View Full Version : CNC vs TS, planer, joiner

Jason Matisheck
11-21-2007, 1:04 AM
Could a CNC router take the place of a table saw, jointer and planer? To keep the price comparable we would have to be talking about a good European slider and a fairly large planer and jointer. Application would be in a hobby/semi-pro furniture shop. What are the major tradeoffs you would make? For example you would probably lose the ability to index cuts off of existing pieces like you do with a TS. On the other hand, you may know the dimensions of all your pieces fairly accurately. What would be faster, what slower? Can you hold a board to joint one face, or would a vacuum table force it flat? Can joinery be cut accurately?

Not anything I'm thinking of doing, just wondering...

Ed Lang
11-21-2007, 9:10 AM
I have a ShopBot Alpha96 CNC machine, 10" table saw, 8" jointer and 20" planer. I could use a wider jointer. I have used the CNC as a planer and it works good. I like the speed of the jointer, planer and table saw for routine cutting. I can rip faster on the table saw than the CNC by a large margin.

If I could make everything from sheet goods, then the CNC is all I would need. If I made everything from rough lumber, then I am right where I want to be as far as equipment goes.

Now the difference is I can start the CNC and walk away to do something else while it cuts. The table saw, jointer and planer are not quite that good about moving stock.


Leo Voisine
11-23-2007, 10:13 AM
CNC brings a whole new dimension to the shop.

I have a small machine with no tool changer. I need to change tools manually whenever there needs to be a tool change. That takes time - but I can still walk away from the machine.

Efficiency? Yes and No. Machines that are dedicated to a specific purpose are going to be better at what they do than a universal machine.

Now, you definately use a 1/8 end mill to do all the routing including facing the piece on the table - BUT - it would take forever. OR - you could setup the program so that the machine would stop so you could change tools. This requires that you put move labor into the job. OR you could buy a machine with an automatic tool changer. That can get expensive.

With all that said - I have done this. I have a small program to make a project. I still mill and plane the wood to 1/2 thick, but I have bypassed the Miter saw, Table Saw, router table. I will be doing more stuff like this in the future.