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Types Of CNC Machine

Types of CNC Machine

Computer Numeric Control (CNC) technology, when integrated with machines, allows users to perform manufacturing movements with increased precision. In addition, these machines also help automate the manufacturing process by reducing the amount of manual labor. Those looking to buy one must familiarize the types of CNC machine tools available. 

These machines offer a wide array of advantages. However, it’s important to know that each type of CNC machine comes with its set of limitations, too. Therefore, understanding how these machines function and what the different types are is essential as it can help you choose the right one for your manufacturing process.

What Is a CNC Machine? 

The term CNC machine refers to a range of equipment shapes such as mills, shapers, slotters, etc. The machines are guided by a tailored computer program allowing them to effectively perform precise cutting maneuvers. 

These machines are capable of automating the industrial manufacturing process by replacing manual labor. The exact functionality may vary among the different types of CNC machine tools. Despite this, these machines generally operate based on an algorithm that directs their movements. Explore our website for more information on Casting Services.

CNC Machine Name List

Before we get into the different types of CNC machines, let’s go over a CNC machine name list. Some of the most common CNC machines include: 

  • Milling machines.
  • Router machines
  • Plasma cutters. 
  • Lathes and turning machines.
  • Laser cutting machines.
  • Electrical discharge machines. 
  • Waterjet cutting machines.
  • Grinding machines. 
  • Drilling machines.

Different Types of CNC Machines

Different types of CNC machines can be classified based on their design and function. So, with that in mind, let’s look at what these different types are and learn more about their function, applicability, and price.

1. Milling Machines

Milling Machines

CNC milling machines come with cutting tools and are used to remove pieces from raw materials, shaping them to desired requirements. The raw material is fixed in a specified location as the high-speed rotating blade shapes it as needed. They can be used to shape different products. This includes:

  • Prototypes.
  • Musical instruments.
  • Cabinets and furniture.

Different types of CNC milling machines come with certain sizes and operational limitations and can only be used for a certain size of materials. They often require certain skills to be used effectively. The cost for these machines can start from $10,000 and may increase over $200,000, whereas the hourly rate may be between $40 to $200. 

2. Router Machines

Router Machines

These machines replace various manual tools and are used to cut shapes and designs on flat surfaces. These types of CNC machine tools are great for workshops, given their ability to cut intricate shapes. Given this, these machines are capable of being used for molding: 

  • Wood furniture.
  • Interior or exterior decorations. 
  • Door carvings. 

However, their high-level noise and dust residue do act as certain limitations for their use. As far as the cost is concerned, prices for router CNC machines can be anywhere between $3,000 to $100,000. 

3. CNC Plasma Cutters

CNC Plasma Cutters

These types of CNC machines use an electrical discharge to ionize the air, allowing them to melt materials into the desired shape. Plasma cutters are capable of delivering highly precise results. Given these capabilities, they can be used for different purposes, including: 

  • Automobile manufacturing.
  • Salvage and scrapping. 
  • Automotive sports. 

Despite their accurate precisions, these machines come with certain limitations. For one, they can only be used to cut metal and conductive alloys. Given that they use an electrical discharge, they can leave visible heat marks on the materials. Plasma cutters generally cost $12,000 to $300,000, and the hourly rate can be around $20. 

4. Lathe Machines

Lathe Machines

Different types of CNC lathe machines work by rotating the material on a central axis and applying cutting tools to it to shape the desired materials. CNC lathe machines can be used for different processes, like sanding and drilling, and have a wide range of applications that include: 

  • Automobile parts.
  • Gun barrels. 
  • Baseball bats. 

Given their speed and precision, these machines are capable of producing finished products much faster. However, these machines are limited to only shaping symmetrical material. Prices for a CNC lathe machine can start at around $15,000, and the hourly rate may be near $40. 

5. Laser Cutting Machines 

Lathe Machines

These types of CNC machines, as the name suggests, use laser beams to cut materials into the desired shape with increased precision. In addition, these cutters don’t face any restrictions in terms of material. Given this, they can be used for a variety of industrial purposes, which include: 

  • Aerospace parts. 
  • Medical equipment. 
  • Engrave materials. 

Despite their advantages, laser cutting machines are limited to a set maximum thickness of the materials and may also require a qualified operator to be used effectively. CNC laser cutting machines generally cost between $5,000 and $300,000, and their hourly rate may start at around $20. 

6. Electrical Discharge Machines 

Electrical Discharge Machines 

These types of CNC machines are similar to plasma cutters. They use an electrical discharge to create two-dimensional cuts on metal sheets. Electrical Discharge Machines (EDMs) can be used for different purposes. Some of their industrial applications include the following: 

  • Prototyping.
  • Die Casting.
  • Creating Injection Molds. 

Like all other types of CNC machines, EDMs also come with certain limitations. These machines can’t be used for materials such as wood, ceramics, or plastic. Additionally, they are slow around the corners, which can negatively affect production and increase costs. Prices start at around $15,000, and hourly rates are around $25. 

7. Waterjet CNC Machines

Waterjet CNC Machines 

This type of CNC machine is one of the most versatile options, as it can be used on almost any material. They use a thin waterjet to make the desired cuts to the materials and are capable of 3D shaping as well. A waterjet CNC machine can be used for various purposes, including: 

  • Mining.
  • Automobile materials.
  • Aerospace materials.

Despite their use cases and versatility, these waterjet CNC machines do have certain limitations. These types of CNC machines are slower than their counterparts and help businesses. If they are used with a low-quality waterjet system, it can damage their components. Prices for water jets start at $50,000, and hourly rates start at $15. 

8. Grinding Machines

Grinding Machines

CNC surface grinders are equipped with rotating ceramic blend grinding wheels. These types of CNC machines are used for sanding, finishing, or polishing purposes. These CNC machines are primarily used for secondary finishing. However, they still have diverse industrial applications in:

  • Automotive parts.
  • High-precision gear. 
  • Medical equipment. 

Although this CNC machine is capable of providing quality finishes, it operates at a slower rate. This keeps the machine from being used to shape materials. In comparison to other CNC machines, these are generally cheaper, and prices for CNC grinders may start at $5,000. Hourly rates, however, may be around $20. 

9. Drilling Machines

Drilling Machines

These types of CNC machines are commonly used in workshops. A CNC drilling machine, as the name suggests, is primarily used for drilling holes. However, it can also be used for additional purposes like secondary assembly and placing screws. A CNC drilling machine can be used in:

  • Automobile manufacturing.
  • Engineering machinery. 
  • Furniture manufacturing. 

CNC drilling machines are quite common in industrial use and, therefore, don’t have any severe limitations. However, a minor limitation here is that these machines can’t be used to drill deep or large holes. As far as price is concerned, CNC drilling machines may cost anywhere around $25,000. 

How to Choose the Best One? 

Choosing the right CNC machine is essential for organizations, as it greatly influences their manufacturing process and productivity. Businesses need to know that this decision depends on various factors. When choosing between brands of CNC machines, you need to consider: 

1. Type of business 

The type of business you’re in is one of the primary factors that you need to consider before choosing a CNC machine. When doing so, you need to analyze your manufacturing facility and production capacity. Explore our website for more information on Machining Services.

2. Spare parts availability 

CNC machines, like any other electronic equipment, can wear out, and different components may get damaged. Such a scenario can negatively affect your business until the CNC machine is fixed. Therefore, you need to consider the availability of spare parts beforehand. 

3. Product requirements 

Before choosing a CNC machine, you need to understand what equipment is required for it to function effectively. For instance, a 3-axis milling machine may be sufficient for simpler items. However, for more complex projects, a 5-axis CNC machine would be needed. 

4. Power consumption

Different types of CNC machines require varying degrees of electricity to function properly. Therefore, you must see the exact electricity machine you plan to use and check if your facility receives the required amount of power. 


CNC machines have become an integral part of the modern-day manufacturing process. They operate based on different types of CNC programming that dictate their movement. These machines aid in shaping raw materials to the desired results and help improve the quality and speed of production.

However, those who plan to acquire a CNC machine for their business must fully comprehend the different Machining Services types of CNC machining and their functionalities. Reading types of CNC machine pdf resources can also help.

In addition, factors like business requirements, power consumption, and the availability of spare parts must be considered before choosing a CNC machine, as they can help make the best decision. For more information on choosing the right CNC machining service for your needs, visit Castings-CN.