Vertical CNC Machining: The Economy of Space

CNC machining centers are important pieces of equipment for any woodworking shop, improving productivity and efficiency, two elements that are critical in today’s economic and competitive environment.

Typical to most woodworking shops are the horizontal machining centers but an increasing number of companies are investing in vertical CNCs.

For instance, Elkay Wood Products and Masterbrand Cabinets purchased the Weeke BHZ 050 from Stiles Machinery. Source Millwork also purchased the Weeke, which was exhibited for the first time at AWFS in July. Fender Custom Shop (guitar luthier for Fender Musical Instruments) utilizes the VF-4 machining center from Haas Automation and custom woodworker J & J Beall Inc. owns the Haas VF-0 machining center.   

One advantage of using a vertical CNC is that it has all of the technical features of traditional horizontal machining centers but in a smaller footprint and cost point.

Also, spindle rpms for vertical machining centers have increased. More prevalent in metal cutting, these machines years ago had spindle speeds that were less desirable for woodworkers. Now with increased technology come increased speeds. The volume of vertical CNCs manufactured for the metal cutting industry has the added benefit of lowering costs, even for machines designed specifically for the industrial woodworking market.

Types of Vertical CNCs
The following roundup features some of the various types of vertical CNC machining centers and those with small footprints.

Biesse America offers a small footprint machining center, Smart, with 4/5 axis contouring and other capabilities. Smart has a mobile upright construction with a high degree of rigidity; a 900-mm-wide stabilized and deeply ribbed frame; a revolver-type spindle-holder head that slides in direction Zon the mobile upright; and one working table. Additional features include: flat support surface of each table is composed of two steel arms with C/C distance adjustable along Axis X and there are two dove-tail grooves along the steel arms that allow an easy positioning of the pneumatic clamp adjustable along Axis Y and the setting in the best condition. Smart also can be equipped with table rotating around the vertical axis.

SCM Group North America says REM is a vertical machining center for panels and components with a digital-controlled, high-speed vertical track, for boring, routing and hardware insertion. REM machining centers have zero setup and can machine panels with a travel speed of up to 96 mpm. Features include quick tool changes, boring heads with 60-192 drills, and high-performance clamping.

Solid Wood Systems says its Idea CNC machining centre has been specifically designed for moulding, mortising, boring and numerous other operations on chair and table components and on elongated wooden workpieces in general. A base unit composed of 6 digital axes; a PC (windows) panel complete of CPU, an ATX compatible power supply unit, a Pentium industrial processor, floppy disk drive, a 10,4 in. TFT color monitor; remote control of axes movement and NUM drives and motor.

Stiles Machinery offers the Weeke BHX 050 compact machining center, which takes up 48 square feet and offers vertical part feeding. The machine, which combines drilling, grooving, and routing capabilities in one unit, is suitable for closet, cabinetry and casegood manufacturers, both large and small.

Giben America’s small footprint boring center with a router head, grooving saw and other capabilities WIBJ-5 industrial line has point to point throughfeed machining line allowing boring, grooving and routing for productivity. According to the company, the series was designed to obtain the maximum flexibility possible while maintaining a high volume output. With no machine setup time, part to part throughput and overall productivity are increased. Additional features include exlusive optical part reading for perfect edge referencing and boring without depending on operator accuracy.

More Online
For a complete list of CNC machining center manufacturers and distributors as well as additional woodworking equipment and supplies, visit

Anderson America Corp.

Biesse America

C.R. Onsrud Inc.  


Holz-Her U.S. Inc.

IMA America Corp.

Komo Machine Inc.  

Multiax CNC Inc.

Northwood Machinery Mfg. Co.

Ritter Mfg. Inc.


Solid Wood Systems Inc.

Stiles Machinery

Techno Inc.

Thermwood Corp.

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