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Desktop CNC Milling Machines and Routers.
How they differ ... 
Milling machine
desktop cnc milling machine
desktop cnc router
Materials. Milling machines tend to be suitable for cutting a larger range of materials (from wood to steel). 
Work envelope. Mills have a relatively larger travel in the Z axis but smaller in the X and Y. 
Materials. Routing machines will cut soft materials like wood and can engrave the softer metals like aluminium and brass.
Work envelope. Routers have a relatively larger travel in the X and Y axes but smaller in the Z. 
Example: Micro Mill 2000 by Quantum  Example: MDX500 by Roland

This machine is at the budget end of the spectrum. It is based on the respected Taig milling machine from the US. 
X axis: 9" - 229 mm.
Y axis: 5.5" - 140 mm.
Z axis: 5" - 127 mm.
Quantum say that you can be up and running for just under 2000 UK pounds (excluding VAT).
A high specification router using servo, rather than the stepper motors typical of small machines.  
X axis: 19.6" - 500 mm.
Y axis: 12.9" - 330 mm.
Z axis: 4.1" - 105 mm.
This 92 kilo machine is perhaps just a little weighty to be described as a desktop router but Roland have smaller machines in the range 

Ultra high precision machining. The Datron CAT3D-M6 micro machining centre. 
The Datron CAT3D-M6 was designed for highly accurate machining of small, precision components. 
X axis: 5.5" - 140 mm.
Y axis: 7.5" - 190 mm. 
Z axis: 5.5 " - 140 mm.
This is a high quality machine with a positioning accuracy of 3 microns. Massive cast construction is used to minimise vibration.  
  ... but if those are not big and powerful enough for your needs (and you are a technical type) you might want to build your own machine. Check ADVANCED MICRO SOLUTIONS in the UK.




 John Weston / Data Wales 2007

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