Required table size?

New to CNCs, but lots of time as a woodworker.

My workshop is small (9’ x 9’). My work bench is 4’x2’ wide, in the center of the room, with space for a job site table saw at the end, level with the workbench top, essentially making the entire table 6’x2’. I thus have about 3’ walkway around three sides of the table. This works great for general wood working. The work bench is a torsion box with t-slots running down the length and replaceable 3/4" MDF on top.

I do all sorts of projects, ranging from simple toys and ornaments to guitars and ukuleles to furniture (dining room table, beds, etc).

I am looking to add a CNC to my tool set, and am debating between the machinist and the woodworker. While I would like the larger area, I can’t quite figure out how it would fit in my shop.

My question is, would it be stable enough if I put it on a 1.5" thick 4x4’ MDF base (2x 3/4" laminated together), which was then centered on my workbench. In other words, there would be about 1’ overhang on both sides.

Another option would be to make the base a torsion box, but that would start to make the entire thing pretty bulky and tall (the work bench top is already quite high).

Finally, the third option would be to go for a machinist… most of what I want to do is small enough to fit. I just can’t get rid of the feeling that for an extra $200, it doubles the size of your potential workpiece. I just need to figure out how to get it to fit.

If there was a 2x4’ option like the Shapeoko XL, I would absolutely go for that!

I would be interested in hearing from anyone else in a similarly small space, and how you set up your machine.


I think the bare minimum table size would be 48 x 48". Most seem to build them slightly bigger (50 x 50" etc).

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Thanks for the comment. I guess that means in my case, the machinist is the way to go, so the sides are not overhanging the workbench.

I guess that it would be big enough for most things… stuff like guitar inlays and such are what I would mostly want to do. For larger things, I would have to figure out alternatives.


Mine is on a 44 1/2" deep x 48" wide at the moment (controller will be next to that on the left possibly higher than table. Looking at your picture, maybe you could make a torsion box that size and rig a pulley system above the table to lift it out of the way when needed. :slight_smile:

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Yeah, unfortunately I have a bunch of other stuff on the ceiling - that’s where I store clamps, jigs, etc. The plan is to take the machine apart for storage when it’s not in use; the X / Y axis can go in a corner, and the bed (whether torsion box or solid MDF) would lean against the wall under the window.

The quick disassembly is one of the major selling points of the onefinity for me - I don’t mind spending 10 minutes to get set up for a job, but spending hour+ (which I understand is required for the various belt driven machines) is not going to happen.

Build some storage into the bottom of the 1F table to access when raised along with another light. :slight_smile:

As nice as it would be, I don’t think a hoisted table would work. The photo above is from a wide angle lens, and makes it look much larger than it is. The table top is 43.5" high. The floor joists are 48" above it. I have 13" of head space between the top of my head and the floor joists (I am 6’ 6" tall). The height of the onefinity appears to be 17" to the top of the servo, and maybe 14" to the top of the rails; that means that I would be hitting my head all the time, even without storing anything underneath it.

As much as I think the woodworker makes more sense from a capability POV, I don’t think that it will work in my workshop setup - it just will take up too much space.

Is anyone aware of alternative mounting designs which allows you to place the CNC on top of the workpiece? I have heard references to this (things like “Place it on your dining room table and make an inlay in the center of it”), but I have not seen how you would do that. I would assume that you need rock solid connections between the two Y rails, and to ensure that they are kept square. Would that keep things solid enough?

What I am talking about is something like this:

The red boxes would be 1/4" steel plates or something.

Something like this could ensure squareness, too…

If I could figure something like that out, it would really be the best of both worlds. That way I could use the machine on my existing workbench most of the time, but if I needed to use it on something larger I could place it on top. Regardless of if it is for a smaller design in the middle of a large panel (the dining room table example), or if I move it multiple times to panelize a design (obviously I would need some sort of indexing to keep alignment), it would really keep my options open.

Has anyone done something like this before?


Check out this thread, he did some interesting mounting with steel plates and aluminum extrusions. No reason why you couldn’t do the same with your spoiler board mounted to the extrusions, and the Machinist mounted to it. The overall weight would be the real concern.

Interested in seeing what you come up with. Gary

I originally started with a flat one-level table, but farther down in that thread (42), I redesigned the base to have the center part raised up so I wouldn’t have to lower my Z axis. Been extremely happy with this setup!

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Thanks Bill.

So if I am understanding correctly, the router will not go low enough (without hardware modifications) to cut lower than the level of the feet?

I was hoping that I could physically move the machine to sit on top of larger stock for those times that I needed to work on a larger piece. It sounds like that won’t be possible, though.

If only I had a larger workshop, this wouldn’t be an issue at all… :wink:


The router would, in fact, go low enough. The thing I didn’t like would have been always working at the very bottom of the z travel.

Hmm, well that’s good to know.

95% of what I do would be handled in a conventional manner, on a table, with the stock fully contained within the perimeter of the machine. I just want to be sure that for those few times that I need to work on larger stock, there are options. Moving the machine, placing it on top of the stock, and working at the bottom of the Z axis would (hopefully) handle those exceptional situations.

Have you researched flip top tables. There are a couple I’ve seen on the internet that lessen the amount of floor space taken. I’ve also seen a couple tables that fold up onto the wall and even one that pulls up to the ceiling when not in use.

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I realize this is an old thread, did you consider a wall mount?

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