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The Beginner's Guide to Automated Shop Machinery

By Laguna Tools on April, 2 2020
Automated Shop Machinery

Does your shop churn out varied products like laser-cut designs, engraving, and even custom signage? 

What if you could cut your production time from hours to minutes without sacrificing quality? 

Automated shop machinery is the key to a high quality and consistent final product. It’s the only way to scale your business to new heights when a single production run consists of dozens or hundreds of products. 

Over hundreds of production runs, your team is producing thousands of engraved, lasered, or CNC-built products. 


The right machinery can:

  • Automate detail-oriented processing such as lathing and engraving 

  • Streamline the production process to save time and resources

  • Outlast hobby-grade machines by decades so you aren’t replacing expensive machinery every year 

  • Produce high-quality products that are consistent from batch to batch 

The right CNC machinery for your shop depends on what products you build and at what volume. 

Some examples of automated shop machinery include: 

  • CNC Turners 

  • Specialty CNC Machines

  • Plasma Cutters

  • Desktop CNC Routers

  • Budget CNC Routers

  • High-Capacity CNC Machines

  • Multi-Tool CNC Machines


Here’s what you should know about each one:

Automated Shop Machinery


CNC Turners

A CNC turner is a lathe that’s controlled by an electronic control board. Compared to a manual lathe, a CNC turner is: 

  • Safer

  • More efficient

  • More consistent


Overnight, upgrading from a manual lathe to a CNC turner can double your production capacity and take a huge burden off your team. And computerized controls mean there’s much less potential for human error! 

Without the time-consuming need to operate a manual lathe, your team is freed up to work on other projects (or simply increase their production quotas exponentially!) 


Automated Shop Machinery

Pictured: CNC Turner


Look for features such as: 

  • Handheld remote control so you can adjust settings without needing computer savvy 

  • Liquid-cooled spindle for longer operation without overheating


Automated Shop Machinery


Specialty CNC Machines

When you have a specialty project, you need a CNC machine that can provide you with accuracy, efficiency, and the ability to complete the same process quickly and repeatedly. 

Making something specific like baseball bats or six-foot architectural columns? Your typical computerized lathe isn’t enough. 


Automated Shop Machinery

Pictured: Smartshop J Specialty CNC Machine


Specialty CNC machines come with custom features to complement and facilitate your project. 

Some of the most popular options do the following:

  • SmartShop LD4 drills and inserts fasteners so you can assemble cabinets, drawers, desks, and other solid wood furniture quickly and easily without glues or screws

  • Bat Master CNC Turner creates high-quality bats in 5 minutes or less

  • SmartShop Composite Fabricator 16 produces aluminum composite panels (ACPs) for large architectural projects or other applications

  • SmartShop Composite Fabricator 20 features a large table format for quick and accurate ACP fabrication


Automated Shop Machinery


Plasma Cutters

A plasma cutter lets you cut steel, aluminum, brass, copper, and other conductive metals cleanly and accurately. This type of cutter virtually eliminates metal shards and debris that become a hazard when working with these materials! 

Plus, it’s more precise. The result is lines that are smoother and more defined. 

It’s not enough to cut metal with a machine that’s not specialized. If your shop handles both wood and metal, then a plasma cutter is a non-negotiable purchase. It can increase the quality of your product single-handedly by cutting smoother, cleaner lines. 



Automated Shop Machinery

Pictured: Plasma Level 1 CNC Router


When choosing a plasma cutter, look for these features:

  • All-welded steel frames to boost accuracy and increase the lifespan

  • Compatible with power supplies up to 400 amps so you can work from more places in the shop 

  • Helical rack and pinion drive systems for X and Y axes

  • Precision ground ball screw for Z-axis

  • Automatic height controls to ensure perfect torch height on all parts of the panel

  • G-code control systems with universal software compatibility for easy setup and operation 

  • Wireless control system connection for convenience

  • Plate sensing to keep curve width consistent and maximize accuracy 


Automated Shop Machinery


Desktop CNC Routers

Ideal for work and hobby applications, desktop CNC routers balance space-saving affordability with precision cutting capabilities. There’s no reason to sacrifice cutting power when there are powerhouse desktop CNC routers on the market! 

If you operate out of a small shop or regularly need to move your router, then a desktop router could be the right choice. The combination of compact design and powerhouse cutting capability is an easy sell for most shop owners. 


A desktop CNC router can help you with the following projects:

  • Cutting signage from plastic

  • Working with aluminum

  • Designing wood picture frames

  • Other miscellaneous small-scale projects


Automated Shop Machinery

Pictured: iQ Desktop CNC Router


To get the best desktop CNC router, look for these features:

  • Heavy-duty frame for longevity and durability 

  • Liquid-cooled 3-HP spindle that stays at a consistent temperature

  • Handheld controller to display G-code and tool paths

  • Multi-position automatic tool changer letting you use up to three tools for a single project

  • Full-scale precision in a desktop size so you can fit your work anywhere 


Automated Shop Machinery


Budget CNC Routers

When you need affordability, budget CNC routers keep prices low without sacrificing quality. There’s no reason that sticking to a budget needs to mean that your quality slips. A budget router helps alleviate production stress without requiring a purchase that blows the bank. 

The ideal CNC router for shops trying to stick to a budget, these routers use the same motion controls as larger machines, allowing them to cut accurately and create sharp-edged finishes. 


Automated Shop Machinery

Pictured: Swift Budget CNC Router


Budget CNC routers can enhance your project with these great features:

  • Roomy gantry clearance for added versatility in processing

  • Handheld controllers so you can make adjustments at a moment’s notice

  • Sturdy one-piece all-steel welded frame prevents excessive vibration during operation 

  • Vacuum tables to improve part stability on larger models

  • 3 HP liquid-cooled spindle to support hours of continuous crafting


Automated Shop Machinery


High-Capacity CNC Machines

High-capacity CNC machines allow you to produce more while also safeguarding the quality of your cuts. 

It’s easy for quality to slip when you start to scale, but that’s the biggest mistake your shop could make. And it’s a mistake you can avoid with the right machinery. 

If you want to increase production and improve efficiency, a high-capacity CNC router is a perfect solution. 


Automated Shop Machinery

Pictured: Smartshop M2 Series High-Capacity CNC Machine


These CNC machines are designed to support long production cycles, and their easy-to-use controls can be mastered quickly, even by a novice cutter. 

That means less time training your staff to use these machines… and more time actually operating them. If your staff has enough experience to operate a standard CNC machine, then they can operate a high-capacity CNC machine. 

In particular, cabinet shops can benefit from a high-capacity CNC machine. You can turn out a fully-finished cabinet door in 5 minutes or less! That translates to an instantly shorter production cycle and bigger capacity to meet quotas. 


Here are just some of the features available:

  • User-friendly control systems make the learning curve manageable 

  • Liquid-cooled electrospindle to avoid overheating during long operation cycles

  • Up to 2,400 RPM precision spindles for maximum performance 

  • One-piece steel frames to lessen rattling, noise, and vibration during operation

  • Up to 1,400 inches per minute cutting speed to process massive lengths in no time 

  • Multiple table sizes so you can fit this machine in any shop

  • 8-position automatic tool changer to avoid prolonged tool-switching, which can delay production cycles 


Multi-Tool CNC Machines

Multi-tool CNC machines can hold up to four tools at a time, allowing you to quickly switch between different projects or materials or rotate tools in the same project. 

When you’re running a diverse production line, this quick-change capability can be crucial to your shop’s success.

No one has time to drop their project for 15 minutes or longer just to switch out a tool. And no shop has the space to hold a CNC machine for every tool type! 


Automated Shop Machinery

Pictured: Smartshop XCEL Multi-Tool CNC Machine


Multi-tool CNC routers can hold routers, oscillating knives, tangential knives, Laguna Vision Systems, creasing wheels, and other tools. 

You can practically build an entire set of cabinets with a single multi-tool CNC machine! The versatility is underrated and deserves a spot in any shop. 

Here are some of the features you can expect with these CNC machines:

  • 0.1 mm cutting accuracy so there’s practically no error, leaving concise cuts 

  • Repeat projects with high accuracy for large production runs 

  • High maximum cutting speed so you can process large stock in short time periods 

  • Multiple table sizes to suit any shop configuration 

  • Liquid-cooled spindles prevent overheating during long operational runs 


Get a Quote on Automated Shop Machinery Today

Convinced that your shop could benefit from CNC machinery? Laguna Tools has the selection that you need. We’ll walk you through the machines that could benefit your shop the most. 

Contact us today to get a quote for your shop. The sky’s the limit on the production line when you have Laguna Tools! 

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