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If you have a home shop then investing in a milling machine will improve and enhance your store to no end. A milling machine works by holding the material in a stationary position via a clamp. Rotary tools then shape the material into any shape you like. The only limit is your creativity.
These versatile tools are often used to make flat surfaces by shaping items and removing metals and other materials. Yet they can also make irregular surfaces, drill, bore, and produce slots, and are able to create flutes in a drill.
As with using any other type of machinery, it’s important to take safety precautions into account when operating a milling machine. Wearing safety glasses and hearing protection can help ensure your wellbeing.
When picking out our top milling machines for your home shop, we considered elements such as:
- Maximum speed and power
- Table size
- Vice capacity
To ensure we found the best machines for you, we sourced legitimate consumer reviews from people who have bought these milling machines. All fake reports were removed to guarantee complete authenticity.
1. PROXXON MICRO Mill MF 70
If you are planning to use a milling machine for jewelry, optics, electronics, model-making, or other precision projects, then this is the one for you! The base is cast iron, and the compound table and vertical column are made of treated aluminum.
The 24 pole-balanced motor is safely housed in die-cast aluminum. Even when you use it at the highest speed, it remains stable. This milling machine weighs 15 ½ pounds, and the axes have adjustable slides which are play-free. It comes with six triple-slit hardened steel collets at 1/23, 1/16, 5/64, 3/32, 1/8, 7/64 inches. The table has three T-slots with an adjustable scale that makes the positioning of the workpiece easy. The handwheels operate at one revolution that is 3/64 inches and one division of .002 inches.
You will find it is best for cutting softer metals, hard plastic, nylon, acrylic, or wood for models. This exceptional machine combines the utility of a hand-held rotary saw with the higher precision you get from a milling machine and is safer to use.
- Operates between 5,000 to 20,000 RPM
- The table size is 7 7/8 x 2 ¾ inches
- The vertical travel is 2 ¾ inches
- The footprint is 5 7/64 x 8 55/64 inches
- Maximum power is 1/8 hp, at 110V
What we love:
- Ideal for small jobs and a beginner learning how to use a milling machine
- It’s small enough to be stored away when not in use
We don’t like this as much:
- The spindle runout is about .002 inches, which means it’s difficult to cut harder metal at lower speeds. It is mainly recommended for softer metals
- Small and beautiful - the accurate mill for lab, optician, jewelry, electronic and model building projects
- Supplied with a stable base of cast iron, vertical column and compound table are of treated, high quality aluminum
- All axes are play-free and have adjustable slides, headstock, made of die-cast aluminum
- Balanced special motor and provides stability even at high operating speeds
- Scope of delivery: 1x PROXXON MICRO Mill MF 70 including MICROMOT steel collet set and stepped clamp blocks of steel. Part number: 37110
2. WEN 33013 4.5A Compact Benchtop Milling Machine
This is a single-phase milling machine with a 13-inch swing tool. It is suitable for creating flat surfaces, angled edges, straight holes, surface contours, pockets, slots, and more, which makes it an extremely useful tool for all your DIY and crafting needs.
WEN is compatible with a wide variety of cutters, bits, and mills, providing a 5/8-inch end mill capacity, a 1/2 -inch drilling capacity, and a 1 1/8-inch face capacity. The bevel head can travel left or right. The low speed operates at 100 – 1,100 RPM and the high speed operates at 100 – 2,500 RPM. The dimensions are 23 ¼ x 22 x 29 ½ inches and the footprint is 8 ½ x 15 inches. You can move the item 11 13/16 inches along the X-axis and 5 1/8 inches along the Y-axis and 7 inches along the Z-axis. To maintain complete accuracy, there are tooled ruler markings for your convenience.
The base has bolt holes to anchor the machine to a worktable for stability. The weight is 130.1 pounds, which is heavy enough to minimize vibrations. This is a fantastic milling machine for a hobbyist and will cut a wide range of materials, including aluminum, acrylic, and soft metals.
- An R8 spindle taper
- A Pre-installed 1/32 – ½ inch drill chuck
- Handwheels for fine-tuning
- 4.5 Amp motor
- A two-speed gearbox with a load-sensing capability
What we love:
- It has a rubber sheet that covers from the table to the column that catches chips and makes clean-up quicker
- It includes a transparent shield that combines with the emergency stop feature for maximum safety
We don’t like this as much:
- It would be helpful if the torque capacity were a little higher, so it doesn’t trip off when using larger cutters
- Variable speed goes anywhere from 100 to 1,100 RPM on the low setting and 100 to 2,500 RPM on the high setting
- 18-1/8 x 4-3/4 inch table travels 11-13/16 inches along the X-axis and 5-1/8 inches along the Y-axis
- Bevel the head and column 45 degrees in either direction for angled cuts in metal, wood, plastic and more
- Compact cast iron design measures in at 23-1/4 by 22 by 29-1/2 inches in size with an 8-1/2 by 15 inch foot print
- Includes an R8 spindle taper, a pre-installed drill chuck (1/32 to 1/2 inch), fine-tune adjustment hand wheels, a transparent chuck guard, an emergency stop button, onboard measurement indicators, a 13-inch swing, two M10-1.5 T-nuts, 12mm T-slots, and a two-year warranty
3. Genmitsu CNC Router Machine
This milling machine is a computerized numerical control (CNC) machine for carving arts that will cut metal, foams, vinyl, plastics, wood, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), and acrylic. The three-axis milling cutting and engraving features mean you have extra versatility for making complicated parts. The working area is 15.7 x 11.8 x 4.3 inches, and the XYZ axis module is pre-assembled, which allows you to set up quickly and be ready to work in less time.
Included in the package is a three-month Carveco Maker subscription you can access after you order the machine. This is the best program to integrate with your CNC router or engraver for perfect personalized and artistic 2D or 3D products.
This CNC machine has a high-powered spindle including adapters. You can upgrade the module with an optional rotary fourth axis or a high-powered laser module that has up to 15W of true power output. The CNC can be upgraded as you increase your usage parameters. The casing is made of aluminum and the machine weighs 57.2 pounds.
The package includes everything you need to set up the machine, such as the CNC router, the pre-installed 300 W spindle, the controller box, an MDF spoil board, 10x engraving bits and nano Blue Coat bits, clamps, and a screw and accessory box.
- C-BEAM frame
- NEMA 23-stepper motors
- Power supply 600W, 7A, 0-48V
- Accuracy 0.1 – 0.2 mm
- Maximum speed 2,000 mm per minute
What we love:
- It gives a wide variety of cutting, drilling, and carving options on the various materials mentioned above
- This milling machine is perfect for applying names and logos on metal utensils and gifts
We don’t like this as much:
- We’d like to see instructions on how to align the two stepper motors for the Y-axis, which are currently not included
- Easy to Set Up: The pre-assembled module of XYZ axis and wires dramatically reduces effort of assembly, allowing you to start carving your projects in less time. 3-Month Carveco Maker Subscription is included. Turning your ideas into the next fun project or your own work of art will be much easier with Carveco Maker. We will email you the subscription link after you place the order.
- More Power: New completely redesigned control box and drive system, beefy C-BEAM Frame, precision NEMA 23 stepper motors, High Power Spindle and included adapter for a drop in Dewalt DWP611 upgrade.
- No additional parts required: Everything you need out of the box, no stripped down kits or addons, the Genmitsu PROVerXL 4030 CNC router already includes all of the accessories and components you need at an affordable price, including XYZ axis limit switches, emergency stop switches,speed control, Z-probe and more.
- Precision and Performance: Rigid C-beam structure,Leadscrew Driven, Y-axis Dual screw drive, Z-Axis Optical Axis Drive delivers more stability than the traditional v-slot drive. It's ideal for an endless variety of cutting, drilling, and carving operations on various materials including wood, MDF, plastics, foams, vinyl, and aluminum.
- Built to suit your needs: The PROVerXL CNC platform is just the beginning, if you are looking for an even larger machine get the upgrade kit available in 2 additional sizes 24”x 24”( 600 x 600mm), and up to 40” x 40” (1000 x 1000mm). Equip your machine with an optional Rotary 4th Axis or High Powered Laser Modules with up to 15W of true power output. Evolve with your CNC, upgrade as you go, or start big and get to making MORE.
4. SUNWIN Metal Mini Milling Machine
This mini milling cutter is designed for hobbyists, especially students, handling smaller metalworking and woodworking tasks with ease. The major components are all metal, including the spindle, pedestal, tailstock, slider, connection piece, motor blades, and gears. This milling machine weighs 7.71 pounds, so it is not too heavy to carry when you want to change the place you are working or store it away. The dimensions are 9.8 x 9.8 x 5.9 inches. The clamping dimensions are from one to six millimeters with a vice clamp size of 1.1-inch.
The SUNWIN is made of carbon steel, aluminum, and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), which is a common CNC machining material that has different properties and melting temperatures according to the different proportions of the three ingredients.
The unit is capable of milling small bits of steel as long as you use the right tooling, feed, and speed. High-speed steel (HSS) is the best for soft materials such as resin, general steel, aluminum, and brass. For titanium and high-carbon steel, you will need a cemented carbide or carbide tooling. The mill is completely assembled and doesn’t require additional special tools to be purchased.
- Operates at 20,000 RPM
- The support power is 12 VDC/2A/24W Ac/Dc
- The headstock speed is 2,000 RPM
- The slide travel is 1.37 to 1.77 inches
- The vice capacity is .98 x 1.37 inches
What we love:
- This milling machine is easily transportable from shelf to workbench thanks to its lightweight design
- Certified for safety by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a world leader in testing product safety and certification
We don’t like this as much:
- This machine most effectively handles smaller tasks and may struggle with larger projects
5. Klutch Mini Milling Machine
This mini milling machine is best suited for light work such as that which hobbyists may undertake. It is specially designed for slow feed rates, light feeds, and tolerances, which makes it one of the best for jewelry, electronics, and optical projects. The base is fully cast iron and operates very smoothly without vibration.
Customers are happy to know that the machine extracts, transforms, and loads (ETL) listed, which means it has been tested by Intertek and determined to comply with the accepted national standards. ETL is useful when you need to copy data from one or more sources and transfer it to a destination system that presents the data in a different way or context than it appears in the source. This makes it possible for different kinds of data input to work together. If you have multiple projects that need to mill a wide variety of materials, ETL will help you keep track of it and present you with the best option for each task.
The dimensions of the machine are 20 ½ x 20 1/6 x 29 15/16 inches and the worktable is 3 5/8 x 15 3/8 inches. The drilling capacity is ½ inch, the face mill capacity is 1 3/16 inch, and the end mill capacity is 5/8 inch. One added benefit is that you can find many upgrades for this milling machine. This is very helpful as you get used to the way it works and would like to increase its capabilities.
- Operates between 100 – 2,500 RPM
- Features a ½ horsepower engine
- The power input operates at 110V, requiring 5 amps
- It has a two-speed gearbox that delivers 350-watt power
- The column and milling head tilt 45-degrees to the left or right
What we love:
- This machine has excellent down feed control for accurate tool height setting
- It has an R8 spindle and drawbar. This means it is suitable for 1/8-inch, 3/16-inch, 1/4-inch 3/8-inch 5/16-inch, 9/16-inch ½ inch, and 5/8-inch R8 collets
We don’t like this as much:
- The base needs to be bolted or otherwise secured to the workbench. It does not come with a stand
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is milling?
Milling is a technique that uses a machine tool to shape an item, remove metal and other materials to make a smooth surface. It is mainly used in the automotive and aerospace industries for creating custom parts. The cutting tool can be moved in all three dimensions to produce the exact shape needed. Smaller milling machines that sit on a workbench are also used in home workshops. The two major classes of milling are face milling and peripheral milling.
The most common materials milled are aluminum, brass, silver, copper, acrylic, carbon fiber, and hard plastic, however, there are many more possibilities. When you purchase a milling machine for your home, you need to make sure the cutting edges will work on the material you want to mill. Some home cutters will not work on hard metals.
The item being milled is held to the workplace with clamps and brought into contact with the cutting tool that is rotating at high speed. When they meet, some material is removed from the item. There are several different kinds of cutting tools used for different materials. The feed rate is the speed that the item is pushed through the cutter. Some smaller cutters are designed for hobbyists and require a slow feed time.
What are the purposes of milling?
Milling is used for numerous objectives in-home workshops and industry. These purposes include but are not limited to creating:
- Flat surfaces in horizontal, vertical, or inclined planes
- Ribs or slots of several sections
- Surfaces of revolution
- Flutes in a drill
- Thread milling for various size screws
- Teeth in gears, worm wheels, or sprockets
- Specific features such as flutes, grooves, drills, hobs, and taps
The most common uses are to create three different types of holes:
- Round slotted holes start with a drilled hole in which the mill blades are inserted and widen the hole, so the radii of the diameter of the ends are the same as the width of the hole.
- Large round holes that cannot be drilled because drills have a limited amount of torque. These large holes usually begin with a drilled hole that is as wide as possible. The mill cutter is then advanced into the hole to enlarge it to the required diameter
- Rectangular holes that need a specific corner radius with four straight sides. It may require two size mills. One for making the original hole and a smaller one for making the squared corners to the required radius
Unlike lathes, which rotate the piece being lathed, milling machines keep the item held firmly with a clamp or vice. With a wide variety of milling machines available, including c-frame, column, horizontal tracer controlled, turret, CNC, bed type, and planer-style, you should identify what your specific task is and what materials you will be working with. For example, with CNC machines you have less waste material when you are milling wood, flawless repeatability, increased production capacity, and easier operation.
Some are recommended only for industrial use, for example, the c-frame is very powerful with a hydraulic motor and best for industrial settings. While the forms are different, the core purpose of each milling machine is essentially along the same lines. We hope that the above list has given you a detailed look into a range of milling machines for your home shop and there is one that serves your needs.
If you are looking for some quick recommendations, why not check out our picks for the best budget, mid-range, and high end milling machines below. Happy milling!
Budget – SUNWIN Metal Mini Milling Machine
Mid-range – Klutch Mini Milling Machine
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