Where to start?

Hi all.

I’m new to cnc type work and hoping for some advice.

I play tabletop games and would like to make some marker pieces, and some paint stations I’m planning on getting a 3D printer too for terrain but having the ability to cut MDF would be great.

Any recommendations on a good desktop starter unit?

Welcome! Tell us more! :relaxed:

Here are some of the variables to drive that decision:

  • What is the maximum length/width you want to cut?
  • How much vertical range do you need?

Most routers will be fine for cutting MDF, but routing MDF will create a lot of dust. Do you have a place where you can cut where dust won’t bother you? You might want to consider units that you can connect a vacuum to collect dust.

Do you want a cheap unit that will get you started and learning more, with the expectation that if you do a lot of this you will replace it? Or are you looking for quality to last a long time?


Hi there,

pretty much I’d like to make things like this:


Things I can put on my desk and help me organise paint and stuff.

Like to keep cost low but of course I’d like a machine that’ll do the job and do it well. So I understand quality costs money.

I’d be putting this in my garage, and would extract dust as a side project I think. Would have to come up with something there.

There’s basically classes of cheap routers that are based on the size in centimeters. 3018 means 30cm x 18cm bed size; 6040 would mean 60cm x 40cm bed.

Might consider reading this thread on a 3018-class router: