Jul 25, 2023

Red Fox 2 Is a Promising Prosumer CNC Router

CNC routers are popular tools in a wide range of industries that do a lot of woodworking. For example, I used to program CNC routers to cut the panels for the interior cabinetry of Earthroamer expedition vehicles. That saved the carpenters a massive amount of labor, while also allowing for geometry that would have been almost impossible to cut by hand. But industrial CNC routers are big and expensive, making the technology largely inaccessible to hobbyists. However, that might change thanks to the new Red Fox 2 prosumer CNC router.

Red Fox 2 is currently on Kickstarter and the campaign had a modest funding goal of $21,728. As of this writing, they've reached more than ten times that goal and there is still almost a month to go until the campaign ends. As the name suggests, this is the second iteration of the Red Fox CNC router. The original was a utilitarian design with a handheld router for the spindle. The Red Fox 2 has a far more streamlined design, a dedicated spindle motor, and several useful features.

I'm classifying Red Fox 2 as a "prosumer" CNC router, because it is more expensive than the most affordable hobbyist machines and has many more features than most of those. But is is smaller than industrial machines, which can typically hand full 4×8 foot sheets plywood, and it lacks a tool changer. Red Fox 2 comes in two sizes: the 700×500mm (27.56×19.69 inch) Model S and the 1,100×750mm (43.31×29.53 inch) Model M. Neither of those are particularly large, but they are still big enough for many applications.

What the Red Fox 2 lacks in size, it makes up for in features. It has a sleek aluminum frame design with a control tablet included, eliminating the need for a shop computer. Every axis has linear rails and bearings with ball screws. The table has integrated slots for material clamps and there is a vacuum hose attachment for dust collection. It can automatically detect material height with a sensor built into the spindle. And that spindle has a powerful 700W motor.

Red Fox 2 accepts standard g-code, so it will work with almost every CNC CAM (Computer-Aided Manufacturing) software out there. It is most suited to cutting plywood, but can also handle other materials. That includes soft metals like aluminum. The campaign copy says Red Fox 2 will cut stainless steel, but that seems optimistic to me — though maybe I'm wrong. There are even rotary axis and laser engraving module upgrades available.

If you want a Red Fox 2 CNC router, you have until September 21st to back the Kickstarter Campaign. Backers can get the smaller Model S for €2,239 (about $2,433) and should receive their rewards in January of 2024.