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14 Best DIY CNC Router Kits in 2019

Picture of Frederik Bedrich
by Frederik Bedrich
Jan 1, 2019

A tinkerers biggest dream is a desktop CNC router at home, isn't it? Check out our 2019 buyer's guide to the 14 best DIY CNC router kits you can buy right now.

We’re all about the 3D printers here at All3DP, but in the “desktop” and maker space, there’s a wealth of other machinery that uses the same principle of guiding a tool head across several axes that are worthy of attention.

CNC mills and routers are two such subsets of tools, distinct in their regard for specific purposes. Ideal for precisely cutting through or into woods, metals and other materials, the CNC mill and CNC router are popular tools, but typically they come at a cost.

Helping alleviate this is the DIY CNC kit, condensing down the CNC mill and CNC router into flat pack projects that result in high-quality tools fit for carving and cutting in relatively little time.

Here we summarize the differences between the two and present 14 of the top DIY CNC router kits on the market today (ordered by price).

Editor's Choice
Product image of Carbide 3D Shapeoko 3 CNC Router Kit

Learn more

Shapeoko (XL/XXL)

Hackable and coming with a large work area out of the box - especially the XXL version - the Shapeoko is a versatile CNC router.

14 Best DIY CNC Router Kits in 2019

CNC Router Materials up to Work area (mm) Includes spindle Price Check Price
Sainsmart Genmitsu CNC 3018 Woods, plastics, PCB, Aluminum, 300 x 180 x 45 Yes $249.90
V1 Engineering Lowrider2 CNC Woods, plastics Custom No From $326
Maker Made CNC Maslow CNC Woods, plastics 2438 x 1219 No $499
MillRight CNC M3 Starter Kit Woods, plastics, foam, carbon fiber, PCB, soft metals 260 x 260 x 50 Yes From $499
Sienci Mill One V3 Wood, plastics, foam, PCB, soft metals 258 x 185 x 76 No (optional) From $539 CAD
BobsCNC E3 CNC Router Engraver Kit Woods, plastics 450 x 390 x 85 Yes $678
Next3D NANO PMF80 Woods, plastics, PCB, soft metals 165 x 295 x 80 No From $803.85
Stepcraft D-Series Woods, plastics, soft metals From 210 x 210 x 40 No From $999
Carbide 3D Shapeoko Woods, plastics, soft metals From 406 x 406 x 76 No (optional) From $1,099
Inventables X-Carve Woods, plastics, foam, PCB, soft metals From 300 x 300 x 65 Yes From $1,303.12
Ooznest Workbee Woods, plastics, Aluminum From 550 x 520 No (optional) From £1,195 (approx. $1,500)
BuildYourCNC blueChick Woods, plastics 305 x 914 x 76 No (optional) From $1,739
MillRight CNC Power Router Woods, plastics, metal 635 x 635 x 127 No (optional) From $2,795
CNC Router Parts Pro CNC Router Kit -- From 1245 x 610 x 203 No From $3,500

DIY CNC Router Kit Buyer's Guide Sainsmart Genmitsu CNC 3018

Image of DIY CNC Router Kit Buyer's Guide: Sainsmart Genmitsu CNC 3018
  • Materials up to Woods, plastics, PCB, Aluminum,
  • Work area (mm) 300 x 180 x 45
  • Size of the machine (mm) 330 x 400 x 240
  • Includes spindle Yes
  • Price $249.90
  • Check Price

The cheapest DIY CNC kit to feature on this list, Sainsmart’s Genmitsu CNC 3018 boasts a comfortable work volume of 300 x 180 mm (from which the 3018 of its name derives) plus a Z-axis depth of 45 mm.

Ideal for those looking to dip their toes into CNC without sacrificing a lot of money, the Genmitsu CNC 3018 is built on the Open Source Arduino platform, using Grbl (also Open Source) for reading G-code and motion control. Suitable for softer materials, expect a cheap and cheerful machine to get acquainted with the principles and inner workings of a CNC machine.

An open aluminum extrusion frame and easily accessible electronics make the Genmitsu ripe for tinkering, which may be a necessity with the lack of end stops – should you want to engrave up to the limit of that work volume.

Product image of Sainsmart Genmitsu CNC 3018 Router Kit

Sainsmart Genmitsu CNC 3018

DIY CNC Router Kit Buyer's Guide V1 Engineering Lowrider2 CNC

Image of DIY CNC Router Kit Buyer's Guide: V1 Engineering Lowrider2 CNC
  • Materials up to Woods, plastics
  • Work area (mm) Custom
  • Size of the machine (mm) Custom
  • Includes spindle No
  • Price From $326

Possibly the most DIY of CNC kits to grace this list, the Lowrider is a full-sheet capable CNC router that, uniquely among the items on this list, heavily features 3D printed parts.

An evolution of the Mostly Printed Computer Numerical Control (MPCNC), the Lowrider achieves better rigidity while cutting the number of parts and, subsequently, cost over its predecessor.

In its most complete form, the Lowrider is available as a parts bundle containing the vitamins and electronics required to create this motion system. Separately, you will need to source a spindle, steel rails, plus cut MDF and 3D print the parts required to hold it all together.

Spendthrifts out there can take this further with just the bill of materials and locally source every single piece.

In return for all that effort, you get a CNC router with a large cutting area with a Y-axis that is only bound by your table length.

And best of all, building the Lowrider from scratch can total out at under $500. A complete project of a DIY CNC kit, this is perhaps best left to experienced hobbyists, rather than complete beginners.

See more on the V1Engineering website.

DIY CNC Router Kit Buyer's Guide Maker Made CNC Maslow CNC

Image of DIY CNC Router Kit Buyer's Guide: Maker Made CNC Maslow CNC
  • Materials up to Woods, plastics
  • Work area (mm) 2438 x 1219
  • Size of the machine (mm) Approx. 3048 x 482 x 2133
  • Includes spindle No
  • Price $499

Maslow is an open source project centered around the build large CNC machine capable of cutting large flat materials at up to 8′ x 4′ (that’s 2438 x 1219 mm). Pretty big – bigger than every stock machine on this list, even.

The secret — well, we suppose it’s no secret since the entire thing is open source and community driven — is that the Maslow stands vertically, condensing its large work area into a comparatively tiny footprint some 300 mm deep and approximately 3 meters wide.

The machine itself works with the router suspended on the surface of your cutting material, with motor driven chains affixed to a rail atop the Maslow’s easel-like frame moving the cutting action.

It’s a unique beast and one that is completely community driven thanks to the Maslow Community Garden forum, where users publish their projects for others to use, expand and improve.

As best we can tell, the only place to acquire a kit is at Maker Made CNC, which produces batches of approved kits to the original Maslow design. At $499, it’s perhaps the best bang for buck for those looking to make large pieces.

See more on the Maker Made CNC website.

DIY CNC Router Kit Buyer's Guide MillRight CNC M3 Starter Kit

Image of DIY CNC Router Kit Buyer's Guide: MillRight CNC M3 Starter Kit
  • Materials up to Woods, plastics, foam, carbon fiber, PCB, soft metals
  • Work area (mm) 260 x 260 x 50
  • Size of the machine (mm) 480 x 480 x 430
  • Includes spindle Yes
  • Price From $499

This CNC router kit is a stunner with its low price and high quality results. The frame is laser cut plastic, but all the connecting and bearing areas are reinforced with steel. The tool is clamped in aluminum and driven in X- and Z- axes while the cut plate moves Y. The kit includes the complete controller board and uses Autodesk’s free Fusion 360 as controlling software.

The DIY CNC router kit comes with a ll  you need to get cutting right out of the box, and starts at $499. Extras like homing switches and further frame reinforcement packages can be configured into your kit or purchased later as extras.

Naturally, as a kit this DIY CNC router comes in parts and must be assembled by yourself, but MillRight’s customer service has proven as highly competent in many cases, should you run into any problems.

You can buy the M3 Kit bundle on MillRight’s website.

DIY CNC Router Kit Buyer's Guide Sienci Mill One V3

Image of DIY CNC Router Kit Buyer's Guide: Sienci Mill One V3
  • Materials up to Wood, plastics, foam, PCB, soft metals
  • Work area (mm) 258 x 185 x 76
  • Size of the machine (mm) 430 x 430 x 300
  • Includes spindle No (optional)
  • Price From $539 CAD

Another entry-level machine that balances affordability with capability, the Sienci Mill One V3 comes as a nuts and bolts kit, with plug and play electronics, pre-cut MDF walls that double as the frame, and convenient carry-handles, because why not.

Of particular note, is the Sienci Mill One V3’s operation via the company’s CAMLab web app. Based on Kiri:Moto, the Javascript-based slicer, using CAMLab is as simple as connecting via USB to your Mill One and logging on the CAMLab url. There you can import files, configure dimensions, cutting tool and some other parameters before piping the job directly to the machine.

The working area is modest when held against the other machines on this list, but for an accessible entry point to CNC routing the Mill One is hard to beat.

Oh, and it’s completely open source, too, meaning you can grab the bill of materials, STLs to 3D print parts, initialization information, and other bits and pieces needed to build your own from scratch form the Sienci website.

See more on the Sienci website.

DIY CNC Router Kit Buyer's Guide BobsCNC E3 CNC Router Engraver Kit

Image of DIY CNC Router Kit Buyer's Guide: BobsCNC E3 CNC Router Engraver Kit
  • Materials up to Woods, plastics
  • Work area (mm) 450 x 390 x 85
  • Size of the machine (mm) 635 x 635 x 483
  • Includes spindle Yes
  • Price $678

This laser-cut wooden DIY CNC router kit is a complete set; it comes with a milling motor, software, and electronics. It is great for engraving and cutting wooden or plastic objects. The frame comprises laser-cut plywood, with the tool head running on belts, so do not expect the highest accuracy.

Considering the price, large work space and the inclusion of a milling motor, the E3 it is a great first kit for those looking to get their feet wet in DIY CNC engraving and cutting.

Product image of BobsCNC E3 CNC Router Engraver Kit

BobsCNC E3 CNC Router Engraver Kit

DIY CNC Router Kit Buyer's Guide Next3D NANO PMF80

Image of DIY CNC Router Kit Buyer's Guide: Next3D NANO PMF80
  • Materials up to Woods, plastics, PCB, soft metals
  • Work area (mm) 165 x 295 x 80
  • Size of the machine (mm) 290 x 470 x 300
  • Includes spindle No
  • Price From $803.85

This small and compact DIY CNC router kit offers great small-scale work for modest price. It does not include a milling motor, but it has ball bearing-mounted precision spindles for quick runs and a repeat accuracy of 0,03 mm.

It comes with LinuxCNC included, but can also be controlled with CNC Studio, WinPC-NC, and many other programs. The T-Nut work plate allows the attachment of clamps. It is suitable for machining soft materials, electronic circuit boards and small-scale work on non-ferrous metals.

Find more information about this CNC kit: GoCNC

DIY CNC Router Kit Buyer's Guide Stepcraft D-Series

Image of DIY CNC Router Kit Buyer's Guide: Stepcraft D-Series
  • Materials up to Woods, plastics, soft metals
  • Work area (mm) From 210 x 210 x 40
  • Size of the machine (mm) From 340 x 345 x 350
  • Includes spindle No
  • Price From $999

Originally launched on Kickstarter, Stepcraft has burgeoned into one of the first names in modular CNCmachines, offering a variety of DIY CNC kits and ready-to-run machines out of its base in Germany. The Stepcraft D-Series is one such kit, coming in 5 different sizes to suit different workshop spaces. It is one of the cheaper, lighter and smallest CNC routers on this list.

The series comes as a complete set albeit with one pretty important omission — the milling motor itself, so you‘ll have to procure a compatible motor yourself (Stepcraft also produces them). The Stepcraft D-Series comes with control software for Windows, has end stops on all axis and a big red emergency stop button.

This DIY machine is great for engraving and working with softer materials. It can even cut 10mm aluminum sheets.

For more information and to buy, visit Stepcraft.us

Editor's Joice DIY CNC Router Kit Buyer's Guide Carbide 3D Shapeoko

Image of DIY CNC Router Kit Buyer's Guide: Carbide 3D Shapeoko
  • Materials up to Woods, plastics, soft metals
  • Work area (mm) From 406 x 406 x 76
  • Size of the machine (mm) From 721 x 605 x 391
  • Includes spindle No (optional)
  • Price From $1,099
  • Check Price

Featuring a larger work area than its desktop mill predecessor, the Nomad 338 Pro, the Carbide 3D Shapeoko is all about versatility.

Compatible with a wide array of router bits and eminently hackable, it’s DIY CNC router kit for restless makers. Depending on where you purchase the Shapeoko 3, the kit includes either a  DeWalt 611 or Makita router to power the cutting, making the machine capable of carving out woods, plastics, and Aluminum.

Carbide’s own Carbide Create and Carbide Motion software make working with the Shapeoko a breeze, allowing for maximum creativity across the machine’s 406 x 406mm work area.

XL and XXL versions are available, with work areas of 406 x 838mm and 838 x 838mm respectively.

Shapeoko (XL/XXL)

DIY CNC Router Kit Buyer's Guide Inventables X-Carve

Image of DIY CNC Router Kit Buyer's Guide: Inventables X-Carve
  • Materials up to Woods, plastics, foam, PCB, soft metals
  • Work area (mm) From 300 x 300 x 65
  • Size of the machine (mm) 750 x 500 x --
  • Includes spindle Yes
  • Price From $1,303.12
  • Check Price

Boasting a large work area, the Inventables X-Carve is geared toward signage and other larger objects. It comes with its own software and has a thriving community around it. When buying this CNC router kit you can configure it to suit your particular usage.

The basic machine starts at $999 and comes with a machine head, toolkit, clamps, and electronics all wrapped around a 500 x 500mm work area. The axis is driven by belts and the machine is mounted on a wooden board. Due to its low cost and configurability, the Inventables X-Carve is a great DIY CNC router kit if you’re just getting started with the tech.

Product image of Inventables X-Carve

Inventables X-Carve

DIY CNC Router Kit Buyer's Guide Ooznest Workbee

Image of DIY CNC Router Kit Buyer's Guide: Ooznest Workbee
  • Materials up to Woods, plastics, Aluminum
  • Work area (mm) From 550 x 520
  • Size of the machine (mm) From 750 x 750
  • Includes spindle No (optional)
  • Price From £1,195 (approx. $1,500)

Fully open source, the Ooznest WorkBee is the product of UK-based Ryan Lock and his CNC machine and accessory store, Ooznest.

An evolution of the OpenBuilds Ox, an open source CNC machine that Ooznest sold and improved upon over time, the Workbee is it’s own new machine that filters back into the open source community (an OpenBuilds variant is even available on the OpenBuilds store).

C-beam linear rails shield the motion systems from cutting debris, and a highly configurable design that accommodates switching from lead screw to belts — letting you scale up to over 1000 mm builds.

Recently upgraded to include a Duet 32bit controller, the popular Workbee is now capable of wider connectivity, optimized motion control resulting in smoother and quieter operation, plus futureproofing for upcoming functionality-adding updates; overall a sturdy machine that blends quality of life with flexibility.

Visit Ooznest to learn more.

DIY CNC Router Kit Buyer's Guide BuildYourCNC blueChick

Image of DIY CNC Router Kit Buyer's Guide: BuildYourCNC blueChick
  • Materials up to Woods, plastics
  • Work area (mm) 305 x 914 x 76
  • Size of the machine (mm) 610 x 1295 x 560
  • Includes spindle No (optional)
  • Price From $1,739

The consensus for this DIY CNC router kit appears to mostly be positive, indicating it is great for milling chipboard and plastics. You can also lengthen the cutting space as the driving motor sits in the gantry. Furthermore, the tooling clamp offers a free spot for installing a CO2 laser head, allowing for laser cutting across the blueChick’s generous 305 x 914 x 76 mm work area.

Made from wood and constantly improved upon to add to the stability and sturdiness of the machine, the blueChick is currently on version 4.2., a revision improving the arrangement, drive method and structure.

You can buy and find more information on the BuildYourCNC website.

DIY CNC Router Kit Buyer's Guide MillRight CNC Power Router

Image of DIY CNC Router Kit Buyer's Guide: MillRight CNC Power Router
  • Materials up to Woods, plastics, metal
  • Work area (mm) 635 x 635 x 127
  • Size of the machine (mm) --
  • Includes spindle No (optional)
  • Price From $2,795

This powerful full Aluminum router is MillRight’s top spec machine. The router tool is mounted with precision ball screws on two axles for extra stiffness. In addition a stainless steel bearing shaft in combination with a high torque stepper motor is used to move to tool. The aluminum bed accommodates clamps and, due to the overall stiffness of the machine, it can also manage short cuts into steel.

The kit includes complete controls, homing switches and an emergency stop switch. Jobs on this DIY CNC router are controlled through Autodesk’s free Fusion 360 software. At the time of writing MillRight only ships to the contiguous 48 US, but you can contact them to discuss other shipping locations.

You can find more information on MillRight’s website.

DIY CNC Router Kit Buyer's Guide CNC Router Parts Pro CNC Router Kit

Image of DIY CNC Router Kit Buyer's Guide: CNC Router Parts Pro CNC Router Kit
  • Materials up to --
  • Work area (mm) From 1245 x 610 x 203
  • Size of the machine (mm) From 1788 x 1092 x 889
  • Includes spindle No
  • Price From $3,500

The Pro Version of CNC Router Parts milling machines start with a compact and space saving design, that is subsequently configurable to offer a huge work space. It is designed with a bearing mounted Z spindle. The X- and Y- axis, however, are rack and pinion driven which lowers the overall accuracy, especially for larger builds. Its manufacturer promises however the milling of aluminum alloys.

The Pro kit comes with end stops for all axes, but no CNC control software, machine head nor electronics. The electronic solution is available prebuilt for $1,500 or as a kit for $765. It is mostly used for larger wood builds or foam.

Find more information about this CNC kit: CNC Router Parts

CNC Mill & CNC Router: What's the Difference?

The CNC mill and CNC router are terms often used interchangeably. In actuality, they are two distinct machines with specific purposes.

DIY CNC Router Kit Buyer's Guide CNC Router

A CNC router is mostly used for cutting wood, plastic, model foam or other soft materials. With some routers you can also machine aluminum, but this is mostly for engraving purpose.

The spindle of a CNC router can rotate up to 20,000 Rpm, a necessity in order to experience low torque when cutting into the material. Typically the frame and bearings of a CNC router are not configured for high stiffness. The upside of this high-speed low torque cutting is that a CNC router can do its work quickly, compared to slow CNC mills.

Another benefit of the CNC router is that they broadly tend to offer more working space in the X- and Y- axes, with a shallow Z-axis movement when  compared to the CNC mill.

Despite being generally less stiff than a CNC mill, the stiffness and quality of a CNC router depends on the price tag.  You can pick up a good CNC router with tools for less than $800.

DIY CNC Router Kit Buyer's Guide CNC Mill

Perhaps the most noticable difference between the CNC mill and CNC router is cost. A decent CNC mill can costs in the range of $10,000, and that’s before factoring in maintenance and tools.

The upside of such an expensive machine however, is that a CNC mill is capable of machining all kinds of metals such as (cast) steel, aluminum alloys and precious metals.

To do so, the spindle of a CNC mill runs at around 1,000 Rpm — much slower than a CNC router. Paired with a stiff frame and sturdy bearings, it’s possible to precisely cut to a tenth of a millimeter, though this of course depends on the quality of your tools, talent and machine.

Did we miss one? Let us know in the comments below!

License: The text of "14 Best DIY CNC Router Kits in 2019" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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