|CNC Configurations: Milling Machine vs. Router:|
the difference between a CNC milling machine and CNC router?
Both do essentially the same thing: move a rotating cutter in X,
Y and Z relative to your workpiece. The main difference is in
which parts of the machine move, and which parts are stationary.
|- A router configuration typically has your workpiece mounted on
a stationary table, and the spindle is mounted on an X-Y-Z gantry. Usually
the Y-axis moves relative to the fixed table, the X-axis moves relative
to the Y-axis, and the Z-axis moves relative to the X axis. The clearance between the gantry and table is typically only a few inches. This
configuration lends itself doing shallow cuts in very large flat
workpieces. Also, the large dimensions of the gantry make it
difficult to maintain stiffness.|
- Large X-Y workspace
- Small Z clearance and range of motion
- Mostly for working with flat stock
- Clamping via thru-hole screws or hold-down clamps (rarely room for a vise)
other consideration in choosing a configuration is ease of use.
Having parts (and tooling) just barely fit within the Z clearance
can be very inconvenient to work with. Being able to lift the
spindle well clear of your work, or being able to test a CNC program by
carving in the air above your part can make life much easier.
Also because the Lobo CNC machine has actual handwheels you can
turn (in addition to the CNC motion) the milling machine configuration
keeps the handwheels within easy reach. It's these little things
that can make a machine a joy to use.
|- A milling machine configuration
typically has your workpiece mounted on
an X-Y table, and spindle moves on a linear axis above the workpiece.
This configuration usually has much more clearance between the
spindle and table, giving you room to reach in for deeper cuts and to
use longer tooling. The structure also tends to be stiffer.
The main drawback is the size of your workpiece is limited.|
- Limited X-Y workspace
- Larger Z clearance and range of motion
- Better for machining irregular shaped objects
- Option of using a drill-press type vice eases workpiece clamping