Different Types of CNC Machine! [Common Picks 2021]

| Last Updated: March 16, 2021

Different Types of CNC MachineComputer-numerical-control or shortly known as CNC is a really popular machine in the manufacturing world. It comes with the capability to function just like a constructor through some generated-computer-programming.

This machine-controlled technology has seen some progressive changes since the past few years. It has become a crucial part of the metalworking and woodworking arena.

CNC uses g-code language for processing. It can shape, mold, grind, melt and cut materials from a different source.

You can get a desirable finish of metal or plastic stuff with the technology. There are quite a few types of CNC machine available. Today’s I’ll be talking about different types of CNC machines that are the most popular ones. Let’s begin!

Different Types of CNC Machine List


Lathes are a general type of CNC machine in the manufacturing industry. The tool basically suits symmetrical objects.

You can use these to cut mostly cones, cylinders and spheres shape. The tool design will have a spindle part. It holds the material that you want to cut. The part will rotate your material really quick.

So that while rotation you can press it against a special tool. These tools are basically grinding or carving gears. You can use such tools to make a preferred shape on your material.


CNC routers are a very common addition. It is basically a machinery part that you’ll come to know about when learning CNC. The machinery is particularly built to cope with CNC technology. It needs only a computer interface with zero human interaction. For advanced levels, you’ll need one of these.

Most of the time larger dimension parts need general routers. You can try cutting different types of material such as sheet metal, plastic, and wood with extra ease.

There is a three-axis design in routers. Some call it cartesian coordinate setup. This type of set up makes room for better accuracy. You can easily cut off profiles. Also, it helps with 3-dimensional relief system and pocketing tasks.

Some advance-level routers also come with 4, 5 and 6 axes. The extra axes are basically rotational types. It helps to spin material around workpieces. Sometimes vice-versa. The extra axes are suitable for complicated shapes. Also, they can deal with prototype models.

Milling Machine!

Milling machines are all about the removal of mechanism. It usually comes with retrofitted CNC technology.

The process will help you to easily operate on various materials. You would be basically removing hand wheels and Digital Read Out electronics parts.

Some high accuracy screw will be in place of old lead screws. Also, some new mounts will come into play. This will make sure that actuators mounting is in better work.

Laser Cutter!

The next type in our list is known as CNC laser cutter. CNC laser cutter is actually pretty similar to plasma cutter that we’ll talk next about. It comes with a really powerful laser.

This part will help you to make accurate cuts of any material. So many stuff is good to manipulate with a quality laser cutter.

For example, you can try cutting wood, plastic, and metal. You would be taking the material’s feature into consideration. Then you need to simply adjust the laser strength for that particular material’s hardness and thickness. As simple as that!

Plasma Cutter!

Plasma cutter is just like the router version. Especially in size and set up. However, it lacks any powerful setup. It actually does not need one.

Instead, it uses a plasma torch that flies above the table. It uses this torch to cut down any material without the need for rotation. Most of the time materials with two-dimensional profile needs plasma cutters. For example, sheet metals.

Electric Discharge Machine

This is a special type of CNC machine. It is also known as spark CNC machine to a few. The machine will use electrical sparks to cut or manipulate any material.

You can try any shaping or design with this type. Erosive effect of the electrical discharge machine is particularly helpful. This is the mechanism that helps to deform any material that you expose to it.

It literally takes the benefit and applies created sparks that control the reshaping of a particular material. There are two electrodes on the top and bottom.

Materials are placed in between these two. Now you need to allow the computer to figure out electrodes. This figure is usually the produced number of electrodes due to electrical discharge.

3D Printer!

With a similar set up of laser cut and router, 3D printer is a quite widespread version of CNC machine. However, the extra feature it has is additive. It uses the additive mechanism in place of any subtractive process.

Most of the CNC machines will basically start with a tough material piece. It will eliminate any bits of the piece and finish off with a preferable result. But 3D printing does the exact opposite. It starts with a blank canvas. Gradually the mechanism will build layers and end with a resultant part.

There is an extruder in this mechanism. It simply pushes material which is most of the time plastic. There is also a tiny nozzle to get material out. Some include laser to solidify liquid or powder really fast.

Pick and Place CNC

A similar set up of laser cutter or router is included in pick and place CNC. However, it does not include any specific tool for cutting materials.

There are quite a few small nozzles in the mechanism. Also, it comes with a vacuum. The whole system will pick up electrical components through the vacuum-nozzle setup.

Next, the electrical components are placed upon a printed circuit board through some moving. This tool is a very common mechanism that can place thousands of components easily and fast.

A number of regular life devices are manufactured using this tool. For example, tablets, smartphones, motherboards and so on. Basically, anything that includes a printed circuit board.

Bidding Bye!

So, you see, there are quite a few types of CNC machine available today. Its design is meant to ease the operating process complications. Human effort is lessened a lot through each type with saving hours of work. The manufacturing industry can do nothing easily without CNC machines. Still curious about the mechanism? See how does a CNC machine work.