FoxAlien buying guide – CNC machines under $1000

FoxAlien Comparison - Machine under $1000

With so many FoxAlien machines to choose from, how do you pick the right one for you? Well lets start with a key rule in the CNC world – buy the best you can afford.

Price is generally a good indication of how good one machine is against another and therefore if you have a budget in mind, I would always suggest getting as close to that as possible. People rarely regret spending the extra on a machine, but they do often regret not spending enough.

But if you’re still struggling to decide, then the comparison below may help and there is a full comparison chart at the end. I have broken this down to machines under $1000 and there is a second article for machine over $1000.

Which is best for you?

The 4040-XE is the most powerful and therefore can cut deeper and faster but equally is the most expensive (There is also the newer XE-PRO but that is $1,299). The Masuter is a great beginner friendly option for those on a tighter budget but for the small difference I would advise going for the Masuter Pro instead as this can also be extended. The WM3020 is the odd one out in this list because it has upgraded hardware with the ball screws and full linear rails but is also a smaller working area so this is really geared towards machining harder materials. Extra information is below to help you decide.

Work area

The WM3020 has the smallest work area followed by the Masuter which is slightly smaller than both the Masuter Pro and 4040-XE that have the same base area but the Masuter Pro has a little more Z height.

Spindle extra information

The Masuter and Masuter Pro can both take a 300w spindle upgrade, although the Masuter Pro is stronger and will handle it better. The WM3020 and 4040-XE already come with a 300w spindle. The Masuter Pro , WM3020 and 4040-XE are capable of taking 65mm or 69mm trim routers such as the Makita, Bauer and Dewalt with an additional spindle holder (some may need to be purchased separately)

Z Axis support

The Masuter Pro and WM3020 use linear rails reducing flex and wobble. The Masuter and 4040-XE use rods with the bearing sleeves. These can allow for more chatter and some people replace them with polymer insert, as featured in this video.


The WM3020 and 4040-XE come with a larger 300w spindle. The 4040-XE has more powerful stepper motors (nema 23’s) and is capable of handling a router better. Whilst the Masuter Pro can also take a router, the Nema 17 motors will not be able to drive it with as much power.

Masuter benefits

The price point on the Masuter is the main advantage. It is the cheapest option but still comes with all the hardware a beginner needs to get started. It also has a 32-bit control board.

Masuter Pro benefits

It has multiple benefits such as linear rails for the Z axis, eccentric nuts for V wheel pressure control. Slightly deeper travel on the Z axis and an all metal frame. The aluminium extrusion is closed mean less chips will collect in there and the X gantry is also 2060 extrusion (as opposed the smaller 2040). It also has the 32-bit control board.


The upgraded hardware of a solid metal bed, ball screws and linear rails makes this a very stable machine for harder materials such as aluminium. It’s main downside is the smaller work area but equally the smaller work area actually helps the pervious point about making it more stable. It also has the deepest Z travel at 70mm

4040-XE benefits

Comes with a 300w spindle as standard and Nema 23 stepper motors giving it more power. Also come with an integrated offline controller with a large touch screen so ideal for people who can’t always leave a PC/laptop connected to it.

FoxAlien comparison chart

  Masuter Masuter ProWM-3020 4040-XE
FoxAlien Masuter ProFoxAlien WM3020FoxAlien 4040-XE
Work area 15.75” x 14.96” x 2.17” 
(400 x 380 x 55mm)
15.75” x 15.75” x 2.36”
(400 x 400 x 60mm)
15.75″ x 15.75″ x 2.17″
(400 x 400 x 55mm)
XY Axis Drive Belt Belt Ball Screw Belt
Frame Metal and plastic All metal All metal All metal
Spindle 60W 60w 300w 300w
Spindle upgrade No Yes (65mm & 69mm holders) Yes (65mm & 69mm holders) No
Stepper motor Nema 17 Nema 17 Nema 17 Nema 23
Stepper knobs No Yes Yes Yes
Linear rails No Z axis only Yes (all axis)No
VWheel adjustment No YesN/A Yes
Default travel rate* 2000 mm/min2000 mm/min 2000 mm/min 2000 mm/min
Control board 32 bit 32 bit8 bit 8 bit
Limit switches Yes YesYes Yes
Home button Yes YesNo No
Offline controller Not included – Optional extra Not included – Optional extra Not included – Optional extra Yes – Integrated into control unit
Emergency stop Yes YesYes Yes
Z Probe Included IncludedIncluded Included
Laser ready Yes YesYes Yes
Extension No Yes No No
Price (USD)** $509 $599$849 $929
*Can be taken higher by adjusting the GRBL settings **Price taken at time of writing this article from FoxAlien

Where to buy from?

Masuter directly from FoxAlien

Masuter Pro directly from FoxAlien

WM3020 directly from FoxAlien

4040-XE directly from FoxAlien

Some of the machines are also available on Amazon FoxAlien store but usually cost a little bit more so my advice is always buy directly from FoxAlien

2 Comments to “FoxAlien buying guide – CNC machines under $1000”

  • Steven J Lisonbee

    do all units come with software that is needs operate? If cut 3D, do need different software?

  • Eric

    Fox Alien may be a little bit cheaper but they charge an arm and a leg for postage. Example: to Australia they charge over $300. Amazon shipped my Masuter Pro free of charge! Moral of the story, always check freight cost before placing your order.

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