How to Use a Wood CNC Router

By Jeremiah Blanchard ; Updated September 15, 2017

A computer numerical control (CNC) router is a device controlled by a computer. This router is typically used for cutting wood and other materials, depending on the cutting tools installed. With a CNC wood router, you can make a precision cut over and over without having to remeasure your wood or angles. Operating a CNC router rather than a traditional router offers the ease of precision just by inputting a few measurements or uploading a template.

Input your specific measurements or upload your predesigned template to the CNC router. A template created in CAD or other drawing program can be uploaded, and the CNC router will automatically set itself to the specifications. Otherwise, you have to manually enter tool specs, speed, paths and cuts into the machine on the X, Y and Z axis-control readout. The X axis moves left to right, the Y axis moves back and forth, and the Z axis moves up and down. Make sure that you've taken the correct measurements on the wood prior to setting the machine.

Attach the cutting bit to the drill head that you need to perform the specific cuts on your wood.

Position the wood on the work table at the axis zero that corresponds to your input measurements. The zero is the starting point for the machine to begin cutting.

Start the vacuum pump. This will secure the wood to the work table at the zero position. Turn on the CNC router and watch closely as the router performs the cuts.

Tip

You can also input or design your work in a CAD program that is directly linked to the CNC router. This enables you to design and make measurements all in one location. As all CNC routers vary slightly in operation, be sure that you read and study the operation manual for your specific CNC router.

Warning

Always wear proper eye and ear protection while operating the router. Keep hands clear of the router while it's running.