Choosing the Right Cutting Machine: CNC Router Edition

Deciding which cutting machine is the best fit for all of your applications can prove to be a difficult task. While CNC Routers may seem foreign to the metal manufacturing industry, they are able to increase productivity and efficiency in any shop. With expansive possibilities for applications and ease of use, a C.R. Onsrud machine could prove to be the right fit for your needs.

To fully explore the features and benefits, we spoke with our in-house expert and C.R. Onsrud CNC Machinery Business Development Manager, Chris Boyer.


What types of processes can a CNC Router complete?

“CNC Routers are able to cut, mill, machine, drill or otherwise process sheet or precut material into accurate completed parts with just one machine.”

“Each of these processes can be completed on almost any medium, including metals, foams, plastics, composites, advanced materials, fabrics, fiberglass, wood and lightweight honeycomb materials,” explains Boyer.


How can CNC Routers be beneficial to metal fabricators?

Boyer believes that every fabricator should start by asking, “what can a CNC Router do for me?”

“Today’s CNC Routers are flexible, large format machining centers. They have the added benefit of vacuum work-holding solutions that can have many advantages over traditional clamping fixtures. Vacuum work holding also allows for the nesting of many parts into a full sheet for significant overall time savings, compared to traditional multi-step, multi-machine processes.”

“You can have large capacity tool changers, multiple spindle arrangements, multiple table pendulum process solutions, fourth axis horizontal milling and drilling, fifth axis interpolating heads, large capacity formatted drilling heads, marking and labeling systems, loading and unloading automation, digital print registration systems, high Z axis pass-over and machining capacities. It’s even possible to have wide and long table configurations. The possibilities are almost endless.”

“The C.R. Onsrud CNC Routers are often referred to as Swiss army knives, due to the wide range of materials they can machine, and the configuration flexibility previously described. Even the most basic C.R. Onsrud CNC Router can bring a whole new world of possibilities and efficiencies to today’s plastic, composites, fiberglass, foam, wood or ferrous and non-ferrous metal production environment.”


How can fabricators decrease production time using a CNC Router?

“The most common thing we see in manufacturing is the focus on cutting time per part. This is fine if the part is complete when it leaves the table; however, this isn’t always the best judge of efficiency if the part needs extra work. Sometimes producers will also focus much of their efforts in a traditional volume part strategy, even when a lean process is needed. We look to consult with our customers about the overall process improvement, rather than just the machine spreadsheet performance.”



What types of applications are best done on a router?

“CNC routers perform multi-step processes well,” explains Boyer. “A good example would be a manufacturer who needs to buy a sheet of material and turn it into finished parts of varying design.”

“Traditionally, the manufacturer would need to pre-cut the parts into manageable sizes before doing any machining. The material may need to have holes drilled on a drill, pockets milled on a mill, and horizontal work done on another machine. Each step of this process incurs a lot of non-valuable time. You load, unload, machine, load, unload, machine, etc. The picking up and putting down creates unnecessary processing and handling of materials, which leads to the potential for errors or damage. Plus, it takes people and space.”

“A CNC router could improve this process by eliminating most of the extra steps while giving you a predictable and consistent complete cycle solution.”


Are there any misconceptions about CNC Routers within the metal manufacturing industry?

“Not all CNC Routers or builders are the same. C.R. Onsrud routers are not the light duty, slow performers some have experienced or heard of.”

“C.R. Onsrud Routers are state-of-the-art machines, custom designed and built in the USA to perform at a high level. They are extremely reliable and well supported by the best CNC Machinery team in the business. C.R. Onsrud has gained the trust of some of the largest and most technically competent manufacturers in the world.”


How can a CNC router increase productivity and production value?

“CNC Routers offer more flexibility and convenience, as well as overall savings for your company.”

“The C.R. Onsrud machines offer savings for your company’s energy and consumables, raw material, as well as labor and personnel savings. Investing in one of these machines ensures that your production time isn’t lost to the labor shortage. Plus, a CNC Router will maintain a higher ROI and remain more cost efficient in the long run.”



Increasing productivity and efficiency is an imperative part of advancing any manufacturing shop, especially when faced with the ever-changing and fast-paced environment of producing and selling. When looking for a machine that is capable of managing a multitude of applications and materials, C.R. Onsrud CNC Routers should be given some consideration.

For more information, or to receive a quote, please contact Mid Atlantic Machinery. Our knowledgeable and friendly sales team is ready to assist you with all of your manufacturing needs.