Be it wood, metal, or plastic, whatever material you work with, doing everything by hand will eventually take its toll. A lot of people don’t realize how physically intensive craftwork can be. The sheer number of labor hours you have to put in to do a good job can really eat into your profit margin.
Worse still, working yourself to the bone doing repetitive physical tasks can leave you with debilitating medical issues, and we’re not just talking about repetitive strain, but incurable ailments such as early-onset arthritis. A CNC router table can ease the burden, but they’re complicated machines and it can be hard to know where to start.
Not to worry, though. We’ve put in the research hours and composed a list of the 7 best 4×8 CNC machines in the business. Able to accommodate full-size sheets of plywood and metal, they can accomplish what would otherwise take hours, in minutes. All it takes is a few taps on the control unit and you’re off!
Let’s get straight to it and check out our favorite CNC routers you can buy.
Top 7 Best 4×8 CNC Routers
Our Favorite 4×8 CNC Router
Maslow CNC Jumpstart Kit
This Maslow CNC Jumpstart Kit is the best way to kick-start your machine-automated production as fast as possible. Arriving with an exceedingly well-put-together, comprehensive instruction manual, setup only takes a few hours. The inclusion of a router bit and pre-cut sled means that you can get crafty as soon as it’s up and running.
The first thing you’ll notice about this groundbreaking Maslow design is the upright orientation. Rather than standing like a table with a horizontal workspace, your project is mounted in a near-vertical manner, saving you tons of usable workshop space.
Not one to rest on their laurels, Maslow hasn’t stopped trying to streamline their design, evidenced by the inclusion of an aluminum extruded Z-axis and an improved motor capable of faster cut and traverse speeds.
This addition of the Z-axis means you no longer have to interrupt your workflow to manually alter the cut depth for certain parts of your project, sending your productivity and profit margins through the roof.
Connecting up to your computer via USB, you can easily dial-in instructions for new projects or for a bit of practice, you can even try out one of the free projects preloaded on the included flash drive.
- Easy of Assembly – Great instructions and simple design mean assembly takes just a few hours.
- Z-Axis – Eliminates need to alter cut depth manually.
- Vertical Orientation – Takes up far less space than a traditional table-style CNC router.
- Improved Motor – Get your projects finished faster.
- Price – It’s a fraction of the cost of table-style CNC routers.
- Maker-Assembled – It’s easy to assemble, but you’re on your own.
- Power – It’s not an industrial standard machine, so it has its limits.
Our Runner-up 4×8 CNC Router
Maslow CNC Basic Kit
This Maker Made CNC router is the ultimate budget option for the hobbyist workshop. It’s classed as a basic bundle, so you may have to make some extra purchases before it’s fully functional, namely, a sled and router bit.
Much like our top Maslow pick, it’s an upright CNC machine, making it one of the most space-friendly options on the market. It’ll fit snug against a wall, well out of the way of all your other hardware, giving you plenty of space to breathe or bring even more hardware into the equation.
Improved upon the classic Maslow CNC design, thanks to the addition of the Z-Axis, you no longer have to alter cut depth manually, mid-project. It can all be automated, speeding up production exponentially.
Featuring more or less the same instruction manual as the Maslow Jumpstart kit, assembly is a breeze. We’d recommend setting aside around 3-4 hours for completion.
Our one caveat is that the casing on the PCB blocks the port you need to fully connect all the necessary wiring, so you’ll need to do some light drilling to expose it. Besides that, this is a truly epic CNC router.
- Vertical Orientation – Takes up very little floor space.
- Z-Axis – No more halting the project to alter cut depth.
- Price – Best value for money 4×8 router on the market.
- Improved Motor – Swift cut and traverse speed.
- Blocked PCB Port – You’ll may have to cut or drill a hole in the plastic shield to expose the correct port.
- Power – This isn’t a mass-production machine.
- Maker Assembled – It’s up to you to get this router up and running.
More Great 4×8 CNC Routers
BobsCNC Evolution 4 CNC 4×8 Router Kit
The Evolution 4 is a horizontal CNC machine, so it has a decidedly larger footprint than the Maslow, but if you’ve got the space, it’s an awesome mid-level router capable of taking your production rates and creativity to whole new levels.
Crafted from birch, a strong yet lightweight wood, even when fully assembled the frame is highly manageable but secure enough to survive an impact or two.
The Z-axis is something special. Utilizing an Acme, rather than a threaded rod, Z-axis turbulence is vastly reduced when compared to BobsCNC’s first E4 model. The Z-axis also features a self-lubricating Delrin Acme nut, reducing maintenance times.
Compatible with Dewalt 6-11 (16-27K RPM) or the Makita RT0701C (10-30K RPM) spindles, you’re capable of taking on a wide range of large-scale, challenging projects, and all for a fraction of the cost of a standard CNC machine.
The Nema 17 Stepper isn’t the most powerful motor in the world, but it’s perfect for small to mid-sized CNC routers in non-commercial environments. It’s speedy, it’s quiet, it gets the job done!
- Birch Frame – Strong and lightweight.
- Advanced Z-Axis – Low wobble design allows ultimate precision and requires less maintenance.
- Price – Costs more than our top two picks, but it’s still a bargain.
- Running Volume – Nema 17 is a very quiet motor.
- Comprehensive Instructions – Assembly can take upward of a day, but it’s not a difficult process.
- Power and Stability – Not for a production worker.
- Maker Assembled – Build can be fun, but it’s a lot of work.
Next Wave HD500 CNC Router
Here’s an awesome CNC router that arrives fully assembled. You don’t need to build anything. Simply find it room on a desktop, connect it up to your computer, and voilà! You’re good to go.
Built into a sturdy metal frame with a steel-reinforced gantry and extruded aluminum router mount, this machine is designed to run with incredibly powerful spindles such as the Dewalt 618, PC 890, or Bosch 1617. So, if you need to significantly step up production in your shop, the HD500 is a fantastic way of doing so.
Controlled by the Shark touchscreen pendant interface, or for more advanced customization, your computer via USB-C 2.0, you can let your creativity run wild; the sky’s the limit.
Whether your project involves a quick cut or intricate, user-defined engravings, Shark’s patented Virtual Zero Unlimited software has the tools you need to complete the task with finesse.!
- Durability – This thing is built like a tank.
- Versatility – Great for both hobbyist workshops and the production line.
- Pre-Assembled – No puzzling over a thousand nuts and bolts with the HD500.
- Dual-Control – Use the pendant control or hook it up directly to your computer.
- Virtual Zero Unlimited – This is some of the best CNC software available.
- Price – You’re getting into big bucks territory with the HD500.
- Weight – This thing weighs over 5 stone.
Axiom Precision Elite Series 4×8 CNC Router
The Axiom Precision Elite is the be-all-end-all of modern CNC routers. Loaded with the most advanced CNC technologies we as a species currently have, it’s an absolute monster of a machine.
Boasting an insane cut speed of up to 320 IPM, you can storm through projects quicker than ever, and with a repeatability of 0.05mm, you’re capable of producing highly accurate replica components.
The Elite also allows you to work on a much wider selection of material sizes. For example, most CNC routers are designed to work on sheet materials, but the Elite has an 8” Z-axis for hyper-deep cutting and engraving.
Arriving with all the bells and whistles securely in place, you don’t need to combine this purchase with a single thing. It has its own steel frame support, primed to handle the most challenging shop environment.
It comes with a quiet-function, 3 HP, water-cooled spindle, capable of working non-stop for upward of 4 hours. Controlled remotely via the Richauto B58 interface you don’t even need a computer onsite. The Elite is a one-stop CNC masterpiece!
- Complete Machine – You don’t need to build anything, you don’t need a spindle, you don’t even need a table.
- 320 IPM Water-Cooled Spindle – This thing is super fast, highly accurate, and can work for ages uninterrupted.
- 8” Z-Axis – Work on thicker materials.
- Durability and Power – Suitable for the most rigorous production environments.
- Price – You may want to sit down before checking the price on this router.
- Suitability – The Elite is way beyond hobbyist level functionality.
MillRight CNC Carve King 2 Kit
You need only look as far as the 2-week lead time on orders to realize how amazing the Carve King 2 is, but should you want to learn more, prepare to be impressed.
This aluminum-framed, desktop CNC marvel is built for optimal rigidity allowing the advanced electronics and the Nema 17 motor to optimize cut and traverse speeds without sacrificing precision.
As the Carve King 2 includes a Makita 1.25 HP RT0701C router, as soon as it’s assembled, you can fire it up and get started. Speaking of assembly, the frame has been redesigned to make the build as intuitive as possible. Most users claim to have completed the installation in under 6 hours.
Utilizing V-channel rails and Actron double shielded bearings, the rail system is as secure as they come, ensuring you get years of silky smooth, ultra-accurate cutting action, no matter how busy your shop schedule becomes.
It’s air-cooled, so we’d recommend keeping running times well under 4 hours at a time, but you’ll be amazed how much you can get done in 10 minutes with this thing, let alone a couple of hours.
- Highly Rigid Frame and Rails – Less turbulence boosts precision and allows faster cut and traverse speeds.
- Price – Great price for a full hardware kit.
- Assembly – User-friendly frame design is optimized for an easy setup.
- Durability – This thing can really roll with the punches.
- Air-Cooled – Liquid cooling would improve productivity.
- Maker Assembled – 6 hours of elbow grease, and you’ve got yourself a CNC router.
DMS Freedom 8 CNC Router
Should you be looking to kit your factory out with a new, top-of-the-range CNC router capable of churning out hyper-accurate projects at break-neck speed, your search is well and truly over.
Arriving with a Fagor 8070 OL industrial controller with a 17” LCD color display, this router is a dream come true for the advanced craftsperson. It makes dialing in your projects and customizing design on the fly an absolute joy.
The Freedom 8 sits on an industrial-grade steel frame, so even if it takes a knock mid-project, the disturbance won’t inhibit the accuracy of the 10 HP Hiteco electro spindle.
What’s more, each axis has its own industrial Fagor servo motor and amplifier, making the Freedom 8 a true powerhouse of CNC design. This multi-motor axis architecture amounts to a feed rate of a whopping 1400 inches per minute, and thanks to the 12” Z-axis, you can work on much thicker materials than the average router can accommodate.
As there are many customizable options to choose from when purchasing the Freedom 8, they’re built per order, so you’ll be waiting a good 4-6 weeks, but if you have the patience and the capital, you won’t regret bringing this router into the fold.
- 1400” Per Second Feed Rate – Gets the job done faster than ever.
- Industrial-Grade Steel Frame – A train could hit this thing and there wouldn’t be a cut out of place.
- 12” Z-Axis – Cut or engrave deeper into large materials.
- Ethernet TCP/IP – Zero-latency instruction communication via network connection.
- Dust Collection – Comes with a dust collection hood and a choice between a 5, 10, or 15 HP vacuum pump.
- Price – We’re talking tens of thousands, folks, so it might be time to smash that piggy bank.
- Suitability – This is an incredibly high-grade CNC super router. It’s only really suitable for the most advanced workshops or an industrial workflow.
- Manual Lubrication – For a CNC router of this cost, we’d prefer a self-lubricating system
Before you make your final decision, it’s important that you understand a few key things about CNC router machines. The last thing you need is to accidentally purchase one of these expensive bits of gear and upon its arrival realize it’s not fit for purpose.
The capacity of a CNC machine refers to the size of the table. This is the working area of the router and defines the scale of the projects you can undertake. If you often work with sizable pieces of material, you’ll need a larger capacity table.
In this article, we’re focusing on 4×8 CNC routers, meaning they all have 4 foot wide and 8 foot long tables. Often referred to as 1325 or 4896 routers, they arrive at an intersection of affordability and size.
4×8 is large enough to fit full sheets of plywood, making it a highly versatile scale with a myriad of applications in both small shops and industrial environments.
Machine Size and Weight
Even though all our listed routers feature 4×8 dimensions, that’s not to say they’re all the same size machines. On the contrary, their overall footprint can differ greatly from one router to the next.
Machine size is arguably even more important than the workstation capacity because if you can’t fit through your workshop doors, it’s useless to you.
Another consideration is the weight of a prospective CNC router. No CNC router of this capacity is particularly light, but you’d be surprised at just how much more some weigh than others. Some of these things can weigh upward of a ton.
You need to ensure that 1. You’ll be able to get it into your workshop, and 2. your workshop can shoulder the weight. Workshops in large sheds with elevated wooden flooring may struggle.
There is no universal power requirement for CNC routers, even ones with the same 4×8 table. Their pull depends on a number of factors such as the horsepower of the router, the kind of motor the spindle uses, and so on.
You can find 4×8 CNC routers that get all the juice they need from a standard 110v household socket, and then there are others at the opposite end of the spectrum that needs full-blown 220v 3-phase power sockets to properly function.
It’s likely you already have between 110v and 220v outlets in your workshop, but 3-phase power is normally found exclusively in industrial environments; however, they’re not impossible to run in more of an enthusiast environment. Sometimes a 3-phase power adapter will come part and parcel with a CNC router, but a machine this powerful is going to cost a pretty penny to run.
No companies necessarily make bad CNC routers. It wouldn’t make sense to skimp on quality with such a machine. That said, as you can tell from the price range of our listed models, some are built to handle more than others.
For hobbyist and small bespoke craft workshops, you won’t need anything too heavy-duty. You can trade some durability for a lighter, smaller router.
Commercial environments with demanding production schedules and intense workloads will require a sturdier router built on a steel frame. These things can really roll with the punches and get jobs done incredibly fast.
The spindle is an essential part of any CNC machine. It connects to the motor and holds the cutting tool. Hobbyists won’t need too much of an advanced spindle. Even light production shops that churn out things like signs and cabinets on a daily basis may not need anything special.
If you do have maximum productivity and large projects in mind, you should look into liquid-cooled spindles. These bad boys can handle huge amounts of constant work without overheating. They’re also much quieter which is always nice.
There are two speeds to make yourself aware of when it comes to CNC routers. Cut speed as you can glean, is the speed at which your router can cut your materials. Measured in inches per minute (IPM), cut speed can range anywhere from 200 to upward of 2000 IPM.
A decent cut speed is beneficial in any environment, but for commercial shops that require peak productivity day in day out, it’s essential.
Traverse speed is the pace at which your router can move around the table when it’s not cutting anything, and it has a massive impact on how quickly a project can be completed.
Some CNC routers come with built-in controls, others don’t. The controller is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the digital device that lets you dial in each project.
Some of them will have built-in memory ports so you can upload patterns directly into the router, no computer necessary. Others will need that direct computer connection in order to receive new orders.
As 4×8 CNC machines can differ vastly in all of the aforementioned categories, it goes without saying that their pricing can be all over the shop as well. It’s a good thing really. It ensures there’s a CNC router out there for pretty much everyone, no matter the scale of your operation.
You can expect to find very basic hobby-shop style CNC routers for little over the $1000 mark, but the big guns with state-of-the-art technology and components as well as extras such as dust evacuation can set you back something to the tune of $30,000.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Size CNC Router Do I Need?
That depends on the sorts of projects you take on. For small projects like sign making, cabinet design, and engraving, you might get away with a CNC router with a small 15.75” x 15.75” table.
The most versatile table size for the cost is the 4×8, which is why we focused our article on them. They’re large enough to hold full plywood sheets, which really saves time on preparation, and they tend to fit nicely into most small to medium-sized workshops, giving them an even wider appeal.
If you’ve got some truly dinosaurian projects to get on with, we highly recommend choosing at least a 5×10 router.
What is the Best CNC Router for a Small Shop?
A router with a 4×8 table size should definitely be your go-to for a small workshop. They offer tons of flexibility and a compact footprint.
What Materials Can You Cut with a CNC Router?
You can buy specialist CNC routers that are designed for cutting one or two materials exclusively, but for the most part, they should be able to cut both hard and softwood, plastic, various composites, and non-ferrous metals such as nickel and aluminum.
Can You Use a 4×8 CNC Router to Flatten Slabs of Wood?
4×8 CNC routers are the perfect tool for this job, but before you get started flattening your slabs of wood, you’ll need an appropriate 2-½ router bit.
How Much Does a 4×8 CNC Router Cost to Run an Hour?
This is a tricky question. As we mentioned in the ‘Power Requirements’ section of the buyer’s guide, one 4×8 CNC router can have a completely different draw to another. Working a 40 hour week with a CNC router that draws 1KW an hour will end up costing just shy of $200 a month to run.
There you have it, craftspeople, 7 mind-blowing 4×8 CNC routers and a full guide to help you choose which is the right one for your work and environment. They aren’t exactly the cheapest gadgets in the world, but they’re a quality investment.
If properly maintained, they can pay for themselves in a really short amount of time. So, with all this information on the table, there’s only one last question to answer…are you ready to take your shop to the next level?
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