UniFormation GKTwo 3D printer

Types of CNC machines

From Maker Trainer, the online makerspace
CNC mill

One of the most common types, milling CNC machines feature built-in tools for drilling and cutting. Materials are placed inside the milling CNC machine, after which the computer will guide the tools to drill or cut it. Most milling CNC machines are available in three- to six-axis configurations.

CNC lathe

Lathe CNC machines are characterized by their ability to rotate materials while in operation. They usually have a fewer number of axes than milling CNC machines, making them smaller and more compact. Lathe CNC machines feature a lathe in the center that manipulates and moves the material into the position as programmed on the computer.

CNC router

A CNC router mounts a hand-held router as a spindle which is used for cutting wood, metals, plastics, glass, and foams. CNC routers can perform the tasks of many carpentry shop machines such as the panel saw, the spindle moulder, and the boring machine.

Vinyl cutter

Small vinyl cutters look like a desktop printer. A blade is used to cut out shapes and letters from sheets of thin self-adhesive plastic (vinyl). The vinyl can then be stuck to a variety of surfaces depending on the adhesive and type of material. Many Makers use it to make clothing decorations, signs and banners.

CNC laser-cutter

Laser-cutting CNC machines are designed to cut through tough materials, though they use a laser to perform this task rather than a plasma torch. Lasers tend to offer a higher level of cutting accuracy, but they aren’t quite as strong as plasma torches.

CNC laser-engraver

Similar to a Laser-Cutting Machine, the laser used in this case is not strong enough to cut through the material it is used on, but will rather burn a pattern into it. Generally used for decorating the surface of wood, leader, plastic etc.

3D Printer

A machine that produces a physical object from a 3D model through the concept of additive manufacturing, creating the object layer by layer. There are various technologies used to achieve this, the most common ones being Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) and Stereolithography (SLA).