CNC routers continue to grow in popularity in the woodworking community. As that popularity grows, the number of companies producing outstanding routers grows as well. 2021 is poised to be another huge year in the 4×8 CNC router industry.
Prices should continue to drop as the technology behind these wood CNC routers becomes more widely available. What woodworkers once had to pay for a small-sized router will now buy them a full-sized, 4×8 CNC router.
The projects that suddenly become possible with a router of this size are impressive. These machines are capable of handling a full sheet of plywood which makes material prep a breeze. Whether you are a hobbyist woodworker or run a professional woodworking shop there are a ton of possibilities with these CNC routers.
Custom made cabinets, camper van build-outs, business signs, and huge art pieces are all CNC projects that are possible with a full-sized CNC.
What to Look for in a 4×8 CNC Router
When you start the search for a new wood CNC router there are a number of considerations to take in mind. Here are a few things to look out for.
Despite the cutting area being 4 ft by 8 ft on all of these machines, their size and footprints can still vary by quite a bit.
Compare, for example, the Zenbot 4×8 CNC router to the Grizzly G0895 4×8 CNC Router. The Zenbot comes in with a footprint of 108″ x 60″ and weighs approximately 400 pounds. While the Grizzly has a footprint of 124″ x 84″ and weighs 2,500 pounds.
Granted these are very different levels of CNC machines but space and weight have to be a consideration for getting them into your shop and how much weight your space can hold.
4×8 wood CNC machines are offered in a variety of power options. These go from your normal, household 110v socket all the way up to 220v 3-phase power.
While 110v and 220v outlets are found in most wood shops, or at least can easily be run, 3-phase power usually is only found in industrial locations.
3-phase converters are available to add on to your existing power supply and some of these CNC machines even come with converters already built in. But there will be a little more work and cost involved with going that route.
Hold Down Capabilities
The most basic level 4×8 CNC routers will come with no built-in hold down capabilities. That means either screwing your workpieces directly into the spoil board, installing your own t-track system, or installing an aftermarket vacuum pump system.
Many of the higher end CNC routers come with a vacuum clamp system built in. In a production environment, a vacuum hold down system is certainly the way to go as it will minimize waste and speed up processing time dramatically.
In looking at the price ranges of the available 4×8 CNC routers it is pretty obvious that build quality is going to be all over the place.
With that said I don’t think any of these CNC routers are bad machines. Some are just geared for more of a hobbyist environment where they don’t get frequent use and tolerances may be a bit more forgiving.
In production environments where these machines will be running all day, every day then build quality is obviously a huge deal. You’ll want to be looking for systems that are prebuilt with solid steel frames. Not only can these machines handle more abuse but they also run at far higher speeds which dramatically increases productivity.
Some of the hobbyist level 4×8 CNC packages will be built to work with standard palm routers. Others are supplied with liquid-cooled, CNC grade spindles that are both quieter and capable of handling a much higher workload.
The speed at which the router can both cut and traverse across the table are a bit factor in how productive your CNC can be.
Cut speeds can range from 200 IPM (inches per minute) to over 2,000 IPM on the higher-end models. Traverse speeds can also vary dramatically and that is not insignificant when working on a large, 4×8 surface area.
CNC routers are offered both with or without a built-in controller system. The controller is used to manually move the spindle head for setting up new cuts.
Routers with a built-in controller also typically offer flash drive or memory card connectivity so you can download cut patterns directly to the machine. Others require a computer to be connected directly to the CNC to set up new cut paths.
Prices for 4×8 CNC routers can range from $3,000 at the low end to easily over $30,000 for well-equipped packages that include upgraded routers, vacuum pumps, etc.
Popular 4×8 CNC Routers
Here are some of the best 4×8 CNC routers on the market.
Footprint: 120″ x 78″
Spindle: 3HP liquid-cooled electro spindle
Power Requirements: 220v 30 Amp
Cutting Speed: Not listed
Controller: Built-in handheld controller
Vacuum Table: Aftermarket add-on
The Laguna Swift 4×8 CNC router is a mid-grade router setup that features a heavy-duty steel frame, liquid-cooled spindle, and built-in controller system. While a vacuum pump system is not offered as an add-on with this CNC Laguna does sell them so they can be added on after the fact to create a fast and secure vacuum hold-down system.
Coming in at under $20,000 this machine is great for light-duty industrial work or for adding on to a hobbyist’s dream woodshop.
Footprint: 113″ x 162″
Weight: 6,000 – 30,000 pounds
Spindle: Air Cooled 13hp Spindle
Power Requirements: Varies
Cutting Speed: 2,200 IPM
Controller: Built-in controller
Vacuum Table: Built in
The Multicam 7000 Series CNC router is an industrial level router that is solidly built to withstand years of constant use.
The 7000 series router comes in a number of different size options ranging from 60″ by 60″ up to 120″ by 600″!
The CNC’s heavy, all-steel frame and upgrades like increased Z-axis clearance to 12″, or even 16″, make this machine a true workhorse for production environments.
Footprint: 60″ x 108″
Weight: 400 pounds
Spindle: Not Included
Power Requirements: Varies
Cutting Speed: Varies
Vacuum Table: Add-on
The Zenbot 4×8 CNC Router is a hobbyist or light industrial use setup. The price comes in at quite a bit lower than the first few systems outlined above.
This system allows for a lot of customization as it starts with just the framework and allows you to add on the spindle, electronics, controllers, and optional vacuum table. This is great for anyone who is on a budget and wants to keep costs down as much as possible.
Many of these features are upgradable as well so as you grow with the machine you can easily swap out parts.
Footprint: 67″ x 115″
Weight: 618 pounds with optional leg kit
Spindle: 3HP Air Cooled Spindle (add-on)
Power Requirements: 220v
Cutting Speed: 250 IPM
Vacuum Table: After Market Add-on
The Avid Pro 4×8 CNC is one of the most popular 4×8 CNC routers on the market. A number of light production shops I know use these for sign making, cabinet making, and other assorted shop work. The combination of price and quality makes this machine a solid option.
These machines are very solidly built but do require a bit of assembly. This step is vital to take your time and get it right as it will ensure a flat and square cutting surface.
A number of upgrades are available to the electronics, grantry height and width, and spindle quality.
If you want to see a great setup and review video of this machine you can watch it here.
Footprint: 85″ x 124″
Weight: 2535 pounds
Spindle: 6HP Air Cooled Spindle
Power Requirements: 220v 3-phase
Cutting Speed: 1,600 IPM
Vacuum Table: Included
The Grizzly G0895 4×8 CNC router is a full sized, industrial scale system that is plug and play. It comes with a high power spindle, built in electronics, and a power vacuum table.
At ~$19,000 this router setup is not cheap but for what it offers you are getting a ton of machine for the money.
The CNC cuts at an impressive 1,600 IPM which makes this the perfect tool for heavy production work.
4×8 CNC Router FAQ
Yes! The ability to load on a full sheet of plywood is one of the biggest selling points for a 4×8 CNC router. Just load the sheet up and start cutting.
Well, it depends. If you need to use the machine in a heavy industrial setting then you’ll want to look at one like the Multicam. For hobbyist or light industrial work, the Avid CNC is a very popular choice.
Most CNC routers can handle wood, plastics, composites, and non ferrous metals like aluminum or copper.
Yes! These are a perfect machine for slab flattening as they can handle slabs large enough for dining room tables.
Final Thoughts on 4×8 CNC Routers
A full-sized CNC router is a big investment but it can add a ton of value to your woodworking hobby or business. There are a ton of models available both new and on the used market so do your research and find the one that best meets your budget and needs.