Last Updated on May 12, 2022 | Andrew Jason

For custom-built parts, several manufacturers use CNC routing & milling equipment. What, on the other hand, are the differences between a CNC router and a CNC mill? They both serve the same purpose, but they have quite distinct personalities. You use them with various materials and must be aware of their capabilities while working with them. CNC router vs mill, the question remains, which one is for you?

CNC machining has grown in popularity in recent years as a result of its major benefits, which include enhanced efficiency, capacity, and waste reduction for workplaces. As a result of this growing popularity, several various types of CNC machines have been developed within each set of capabilities and benefits. The CNC router and CNC mill – otherwise known as CNC milling machines – are two of the most common yet important CNC machines. Here’s a rundown of what CNC machines are used for in general, as well as the fundamental differences between a CNC router as well as a CNC mill.

Difference Between CNC Router and CNC Mill | Routing Vs Milling

What is CNC Machinery?

CNC routers are distinguished by the substances they can process. Routers are typically used to cut soft materials such as plastic, foam, wood, and soft metals, such as aluminum, which can be routed by some routers. Routers cut far quicker than mills, but because they use rotating speed to transmit the force to the tool, they have less torque. Routers make the machining process go faster and are perfect for producing multiple copies of a product. At the same time, routers provide quick replication when consistent manufacturing capabilities are required, reducing cutting time.

CNC routers using the spindle head can move across X, Y, and Z axes, keeping their material on the table. Most routers have three axes, and some have four or six, which makes them handy for more difficult jobs. CNC mills, on the other hand, move both the material and the end mill, resulting in more precise angles.

So What Is A CNC Router?

CNC routers are distinguished by the substances they can process. Routers are typically used to cut soft materials such as plastic, foam, wood, and soft metals, such as aluminum, which can be routed by some routers. Routers cut far quicker than mills, but because they use rotating speed to transmit the force to the tool, they have less torque. Routers make the machining process go faster and are perfect for producing multiple copies of a product. At the same time, routers provide quick replication when consistent manufacturing capabilities are required, reducing cutting time.

CNC routers using the spindle head can move across X, Y, and Z axes, keeping their material on the table. Most routers have three axes, and some have four or six, which makes them handy for more difficult jobs. CNC mills, on the other hand, move both the material and the end mill, resulting in more precise angles.

Why Choose a CNC Router?

CNC Routers have a more flexible design than mills due to their huge work surfaces. Despite this, routers’ fast machine speeds are due to their spatial flexibility. Routers are also great for cutting huge sheet materials into pieces. You can typically cut the corners of a sheet without relocating the materials or reprogramming the machine, depending on the size of the router and the materials you employ. Large-format things such as signage, wood sculptures, and cabinet fronts can all be made with a help of a CNC router.

CNC Mill

CNC mills can make finer cuts than routers, with precision down to one-thousandth of an inch. Mills are useful for manufacturing detailed objects because of their precision. Although desktop CNC milling machines are built to work with hard metals, they may also operate with soft materials. A mill may well be the best option for softer materials if the task is detailed or delicate.

A small CNC milling is more exact than a router, but it takes longer to do a project. The mill uses extra torque to compensate for the slower speed. It can tackle much tougher duties, like removing materials first from the hardest of metals, with this much power.

Router Mills are far more substantial & expensive than routers to ensure that they can cut heavy metals. They’re usually composed of die-cast metal or similarly tough material. This design provides enough structure and stability to manage the high torque. It’s critical to use the right end mill for any project if you want a good output. Working with metal differs significantly from dealing with wood or even other softer materials, so you’ll need to team up with someone who is familiar with the intricacies of this milling technique.

Why Choose a CNC Mill?

CNC mills feature a restricted cutting surface and a limited range of motion for their cutting tools. While the machine’s compact design restricts the size of materials it can cut, it also makes it more rigid, providing it the toughness it requires to cut tough materials. This stiffness and narrower range of motion, therefore, enable CNC mills to cut more precisely. Precision CNC milling is great for producing items with tight tolerances.

Mills are particularly useful for making small pieces that fit inside larger machines or systems. You can even merge router and milling capabilities in one shop to produce huge, lightweight elements and more detailed components for the same product.

CNC Router Vs Mill

Both CNC routers and CNC mills eliminate human error, enhance precision, and make highly reproducible goods simple to build. Both machines produce intricate goods that are difficult to produce by hand. These devices save hundreds of person-hours and boost profitability on everything from car brackets to cabinet doors. Both devices provide you with the precision of a Computer Numerical Control operator.

CAD software eliminates human mistakes and ensures a high level of supply chain consistency. Parts can be trimmed to precise measurements. Measurements can be entered precisely, and complex cuts may be flawlessly accomplished, allowing for the creation of one-of-a-kind, limited-run items with a quarter of the personnel previously required.

Individuals who work with CAD software must be highly trained and well-compensated. Lower-paid machinists, on the other hand, can enter the CAD designs into the machines, cutting an organization’s overall labor expenses.

Both devices are noisy and necessitate the use of a dust collection system. Operators must wear appropriate safety gear, aprons, safety gloves and the machinery along with operation area must be cleaned daily to prevent product shaving build-up.

Machines should be checked for shaking or slipping during operation. The CNC machinist must be able to stop the machine, correct faults, and start it all without losing his or her position. So, in router vs mill we can say that the use depends on the woodworker. Both are required in their own way.

Conclusion

CNC routers are built specifically for large workpieces and frequently cut softer materials. They are less stiff than CNC mills due to their huge gantry-style design. CNC routers work well with timber, plastic, Styrofoam, and even aluminum, but their lack of stiffness renders them unreliable when it comes to heavy metals. A CNC milling machine is everything you need if you ever need to work on heavy steel stocks with a small footprint. Both machines are needed, and they have their own place in the world of woodwork.