Workspace considerations for a CNC

Photo By ShopBot Tools Inc.

When you purchase a CNC tool, there are things that need to be done to the shop’s physical space to prepare for the arrival of the equipment. Getting your space ready before the tool is delivered often helps you get up and running with the CNC quicker, which means you can start using it sooner.

To help determine what tool you should invest in, you will need to evaluate what kind of setup you already have in your space, what the available reorganization options are, and what options you have in rewiring electrical for your space. Some smaller desktop-style routers do not require much in the way of preparation other than having an appropriate size workbench or stand ready to set it on. Many of these also run on standard 110v power, which means there is no special electrical necessary to run them. Other desktop tools will require 220v power, and still others have heavy frames that will require reinforced or oversized workbenches, making them more difficult to transport, despite being developed as a more portable-sized tool.

Desktop CNCs work well for shops with limited space.


If you’re looking to purchase a larger gantry-style CNC router, there are several more things to consider, not the least of which is the ability to get the tool into the intended workspace. A fully pre-assembled large table CNC will need to have an appropriate entry point to the shop, like a large roll-up door, maybe even a loading dock. And if the machine needs to go through a hallway or other rooms to get to its final usage spot, those areas will need to be large enough to accommodate the move. As an alternative to having to potentially remove a wall and/or doors to get a full-size gantry CNC router into your shop, you can look at tools that are offered as partially assembled. These machines have the flexibility of being installed in spaces that pre-assembled tools cannot be moved into without doing some major demolition work to your shop.

These larger gantry routers also have other requirements that need to be considered. Do you have the appropriate electrical systems already in place? What are you going to use for dust collection when running your machine? If you have an automatic tool changer, you also have to make arrangements to have a compressed air source. Do you plan on using vacuum hold-down?

With all of the variables that need to be considered in the purchase of a CNC, it helps to review all of these things. Once you do that, you’re ready to speak to a salesperson at a CNC manufacturer to truly find the tool that suits your needs.

Source: ShopBot Tools Inc. For information call 919-680-4800 or visit


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