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How Much Does a CNC Machine Cost?

By Laguna Tools on August, 7 2023
an image showing a laguna tools employee showing a cnc machine and a text overlay that says affordable cnc machines

Businesses can find many options on the market today when searching for a mill, lathe, or machining center. However, with so many different types of CNC machines, it can be difficult to sort through all the information and figure out how to budget for new equipment. CNC machines can range in price from just a thousand dollars to up to half a million, depending on their capabilities and features.

In this guide, we’ll address some of the common questions about CNC, including:

  • How much is a CNC machine?
  • What factors affect the price of a CNC machine?
  • How should you narrow down your search?

Learn more about CNC machines in this guide from Laguna Tools.


CNC Machines: A Brief Overview

A computer numerical control (CNC) machine uses software to program complex movements into manufacturing equipment. CNC programmers use computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) software to generate project plans and direct the machinery. There are many different types of CNC machines, including:

  • CNC routers
  • CNC plasma-cutting machines
  • CO2 laser-cutting machines
  • Fiber Markers
  • Fiber Laser
  • Edge-banding CNCs


CNC machinery is used to cut and shape raw materials into finished parts. They’re used in a wide range of industries, from automotive and aerospace to energy and defense. With CNC equipment, machinists can automate many of the routine tasks required to shape workpieces made from materials like wood, metal, and plastic. CNC machines function using a language called G-code that directs placement, feed rate, and cutting speed.

CNC machines have multiple axes of movement. Many milling machines and routers have three linear axes:

  • X-axis: Left and right movement
  • Y-axis: Forward and backward movement
  • Z-axis: Up and down movement

Some laser cutters and other smaller CNCs have just two linear axes (X and Y). In more advanced CNCs, you’ll find rotary axes in addition to linear axes. A 5-Axis CNC machine has A and B rotary axes. The A axis rotates around the X axis, while the B axis rotates around the Y axis. These offer more advanced automation because an operator doesn’t need to stop the machine and reposition the tool. 


Factors That Affect CNC Machine Price

As you browse CNC equipment, you’ll notice that prices can vary widely. With so many different types of CNC machines on the market that fit different needs and applications, several factors affect the upfront cost. These include:

Power and Controller

Depending on your needs, it's important to consider how large of a CNC spindle you may need. Larger spindles carry more power allowing the CNC operator to take on more serious workloads, however, they do cost more. For example, high speed is best for materials such as aluminum, wood, composite materials, laminates, etc. However, when routing stainless steel or thermoplastics high speed shouldn't be your focus not applied.

In addition to power needs, another important factor to consider is what CNC controller you prefer. A CNC controller is a general term that refers to one of several devices but it summarizes the complete machine control system. A controller is an important part of a CNC machine as it links the computer system to the mechanical components of a CNC machine. Its primary task is to receive signals from a computer and interpret those signals into mechanical motion through motor output. If you're looking for a reliable, easy-to-use, and training-friendly controller, considering a CNC that comes with a FANUC controller can be something to consider with costs. 




At Laguna Tools, we have a variety of CNC machines that can take on multiple materials, allowing shops and operators to have the freedom to use their CNCs for different applications. For example, our CO2 lasers can engrave and cut on various wood, acrylics, plastics, glass, rubber, and more. Our CNC routers offer the same freedom as they can route and cut a wide variety of materials. We also offer accessories that make it easier to switch between applications and materials, including automatic tool changers and vacuum tables. 



Size of the Machine

An important factor that can correlate to how much a CNC machine may cost is the table size. A smaller work area may be cheaper but it also adds to the limitations of the kinds of projects you can take on. If you're limited in space and certain your workshop or business can only handle a specific threshold of work, a smaller desktop CNC may work best as these usually come in 2x4 table sizes. However, for more professional workshops that are looking to take on more demand and grow their business, Laguna offers larger CNC routers with table sizes that come anywhere from 4x4, 4x8, and 5x10 models, ideal for businesses that need the larger bed space to take on jobs such as cabinet making or sign making.



CNC Machine Materials

CNC machines can shape wood, acrylic, or sheet metal, including aluminum, stainless steel, and copper. The material the machine cuts can affect its price:

How Much Is A CNC Machine For Metalwork?

Metal is a more difficult material to work with than wood, so prices for CNC machines that cut metal tend to be more expensive. Additionally, metalworking usually requires tighter tolerances, which also increases the overall price.

However, prices can differ based on the type of metal. For instance, Laguna Tools offers CNC routers designed for working on soft metals, such as aluminum and copper, so users can find affordable machines for their needs, but we also offer Fiber Laser or Plasma Cutters that can work with stainless steel at thicker measures.

How Much Is A CNC Machine For Wood?

Prices for wood CNC machines vary quite a bit. Those who enjoy working with wood for fun can get a small hobbyist machine for just a few thousand dollars. If you have a professional woodworking business, however, you’ll need to shell out a bit more – between $5,000 and $100K.



Average Prices for CNC Machines

The cost of a new CNC can differ by the machine manufacturer and its country of origin. Here are the average price ranges for a few different types of CNC machines:

How Much Is A CNC Router Machine?

Entry-level CNC routers for hobbyists can cost as little as $1,000 to $3,000. A desktop CNC router can range from $1,000 to $10,000 depending on its capabilities. High-end routers can cost anywhere up to $150,000.

How Much Is A Small CNC Machine?

A small machine intended for beginners and DIY enthusiasts, such as a desktop router, is often priced under $1,000. These machines are best suited for hobbyist projects. 

How Much Does a 3-Axis Machine Cost?

A typical 3-axis machining center will cost between $50,000 and $125,000.

How Much Does a 5-Axis Machine Cost?

With their additional functionality and continuous machining processes, 5-axis CNCs are on the higher end of the spectrum. These machines cost anywhere from $200,000 and up, although many are over $500,000. 6-axis machines and larger industrial machining centers can be $250,000 to $500,000, as well.

Note that used CNC machines may have a lower price tag, but they may be more prone to breakdowns, require replacement parts, and are limited to smaller-scale applications/possibilities. You may not save money in the long run.


Other CNC Machine Costs to Consider

Some CNC machines come with a software package; others don’t. Software and accessories are some of the supplemental costs you’ll need to consider when budgeting for a CNC machine. Some of the more popular CNC accessories and optional features include:

  • Clamps and vices: There are many different types of clamps you can choose to hold your workpieces in place. 
  • Coolant systems: Coolant protects workpieces and machine surfaces. A coolant system attaches to the CNC machine and pumps fluids with a jet or mist attachment.
  • Tool organizer: As the name implies, this is a tray for storing cutting tools when they are not in use.
  • Automatic tool changers (ATCs): Depending on your production demands, an automatic tool changer may fit your needs. With an ATC, an operator can program the CNC router to change bits while it is in the process of routing, saving you the hassle of having to manually stop the machine and removing the bit by hand, ultimately saving you labor and time. 
  • Dust shoes: These are small devices that couple with a vacuum system to suck up dust and debris from the cutting area, making cleanup easier.

While CNC machines reduce your labor costs, you will need to staff the machine with an experienced programmer and operator. Factor all these potential additional expenses into your budget to get a realistic picture of the true cost of a new CNC machine.


Choosing a CNC Machine

If you’re thinking about buying a CNC machine for your home workshop or business, there are several factors you should consider. Use these questions to help you narrow down your search:

What Are Your Machining Needs?

Think through the type of materials you use and the kind of work you’ll be doing with a CNC machine. Look for options that offer the machining processes you currently use and plan to take on in the future.

What Type Of Software Compatibility Do You Need?

If you have existing CAD/CAM software, you might want to choose a CNC machine that’s compatible with that program. If you’re open to learning a new kind of software, you may have more options available to you. Some popular, industry-leading software programs include:

  • Fusion 360
  • Lightburn
  • Mozaik
  • VCarve Pro
  • Vectric Aspire

How Much Space Do You Have?

Measure the amount of space you can dedicate to new machinery. Remember that in addition to the machine’s footprint, you may also need more space to store raw materials.

What Is Your Budget?

Look at your organizational budget and assess how much money you can put aside for new equipment. You’ll also need to account for installation and maintenance costs. Decide if you can buy a CNC machine outright or if you will need to look at financing options.

Laguna Tools makes it easier to find a CNC machine that fits your budget with our wide variety of options. We have quality desktop CNCs designed for talented hobbyists with smaller budgets, mid-value CNCs for entry-level production, and premium high-level CNCs that can keep up with production demands. 

Research Support and Parts Availability

Even the best CNC machines need regular maintenance and occasional repairs. At Laguna, we provide telephone-based technical support and have on-site CNC technicians ready to travel to your location to get your CNC machine functioning like normal.


Find CNC Machines at Laguna Tools

For over 40 years, Laguna Tools has been a leading supplier of CNC and industrial machinery. Founded in 1983 to serve the woodworking industry, Laguna Tools has grown over the years, offering a wide range of machinery, accessories, and CNC machine tools to professionals in many different industries. With dealers located throughout the United States and beyond, as well as prompt customer service, Laguna Tools makes it easy to find the right CNC solution for your business. We offer excellent warranty policies and are happy to provide third-party CNC financing options to customers who qualify.

Offering the highest level of machine performance for all production needs, Laguna Tools uses reliable, heavy-duty frames, premium components, and FANUC controls. Whether you work with wood, metal, plastic, or other materials, we can help you find the CNC machinery you need to work more efficiently with a higher degree of accuracy. For more information, contact us today.

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