are just too many choices. And we all know that buying CNCs is not like buying a simple toy. There are just too many technical details that you need to be aware of before you buy the one that best suits your needs.

And because of this, the buying guide will highlight the most important features that you need to look for in order to gauge the quality of a CNC machine.

Frame Material

The one thing that you should always know is how long will the CNC router last. A CNC machine is not a small investment, and so it is only doing justice to yourself to make sure that you get the most durable CNC machine out there.

Usually, it is good to have materials that are stiff and those that damp down the vibrations when the machine is operating.

This is because if the frame does not mitigate these vibrations, then the engravings can get disturbed and may lead to wear and tear of the machine.

Reasonable frame materials for DIY machines include aluminum 6061, 7075, and carbon steel. These materials are both strong and lightweight and they do not corrode like iron. Carbon steel, in particular, is incredibly tough and offers great resistance to wear and tear.

There are CNC machines that have frames made from a combination of aluminum and some type of plastic. This is reasonable as well and it also brings down the price tag of the CNC.

But make sure you know what type of materials you will be working on. Most DIY machines do not work well with hard materials. For soft materials like plastic and wood, aluminum plus plastic frames work well.

Working Area

This depends heavily on what you will be working with. Most DIY CNCs usually have dimensions of 300x180x45 mm.

You can find this out by the advertised name of the CNC. Usually, if there are digits after the brand name of the CNC, like CNC3018, then this indicates the size of the X-Y working plane – 3018 implying 300×180 mm.

Spindle Motor

This is perhaps the most important factor to consider when buying a CNC machine. After all, this is the part that actually makes a CNC machine do what it does.

The spindle motor is basically the part that spins in motion to create carvings in the work material. A low-quality motor will not spin the drills as efficiently as it should. It will take time and the engraving quality will not be so impressive.

The quality of a spindle motor is determined by its rpm – short for revolutions per minute. A motor with a high rpm indicates that it can rotate around the axes with precision and carve out patterns without missing any details.

Most DIY routers have 775 spindle motors which give out an rpm of 10,000. This is enough for DIY purposes and does not put a lot of pressure on the price tag as well.

Software

The GRBL controller is the standard software that is used with DIY CNC machines. It is easy to use and supports a number of image formats.

But do consider the operating system you have. Almost all GRBL controllers can work on Windows XP, 7, 8, or 10, but there are some which can also work on Linux or Mac.

So make sure you enquire about the compatibility of the GRBL software version with the operating system that you will be working with.

Also, try to find out the image formats that the software version supports. It is very convenient to have software that can read .jpg files because this is usually the default format for most images.

Other than that, .nc is the widely used image format for the GRBL software. In any case, the more types of formats the software supports, the better.

Control Board

Just like the motherboard of a computer, the control board of a CNC machine is the engine behind everything the machine does. So this should be durable and powerful.

More specifically, it is good if you can get a board that comes with a protective shell. This makes sure that it does not deteriorate and also gives protection from dust and other atmospheric impurities.

And more importantly, if you are going to be working for longer hours, it is recommended to get a board with an integrated heat sink and an external fan. This will ensure that everything stays cool. Otherwise, parts can burn out due to overheating.

Offline Control

You are not always going to have your computer handy. So it is advisable to get a CNC that can work without one. CNCs with offline control modules are not that rare. Most brands nowadays have offline support.

But it is always good to make sure that the one you are buying has a durable offline control that allows you to manually adjust the position of the axes.

Furthermore, if you think you will be working with a lot of large files, it is recommended to have a controller that has a high storage capacity.

Of course, higher storage is going to cost extra. So it’s good to know if you would really be needing the extra space.

Final Verdict

With this, you now know the best DIY CNC machines out there that have a reasonable price tag. Of course, there isn’t going to be a perfect CNC that will have everything.

Due to this, you will need to understand your own needs and then buy the one which best suits your requirements.

To make this easier, we have given you the main factors that you need to consider when you are buying any type of CNC machine. The guide is especially useful if you are a beginner.

In general, the machine should be durable, able to handle a wide variety of materials, and should have a powerful motor with cooling equipment.

And that’s it. Happy Woodworking.


People Also Asked about Desktop CNC Machines

Here are top questions that people have asked about Desktop CNC machine;

What is the best CNC Desktop Machines?

As per our editors’ here is a list of top rated Desktop CNC machines in 2021;

  • VEVOR CNC Machine with Offline Controller | Editors’ Pick
  • Engraver 3018 Pro GRBL Control DIY Mini CNC Machine
  • Mophorn CNC Machine 3018 Wood Engraving Machine
  • Sintron CNC 3018 Pro Router Kit GRBL Control
  • Yofuly Pro CNC Router Kit GRBL Control
  • BobsCNC Evolution 4 CNC Router Kit with the Router
  • DIY Mini CNC Router Kit 3 Axis Milling Cutter Machine
  • Laser Engraving PCB Wood Metal CNC Machine Router
  • Mophorn CNC 2418 Router Kit GRBL Control CNC Machine
  • 3 Axis CNC3018 PRO Router Wood Engraving Machine

What programming language does CNC Machine use?

The industry standard is the G-Code. It is used with the GRBL open-source software and you can the code allows you to control the positions of the axis to carve out the engravings. You can easily find G-Code tutorials online on YouTube.

Is it necessary to learn G-Code?

Not really. There are software packages that generate the G-Code automatically. You can easily search for this software online. Of course, they might cost extra so it is always a good idea to learn the code – it’s not that difficult.

How difficult it is to assemble a CNC Kit?

This varies from brand to brand. But almost all CNC packages come with a detailed instruction manual on a USB drive.

Many brands also have a special website dedicated for the purpose of helping purchasers to get started with their machines.

You can also find online support in terms of videos and easy-to-follow tutorials to set up a CNC machine and start working in no time.

David Houghton
Latest posts by David Houghton (see all)

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