Interest in LowRider3 for cabinets, storage and furniture

For many years I have been interested in getting into the CNC world. The only thing that is really holding me back is that I tend to build cabinetry, outdoor furniture, storage boxes, and other larger sized pieces. Many of these projects are beyond typical hobby CNC machines that go up to 33x33 and the commercial 4’x8’ machines are way out of my budget. The fact that the LR3 can be built to 48x48 or even 48x96 is very appealing.

However, to me, using a CNC to cut out these large parts doesn’t seem to be as efficient as a table saw, but for just about anything else, especially repeated pieces and hole drilling, it is amazing. I am not too worried about fast output (not used in a business), but I have very limited space, so I can’t have both a table saw and a CNC for processing full sheets.

Right now I can draw lines and cut out a basic box a with a table saw pretty quickly…I don’t know if I could do the same with CNC, and it seems to me that there is a lot of setup work to get something routed out of a full sheet.

Is anyone using the LR3 for these types of projects? I would be curious to hear how your workflow is.

  • Do you cut everything on the CNC?
  • Do you cut box shapes out on the table saw, then do the detail work on the cut pieces using CNC?
  • Do you do all the CNC work on a full sheet, then cut out the box shapes afterwards?

and, if you could only have one full sheet machine, would it be a table saw or a CNC?

Thanks for your tips and advice.

1 Like

For many years, all I had this way was the table saw.

There is an old saying. “If the only tool you have is a hammer, make every problem look like a nail.” So it is with these machines. Most table saws can only cut to a certain maximum size, typically 2’ or less, some machines are only good to 1’. Even pro machines often have such limitations. We deal with it. Measure from the other side so that the offcut is the desired size, or cut without the fence.

Table saws make straight lines, which is great until you want a tabbed box, or you want a curved edge. So you design without them if that’s what you have. They also don’t place features in the middle of the work, so you use jigs. You can do a lot with one.

CNC machines offer a lot of flexibility, but they are slower. The LowRider is slower than many others, but that’s part of the price point. A machine that costs 10X as much will be faster… but for 10X the cost, I don’t need that. One large shortcoming of the CNC to me is its inability to cut angles. A positive angle can be done, but negative angles, not so much. At least not without a 4th axis, and the CAM for that is spendy.

Basically, in the end, I still need a saw. I still have the table saw, and I did make a LR inspired panel saw, too. The saw is quick, doesnt need the same steps in CAD and CAM, and useful for quick basic shapes, or to break down larger pieces, since neither of my CNC machines is full sheet sized.

For your questions:

  • No, but for CNC cut pieces, I cut the whole piece on the CNC to get the precise locations of features relative. For pieces where everything can be cut on the table saw, i cut the who.e piece om the table saw. I guess this also answers the second qurstion. I do very little composite work between the different tools, with the sole exception of if a piece needs mitered edges. I think that has happened exactly once since I built my Primo.

  • My CNC isn’t full sheet, but for say a quarter sheet, I would probably just cut the whole job on the CNC. If I needed to draw the shape in CAD, then the step of cutting it out is probably easier than the measurements and squaring needed to cut it out afterwards. Using the CNC makes it much more likely that I will used a tabbed box, dado joints or other work as well, which does not always lend itself to a table saw project.


I know at least one guy down the street from me cut most of his kitchen on a modified lowrider.

I like cncs for being able to check and double check my numbers and fit from the comfort of my chair, then trust the machine to make them all right. But then, i had an awful table saw.

I know the case is that the cnc is more versatile, but having just aquired a nice table saw, i can absolutely see how it’s faster to make certain things on it. I keep looking for more ways to use it because it’s so danged enjoyable.

I’m not sure about choosing one over the other though. Table saw cost a lot more than any of my V1 machines, and I could certainly imagine getting a less nice saw to have a cnc too. I think Dan covered all the major points.

In terms of work flow, I think you’re right. You can probably cut out a basic box faster on the saw. But then, if you want to cut basic boxes, you aren’t looking at a cnc, right? Computer sketch, CAD, and CAM are all skills, just like building a box. My wife just needed an aluminum spacer, and inside 30 minutes I’d measured, designed, programed, set up, cut, cursed, remeasured, cut again, and handed over a finished piece. Basic shape (like a giant washer or donut) but not easy with my other tools.

I think you just learn which tools to use for the job.


Thanks for the replies.

I am pretty well versed in when to use what machines, the issue is more about not having space for two, can I do well enough with one. I probably would not do a complete kitchen this way, a flat pack can be purchased and assembled probably cheaper (and better) than what I could build it with a CNC, but I do see myself making things like benches, airondack chairs, coffee stations, drawers, etc. A table saw can only get me so far on these items, and then I have to break out a bunch of other tools (depending on how intricate the design is), where as with CNC, I could probably do most of the cuts and just post-process and assemble.

Cutting aluminum and laser engraving is another reason the CNC is very compelling (though I generally don’t need full sheet for that).

Perhaps keeping my old portable table saw and just building a 48x48 LR3 would be a good combination for right now. But in the future I am looking to build a dedicated 12 x 20 shop that may allow me to do a full size table saw and perhaps a 48x48 CNC in the corner. I wish I could do a 20x20, but I don’t have enough space for that either. :frowning_face:

Has anyone built a 48x48 LR3 and used it to process larger stock by flipping the workpiece or perhaps using infeed/outfeed support? Or does that just totally mess up any attempt at accuracy?

1 Like

Very doable. You just model in points that you can bore through the workpiece into the spoilboard. Then you have known locations that you can add pins (i use old endmills) and use them to set the stock in place. Youtube has some good examples.

If you’re using a smaller saw, you probably have an outfeed table. Can you put a lowrider on that? Park or at the far end so you have more room at the saw when it’s not running. Lr3 has a rail on one side that will need to be mounted out of the way, and the other side has a belt mount. It’s two pieces and the top comes off easily, but the bottom I think is supposed to stay put. I think I’m going to mount mine with a t nut or something so I can remove that piece, too.

The LR3 is still a little new for big modifications to be common yet… But there are some things.

I have a panel saw rig based on LR2 parts that is sized to put onto my LR3 table. This will allow making up to 5’ cuts (The length of my LR table) at up to 3’ fenced (Because more would go into the wall.) This means that I can break down just about anything that I can get into my car, so I’m good with that. It wasn’t quite as practical while I was using the LR2, but with how easy the LR3 is to remove from the table, it becomes reasonable very quickly. It’s not quite the same as a table saw, but I’ll bet that if I were to have built the table to be a table saw, I could have done much the same thing.

My table saw is out in the garage, and has been much neglected for the past couple of years.

When I still had a table saw, my lowrider 2 table was the saw’s outfeed table.

1 Like

In my mind, the CNC doesn’t replace the table saw, it replaces a band saw. You can do all kinds of table saw like cuts on a CNC. Even some like the dados in a bookshelf can be done on a CNC (and probably faster than the table saw, especially if you are making multiples). A table saw can do things a CNC can’t (easily), like rip a 4" board into a 2.5" board.

The other trick is that the time and effort moves into CAD. You can’t do anything with a pencil and square anymore (hardly anything). You will be doing CAD first, making sure everything is perfect, then CAM, and maybe some tests, and then fire it off on the CNC.

Taking the adirondack chairs as an example. If you have the plans, or you make them in CAD, then you won’t have to have the templates, and rough cut on the bandsaw and flush cut with the router or a bunch of sanding power tools (the way Norm made them). I would prefer the CNC for that. But where it really shines is if you are making a matching set of 3 chairs, or 6. The first one will still be worth it, but the 6th one is almost free.

This was going to be my suggestion. A table saw needs an outfeed table. And on the LR3, Ryan made it mostly removable (mostly). It also doesn’t hang over the edge anymore, so you can put that baby in the corner, if you don’t like using it as an outfeed.

I would also suggest considering a smaller footprint. Just to save space. For one thing, you can do a lot of tricks to make a larger piece of furniture from smaller pieces (think of a metal rolling toolbox. They sell the top separate from the bottom, stuff like that). You can also hang work pieces off the side of the table and cut it in separate steps. It isn’t easy, but you can do it.

I consider my use case about the same as yours (flat stock, boxy furniture, engraving on some pieces to add some details). I think about a 30"x48" is about right. I have made some 30"x36" stuff and the results feel pretty big. I haven’t tried making any bookshelves, but I bet I could make something modular that stacked up to full 8’ height (that sounds like fun).


For cabinetry? No way. Even if you’re doing a lot of complex parts, the right jigs and a table saw are extremely efficient.

Really depends on what your doing. And it’s mostly predicated on the reliability of the machines. My table saw is really dependable. My LR2 can be a bit finicky and I can be a bit too aggressive in my cuts. So when possible I’ll put the piece on the CNC first. That way if it fails I won’t be mad I cut all my parts to size already.

If cabinetry and furniture making is your thing I think the best table saw you can afford is the best option. No shade on the LR2 though!


That being said I have made a microwave stand completely with the LR2 - no table saw at all so it is possible!


NOBODY puts baby in the corner!

1 Like

I find that with the table saw I build more organically. If a part is 1/16 off I adjust and move on I can also sometimes see mistakes before they happen because I’m working with the wood more intimately. That said at my skill level repeatability kinda sucks.

With the cnc it takes me a long time to get the cad/cam right and I ruin a fair amount of wood getting a job dialed in. It always feels like I feel competent to do the project just as I finish it but if I had to do 3 more just like it it would be easy.

I also find myself attempting harder pieces with the cnc than I would attempt with my other tools. Instead of overlapping doors on cabs I do inset because I can get the tolerances much tighter for the drawers and my parts are more square.


Thank you. :softball:

1 Like

I’m not useful as often as I’d like, so I try when I can!

1 Like

I’m thinking it won’t be contributing usefully to this conversation if I confess that I use my LR2 table to store all the parts for things I’m making on the TableSaw.

Will it? :flushed:


LOL. I love this…everyone has just as much diverse preferences about using the CNC as my indecisions!

Well, if nothing else…I can at least say that I have options, and whatever I end up finally going with, I will have to adapt my workflow accordingly. I do like the idea of making the LR3 part of the outfeed of a table saw. That seems to really hone in on space saving but not losing benefits of both.

Now, all I need to do is set up a winch system to lift it up to the ceiling (kinda like I use for my Jeep hardtop) when not in use! :slight_smile:


Nice work! Love it! That is the kind of stuff I find myself doing.

If it came to a full kitchen, though, I would probably do a flat pack, but these one offs and non-standard cabinets, are just what I am after.

What size is your CNC work area?

It was on a full sheet of MDF so maybe 3.5’ x 8’ at the time. I’ve since condensed it to fit on my woodworking table which now has a roughly 2.5’x4’ work area.


I dont understand this american thing with face-frame cabinets and euro-hinges.

Why not?