So you got yourself a cnc machine, now its time to look into inexpensive as well as the expensive options that you can get when it comes to cnc router tables. The line in the sand seems to be tables under the $1000 mark. It is possible to get something under $1000, but it all comes down to application.
Going the custom route
You could get a custom cnc router table made up. The cheapest diy cnc router table would probably be one that is made out of mdf or custom wood. MDF is probably the best way to go if you want something cheap and easy, as plywood can warp a bit (however treated plywood repels water a lot better without any swelling). 3/4 inch plywood cut up and screwed together would make for an extremely strong base, but wouldn’t be 100% flat, so custom wood/ particle board/ mdf wood is a good way to go, and can be bonded and clamped together to create a stable platform.
Aluminum or steel is another way to go. This is where things start to get expensive, and with aluminum you’d need a specialty welder. You could find some lengths of extrusion then weld them together to a base frame to form a solid base if you’re going the aluminum route. Steel could be done, but you may have to use fasteners to join together if you don’t have access to a welder. The fasteners may vibrate and come loose during repeated application. The good thing about steel is that you can create a lip on the edges, so you can clamp down material easy – also clamping onto steel directly will not dent, unlike a wooden cnc router table top.
Getting the kit with a table
Buying a cnc engraving/ routing machine with a table is the easiest way to go. Cost-wise it’s going to cost from a few hundred to a thousands more, but then you have the whole package ready to go. This kit by CNCEST is a solid 3 axis router that comes with a 230W DC spindle motor and a small, but solid aluminum base.
This table here (pictured above) is for those that want a large table (4 foot x 8 foot). However you will be paying a lot for this – in the $3000 range.
DIY router table
As mentioned above in the custom router section, diy is definitely going to be your best bet. Getting some treated plywood, or untreated and then cut to size. Home Depot typically allows 2-3 cuts per sheet for free and you can rent a truck from Home Depot for cheap (around $20) for the first 75 mins, then $5 for each 15 minutes afterwards.
We would suggest measuring up what you need, then heading down to Home Depot and picking up your wood then renting one of their vehicles if you don’t have your own. Or if you cut your table down enough you could probably put the plywood into the back of your car. For pre-made plans Build Your CNC has some good ones.
What are your plans for your cnc router table? What solutions have you found to be the best?