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How to Make Money with CNC Router? 2023 New Guide

Author: Jack; Last Modify: Nov 24, 2020
Do you own a CNC router and often use it for woodworking? Are you willing to make money with CNC router or make a nice living on it? Or, would you like to supplement your income by running CNC machining business? If your answer is yes, you can’t miss this 2021 new guide which will tell you how to make money with CNC router and run a profitable CNC business.
You might say that you’ve never considered to make money with CNC router and run a CNC business. So it’s time to open your mind and map out a good CNC business plan. In this article, we will show you how to start your CNC business and how a CNC router can help you to make money. No matter you are a CNC machining business entrepreneur, a CNC artisan, or just a CNC beginner that don’t know anything about CNC router, you will learn some valuable info from this post. So if you want to grab this opportunity to make money with CNC router and you haven’t gotten a solid CNC business plan, please go ahead and read through this guide.

What is CNC Router?

Before we introduce how to make money with CNC router, let’s have a clear understanding of CNC router firstly. If you’ve already known a lot about CNC router, you can just skim this section.
CNC router is a machine that is controlled by computer program and can cut, engrave, punch, groove materials automatically. It is equipped with CAD (Computer Aided Design) program and CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) software. CNC router is also called CNC wood router as many users use it to process wood materials. However, CNC wood router can process not only wood, but also many other metallic and non-metallic materials including plastic, acrylic, glass, plywood, paper and so on.
CNC router can achieve a variety of processing effects with high speed and high precision. It can cut plates, or engrave textures on the surface of item. It can punch  holes on the work pieces, or groove a part of the material and create a tiny rabbet. An advanced CNC wood router can achieve the processing work in a 3D level. And it can exchange mechanical tools automatically. Moreover, a high-equipped CNC wood router is able to handle complex work pieces such as Lamello connector, three-in-one connector, cylindrical work piece, etc.
These multiple functions of CNC router can satisfy different processing needs in different levels. For the CNC machining business enterprises, CNC artisans, or CNC beginners, they all have possibilities to make money with CNC router and run a profitable CNC business. In the next three parts, we will introduce how to make money with CNC router for large CNC machining business, CNC artisans and CNC beginners separately based on the profound experience of Blue Elephant.

Make Money with CNC Router for CNC Machining Business

If you are planning to run a CNC machining business, there are many good markets that you can delve into. Most CNC machining business start from furniture making, advertising signs, clothing making or musical instruments production. So if you want to make money with CNC router in these fields, you can have an in-depth study and run your CNC machining business.

What CNC Router is Suitable for Large CNC Machining Business?

To achieve rapid repatriation of funds and getting long term’s profit, large-scale CNC machining enterprises need to consider some high advanced CNC router to satisfy mass production requirements or complex processing needs. This is because the advanced CNC router has more functions than a basic CNC router, and the equipped parts of the machine have higher quality and longer service life. The machine can operate in a long time without stopping work. Also, little to no maintenance is needed. What’s more, the processing precision and speed is quicker. High-equipped CNC router is a strong support for large CNC machining business.
Take below Blue Elephant 5 Axis CNC router as an example. The core kits of the machine are imported from famous CNC kits manufacturer in the world. The CNC router is equipped with Italian HSD spindle and YASKAVA servo motor which ensure a stable and fast processing. It also adopts OSAI control system which has diversified control functions. And the machine is equipped with a carousel tool magazine which can change mechanical tools very quickly. This machine is able to handle large-scale three-dimensional processing. Next, let’s say how to run your CNC machining business in furniture machining, advertising signs making, clothing machining and musical instruments industry.

Picture 1: Blue Elephant 1224 5 Axis CNC router
This is our most advanced and powerful 5 axis CNC machining center making a foam toilet in the video. It is good at process almost all materials and shapes. It's widely used in high-tech and high precision industries for large volume production.

Make Money with CNC Router: Furniture

CNC router has the most extensive application in the furniture machining field. In our daily lives, many kinds of furniture are manufactured by CNC router, such as cabinets, doors, beds, tables, chairs, kitchen countertops and many other furniture. CNC wood router cut furniture is extremely efficient and it greatly saves labor cost. The processed products have smooth cutting slit.

Picture 2: Blue Elephant client uses CNC router to machine furniture
Also, CNC router can engrave furniture with complex patterns. Engraving work is more difficult than cutting and it requires higher precision. For manual furniture processing, a fresh worker needs to spend a lot of time and efforts to practice engraving skills until they are qualified. This causes a waste of extra time. CNC router resolves this problem easily. Thanks to the high technology, the operator just needs to give an input to the CNC router, and then the machine produces high-quality products automatically. You could say that, a CNC wood router will never make mistake during the processing as long as its parameters are well settled. Its perfect performance and good effects guarantee the high quality of processed products. The machine can help CNC machining business owners quickly get funds and profits.

Check this video of our non-porous furniture production line for making wooden furniture. It includes three units respectively for nesting, edge banding and drilling. Users can use this production line to make simple furniture, like office furniture, desk, shelves, cabinets, etc.

Make Money with CNC Router: Advertising Signs

Many ad signs are made by CNC router. Different with furniture machining, ad signs making has more diversity on products types. The common ad signs include different patterns, letters or even signals. And there are many materials can be used to make ad signs, such as aluminum plate, wood, plastic, acrylic, stainless steel and so on. Ad sign is a necessary need for nearly every business. Shops, restaurants, companies and supermarkets all need exquisite and attractive ad signs to promote their business. You can start a CNC machining business in ad signs making. And all you need to prepare is having an advanced CNC router and basic knowledge of 3D design. Then you can start your CNC business to make ad signs.
Picture 3: Blue Elephant client uses CNC router to make advertising sign
CNC router is able to process multiple materials for both metallic and non-metallic materials. You can search the beautiful patterns online or design the patterns per the customer’s requirement. Input them to your CNC router, and CNC router will output a perfect product quickly. The processed products have high quality and are definitely beyond the requirement from customers.

Make Money with CNC Router: Clothes

You can also run your CNC machining business in clothing industry. The materials that are used to make clothes are usually soft non-metallic materials such as cotton, sackcloth, silk, leather and so on. All of these materials can be cut by CNC wood router easily.
CNC router has a lot of advantages in comparison with manual clothes processing. Firstly, manual cut clothes needs to leave extra space on the cloth pieces to improve cutting efficiency. CNC router doesn’t need this. It can cut pieces directly and achieve the maximum usage of material. Secondly, manual cut clothes is slow. If there is a mass production need, you have to employ more workers. This definitely causes more money. CNC router can make clothes with high efficiency and applies to mass production. Thirdly, manual cutting couldn’t ensure high cutting precision, while the accurate size is one of the top focus for the clothing consumers. CNC wood router can achieve high cutting accuracy easily and indeed has nearly no error during the machining. So, make money with CNC router in the clothing industry is an ideal choice for you.

Make Money with CNC Router: Musical Instruments

Making musical instruments is also a good way to run your CNC machining business. CNC wood router can make many instruments like piano, guitar, violin and others. Musical instruments have high requirement on precision and aesthetics. If the machining precision has some gap with the standard, it may effect the instrument’s function. Using CNC router to make instrument can achieve high precision and output a high-quality instrument.
What’s more, instruments require beautiful fretwork engraved on the surface. It’s easy to use CNC wood router to carve exquisite patterns. The finished products have precise size, and the engraved surface is flawless.

Make Money with CNC Router for CNC Artisans

If you’re an artisan and plan to run a CNC woodworking business, you can’t miss this section. This part of content will spark you with some new ideas of CNC woodworking and bring you more CNC business possibilities. Here we offer you some ideas of handicraft products that you can try with your CNC router. With these CNC woodworking ideas, you will have a clear plan to run your CNC woodworking business and make money with CNC router.

What CNC Router is Suitable for CNC Artisans?

You may want to buy a CNC wood router to support your CNC woodworking, but also have concern that the CNC wood router will be very large and heavy. Actually, the weight of a CNC wood router varies from dozens of kilograms to hundreds of kilograms. Personal user doesn’t need a large CNC router for their CNC woodworking.
If you are an artisan who specialize in handicraft products making or CNC woodworking, a small CNC router can suit your needs well. Just like below Blue Elephant 6090 CNC router. Its size is 60mm*90mm and only occupies a small area. It applies to personal CNC business and satisfies most CNC woodworking needs for personal use. This machine is an ideal machine for you to run your CNC woodworking business. Although it’s very small, the machine has good performance during the CNC woodworking process and the price is cost-effective. Also, the machine is equipped with rotary device, which enables cylindrical processing. Will the machine be a good partner for your CNC woodworking business? Of course! This machine is welcomed by many personal CNC woodworking users in the world. Now, let’s see what handicraft products you can make.

Make Money with CNC Router: Festival Items

So you have gotten your machine. Next, let’s think about what handicraft products that you can make: festival items. Festival items are always welcomed by people during festivals. These handicraft products need to be creative and unique. For example, you can engrave greeting cards before Halloween or Christmas holiday. Or you can make some handicraft products what will never goes out of style, like moose, Santa Claus or pumpkin wall hangings. People who want to celebrate festivals will like your CNC woodworking shop and your handicraft products.

Make Money with CNC Router: Decorative Items

Many decorations can be made by CNC router. You can use wood, acrylic or colorful plastic to design some wall-hunted handicraft products. What’s more, personal customization is always popular in each field. You can make table ornaments and engrave them with people’s name or patterns they like. There are many other handicraft products that you can try, such as wall picture, tapestry, wooden doorplate, switch cover.

Picture 5: Blue Elephant client uses CNC router to make decoration
Cylindrical wood carving is also a good way to try. This kind of handicraft products requires a bit higher skills, but as long as you have a CNC router that is equipped with rotary device, it is easy to do cylindrical carving. The processed handicraft products have extremely collectible value for wood sculpture lovers.

Make Money with CNC Router: Accessories

Religious and beautiful accessories are popular for women consumers. You can make necklace or bracelet to open your CNC business. Choose wood or metal material as the locket part, then pull through the pendant with nice-looking rope. The operation cost of CNC router is very low, so you can set an affordable price for your handicraft products. And then people will like to buy your inexpensive handicraft products.
Besides, it’s a good idea to make handbags with leather material. You can use CNC router to engrave some beautiful patterns easily. Manual engraving work is hard, but for the CNC router, the work is quite easy and the finished handicraft products show smooth edge and tiny appearance.

Make Money with CNC Router: Toys

Many children’s toys are cut or engraved from wood material. So you can also try to make some toys with wood to fill in your CNC woodworking shop. You can use CNC router to make some toy models. For example, many boys like to play truck models, you can also make some. With the assistance of CNC router, it would be super easy and efficient to make these toys. And your handicraft products will be loved by kids.

Make Money with CNC Router: Hand-made Activities

If you want to figure out other ways to make money other than making stuff by yourself, you can hold hand-made activities.
You can work with the schools or universities that are near from your CNC woodworking shop and hold handicraft activities. Coach the students to operate the CNC router. Also, you can let them try by themselves to make some items with CNC router. They surely will learn a lot of knowledge and skills from this kind of activities. What’s more, your CNC woodworking shop will be known by more people at the same time.

Make Money with CNC Router: Contract Processing

Contract processing is also a good way to make money. Some people may have materials in hand and are willing to make useful items, but they don’t own a CNC router. Then you can help them to process the items with their materials and charge for a flat price.

Make Money with CNC Router for CNC Beginners

If you’re a beginner that knows nothing about CNC router, don’t worry! CNC router is not a complex machine and it is very easy to learn how to operate it. With simple learning, you will be comfortable to make some items and earn money with it. In the last section, we introduced some useful handicraft products that CNC artisans can make, but those may be hard for the beginners. Thus, in the following content we will introduce some simple items that you can try with CNC router. At the beginning, let’s say what kind of CNC router is suitable for CNC beginners.

What CNC Router is Suitable for CNC Beginners?

Here is a basic 3Axis CNC router from Blue Elephant (60mm*90mm size). This machine is very compact and cheap in price. Its operation is simple and easy to learn. With this CNC router, you can cut or engrave many kinds of materials with fast speed and high precision.
Picture 6 Blue Elephant 6090 CNC router

Make Money with CNC Router: Household Items

There are many simple household items that you can try to make with CNC router. The first one is bottle opener. Prepare some thin hard metal sheet (around 2mm thick) to make bottle opener. Use CNC router to make bottle opener is one-time processing. No secondary processing is needed.
You can also make photo frames. CNC router can help you engrave beautiful patterns on the photo frame. Manual work can’t achieve this, but CNC router can do it easily.
Picture 7: Blue Elephant client uses CNC router to make household items
These are just two simple examples for your reference. You can open your mind and try to make any other household items in your house with CNC router.

Make Money with CNC Router: Drink Coaster

Drink coaster is very popular for advanced restaurants, coffeehouses, or hotels. People also like to use it in their home for decoration purpose. You can make distinctive drink coasters with your CNC router. For example, engrave the restaurant’s name or logo on the coaster, or cut the coaster into unique shapes. Moreover, you can sell drink coasters to individual consumers and they will love them. Using CNC router to make drink coasters is very efficient. You can make many in one single day. Also, the finished coasters have smooth surface and you don’t need to have a redo.

Make Money with CNC Router: Building Blocks

The most simple toy must be building blocks. Many children like to pile up building blocks. Even some teenagers or adults love them as well. The processing of building blocks are quite simple. You just need to cut them into the right shapes and sizes, engrave some words or symbols on them, then paint them with beautiful colors.

Here is a feedback video of 6090 CNC router making signs from our customer. 6090 model CNC router is quite good at cutting and engraving custom wooden signs with high efficiency and excellent accuracy.


As we all know, making money is not always as easy as we expected, so here are some suggestions for you to consider when you run your CNC business.
  1. Don’t quit full-time job before your CNC router bring you profit. If you haven't got enough CNC skills, you can take CNC business as a part-time work. After you get stable custom resources, and the profit of CNC machining is enough to support your living or even is much more than the salary from your main job, then you can consider to spend all time on your CNC business.
  1. Search potential market segment. Every item has its specific target custom group. Before you make your decision to produce any handicraft products, check its marketability in your region. If many shops are selling the same product and not a lot of people need it, that product is not a good candidate for your CNC business. Search some unique and religious products that deserve buying in your region.
  2. Promote your handicraft products. After you finish your handicraft products, how to sell them out and let more people know your CNC business? You can promote your CNC business in two ways: On-line promotion and off-line promotion. Firstly, for the off-line promotion, you can deliver some leaflet around your region, or hold handicraft activities and let more people to know your CNC woodworking shop. Also, you can prepare some freebies and invite people to visit your CNC woodworking shop. On the other hand, on-line promotion has a tremendous potential. Your customers have no limits in regions and countries. You can sell your goods at eBay, Etsy, Facebook or Amazon, especially Etsy which is famous in the world per its handicraft trade. All of these platforms are good places to explore your CNC business.


This guide is not a guarantee to your CNC business success, but it can bring your a bunch of creative ideas and many handicraft products that you can try. Meanwhile, it can help you to avoid some potential risks and make you step closer to your CNC business success. If you have special processing needs and have no idea on what kind of CNC router to choose, you can leave your comment or contact us directly. We will do our best to assist your CNC business success.