Being able to cut wood into various shapes and designs using either a handheld or a table router saves you time compared to carving using a chisel and hammer. However, when you have to carve more than a handful of the same intricate designs onto a block of wood, using any of the two mentioned types of routers can cause you to commit too many mistakes which would then force you to start from square one all over again. Thus, to ensure that each of your wooden pieces gets designed without any human error at all, you’ll want to get yourself a CNC – or computer numerical control – router. But what are CNC routers and how do they work?

  1. A CNC router works very much like a computer printer but with bits to cut designs onto wood instead of ink.

Despite the seemingly complex terminologies surrounding CNC routers at first glance, the very concept as to how it works is so surprisingly simple.

Since you’ve surely printed some documents using a computer printer, a CNC router works much the same way. All you’ll need to do is to follow these two easy steps:

  • Draw whatever design you want to cut on wood using CAD – or computer-aided design – software.
  • Set the coordinates for the cutting tool of the CNC router to follow using CAM – or computer-aided manufacturing – software which then converts them into a numerical control programming language known as G-code that the machine would understand.

Much like handheld and table routers, CNC ones also make use of bits with various profiles to cut onto wood.

  1. Speaking of coordinates, you can cut three-dimensional designs onto wood using a CNC router.


With both handheld and table routers, you can only cut flat engraved or embossed designs based on the length and width of your block of wood.

On the other hand, with a CNC router, you can cut solid designs based on your block of wood’s length, width, and depth.

You’d thus want to use a CNC router for making wooden toys, game pieces, trinkets, souvenirs, and so on.

  1. With a CNC router, you can cut designs onto other raw materials as well.

For all their ease of use, you, unfortunately, can’t cut designs onto raw materials other than wood using either a handheld or table router unless you want to damage your entire cutting machine. But with a CNC router, you can cut onto other surfaces made of plastic, metal, or foam, to name but a few.


CNC routers typically cost from as low as $5,000 to as high as $150,000. You might initially balk at those prices which is forgivable. But considering the time that you’ll save by entrusting all the woodcutting work to a machine, investing in a CNC router like the ones at Cancam – can help you appreciate your chosen hobby more and perhaps even turn it into a profitable business anytime soon. Are you going to buy a CNC router?