Creating something special for your loved ones is always a fulfilling task. But even when you are good at drawing, you may struggle to operate a Dremel or a soldering iron when engraving your art into the wood. This is where CNC engraving machines give you a hand. They take your design from a computer to different kinds of material, from wood to soft-aluminum and PVC.
With engraving, you personalize gifts like door signs, picture frames or coasters with your creative work. Of course, you can make some items for yourself, like an engraved phone case or your name on the handle of your favorite hunting knife. To get you started some basic CNC engraving machines are on the market, using widely popular parts like Arduino boards and open-source software. Those DIY devices are perfect for home use and taking the first steps in engraving and CNC operations. We selected the ten best CNC engraving machines for you and reviewed the features and specifications.
Best Selling CNC Engraving Machines
10. Updated 2-in-1 Engraver with offline controller
If you want to take the first steps towards becoming a good engraver, this is a suitable machine for you. This 5500 mW module is easy to set up and to use. The central electronics part is a powerful Arduino board, and it runs with the open-source software GRBL 1.1. The machine can also be used in offline mode, and a durable aluminum base keeps the device steady. Furthermore, you can use the machine both as an engraver for wood and as a CNC router.
It takes less than an hour to assemble the 3018-PRO Desktop CNC machine, and in case you need help, YouTube comes to the rescue. The spindle gets up to a speed of 10000/min, fast enough for a precise wood engraving experience. With the 5500mW 5.5W module, you will cut acrylic or design metal surfaces smoothly.
- Spindle and 5.5W module in one device
- Easy to set up and use
- Arduino open-source board
- Updated chipset
- Adjustable focal length
- Can be used offline as well
9. 3-Axis Mini DIY CNC Engraving Machines 3018-pro
This upgraded version of the 3018 model has a working area of 30x18x4.5 cm and a 10.000r/min spindle motor. As software GRBL is used, a common and open-source standard for home CNC machines. With its small size, this CNC machine is perfect for your garage or any place you like to work at home. It has an offline controller with 1 GB capacity, so you don’t need a computer when operating the device.
The base is 4 cm high and made from aluminum, making it stable, and it transfers heat away. You can engrave lots of different materials, like plastic, wood, acrylic, PVC, PCB, or wood. Since it works with a spindle, it is not suitable for hard metals. With the size of a laptop, this CNC engraving machine is also portable, in case you want to take it to a friend’s house. The learning curve is flat; you will start engraving wooden sheets in no time.
- 10.000 r/min spindle
- Engraving area of 30x18x4.5 cm
- Ten drill bits included, each 0.1 mm
- Works with Windows 7,8 and 10
- GRBL open-source software control systems
- Good for beginners
8. Desktop Laser Engraver Class 4
Engraving with a laser is usually more precise and faster. If you are looking for a more modern CNC engraving machine, then you should consider the LE-4040. It is an excellent DIV machine cutting into materials like plywood, cardboard, leather, acrylic, and MDF. With a simple design, you assemble the device in less than 20 minutes. You can connect any Windows computer with version 7 or higher to it, but the unit also works with Mac-computers.
Working with it is pure fun. However, the speed is limited to 3000mm/min, which is still fast for a unique piece. These machines are not made for mass production, but rather for learning purposes and creating your first products. Still, the accuracy is 0.1 mm, and it has a class 4 laser built-in. Using an open standard, this model works with most types of GRBL software, like the popular program Lightburn.
- Class 4 laser
- The maximum speed of 3000mm/min
- Fast assembly
- Works with Windows and Mac
- 40 x 40cm/ 15.75 x 15.75 inches engraving area
- 5000 mW laser power
7. Mysweety PCB Milling Wood Carving & CNC Engraving Machines
MySweety brings a CNC engraving machine for beginners to the market. If you want to start learning how to operate a CNC machine, then you should consider the MySweetie. It engraves wood and materials with similar smooth surfaces, but cannot cut metal. One advantage is that you get two machines in one because the device runs with a spindle and a 5.5 W laser module. This module contains short circuit protection, and the device sits on an aluminum base to ensure heat gets transported away quickly.
Furthermore, you are able to operate the engraver offline, the 1 GB memory stores all the data from your file. Designing your work is smooth thanks to the software in the set. It runs on Windows computers from version 7 up. Assembling the machine should be done in no time, but the seller also offers online help if you get stuck. They also provide a 12-month warranty.
- Spindle and laser module
- Easy to assemble
- Helpline available
- 12 months warranty
- Can be used Offline
- Available in different sizes
6. Upgraded 3018 Pro CNC Router Kit with many accessories
This upgraded version of the successful 3018 model got a new chipset and a bunch of accessories and spare parts. For those who tried engraving already, maybe at a friend’s house, and want to have their own unit, the 3018 pro is a good choice. While it’s only operated with a spindle, the engraver works well with CNC software like Carbide Create, Artcam, MeshCam, Fusion360, Inkscape and others.
Included in the kit are a lot of spare parts, like spindles and some tools. This version also contains an SD-card reader to enable you offline use. Additionally, you get a USB stick with pre-installed control software for the board. Assembling the CNC engraver takes not much time, and the manufacturer provides you with a manual. The frame is made from Aluminum + PF, and with a size of 40*33*24cm (15.7*13*9.4″) it fits on most desktops. The 775 spindle uses 24V and has a speed range from 0-10000 rpm.
- Expanded memory of 1 GB for offline use
- A large set of spare parts
- SD-reader and USB-stick
- Engraving area 0*18*4.5cm (11.8*7.1*1.8″)
- Aluminum frame
- Spindle only operation
5. VEVOR CNC 3018 engraver with spindle motor
Although it is intended for home use, the Vevor 3018 comes with an industrial-style design. The aluminum frame looks modern and shiny, and black injection molding material was used for other parts. This machine has driving units with T8 screw rods and three stepper motors. The spindle motor runs with an industry standard of 10000 rpm. With a weight of 15 pounds, you can place it in your garage or at any working desk. Even with a high rotation, it doesn’t produce much dust or dirt when engraving.
The GRBL board controls the dual Y-axis for precise engraving. It also has a four-axis drive and has already an output for a laser module for future extensions. The best materials to engrave with the Vevor CNC machine are plastic, wood, soft aluminum, wood, and acrylic. You can connect it to a Windows computer and design your own artwork with open-source software.
- T8 Stainless Steel Screws
- PositionaI Accuracy: 0.08-0.1mm (0.003″-0.004″)
- Working area (11.8″*7.1″*1.8″)
- Easy to assemble
- Works with Windows
- Great and industrial design
4. BobsCNC Evolution Router CNC Engraving Machines
This CNC router looks a bit like it was designed for military use, but it is a convenient home CNC engraving machine for your home. What makes it special is the use of a Makita RT0701C router. Makita is a well known worldwide tool manufacturer, like Dremel or Bosch. A high-quality and state of the art Ardunio board controls the machine. It runs with the popular open-source software GRBL and has a USB-port to connect the engraver to your computer.
For the design of your artwork, the manufacturer recommends the Universal Gcode Sender Platform. The Java-based application runs on all kinds of computers, from Windows to Apple, Linux and even Raspberry Pi. You can download a manual from the manufacturer’s website where you find some more information as well.
- Rigid laser cut frame.
- GT2 belt drive for X- and Y-axis, ACME TR8 drive for Z-axis
- 24″ x 24″ cutting area
- Made from Birch 5-ply plywood
- Makita RT0701C Router
- Arduino board as the controller
3. SainSmart Genmitsu CNC Engraving Machine
The SainSmart CNC engraving machine is based on the popular 3018 pro set but comes with a lot more features. For instance, you have two protective shields on the side, making it safer and prevents dust and dirt on your desktop. Also, most parts are pre-assembled, so you just have to do a few steps, and you can start engraving in less than 30 minutes.
While the controlling software is still GRBL 1.1, the drivers have upgraded to Toshiba TB6S109 models. The protection for the mainboard comes from special optocouplers, which also eliminate signal noise. What we like is the separate control panel for offline use with easy to use buttons and a small LCD display. For your safety, this machine comes with an emergency stop button to shut down the device immediately.
- Upgraded drivers to extend lifetime.
- Side panels for protection
- Emergency stop button
- Control panel with LCD display
- Aluminum frame
- Spindle operation only
2. Genmitsu CNC 3018pro with panel
Another model based on the 3018 pro series comes from Genmitsu. As with the SainSmart router, this device got some upgrades too. Most remarkable is the control panel case. It is attached with a data cable, and you can control the X-, Y- and Z-axis manually with arrow buttons. A small LCD display guides you through the menu.
Engraving with a spindle has never been easier, and with the Arduino board and USB connectivity, you can start immediately. The set contains different spindles and spare parts as well as a brush and two wrenches for assembling and adjusting the motor. A detailed manual and instruction video are available online and as a PDF download. You can engrave soft aluminum, acrylic, wood and certain plastic surfaces with the CNC machine. To ensure your safety, this device passed CE/FCC/UL certification checks. So let your creative you out and start producing door signs and decorative elements for your loved ones.
- Engraving Area: 300 x 180 x 45 mm
- 775 motor, 24V, 10000 RPM motor
- Ten drill bits with 0.1 mm tip included
- Arduino control board with GRBL 1.1. software
- External control panel with LCD screen
- Aluminum frame
1. ORTUR Laser Master 2 Engraving Board
The Ortur Laser master 2 stands out due to its different design approach. While most CNC engraving machines use a stand for the laser module, this model features a flat design. The laser unit will run smoothly above the material, similar to industrial-grade CNC units. You can start with engraving wood to get a feeling about how the machine works. Then use other materials like acrylic or PVC.
This CNC router has a modern 32-bit motherboard, specifically developed for this device. Furthermore, you get protective glasses, wooden sheets and an iPhone cover in the set. So nothing keeps you from producing your own first engraved artwork product. The board has a dedicated safety sensor to stop the machine when any unusual movement is detected. Also, whenever the connection is lost, the laser shuts off to avoid any fire damage.
- High-quality laser with increased precision
- Safety features like automatic shut off
- Works with Windows XP, 7, 8, 10, Mac OS, and Linux.
- 32-bit Motherboard with STM32 MCU
- Free wooden sheets and iPhone case
- Works with plywood, veneer, and cardboard
Using a CNC engraving machine gives you a first glimpse into the future of modern production. What was available only for commercial use is now available for home use and DIY-enthusiasts. With our reviewed machines, you are able to learn the basic concepts of design and manufacturing. You can experience how your blueprints on the computer become real products in minutes. Those small scale CNC routers are easy to operate and produce high-quality results. Since they use standard components, you will not have a problem finding spare parts and accessories.
The CNC engraving machines operate in two different ways: some using just a spindle for the old-fashioned way of engraving, others provide a laser beam to burn the material carefully. A few models even have both options built-in. It is up to your preferences what kind of engraving technique you prefer or if you just want to try and play around.
When you decide to give CNC engraving machines a try, you have a few options. First, there is the operation mode. You can choose between a traditional spindle that mills through the material. Or you can have a super-sharp laser beam, which burns away wood or plastic at a high temperature. If you are undecided or want to learn how to use both ways, you can look for machines with two options. They have a replaceable head, so you can easily switch from mill mode to laser mode.
Although you need a computer to design the artwork and save it in a certain format, you don’t always need a direct connection. Many CNC machines offer an offline mode, providing 1 GB memory onboard or via SD card for your files. A few also have an external control panel which you can use to adjust the placement of the spindle or laser manually.
Last but not least safety is an important issue. When you buy this machine for your kids, you may select one with additional safety features like an emergency stop button and automatic shut off.
All the models we reviewed work with common materials like soft-aluminum, wood, plywood, acrylic and different kinds of plastic. They are intended for home use but provide accurate and high-quality engravings.