Best CNC Drilling Machines in 2023
Learn more about the best CNC drilling machines available today and the features of each one.
CNC drilling machines sit somewhere between an automated pillar drill and a basic CNC machining center. They allow users to program drill positions in X and Y and drill depths in Z and make reproducible, precise hole patterns and router cuts in a wide variety of workpieces. These features are achieved by a 3-axis (sometimes 4-axis) motion worktable, which integrates a clamping arrangement for materials. Drilling CNC machines are widely categorized by maximum workpiece size. For example, a 3018 machine can handle 300 x 180 mm, a 3020 300 x 200 mm, a 3040 300 x 400 mm, and so on.
There are various factors to consider in selecting a CNC drilling machine since not all users have the same requirements. The selection of the best option will depend on the size of the maximum drill required, the size of workpieces typically used, the frequency and intensity of use, and the number of diameter changes in a typical job. Today, there are several models to choose from, but three of the best are:
- CNC 3020 400W Drilling Machine.
- DNYSYSJ 1500W 6040 CNC Drilling Machine.
- Ten-High 3040 CNC Drilling Mac6.
This article will further discuss the six best CNC drilling machines in 2023, as well as define CNC drilling machines, how they work, how to choose one, and where to buy them.
The CNC 3020 400W drilling machine is a basic and low-cost 3-axis CNC drill router, suitable for hobby and very light professional use. They’re attractively priced at around $900 and give you great drill/router capability, for a wide (light) task set. This drilling machine has a 3-axis table and a working area (X–Y) of 300 x 200 mm and Z travel typically 50 to 60 mm for small to medium drilling and routing tasks.
The kit usually includes everything, and there’s no assembly required—just plug and drill. It is suitable for drilling and routing softer materials such as wood, MDF, acrylic, and aluminum. With aluminum, however, small diameters and slow feed speeds are required.
The Vevor 3040 CNC drilling machine is a flexible platform suited to routing, engraving, and drilling. It is suited to complex and long-cycle work in soft materials such as wood, MDF, and plastics and can light drill and route machinable metals like aluminum and brass. Light engraving in harder materials such as stainless steel is possible but requires patience with feed speeds.
Vevor 3040 CNC drilling machines can accommodate most small to medium drilling and routing with its 3-axis table and a working area (X–Y) of 300 x 400 mm and a Z travel of 55 mm. The Vevor 3040 axes use recirculating ball bushings running on precision-ground stainless steel guide rails and leadscrews. Cover plates can also keep the slides and leadscrews clean, which ultimately reduces wear. This feature maintains a precise and quiet motion setup that equips the machine to deliver accurate results
The 8,000 RPM spindle drives through a flexible coupling, which reduces shock loading on the spindle motor. The axis drives are powered using 57-step, two-phase stepper motors, and jog controls. These features allow single-step manual adjustment for exact cutter placement. The Vevor 3040 machine offers a parallel port interface, or USB, and is compatible with various Windows OS. It can be bought at a price range of $514–776.
Ten-high 3040 CNC drilling machine with 4th axis and sink device is among the higher-priced CNC drilling/routing machines at $3,142. It is suited to advanced hobbyists and moderate-level professional use. The machine has a rotation (4th) axis setup, a 3-axis table, a working area (X–Y) of 300 x 400 mm, and a Z travel of 55 mm.
The Ten-high 3040 CNC drilling machine includes a coolant tray (“sink” device) made of 304 stainless steel. The coolant tray allows pumped coolant to be supplied at the cut, for faster processing of harder materials. The worktable includes sturdy T bar clamping parts, so hard-worked parts can be well retained during cutting. This machine is well suited to harder-to-machine materials like aluminum, some stone, and, to a limited extent, steel, in addition to the usual soft materials. The overall construction is very rigid. The guide rails and leadscrews are very precise, making a solid and accurate platform for machining. Its interfacing is USB, and the machine is compatible with Windows 7, 8, and 10.
The StyleCNC S7-2412S is a high-capacity, professional-grade machine priced between $28,000 to $30,000. It is a capable, multi-axis CNC machining center that can be fully automatic to process all six faces of a typical cube workpiece. StyleCNC S7-2412S is typically used for precision woodworking for cabinet making and joinery because of its rapid and precise processing and high-volume throughput. It can handle sheet materials from 10 mm to 55 mm in thickness, up to 2400 x 1200 mm in size (full sheet); with a 4.5 kW, 24,000 RPM water-cooled spindle; and a 5,000 RPM 120 mm diameter grooving saw.
StyleCNC S7-2412S is specifically marketed for joinery and decorative stonework—on panels and larger, flat workpieces. It is also recommended for high-volume processing of soft metals such as aluminum, brass, and copper. The machine comes equipped with various reconfigurable material sensors. The sensors instruct the unloading of unusable/out-of-spec workpieces, particularly in wood, board, and stone processing.
The Foraver CNC 3040T 4-axis router is among the lower-priced CNC drilling/routing machines (typically at $250) suited to hobbyist use. Its standout feature is a rotation (4th) axis setup which is unusual in low-power, low-price machines. The machine has a 3-axis table and a working area (X–Y) of 275 x 385 mm and a Z travel of 60 mm. It can accommodate the smallest drilling and routing tasks, albeit with relatively slow feed speeds. This machine is only suited to light processing of soft materials such as wood, MDF, and plastics. The overall construction is quite rigid and the guide rails and leadscrews are precise. Its interfacing is USB and the machine is compatible with Windows 7, 8, and 10 desktops only.
The DNYSYSJ 1500W 6040 CNC drilling machine is priced from $910–$1199. It has a flexible platform with a large worktable and a water-cooled, 1,500 W spindle, suited for complex and long-cycle work in soft materials such as wood, MDF, and plastics. It can also light drill and route machinable metals like aluminum and brass.
The DNYSYSJ 1500W 6040 has a 3-axis table and a working area (X–Y) of 390 x 600 mm and a standout Z travel of 120 mm. The axis travel in the machine uses 1605 recirculating ball bushings running on precision-ground stainless steel guide rails and leadscrews, for smooth, precise motion and a hard-wearing setup. The 24,000 RPM water-cooled spindle is capable of maintaining high cut rates in surprisingly deep cuts, without overheating or breakdown. This machine offers a USB interface and is compatible with various Windows OS.
A CNC drilling machine is a device for automatically producing routing, drilled holes, and engraving. This process uses rotating cutting tools to produce routed features and holes in a workpiece. Tool positioning is achieved by moving the cutter spindle, the workpiece, or a combination of the two. The holes are typically made to accommodate machine screws or bolts for assembly purposes.
More advanced machines may include a CNC chuck for rotating workpieces during processing, automated tool changes, automated loading and unloading, and multi-axis processing. A wide range of cutters and drills can be employed, typically mounted to a collet chuck.
There are several factors that define “best” depending on the end user's needs, experience, and job complexity. One guiding principle is the combination of stiffness in the chassis and precision in the axis drives and guides. For example, a machine that has low precision of movement, or is uncertain of rest position as it flexes under load will provide low accuracy. A powerful spindle motor, ideally one that is water cooled, will allow longer operation at higher feed rates. As a rule, choosing a machine with more power than may be demanded by immediately expected tasks will make for better long-term results.
Choosing the best CNC drilling machine depends on the flexibility and performance that matters to you. For example, if you want to do extensive carving work of complex 2.5D shapes, you'll need spindle power and water cooling. On the other hand, if you're exploring making PCBs, your machine requirements will be quite different.
To make a choice between divergent prices and capabilities, it is recommended to do your research and understand the options. Be realistic about your skill level; assess the types of jobs you plan to do—and hope to do—and make the choice that suits you best.
A CNC drilling machine works with a workpiece clamped on a worktable. That table will generally travel a limited distance in X and Y, supported by guide rails with linear bearings, and driven by leadscrews with a ball or plain bearing “nut” running on them. A third axis is generally the vertical travel of the spindle motor, at a fixed X–Y position. All leadscrews are driven by stepper motors, either in direct drive, geared drive or via belts. Spindle motors are DC driven and carry a collet chuck, into which a cutter or drill is mounted. The entire machine is then controlled, usually by a combination of a handheld control module and a PC or SD-card-supplied program.
The sources for the supply of the best CNC drilling machines are online trading companies. It is a good idea to read reviews of both the machines and of the supplying company, before committing to a purchase.
Leading manufacturers with solid reputations in the hobbyist/light professional space for the best CNC drilling machines are:
- Ten High
For midsize, light industrial machines:
And in the large format industrial end of the market:
- Style CNC
- Wise Hi Tech Ind.
Yes, CNC drilling machines are easy to use. For hobbyists and light professionals, these machines are built to be plug and play. They're often limited to Windows software and there are aspects to their setup and operation that the new user will need to become familiar with. But as with all CNC equipment, a little study and a lot of experience will quickly enable a new user to develop skills and achieve remarkable results, irrespective of the price and complexity of the machine.
This article presented the best CNC drilling machines, explained what they are, and discussed the features of each option. To learn more about CNC drilling machines, contact a Xometry representative.
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