If you’re a fabricator new to CNC technology, you may be wondering where to start when purchasing the right machinery for your needs. Two popular options are the Vertical Machining Center (VMC) and the CNC router. Let’s compare the two technologies and help you decide which one is right for you.
What is a CNC router?
The CNC router is a precise computer-controlled cutting machine designed to cut various materials such as non-ferrous metals, wood, plastics, or high-density foam. The most popular CNC routers offer highly accurate precision cutting with an expansive array of machine sizes and configurations. Metalworking with a CNC router is possible, but it is not the most common option as it doesn’t have the flexibility to machine ferrous metals. You will likely see these used for plastic, foam, and wood.
What is a Vertical Machining Center?
The Vertical Machining Center is one of the most flexible machines in the world. They are highly automated functional machines. The VMC employs a vertical spindle and worktable orientation, allowing these operations to happen on a horizontal machining bed. The VMC can perform drilling, milling, boring, tapping, and is often a popular machine tool for steel machining. It provides top-notch versatility, flexibility, and rigidity.
What can you do with a Vertical Machining Center?
These machines are most commonly used in machine shops, fab shops, and machinery manufacturing industries. These machines’ versatility can handle various machining processes, including milling, drilling, tapping, and boring in ferrous and non-ferrous metals. With a machining center you can perform tasks a lot quicker and smoother, get products out of the door in a quicker time and keep customers satisfied. These machines can come with many configurations and options.
Cons of a CNC Router
The CNC routers are often loud due to their vacuum or extraction system and high-speed spindle, and the sound will vary based on the material. A CNC router is also not the best for steel as it doesn’t have the torque of a Vertical Machining Center. A CNC router also has to make smaller and less aggressive cuts due to the high RPMs of the spindle. Unlike a milling machine, these routers are not the best with steel-type material.
Why a Vertical Machining Center over a CNC router?
When it comes to the Vertical Machining Center, there is a huge upside and potential, especially with large gantry-style machining centers. The lengths and widths of these machines can be configured to customers’ specific needs and have tons of machining space for nearly any application. With the VMC, you can run this machine much harder and push it more for its full capabilities. More often than not, steel will be the material used in large profile machining, and the VMC is the best machine tool solution for this. Some may argue that a CNC router is more efficient because it utilizes a higher RPM spindle, which will get the job done faster. In reality, higher RPMs lead to lighter cuts and possibly more machining time. A VMC has a lower RPM, allowing for more extensive and aggressive cuts. The increased metal removal rate could result in a faster cycle time, even with a finishing pass. Both styles of CNC machines can do what you need, but for flexibility, versatility, and rigidity, you should consider a Vertical Machining Center.
People often refer to the FlexCNC as a router due to its similar appearance, but it surpasses the robustness of a CNC router. The machine’s heavy-duty, welded steel frame is specifically designed to endure the demands of heavy cutting forces. This makes it much more stable and less prone to vibrations or deflection than a typical CNC router. If you are looking for a versatile and advanced machining center capable of accurately performing a wide range of machining operations, the FlexCNC may fit the bill.
The FlexCNC is a Vertical Machining Center and could be a better alternative to a CNC router. For more information on FlexCNC, please visit https://flexmachinetools.com/flexcnc/. Or request a quote today.