With the ongoing technological revolution, there are different machines that simplify certain industrial processes, such as milling, molding, and cutting.
Aware of that fact, there is no reason to miss out on the potential advantages of these, especially if your business revolves around cutting tough material such as plastic, glass, wood, and aluminum.
It is the CNC router that proves to be the best when it comes to getting through aluminum, and even performing operations that are usually related to spinner molding and panel sawing.
Similar to the CNC milling machine, a CNC router is controlled through a numerical panel, instead of by hand, and is thus more efficient, and allows better overall productivity of the manufacturing process.
Apart from saving time and money, you will also reduce the chance of errors and waste, therefore being environment-friendly too.
Choosing the perfect CNC router depends on a few points such as the weight, features, and the material it is made of.
In order to help you with making that perfect decision, we arranged a list of the best CNC routers for aluminum, accompanied by a buyer’s guide and answers to frequently asked questions. Without further ado, let’s go ahead and have a look.
BobsCNC Evolution 3 CNC Router Kit with the Router Included (16″ x 18″ cutting area and 3.3″ Z travel)
Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO Router Kit GRBL Control 3 Axis Plastic Acrylic PCB PVC Wood Carving Milling Engraving Machine, XYZ Working Area 300x180x45mm
MYSWEETY Upgrade Version CNC 3018 Pro Engraver Machine, GRBL Control DIY Mini 3 Axis CNC Router Kit, Wood Router Engraver Pcb Milling Machine with Offline Controller + ER11 and 5mm Extension Rod
3018 Pro CNC Router Kit, Upgraded 3 Axis Engraver With Offline Feature Used As GRBL Control DIY Mini CNC Machine For Plastic Acrylic PVC Wood Carving And Milling (3018 PRO)
Best CNC Router for Aluminum Reviews
1. BobsCNC E3 Router Kit
If you are looking to invest in a proper CNC router machine that can be used for commercial purposes, you are in the right place as this BobsCNC E3 kit is among the best CNC router for aluminum offers in the relevant market.
While at a higher price, it offers a superb electronic driver and sturdy construction that is easy to assemble.
While the previous three models were mostly for personal use, this BobsCNC is the one you should go for if you need commercial milling machines for your factory production.
As mentioned before, the Grbl software has set the industry standard; thus it doesn’t come as a surprise that even this CNC router runs on it (using the Arduino microprocessor).
Featuring an excellent engraving area of 450mm x 390mm x 85 mm, it will allow you to go for more complex models, cutting through aluminum and thicker wood.
As for the design, it will perfectly fit any office desk as it is slim yet sturdy enough to withstand heavy use.
This product is highlighted by a rigid laser-cut frame, that will ensure exquisite precision leaving a margin for error of 0.04 mm. It has a GT2 belt drive, with a 5/16-18 nut on Z-Axis, and no nut on the X and Y axis.
Additionally, it is supported by an SG20u (rail system) which ensures stability and model positioning.
There is a great user manual that will give you instructions on how to do it, while you can always search for more help on YouTube and the official website. Apart from the price, we see the wood design as a slight concern, as a plastic or a steel body would be more reliable.
Overall, a high-end product that is a superb choice for those doing business in the milling and cutting industry.
With a number of cool features to highlight this product, our personal favorite is the high performance that it allows, leaving a margin for error at only 0.04mm.
Additionally, the cutting area is more than what you could ask for, and thus ideal for wood and aluminum modeling.
It is a bit pricey. Apart from that, the wood that it is made out of may add to the aesthetics but is not ideal when it comes to durability.
What We Like
- Great cutting area
- Easy to assemble
- Good Grbl software
- Rail support
- G2T Belt drive
What We Don’t Like
- Made of wood
- Pricey for some
2. Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO Router Kit
Looking for the best CNC router for aluminum, this one simply has to be on the list.
Manufactured by the trusted Genmitsu brand, with an easy assembly and accompanied by the excellent Grbl software, it is suitable for both personal and commercial use, affordable to any enthusiast with a keen interest in crafting and engraving.
The Genmitsu brand has quite a history of developing milling machines, with the CNC 3018 being among the best ones offered for a fair price. Similar to the previous model, the PRO version features a few upgrades that improve its efficiency and simplicity of use.
Starting off with the assembly part, you will not need to position the components, and the stability is improved as well with the base being raised to 4 cm.
Now, much like with any CNC router, you want to have the proper software to control the functions. You are lucky as the Grbl program is considered perfect if you are a beginner, offering high performance, and running on Arduino.
As a standard for a high-quality CNC router machine, it is perfectly integrated with the motherboard, reducing the chance of errors. As we said before, it is highlighted by an easy assembly process, as all the instructions are put in a handy user manual, and available on their official website as well.
It shouldn’t take you more than an hour or so to have the machine ready and running. It is a versatile CNC router that can work with materials such as PCB, PVC, woods, acrylics and of course, aluminum.
Whether you are into engraving, carving or milling, it will satisfy the requirements as a great addition to your production line.
With a 1-year limited warranty, you are safe from any built-in defects. Still, the file converting part in the Grbl software can be quite tricky, so support or instructions on how to do that would be quite handy.
Apart from that, it is a product of great value and something you should definitely consider adding to your machine equipment.
Apart from the affordable price that this product comes at, it is the versatile and multifunctional design that puts this router high on the list.
You can have fun with an array of different materials, while it just seems to be well-built for aluminum cutting and engraving.
Easy to assemble, it is good for beginners that are just starting off with the concept of a CNC router machine.
While the open-source Grbl software offers high performance and a friendly interface, it can still be tough to convert the files or ensure proper accuracy without some previous experience.
Thus, this should include something like a manual related to the software itself.
What We Like
- Easy to assemble
- 1-year warranty
What We Don’t Like
- Lacking software instructions
- Tricky file conversion
3. MySweety CNC 3018 Pro Router Kit
Another model that is much better than its predecessor, this MySweety CNC 3018 Pro is an upgraded version of the regular 3018, that was quite a hit a few years ago.
Fixing the issues related to the software and performance, you will get your money’s worth.
The MySweety company has had its highs and lows, but at the end of the day, they offer good quality machines for a fair and affordable price.
Now, you should know that this one is not ideal for commercial use, and while you can still go ahead and make it a part of your production line, we recommend you try it out at your own home, and then if you like the efficiency, move it onto the factory floor.
There are a number of upgrades from the previous model. First, it is compatible with most operating systems up to Windows 10 and above Mac iOS 10.9.
Also, it is highlighted by a 775 spindle, and over 10,000 rotations per minute, which is a significant improvement to the 3018 (over 50% less) of the previous model.
Also, one of the most important things, if you are looking to do some high quality work, is the working area – this one sits at 300 x 180 x 45 mm which should be enough for personal use. Talking about the assembly process, this milling machine is not a full-on DIY.
In fact, some parts are already pre-installed while for others you will need to follow the instruction manual, and thus get those set up. Still, the process is quite easy and it shouldn’t take you more than an hour to do.
This product can work with a number of materials both soft and hard, including PVC, wood, plastic, acrylic, and aluminum.
Still, you should be aware that if you are looking to cut some hard metal, it will not be as easy using this CNC router. As for engraving, it can be efficiently done with all the aforementioned materials.
One of the biggest upgrades is that now you can run this machine offline instead of having it connected to the internet or a computer.
By manually opening the spindle, fan, and positioning the starting point you will be able to set the controller and do the work without further steps.
As for the design, we are talking about a lightweight machine made of plastic and aluminum, ensuring its sturdiness on the edges.
Still, it seems that the technical support for this product is not ideal; thus, you should take care of the way you handle the machine unless you want to end up throwing away your investment.
Also, a bit more spindle power wouldn’t hurt.
Apart from that, we would absolutely recommend this product to someone who is just starting out, and wants to have at-home fun engraving, milling, and cutting diverse materials.
It is set at an affordable price, and is much easier to assemble than the above mentioned two, given the fact that most of the critical parts are pre-installed.
While updated from the previous 3018 rotation model, it still lacks a bit more spindle power, in order to allow commercial use.
What We Like
- Great for engraving, good for cutting (soft)
- Partial assembly
- 10,000 rotations per minute
What We Don’t Like
- Technical support
- Low spindle power
4. Uttiny CNC Router Kit
Last but not least on our list of the best aluminum CNC router offers is this Uttiny product that runs on an axis engraver, and the Grbl software (Arduino microprocessor) allowing optimal performance for home use.
The first good thing about this product is the great engraving area standing at 300 x 180 x 45 mm, allowing you to experiment with different positionings, and manually adjust the X, Y, and Z axis if you decide to work in the offline mode.
It features a 775 spindle motor, and with 10,000 rotations per minute, it offers superb performance considering the price it is being sold at. With no less than half an hour of work, you will have this product assembled due to the core components already being pre-installed.
While it does feature a large working area, it offers proper stability, thus ensuring a low chance of error. Additionally, it can cut through wood, PCB, PCV, and aluminum all important for both personal and commercial use.
Although there are certain problems with the included program, you can always contact the technical support and purchase a new one. Apart from that, it is a great entry-level CNC router that is a no miss for hobbyist and carving enthusiasts.
It runs at superb power compared to alternatives that are at a similar price range. Also, the assembly process is quite simple which is a plus if you are a beginner and have no previous mechanical knowledge.
It does lack a proper program, as it can be quite tricky to download and convert the files. Still, their 24/7 technical support is there to give you all the info needed on replacement or other solutions.
What We Like
- Offline mode
- Great working area
- 775 spindle power
What We Don’t Like
- Lacking software instructions
- Program running slow
5. DIY CNC Router Kit
If you are looking for a milling machine that is perfect for personal use, and you are a crafter or an enthusiast that enjoys cutting models out of aluminum, this DIY product is the perfect choice for you. Good for wood, and metal cutting and engraving, you are going to reap countless fun hours out of it.
As mentioned before, this product is not for commercial use. Still, that doesn’t mean that it lacks anything that a CNC router machine should include.
In fact, for the price you are paying, the quality of the assembly parts is quite good.
Now, it might not be an ideal choice if you are a beginner or have no mechanical knowledge at all, due to the fact that it is a DIY router machine we are talking about, you will need to put everything together on your own.
While this may sound kind of tricky, as there is no user manual, which is an obvious concern, there are YouTube videos explaining how to do it, thus making the whole offer more acceptable.
It runs on the Grbl software, which is easy to figure out and experiment with no matter if you are more experienced or just starting off with the whole CNC router concept.
Also, there is an electronic driver included, so unlike some other products, it is not something you will have to buy separately.
The working area is 240 x 170 x 65 mm which is perfect for DIY crafting, allowing you to experiment with different materials such as PCB, acrylic, wood, plastic, soft metal, and aluminum.
You should be aware that the engraving feature is compatible with all the aforementioned materials, while when it comes to cutting, this machine gives the best performance with aluminum.
With a positioning accuracy of 0.04 mm, the margin of error is slim to none. Overall, a great product, and while it does require some extra assembly offer, it is all worth it!
Well, there is no doubt that using this CNC router machine is quite fun. What you are getting is a number of essential parts than that you will assemble on your own, into a strong engraving and cutting milling machine.
The best thing about it is that you can work with a number of tough materials including PCB, soft metal, aluminum, and copper. Also, the included Grbl software is simple to figure out, even if you are a beginner.
While the assembling process can be quite fun, it is not the easiest thing to do unless you have some mechanical knowledge.
Bearing this in mind, it would be much better if the product came with user’s manual, which it obviously lacks.
What We Like
- Engraving, cutting
- Aluminum, PCB, copper, plastic, wood
- Grbl software
What We Don’t Like
- Lacking user manual
- Assembly not easy
Best CNC Router for Aluminum Buyer’s Guide
Buying any product requires that you have adequate knowledge of the important features unless you want to make that common mistake and overpay for a CNC router without getting the best quality.
So, let’s have a look at a few points that you need to consider when buying such a machine.
As we mentioned, a CNC milling machine is driven by a computer numerical control and not your hand like it was the case with traditional models.
The drive system includes the controller and computer, spindle, cutting floor, and the linear system. Without proper software (Grbl as the industry standard) and the microprocessor (Arduino), your CNC machine wouldn’t be able to put out the expected results.
Much like any other machine, the CNC router runs on a motor. While the power varies, you should be looking to get anywhere from 10,000 rotations per minute and above, if you want to ensure optimal performance.
The spindle part ensures stability and high efficiency by holding the milling tool and allowing the machine to do the cutting or engraving work. The higher the spindle, the better performance you will get.
The average spindle power seems to be at 775.
The typical milling machine seems to be somewhere around 15 pounds, which can vary depending on the product and the features included.
Last but not least is the table size which plays a critical role, and determines whether you can use the specific machine for commercial purposes, or for personal use only.
In our opinion, everything that goes above 300 x 180 x 45 mm is good to be put in factory production.
Best CNC Router for Aluminum FAQ
What Can You Do with a CNC Router?
This all depends on the specific model, but with a proper one you will be able to engrave, cut, and mill materials such as PVC, plastic, wood, and aluminum.
How to Cut Aluminum
Cutting aluminum is pretty simple as long as your CNC milling machine has adequate spindle power and a large working area that will ensure stability and optimal positioning.
How to Build a CNC Router
Most of the affordable CNC routers are to be assembled by you, and while some take a few hours, others can be put to use in less than 30 minutes.
Follow the given instructions and ensure you start with the core parts, then build up and assemble the accessories and the rack at the end of the process.
How Much is a CNC Machine?
It all depends on the brand and the performances that the machine includes.
Still, you can get an average one for as low as $250. On the other hand, if you were to invest in a milling machine good for commercial use, you should start thinking about models that are priced from $600 and above.
What is a CNC Router?
It is a milling machine that can engrave and cut through hard and soft materials including wood, glass, and aluminum. It increases efficiency and reduces waste.
Our personal favorite is the BobsCNC CNC router as a router of high performance and great working area that is fit for commercial use.
If this is too much for you, we think of the Uttiny 3018 as the ideal choice for anyone who is starting off and wants to have fun in the comfort of their home.