Are you looking for a solid diy cnc router kit? Well diy cnc router kits are a great way to go, and you can get a couple of really solid kits for an affordable price.
Zen Toolworks CNC Router
There aren’t that many of these kits around. The best cnc router kits I have seen that have reviewed really well and are a good price are the Zen Toolworks CNC kits. There is a 7 x 7 inch one here and a 12 x 12 model here. These are both well under $1,000, with the 12 x 12 model being only $700 regularly, but it is cheaper if you buy from Amazon.
What you need to run this router?
Also with the above cnc router kits from Zen Toolworks, you will need to get a 3 Axis Stepper Motor Driver to manage each motor, DC power supply(for the driver) and a spindle/cutter (a Dremel would work).
You will also need to have a computer that has the right ports to connect up the machine and your own cnc software. Cnc software can be expensive and cost much more than your machine, so please be aware of this. Add on top of this, cad software as well, and it starts to get very expensive.
K2 CNC Router
Also another model that offers a 14 x 14 inch bed size is from K2. This diy cnc router kit is also a solid option, coming from a reputable brand. Be aware that the above is the frame only, and you will need to look into what else you may need, such as the bed for cnc, router bits and a possible enclosure if desired.
You may also need to look into the ‘Z’ direction travel limits for each machine. Some of these are rather low profile and do not have a lot of travel. This is the trade off for having a smaller machine, so you win some and you loose some.
Here are some extra tips when you are thinking of any of the above or other cnc router kit option.
1. You can consider buying used, that way you will not have to assemble anything and may save on the total cost.
2. Look at free software to save on costs. Inkscape is a great piece of software that allows you to create vector based files for free, as the program is free (open source software – gotta love it).
3. Make sure you have the right extra parts. A lot of diy cnc router kits lack a motor or spindle/cutter. This will add to your overall costs.
4. Think about outsourcing if it is only a one off job. You can get some great companies that will do routing cheap, especially if outsourcing to places like China. I highly recommend manufacturing in China to see what offers there are for you.
My experience, as well as a few others I know, was with a company called GL Model which is based in Shenzhen. I used them for cnc of plastic parts and they had almost every finish available under the sun. They even sent me samples of finishes and it all ended up being a lot cheaper and faster (including courier) than if I would have done it locally back in New Zealand.
5. Check out our diy cnc machine resources page for more tips on where to get diy cnc router plans to build something from scratch.