Safety Considerations for CNC Router Machines

CNC router machines are very safe to use as they are designed to be as safe as possible. One of the major advantages of CNC router machines is that they are much safer than manually operated machines. The animation below shows a CNC Router with many of its safety features labelled.

1. Most modern CNC router machines are designed so safe that the sharp cutting tool will not be started unless the guard is in position. Also, the best CNC router machines automatically lock the guard in position whilst the cutter is shaping material. The guard can only be opened if the cutter has already stopped.
 2. It is essential that pupils / students / machine operators receive ‘quality’ instruction before attempting to use any CNC router equipment. 
 3. CNC routers, used for shaping materials such as woods and plastics, have built in extraction. Dust can be very dangerous if carelessly inhaled and can also cause eye irritation. The CNC Router shown above has an outlet for an extraction unit. As the router is fully enclosed, dust cannot escape into the atmosphere. If an extraction unit is attached the dust is removed automatically. Most manually operated machine routers have very limited extraction systems which leave some dust in the air.
 4. The CNC router above has a single phase power supply. Most older machines such as manually operated milling machines and centre lathes have three phase power supplies. A single phase electrical power supply can be ‘plugged’ into any available socket. The electrical power supply for the machine comes through a residual circuit breaker (RCB). If an electrical fault develops the RCB will cut off electrical power supply immediately. 
 5. Single phase CNC router machines can be moved more easily because they are simply unplugged and relocated. Three phase machines are specially wired by an electrician into the electrical power supply and cannot be unplugged.

6. Most CNC router machines work behind a guard or even a closed, transparent safety door. This means that the operator cannot be hurt by ‘flying’ pieces of sharp/hot material.

7. Commonsense applies to the use of all machines including CNC router machines. Basic safety training regarding working in a workshop and with other machines applies to CNC router machines as well.


1. List the safety features of a typical CNC router Machine.

2. Draw a simplified diagram of a CNC router machine and point out its safety features. Explain each feature.