Is a Milling Machine a Router?

Jun. 15, 2022

CNC machining has become an increasingly popular form of manufacturing in recent years, with the key benefits of providing greater efficiency, capacity, and reduced waste on the shop floor. As a result of this growing popularity, we have seen several different types of CNC machines being developed, each with its own unique features and benefits.


Among the most popular are CNC routers and CNC milling machines - also known as CNC mills. Below is a breakdown of the tasks that CNC machines are typically used for and the main differences that exist between CNC routers and CNC milling machines.

 Modules and Tools

 Modules and Tools

What is a CNC machine?

A CNC machine is a computer-controlled mechanism that automatically moves a tool around a workpiece on a series of axes to perform a cut. All CNC machines use subtractive manufacturing to create the final product, meaning they work by removing material from an existing part rather than adding material to it.


Movement speed, rotation speed, and type of movement are all factors that are programmed to help determine the details of the cut to be made using a CNC machine. While routers and milling machines both offer extremely high levels of accuracy, there are some differences you should be aware of. 

1.8KW milling router is suitable for BK \BK2\BK3High Speed Digital Cutting Machine, TK4S Large Format Cutting System.

1.8kw Milling Router

 1.8kw Milling Router

CNC engraving machines

The CNC router is considered a fairly common tool used in modern machine shops and its main purpose is to cut softer materials such as wood, plastic, acrylics, foam, and certain softer metals. It is usually mounted on a fixed table with a larger working space and its spindle can be moved along three axes (X, Y, and Z).


In contrast to CNC routers, CNC engravers are primarily designed to run at high speeds, using rotational speed as the driving force for cutting. Although routers typically have three axes, variants with 4-6 axes are also available, making them ideal for more complex projects.


CNC router highlights.

For cutting softer materials such as wood, plastic, and foam

Mounted on a fixed table with more working space

Spindle with movement along X, Y, and Z axes

High-speed operation

Cuts using rotary speed

Makes 3D cutting easier

TK4S Large Format Cutting System

TK4S  Large Format Cutting System       

CNC milling machines

In most cases, CNC routers can perform essentially the same functions as CNC routers, but with some key differences. While a router is primarily used for softer materials, a milling cutter is typically used to cut metal and harder materials. It uses a rotary cutting tool similar to a router, but the router runs at a much slower speed.


Instead of using a fixed table, many CNC milling machines move in an XY configuration, with the spindle moving on a linear axis above the workpiece. This provides greater clearance along the Z-axis and allows the milling cutter to perform thicker cuts, as the cutter uses torque rather than speed to make the cut.


CNC milling machine highlights.

For cutting metal and harder materials

Runs slower than CNC routers

Moves in an XY configuration

The spindle moves along a linear axis above the workpiece to increase clearance along the Z-axis

Ability to make thicker cuts

Uses higher torque for cutting

Based on technological innovation, IECHO provides professional products and technical services to more than 10 industries including Garment, Automotive, Upholstery, Signs, Packaging, and Luggage. IECHO empowers the transformation and upgrading of enterprises and promotes users to create an excellent value. If you want to know more information about the IECHO digital cutting system for sale, welcome to contact us.

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