I keep reading about this specific topic and thought-why not put my two cents in. A CNC (computer numerical control) machine is a great addition to your work shop. Imagine hiring a worker, paying him once, never giving him a raise and he never takes lunch breaks or calls in sick. That's what it's like having a CNC machine.
Benefits Of Having A CNC
There are a lot of pros to owning a CNC. With a CNC you can do precise cuts on wood or lots of other materials that you could never do by hand. If you have multiple cuts that take a few hours, you can program it and once you get comfortable with working with your CNC, you can work on other projects at the same time. It will pay for itself very quickly and you will be able to batch out products. The sky is the limit with your creativity, process and different ways to make unique pieces. I've had my CNC for about a year now and I've barely scratched the surface on what it can do. There's a great community of CNC owners out there to help guide others and let you in on what they know and ways they've messed up so don't be scared to try it. I couldn't imagine my shop without it.
Cons Of Having A CNC
Cost is a major con of owning a CNC. Yea, you can get a $300 one, but we all know that's a waste of time and money...you get what you pay for. It will cost you around $2500 to get a decent CNC machine. Then once you get all the other extras like a router, work holdings, etc. make a table to hold it and other items. The cost adds up quickly. For me, there was a bit of a learning curve. I've never worked with anything like this so I messed up a lot of wood through the learning process and that also cost a good bit of money. Learning the program and all of the options, designing customer's projects and having the time to figure it all out are all part of the process. Good thing there's YouTube because I would have never figured it out without all of the great content creators out there like Andy Bird Builds. If you're new to CNC, check him out-he will save you a lot of time, money and screaming at your CNC.
I feel that using a CNC is woodworking. You need to process the wood, flatten the wood, learn how the wood chips, learn which wood works best for a certain task, learn to properly join wood, learn how to finish wood and everything else you need to do to complete a project from start to finish. They didn't have routers, table saws, miter saws 100 years ago. If you use those tools is that not still considered woodworking? Just because you add a new tool to your arsenal doesn't mean you are not still woodworking. Do you think using a CNC is still considered woodworking? Check out my site www.askalexww.com for some cool wood gifts.