Big or small, CNC automation does it all
Shaper Origin in staircase

From hand-held units like the Shaper Origin (pictured) to massive factory-size storage and retrieval systems, today's CNC technology covers a lot of ground.

The world of CNC automation in woodworking has gotten huge. Once upon a time, when someone said CNC woodworking, everybody thought of a CNC router or machining center. Today, virtually every machine in the shop and maybe the whole plant operates with computer controls.

Here’s a look at wide range of CNC options available from leading companies in the woodworking industry. This is a far from comprehensive list. New innovations are added daily. But this may widen your horizons on what is available and what is possible in the modern age of CNC technology in woodworking.

AXYZ CNC router

AXYZ: All-in-one woodworking CNC
AXYZ offers a CNC router called the Woodworker, a robust CNC machine that caters to high-volume cabinetry and furniture production. Its high-power servo motors and direct drive system are designed to ensure precision and accuracy in each cut. It can be customized with standard options such as drill banks, label printers, rotary axis, aggregates, vacuum pods, drills, and spindles. The Woodworker is designed for efficient dust collection, maintaining a clean manufacturing process.

Unlock greater productivity by equipping the machine based on your specific cutting needs. Configure a single 15hp HSK spindle or add a 9-position drill block to a multi-head configuration. Features such as a lable printer make it easy to identify parts using automated tags for final assembly. For ease of use a standard gantry clearance of 10 inches enables the use of vacuum pods, aggregate cutting heads and a table-mounted rotary axis device.



Biesse Batch One Edgebanding Line

Biesse: Batch One Edgebanding Line
Biesse’s new batch one edgebanding line features robotic loading and unloading. Focused on sustainability, the new system is designed to integrate innovation into production systems while also addressing environmental responsibility. Responding to dramatic labor shortages and increasing labor costs across the North American market, Biesse has focused on automation to help woodworking companies stay competitive. These automated solutions are designed to be scalable and flexible so shops of all sizes are able to take advantage of the benefits.

That includes creating sophisticated sorting and stacking systems coupled with the latest in edgebanding technology to process parts efficiently in batch sizes as small as one. These automated solutions pay for themselves quickly with reduced labor costs alone but also providing consistent reliable production output.

To provide integrating data to control such sophisticated systems, Biesse offers both Sophia and Smart Connection programs, connecting to MES or ERP systems with large companies to provide two-way communication for automatic on-the-fly decisions. Watch this video to see how it works:



Cantek DET-S-Type

Cantek: Double-end tenoners
Cantek America Inc. offers the DET Series Double End Tenoners that can be tailored to meet a customer’s precise requirements, offering a diverse selection of processing units and features. It comes in a wide selection of working units to choose from, as any Cantek Double End Tenoner can be custom-built with machine frames of different sizes to house up to 14 working units. The DET series is available as a standalone solution or as part of a production line, allowing for the automated processing of all four sides of a workpiece.

The Cantek DET S-Type Double End Tenoners are the top of its line, constructed with robustness to meet the highest demands in various applications. They offer configurations with up to eight spindles (four on each side) and are available in widths ranging from 51 to 180 inches. These double end tenoners work for producing doors, furniture, windows, and more. 

Castaly Universal CNC

Castaly: Universal-408/Universal-510 router
Castaly offers the Universal router series available in 4x8 or 5x10 configuration. A rotary axis can be added to the router. It has a 4-axis universal router head for 3D production. All axis are driven by brushless, high-torque AC servo motors. A Syntec CNC controller is setup to accept standard G-code programming formats along with on board conversational applications.

The system features moving gantry construction for space saving. The rigid steel frame construction has been stress relieved prior to finish machining to provide repeatability and accuracy. The HSD spindle uses CP4 DB bearings with a dust-free design. The heavy-duty fan cooling system forces air through the spindle to assist in trouble-free operation.

Linear guides and sliding blocks are prismatic pre-loaded with recirculation bearings to ensure maximum rapid traverse and precision. The X & Y axis are equipped with a precision rack & pinion driving system. The Z axis utilizes a ball screw assembly complete with the pre-loaded and ground screw for long life and optimum accuracy.

Applications in woodworking include doors, windows, cabinets, panel products, signs, logos, and decorative products.

C.R. Onsrud Coolest Thing winner

C.R. Onsrud: Qube Series CNC machining center
C.R. Onsrud has been honored with the prestigious “Coolest Thing Made in NC” award for 2023. This honor is bestowed through a popular vote competition, which recognizes not only the innovative technology behind the company’s CNC machinery but also the significant role C.R. Onsrud plays in empowering American manufacturing and the broader economy. Onsrud was specifically recognized for the versatility and capabilities of its Qube Series CNC Machining Center.

“C.R. Onsrud’s path to victory was driven by community support and recognition of our technological advancements,” the company said in a statement. “Starting with a nomination from industry peers and supporters, we surged ahead through several rounds of public voting. It was a competitive field, but thanks to our advocates and the undeniable capabilities of our CNC Machining Centers, we emerged victorious.”

What makes the Qube Series CNC Machining Center the “Coolest Thing”? Capable of crafting everything from intricate aircraft parts, to durable furniture, to the molds that make various products, this machine is not just a tool; it’s a revolution in making virtually anything imaginable, according to the company.

Felder Format 4 CNC

Felder: Format 4 D-Jet CNC drill and dowel machine
Felder’s Format 4 D-Jet CNC drill and dowel machine is designed to be the perfect solution for industrial cabinet making as a supplement to a CNC nesting machine, but also as a stand-alone solution for the skilled craftsman. The machine stands out due to its space-saving design with a small footprint of only 3.5 m² (about 38 square feet) as well as a competitive price-performance ratio. It offers maximum efficiency through zero set-up time: time-consuming positioning of consoles or vacuum cups is completely eliminated.  

Other features include intuitive controls, flexibility in the choice of joints, a drill head with three horizontal and three vertical spindles as well as a grooving saw. Up to four workpieces can be processed simultaneously. Automatic dowel insertion is by means of a large-dimensioned oscillating feeder.

Schelling VS storage system

IMA Schelling: vs Area Storage System
The Schelling area storage system is designed to be a powerful way to increase use of cut-to-size saws while saving valuable time and storage space. The secret of this innovation lies in the fully engineered and automated organization of the storage system. Areas from 13.1 to 65.6 ft. (4 to 20 m) wide and up to 328 ft. (100 m) long or more can be used completely, with stacks up to 78.8 in. (2,000 mm) high. 

Storing, retrieving, repositioning, and dispatching employ a trolley that operates quickly, precisely, and economically by a traveling beam and bridge above the board stacks. Total height of the plant is only 141.7 in. (3,600 mm). Custom storage strategies also may be applied. Board stacks can be homogenous, chaotic or mixed to accommodate large batch or small job production requirements.

Inventables X-Carve Pro CNC router

Inventables: X-Carve Pro 4x4 CNC
With its tiling feature, the X-Carve Pro 4x4 CNC system can cut 4x8 sheets on a 4x4 work area. Available from Inventables, the X-Carve Pro can be used to configure, design and cut everything from custom cabinets to furniture, as well as large signs in a few easy steps. 

The CNC comes complete with bits, dust collection system, hold-down clamps and Easel Pro software. The machine has a work area (X Y Z) of 48 in. x 48 in. x 4 in., and a footprint of 65.75 in. x 55.75 in.

Vitap K2 2.0 Flow CNC

JKL: K2 2.0 with Flow System
JKL Machinery offers the Vitap K2 2.0 with Flow System is designed to be a true fully automatic machine that can load, process and unload parts without human intervention. It is targeted at any shop, large or small, that is looking to increase output while stabilizing or decreasing overhead. 

Vitap uses 3-dimensional solid modeling systems to design its working centers which are built with a mobile beam and stationary basement. This configuration allows a remarkable reduction in the machine’s overall size and improves the machine’s performance and functionality. The basement and the beam are made of electrically welded steel and are ribbed and strengthened internally to guarantee maximum rigidity even under intense working. 

Laguna Tools Smart Shop with loading

Laguna Tools: SmartShop Auto Loader
The SmartShop Auto Loader from Laguna Tools comes complete with clean sweep technology. It is designed to be a game-changer for the cabinet making industry and those shops looking to produce the maximum number of orders with quick and reliable delivery times.

Primarily designed for the panel processing sector, the SmartShop AL also excels at cabinet manufacturing, machining plastic and non-ferrous metals. It features a 12HP HSD Spindle, HSD 5×5 L-shape drill block, an 8-position rotary tool changer and 850w Yaskawa servos.

OMEC F11 CNC dovetailer

Macoser: Omec dovetail machinery
Established in 2005, Macoser, Inc. is the exclusive U.S. importer of Omec, a renowned dovetail machine manufacturer since 1964. Omec’s line includes dovetailers, gluers, hot brand stamping machines, and clamps, all featuring high-speed precision and reliability with CNC and touchscreen controls. Widely used in kitchen cabinetry, furniture, crating, boxes, beehives, windows, and doors, Omec products stand out for their cutting-edge technology and superior performance, making them a top choice in the woodworking industry.

One example is the Omec F11TS, an advanced CNC dovetailer evolved from the proven F11CN model. With a generous 30-in. machining area, it effortlessly creates diverse dovetail designs. Operating at 18,000 rpm, it accommodates various tooling options for customized effects like box cuts and French dovetails. The CNC-controlled system ensures precision in spindle location, speed, tooling, pin height, and joint depth. Boasting a user-friendly 7-in. touch screen with 600 programs, the F11TS facilitates seamless operator inputs and provides a clear visual representation of machine operations.

Pro Edge Elev8 CNC dowel and drill machine

ProEdge: Elev8 CNC edge & dowel machine
Pro Edge Technology offers the Elev8 CNC Edge & Dowel machine that eliminates the need for additional machines and saves floor space. Elev8 provides 8mm bore and dowel insertion plus 3-axis CNC edge routing. This enables the complete manufacture of shaker-style doors, louvered doors, SOSS hinges, and water or glue dowel insertion. 

CNC edge routing capability includes machining of both the edge and bottom of panels. The router is equipped with a tool touch-off device in both horizontal and vertical axes. Elev8 also provides open-architecture parametric programming capabilities allowing for your choice of design software. Pro Edge says every detail of this machine has been logically considered and built to make operation as smooth and easy as possible, and it comes standard with a two-year warranty.

SCM startech cn k compact machining center

SCM: Startech CN-K compact machining center
SCM’s startech cn k is the new 3-axis machining center designed for artisan carpentry, training schools and prototyping departments of industrial operations. It can handle all types of milling, decorations, engraving, signboard creation and 3D model prototyping.

Featuring ease of setup and use, it can also be installed independently. Designed with safety standards in mind, startech cn k is equipped with an integral cabin with internal LED lighting, which ensures protection for the operator and keeps the surrounding environment clean. The rigid and robust structure guarantees professional precision and repeatability, the company says.
The machine has a powerful 2,4 kW electrospindle with R25 tool-chuck. A 4th interpolating axis (lathe processing) that can be positioned on the worktable.

Shaper Origin in staircase

Shaper Tools: Shaper Origin hand-held CNC router
Shaper Tools says its Shaper Origin + Workstation is a unique all-in-one workspace solution that provides simplified precision cutting and efficient work holding. The system streamlines the workflow, with digitized templates, on-tool design, and portable computer-guided cutting, the company adds.

The system offers unmatched portability, allowing you to bring Origin to the job and work at any scale. Install virtually any hardware or inlay, and route pockets with minimal setup and maximum repeatability. Combine with Plate – the universal template for Origin – to work on the smaller tasks from hardware installation to corner rounding.

ShopBot PRSalphaATC

ShopBot: PRSalpha ATC CNC router
The PRSalpha ATC is designed to be the affordable CNC solution that delivers high performance, high volume, speed, and reliable power. It provides full-production performance in the digital fabrication of wood, plastic, aluminum, and other materials, but the PRSalpha ATC has the added capability of an Automatic Tool Changer. An ATC reduces production time by automatically changing cutters between tool paths, thus eliminating the need for the CNC operator to change and zero tools individually. 

This allows the PRSalpha ATC to do the full job, even when different tooling is required to make different types of cuts – like cabinets and furniture – or where different bits are needed for roughing and finishing passes – like signs and complex 3D carvings. A machine equipped with an ATC can perform operations normally done on other pieces of equipment, eliminating the need for additional machines in the shop.

PRSalpha ATC tools are available with 8 in. or 14 in. Z travel. In addition to standard size tools, ShopBot can build the machine to any dimension up to 10 ft. by 30 ft. and with plunge depths up to 24 in. Other customizable components are available, including an HSD 10 HP Spindle.

Homag Drill Teq

Stiles: Compact vertical machining center
The Homag DrillTeq V-310 vertical machining center from Stiles Machinery offers maximum functionality within a limited footprint. This compact machine, covering just 118 sq. ft., has greater drilling, routing, and grooving capabilities than other machines in its design class, the company says. The V-310 can also handle tasks like hinge and lock door preparation, processing connectors used in cabinet and furniture construction, and dowel insertion.

It is even possible to process doors, as well as every type of connector used in furniture construction. Extensive equipment is available, including up to 45 drilling spindles, and 2 groove saws. Whether classic trimming and drilling or the production of pockets, there are no limits to the choice of furniture connectors. For energy efficient processing, the machine uses a vacuum-free clamping system allowing quick setup times.

Thermwood 63 long bed CNC

Thermwood: Five-Axis 5x40 CNC router
Thermwood’s Model 63 is a large bed CNC router with a moving bridge and stationary table designed for 2D and 3D machining of large composite parts and 3D patterns. It is available in either a three- or five-axis configuration. Available table sizes include:  5’x10’ (1.5m x 3.0m), 5’x20’ (1.5mx6.0m), 5’x40’ (1.5mx12.0m). The machine features a 36” Z-axis and a 40 HP 24,000 rpm variable speed router with a 10 position rotary automatic tool changer.

Features include high-tolerance tool length sensor, automatic lubrication system, and a mist coolant system. There are Siemens Intellegent servo drives throughout.

Holz-Her Streamer CNC

Holz-Her: Streamer 1057 XL C
The Streamer 1057 XL C edgebander from Holz-Her is based on the successful Streamer 1057 XL model with exclusive add-on features. It offers high tech in minimum space and concentrates on the significant aspects for high quality edgebanding. The additional copy cutter unit supplements the performance range; postformed profiles are also possible.

The machine makes complete machining including corner rounding possible with three standard finishing units: a mechanical radius scraper, an application-controlled flat scraper as well as a buffing unit. A spraying unit to prevent adhesion of any glue or contamination residues or remove any already present is available as an optional feature.

Yeti portable CNC

Yeti: SmartBench portable CNC
The SmartBench PrecisionPro from Yeti Tool is a portable CNC router system with automated feeds and cutting speeds. Many Smartbench customers are new to CNC, and in the past some have learned about manual feeds and speeds on their routers through trial and error. By having automated feeds and speeds built into the router, the risk of human error from CNC projects is reduced, completes cutting more efficiently, and reduces the amount of material wasted on projects.

The router changes its own feed rates during cutting, which means that new and experienced CNC users alike can complete projects more confidently and productively in future. Customers who have purchased a SmartBench V1.3 can add on this new hardware to their existing machine. It is also available for SmartBench Mini routers.


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About the author
William Sampson

William Sampson is a lifelong woodworker, and he has been an advocate for small-scale entrepreneurs and lean manufacturing since the 1980s. He was the editor of Fine Woodworking magazine in the early 1990s and founded WoodshopBusiness magazine, which he eventually sold and merged with CabinetMaker magazine. He helped found the Cabinet Makers Association in 1998 and was its first executive director. Today, as editorial director of Woodworking Network and FDMC magazine he has more than 20 years experience covering the professional woodworking industry. His popular "In the Shop" tool reviews and videos appear monthly in FDMC.