Best CNC Router for Sign Making (Reviews & Buyers’ Guide 2021)

If looking for the best CNC machine to create a signboard is what you are after, you are in the right place. Engraving and carving out some signs and symbols on various materials are things that a CNC router can do. However, the complex task is identifying the best CNC router for sign making.

There are tons of CNC routers available in the market, but not all of them have the features or capability to perform the task that you want to do. If you are into some advanced designing of cutting, you need a high-quality router with high-level features.

Here, we will help you choose the best machine that will not only make sign-making easier but fits into your budget.

Choose from our Top 3 Picks

Product
Best Buy
CNC Router 4040-XE
Editor's Pick
Snapmaker 3D Printer
Versatility
BobsCNC Evolution 4
Image
CNC Router Machine 4040-XE, 300W Spindle 3-Axis Engraving Milling Machine for Wood Metal Acrylic MDF Nylon Carving Cutting Arts and Crafts DIY Design
snapmaker 3D Printer, 2.0 Modular 3-in-1 3D Printer with 3D Printing/Laser Engraving/CNC Carving, All Metal, Auto-Leveling, Working Volume Support up to 230x250x235mm
BobsCNC Evolution 4 CNC Router Kit with the Router Included (24" x 24" cutting area and 3.3" Z travel)
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
Voltage
110 Volts
Undisclosed
115 Volts
Battery?
No
No
No
Installation
Screw-in
Screw-in
Screw-in
Best Buy
Product
CNC Router 4040-XE
Image
CNC Router Machine 4040-XE, 300W Spindle 3-Axis Engraving Milling Machine for Wood Metal Acrylic MDF Nylon Carving Cutting Arts and Crafts DIY Design
Prime Status
Star Rating
Voltage
110 Volts
Battery?
No
Installation
Screw-in
Where to Buy
Editor's Pick
Product
Snapmaker 3D Printer
Image
snapmaker 3D Printer, 2.0 Modular 3-in-1 3D Printer with 3D Printing/Laser Engraving/CNC Carving, All Metal, Auto-Leveling, Working Volume Support up to 230x250x235mm
Prime Status
Star Rating
Voltage
Undisclosed
Battery?
No
Installation
Screw-in
Where to Buy
Versatility
Product
BobsCNC Evolution 4
Image
BobsCNC Evolution 4 CNC Router Kit with the Router Included (24" x 24" cutting area and 3.3" Z travel)
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
Voltage
115 Volts
Battery?
No
Installation
Screw-in
Where to Buy

Last update on 2021-08-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What’s a CNC Router?

A CNC router (computer numerical control) is a cutting machine used to make carvings on materials like wood, metals, plastic, foams, etc. It can also perform several carpentry jobs and joinery. It mounts on a handheld router which does the cutting.

CNC routers are computer-controlled that use two software applications – CAD for making designs and CAM for translating the designs into a readable program for the machine. CNC routers can be manually programmed but somewhat impractical for someone with no technical know-how.

Review of the Best CNC Router for Sign Making

1. FoxAlien CNC Router 3-Axis Machine 4040-XE – Best Overall CNC Router Machine

This CNC machine is one of the most potent routers in the market, known for its efficiency, speed, and ability to work on various materials. Using this machine will give you the desired result without wasting so much time.

This machine uses a 300W spindle that moves between 0 – 10000 for efficient operation. Additionally, it uses a NEMA23 stepper motor that cuts and engraves at an unbelievable speed.

The body is made of durable materials for more prolonged use. The CNC machine incorporates features such as a controller, emergency stop, and wires to make your task easier and more productive.

We love the surface working area, as it’s enormous. The working area measures 15.75″ x 15.75 x 2.56″, making it capable of accommodating any material size. Speaking of material, the machine can engrave, cut, and drill wood, acrylic, nylon, metal, carbon fiber, and other materials. Its main parts come pre-assembled, but you will have to assemble other parts. Luckily, coupling other parts is easy.

CNC Router Machine 4040-XE, 300W Spindle 3-Axis Engraving Milling Machine for Wood Metal Acrylic MDF Nylon Carving Cutting Arts and Crafts DIY Design
  • 4040-XE CNC Router uses 300W spindle and NEMA23 stepper motors, which are more powerful and efficient. Max moving speed is 2000mm/min and spindle speed range is 0~10000.
  • Control board, power supply, emergency stop, and wires are integrated into a newly design box, which is simple for operation, easy to clean and safe. The controller has a 3.5” touchscreen LCD which also functions as an offline controller. The input voltage is 110V.
  • It’s capable to engrave, cut and drill many different kinds of material such as wood, metal, MDF, acrylic, foam, resin, nylon, carbon fiber, PCB and etc. It’s great for home use and business.
  • Large engravable area of 15.75”x15.75”x2.56” (400x400x65mm). It’s capable to handle both small and large material. The CNC machine is based on GRBL, it is compatible with GRBL-control software.
  • Easy assembly. Main parts are pre-assembled, it only takes 15-30mins to fully assembly. Wires are labeled clearly for fast connection and bundled into drag chain for easy management.

Last update on 2021-08-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros

  • The parts are straightforward to couple
  • Works on different materials
  • It has a large work area.
  • Incredibly versatile
  • Powerful and efficient

Cons

  • Difficult to cut and drill with the machine

Verdict

FoxAlien CNC Router Machine is all about efficiency and productivity. It can do several projects and engrave speedily. Additionally, assembling is convenient. However, you need to ensure that all the screws are correctly tightened, and everything is in order before using it.

2. Snapmaker 2.0 Modular 3-in-1 3D Printer Laser Engraving CNC Carving – Best Innovative CNC Machine

Snapmaker 2.0 Modular 3-in-1 is an innovative CNC machine that will handle all your various tasks at a go. It possesses the capability to perform 3D printing, laser engraving, cutting, and CNC carving, making it a multipurpose machine.

The impressive thing about this machine is that it’s powerful and expandable. You can adjust it to accommodate the task at hand. It’s built with high-precision parts that ensure you perform your tasks without any problems.

For 3D printing, it’s equipped with a proximity sensor for enhanced calibration. It also has a power recovery feature that allows you to resume the job if a power outage should occur during a job.

For CNC carving, the machine features an ER11 Collet for an accurate and consistent job output and an adjustable spindle speed that allows you to work on a variety of materials. Thanks to the large working area, you can work on any project size.

Another impressive thing about this CNC machine is you can customize the machine and upgrade it with new features for more efficiency. It’s convenient to use, even for beginners, because it comes with an easy-to-read manual.

snapmaker 3D Printer, 2.0 Modular 3-in-1 3D Printer with 3D Printing/Laser Engraving/CNC Carving, All Metal, Auto-Leveling, Working Volume Support up to 230x250x235mm
  • Innovation 3-in-1: Snapmaker 2.0, the modular 3-in-1 3D printer that unlocks your full creative potential, from 3D printing to laser engraving, cutting, and CNC carving. Snapmaker 2.0 is smarter, faster, larger, and more powerful than ever before. It is a new generation of 3-in-1 3D printer that comes with everything you need!
  • Large Workspace: Snapmaker 2.0 has three models: A150, A250 and A350. You can make large prototypes, or multiple smaller objects in one go. A150: 160 x 160 x 145 mm, A250: 230 x 250 x 235 mm, A350 provides the largest build volume, measuring 320 x 350 x 330 mm.
  • Modular Design: Imagine a 3D printer that you can upgrade and customize. Snapmaker is more than just a series of machines. It's a system of powerful modules and add-ons for creative people like you. You can enjoy a lot of new features simply by getting the new modules or new kits.
  • High Resolution: Built with high-precision parts and an overall upgraded design, Snapmaker 2.0 is able to consistently print, engrave, cut, and carve objects in high resolution. The repeatability of the machine is 0.005 mm, and the homing repeatability is 0.01mm.
  • 3-in-1 Software: Our 3-in-1 software, Snapmaker Luban, is tailor-made for your Snapmaker machines. One single and powerful software for all your tasks. With a plugin system, API and tutorials, Snapmaker Luban enables you to easily add new features for existing modules. You can even develop new features for your customized modules. We will build a truly modular system together.

Last update on 2021-08-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros

  • It’s powerful
  • Smarter performance
  • Innovative features
  • Versatile
  • Great modular design
  • It has a large working area
  • Works on all types of materials
  • Produces accurate and consistent output
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • It’s somewhat expensive.
  • Need some expertise to use the 3D and laser printing

Verdict

While we consider this expensive, the Snapmaker 2.0 Modular 3-in-1 is an innovative CNC machine that possesses a series of powerful features to make engraving, printing, and cutting more accurate. The 3-in-1 modular design is tailor-made to handle all your tasks.

3. BobsCNC Evolution 4 CNC Router Kit with Router – Best CNC Machine for Design

BobsCNC is another excellent brand you can trust for making CNC machines. The Evolution 4 CNC machine is a high-quality router with premium parts that will expedite engraving and ensure you have a fantastic result.

Unlike the previous products reviewed here that can perform 3D printing and laser cutting, the BobsCNC Evolution 4 CNC only performs engraving. If you are looking for something much more versatile, you should opt for other products reviewed here. Nevertheless, the BobCNC Evolution is great at what it does.

The CNC machine has a large working area to accommodate your project size. Additionally, it works on most project materials without issues. However, when it comes to assembling the parts, this machine isn’t the easiest. The good thing is the brand has excellent customer service who, in no time, will help you set the machine up and share some troubleshooting tips.

BobsCNC Evolution 4 CNC Router Kit with the Router Included (24" x 24" cutting area and 3.3" Z travel)
  • A rigid laser cut 5-Ply Baltic Birch frame with SG20U supported rail system.
  • GT2 belt drive on X and Y-axis and Tr8 Acme Rod mounted with an ACME Nut on the Z-axis.
  • NEMA 17 Stepper Motors and Home switches on all axes with a Self-Squaring Gantry.
  • 3/4” MDF Spoil-board with 1/4-20 threaded inserts and includes the Makita RT0701C Variable Speed Router.
  • Designed to use GRBL1.1 firmware on the Arduino Uno with repeatability of 0.002” to 0.004”.

Last update on 2021-08-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros

  • High-quality machine with premium parts
  • It has a massive working area.
  • Excellent customer service
  • Straightforward to use

Cons

  • It’s tough to assemble on your own.
  • Not that versatile

Verdict

The BobsCNC Evolution 4 CNC machine comes in an excellent a d flawless design that everyone appreciates. While you could be intimidated by the numerous parts accompanying the machine, it’s still easy to assemble, thanks to the manufacturer’s excellent customer service and manual.

4. CNC Piranha Fx – Best Compact CNC Router

The CNC Piranha Fx is a multipurpose 3-in-1 CNC machine capable of engraving, cutting, and 3D printing. The machine can mill various materials, such as wood, aluminum, leather, etc.

We love the CNC machine because it’s versatile and straightforward to use. Switching the modular heads to suit the task you are doing is convenient. It’s not as enormous as other CNC machines mentioned on this list, making it an excellent space-saver.

While we love its small size, we discovered that the model has a small surface area. The working area can only contain fairly large material. Plus, the height is just around 3″, which means by the time the material you mount the material and set the bit, the height left will be somewhat insignificant.

Last update on 2021-08-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros

  • Compact
  • Quite versatile
  • Works on various materials like wood and aluminum
  • Easy to use and set
  • Great CNC machine for hobbyists

Cons

  • It has a small working area.
  • Not suitable for large tasks.

Verdict

If you want something to try out with, this CNC machine is perfect. It’s compact and versatile, as you can use it to engrave, cut, and do some 3D printing.

5. Mysweety Upgrade Version CNC 3018 Pro Engraver Machine – Best CNC Machine For Budget

When it comes to making some of the best CNC machines around, it’s impossible to displace the Mysweety brand. Not only does this brand manufacture an efficient CNC machine but an affordable one at that. This is one reason hobbyists love it.

Let’s get to what it offers. The machine has a good design and body that makes the equipment appealing. The body is a hybrid of metal and plastic for increased durability, so you are certain that it will last for a long time. However, the working area measures 160x100x45, which is generally considered small. For massive engraving tasks, this CNC machine might be unable to handle it.

Apart from the small working area, the machine is fantastic in other aspects. It engraved pretty well on wood, acrylics, Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC), etc. It’s also straightforward to use and assemble. Plus, you are allowed to upgrade the limit switches, unlike certain other low-cost CNC machines.

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
  • 🛠️【MYSWEETY CNC 3018-PRO】- CNC 3018-PRO is an upgraded version of 3018. Control software: GRBL; Working area: 30x18x4.5cm; Spindle: 775 spindle motor (12-36V) 24V:10000r / min. Supported System: Windows XP / Win 7 / Win 8 / Win 10.
  • 🛠️【Offline Controller】- The offline controller is 1G Capacity. You can control the CNC router without connecting to the computer. The CNC router can be placed wherever you want, such as garage and workshop.
  • 🛠️【New Control Board】- Integrated driver chip + fixed heat sink + external fan + sturdy casing to extend the life of the control board, Self-contained short circuit protection, Not easy to damage. 12 Months Warranty.
  • 🛠️【Versatile】- This engraving machine can be engraved plastic, wood, acrylic, pvc, pcb, wood or the like material. Drill bit can not engrave hard metal, jade or other hard materials.
  • 🛠️【Simple Assembly】- The package come with an English manual and the software on USB disk. 🍀〖Note: Plug in the power cord to the control board first, then press the power switch, and then turn on the control board switch 〗. Please contact us if you have any question. Thank you!

Last update on 2021-08-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros

  • Good design and relatively sturdy
  • Efficient at a low-cost price
  • Works on a wide variety of materials
  • Convenient to assemble
  • Upgradable limit switches

Cons

  • Small working area

Verdict

Mysweety CNC 3018 Pro Engraver Machine might have a small working area, but it can handle any small engraving task thrown at it. The CNC machine has good specs and is easy to use, so hobbyists with little knowledge of CNC engraving won’t have issues working with it.

Best CNC Router for Sign Making Buyers Guide

best cnc router for sign making

When in the market for a CNC router, you must consider factors. You must understand the parameters and their functionality before making an informed decision. Else, you will be wasting your money and time.

Below are the factors you must consider.

Type of Router

The type of router impacts its functionality. Your choice of a router will depend on your project demand. If you want a machine that will do the basics, such as making a signboard and cutting letters out of wood or plastic, you can go for hobbyist-grade CNC routers.

Hobbyists-grade CNC routers are the most common because they are mostly used for light-duty projects. You can do pretty fun things with this type of CNC router.

If you want to do more advanced tasks, such as custom tooling, we recommend entry-level CNC machines or production machines if you’re going to go full-blown designing.

Price

Price is one factor that a beginner can’t leave out when purchasing a CNC machine. The price is usually determined by the power, manufacturer, power, configuration, and speed.

Hobbyists-grade machines are usually the cheapest, with most of them costing less than three thousand dollars. This is because they are the least powerful amongst other types of CNC routers. The most expensive is the production multi-axis machines.

The essential thing is to choose the one that best fits your budget and needs.

Ease of Use

For beginners, making those intricate cuts with the machine can be fairly challenging to perform at first. Additionally, setting up a CNC machine can be difficult. However, with the help of manuals and tutorials, they can get around it more conveniently.

For this reason, you need to purchase a machine with a coherent set of instructions to help you get around more easily in difficult times or when issues arise.

Working Area

The working area of a CNC machine is another factor that you should consider. The working area determines the size of the project it can accommodate.

CNC machines don’t have the same working area measurements, as some tend to be bigger than others. If you have large projects to do, then you must look for a CNC machine with a massive working area. Else, you should go for a CNC machine with a small working area.

How to Make a Sign Board Using a CNC Router

Creating a sign with a CNC router is relatively easy if you know how to use it. We will teach you how to work with a CNC router to create amazing signboards.

Open the CAD Software and the Text File
After opening the text file, type the characters, select the font you want the sign to appear in, and type the letters. Test the configuration by using scrap to ensure that everything is set. Arrange your text in the center.

Select the Material
Choose the material where you want to carve out your letters on. You can select MDF, plastic, or metal from the options.

Select the Accurate Router Bit and Adjust the Settings
Choosing the right bit is crucial because it determines how the engraving will appear. Using the wrong bit can make your cut-out look awkward and unattractive.

If you want to work on woods, we advise that you use a ball end bit. For other materials, you can pick from the list of bits in the software library.

Next is to adjust the settings to determine the movement of the machine while it’s cutting. You would want to make the letters as readable as possible, and that’s why you need to make necessary adjustments.

Coat the Letters
For a better visibility, spray the wood with some shellac. You can coat the letters with a black or white lacquer layer, depending on the carved color used. White engraving should go with black and vice versa.

Congratulations! You have successfully made a signboard.

What is the best router for sign making?

The best router for sign making is the FoxAlien CNC Router Machine 4040-XE. This machine is efficient, easy to assemble, and works on all types of materials. Other excellent routers are the Snapmaker 2.0 Modular 3-in-1 3D Laser Engraving CNC Machine and BobsCNC Evolution 4 CNC machine. These CNC machines are versatile and capable of simplifying all your tasks.

What is the best CNC router for a small shop?

The best CNC router for a small shop is the CNC Piranha Fx. Though compact, this CNC machine possesses some features found in other expensive models. It can engrave, perform 3D printing, and cutting. It’s also easy to use and works on various materials.

Is a CNC router worth it?

Although CNC routers aren’t perfect for cutting square a d rectangular parts, they are incredibly efficient at cutting curves perfectly. They can also cut pockets efficiently.

Can you make money with a CNC router?

A lot of people make money processing contracts with a CNC router. Many have materials that they are willing to use to make items but lack a router to make those intricate cuts. You can help them do the processing and charge a fee for your services.

Are Chinese CNC routers any good?

Yes, Chinese CNC routers can be of good value if you maintain them well and do some troubleshooting, which their North American counterparts do not really require.


What is a CNC routed sign?

A CNC routed sign is made by cutting away some wood material from where lettering or design is inscribed. Any machine that makes this kind of intricate, curved cut is called a CNC router.

What can I make and sell with a CNC machine?

CNC routers carve out designs in woods, plastic, metals, and cut-out shapes. With a CNC machine, you can make and sell things like signs, phone cases, car badges, phone stands, portraits, keyholders, etc.

How much does it cost to build your CNC router?

It takes lots of time, precision, costs a large fortune to build an efficient and accurate CNC router. However, the cost is way cheaper than buying an already made CNC router. For instance, creating a CNC router for about a thousand dollars will have most of the features present in costlier CNC routers.

How much does a good CNC machine cost?

The cost depends on the type of CNC machine. Hobbyist-grade CNC routers are usually the least expensive, preceded by professional CNC routers and entry-level 3-axis vertical machining centers. The most expensive types are the production 3-axis vertical machining center and the entry-level 5-axis mill.

What size should a router be for signing?

Commercial-size routers usually use ½” shank wood router bits for intricate sign making, whereas handheld wood routers typically require smaller ¼” shank wood router bits.

Conclusion – Best CNC Router for Sign Making

Choosing the best CNC router for sign making is pretty a complicated task for most people. Not all CNC router machines are durable and reliable, which is why most people complain about inferior products.

Thankfully, this review will help you make the right choice by selecting the best CNC machine. CNC machines are indispensable pieces of equipment that will simplify your tasks in your workshop. This is why you shouldn’t compromise on quality. Each product here is high-quality and will last for a long time.

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