Gone are the days when milling machines weighed thousands of pounds and were only limited to factories and workhouses. Nowadays, mini mills are available and they can be used in homes and small shops without any issues.
Whether you are a hobbyist or professional, they are wonderful inventions indeed. After all, they have the power and functionality of a milling machine without all the bulkiness. If you, too, are looking for a mini milling machine, you have landed at the right spot.
Read on to find out our 10 best mini mills.
Max. Power 1/2hp
Both Head And Worktable Are Totally Adjustable
2 Hp, 1 Phase, 230 Volt Only Motor
Comes With A Powerful 2hp Motor Capable Of Doing Multiple Operations
Max. Power 1/8hp (100W); Volts 110 - 120V AC
Extremely Quiet And Vibration Free Performance, Best For Beginners
Table of Contents
Best Mini Mills
1. Klutch Mini Milling Machine: Best Mini Mill Overall
The Klutch mini mill machine is ideal for anyone who wants the sturdiness of a milling machine, compactness for using it in a limited space, and all of this without burning a hole in their pocket. You can perform light to medium tasks with this machine without compromising on performance.
It is equipped with a ½ HP motor that operates on 110V, so that you can just connect it to the power outlet at your home without any hassle. The wattage capacity of the motor is 350, which is again just good enough for light to medium machining tasks.
The best feature of the motor is its spindle – which is heavy duty in every sense of the word without ever being cumbersome. You can achieve clean cuts without any deflection at all.
The Klutch mini machine has several versatile features – the speed, for one, is easily adjustable to forward or reverse. Then there are the part movements. Both the head and the worktable are totally adjustable using the hand wheels. The head also has a 360-degree swivel with which you can set your work pieces totally smoothly.
All in all, the Klutch mini mill is a quiet machine with 1 3/16-inch face mill capacity, 5/8-inch end mill capacity, and ½-inch drilling capacity. You won’t regret buying it and it’s one of the best small mills available.
2. Proxxon 37110 MICRO Mill MF 70 : Best Mill Under Budget
Proxxon Mini Milling Machine gives you complete value for your money. Here’s how. First of all, the form factor of the machine is extremely good for the price that you are paying. It is small enough to fit into a small space and helps you with all your milling chores. It is perfectly suited for novice and intermediate users. Plus, it can handle gunsmithing and other small chores with extreme ease.
Speaking of features, the motor runs at a wattage of 100W and runs on standard voltage requirements. The speed is variable and can go from 5000 RPM to 20000 RPM. It may not be the highest speed setting for milling projects, but it is good enough for a compact machine. For design works and electrical projects, it should be more than enough.
The dimensions of the machine are 200×700 mm. It is sturdy enough to fit in anywhere and has a set of 3-T slots which come with an adjustable ruler. This makes it extremely easy to position the workpiece. The overall build quality is also pretty good for the price you’re paying. The vertical columns and the compound lathe both feature aluminum treatment, so everything feels quite premium.
Other features include 24-pole motor, adjustable wheels with accuracy of 0.002mm, and a weight of a mere 15.5 pounds, making it extremely easy to use.
3. JET JMD-18 Mini Milling Machine : Best Multipurpose Mini Mill
If you want to bring industrial power to your work despite having limited workspace, JE JMD-18 is the best mini mill for you.
The machine has a powerful 2 HP motor and it is UL listed. This basically means that you can get spindle speeds of up to 3000 rpm with this device, which is quite strong for a mini milling machine. It can handle heavy duty machining tasks without any hassle.
The device also supports variable speed control settings. In fact, depending on your project, you can choose between 12 speed settings, the lowest of which can go up to 15 RPM.
When you’re taking on large scale projects, it is necessary that you have the space and flexibility to work smoothly. To make sure that that happens, this device comes with quite a large work table. The table measures 9.5” x 31.75”. There’s also an attached lamp to make sure that there is proper lighting when you’re working.
If you often work with projects where you have to switch between different speeds, you know how painful the delays are. Well, this machine is going to be your savior, because it comes with a fitted changed belt cover which supports the motor and eliminates any waiting time.
The one-piece column in this machine is made of cast iron, which gives it extreme strength and durability. The result? You no longer have to worry about support when you’re dealing with heavy materials.
All in all, this is a pretty sweet milling machine that can meet your standards for performance and longevity at an affordable rate.
4. Erie Tools ETD SM : Best for DIY Tasks
If you do a lot of DIY tasks or need a milling machine for your hobbies, this is the best mini mill for you. The machine comes with variable speed settings which can help you with benchtop drilling too. The device can be used for deep milling, drilling, as well as face milling.
Not only that, you can do a lot more with this piece – such as cutting flat bottomed cavities, cutting deep slots, threats, and gear teeth. All in all, for such a compact machine, it can do quite a lot. And because the machine is electric, you will find that it is also quite easy to use.
Erie Mini Mill machine also has a 3/8-inch shank cutter, end milling capacity of 3/8 inches, and face milling capacity of 5/8 inches. The table comes with 9.45 inches x 5.70 inches dimensions. The variable speed range on the lower side sits at 1-1000 RPM, and at the higher end at 0-2000 RPM.
Other interesting features of the machine include – safety shut off switch, fine feed handwheel, lifting hand wheel, clear guard on spindle, rubber chip guard, etc. In other words, this machine is truly a bang for the bucks device.
5. Proxxon Mini Mill FF 230 : 6 Variable Speed Control
If you want a mini mill that can also double up as a drill stand, this is the one for you. This is a smooth-running device that makes very little noise, and comes with a strong motor and Poly V drive system. The latter allows the machine to reach up to speeds of 2500 RPM, and what’s more? You can choose the range you want to work in, as there are 6 variable speed control options.
The worktop table has dimensions of 10 5/8 by 3 5/32 inches – which is just good enough to allow you to work on small scale projects without compromising on portability. There are two hand wheels with which you can adjust the table too.
The hand crank allows you to move vertically, and fine feed adjustment is available to adjust the height of the machine. The machine also comes with three collets that prevent the tools from falling off the spindle, allowing safer and easier operation.
6. Shop Fox M1116 Mini Mill : Comes Digital Depth Scale
If you are often working with projects where you need to adjust the tabletop up and down often – you know how hectic and time consuming that is. Well, worry not. We have found the perfect machine for you.
The Shop Fox drilling machine has a head that is adjustable to the height you want, without having to move the entire worktable. The machine also comes with 4 adjustable steel feet so that you don’t have to fasten it down when levelling up. The HP motor is very powerful, and offers spindle speed of up to 1750 RPM. Despite being so heavy duty though, the machine still makes no noise. It is truly a wonder to behold! The motor is also quite long lasting and doesn’t need a lot of maintenance either.
Speed is variable – between 100 and 1750 RPM, and you get a 5/8-inch drill chuck and arbor, hex wrenches, spare drive belt, and T-nuts with the device. The digital depth scale also allows accurate and precise machining.
7. JET 350017/JMD-15 Mini Mill : Best Premium Pick
If you want a mini mill without compromising on the work space, this is the device for you. with a worktable measuring 23 by 7.5 inches, the JMD mini mill is truly spacious without compromising on portability.
And that’s not all – the machine is truly sturdy, for it features a one-piece cast iron column that is extremely durable and tough. There’s also 1 HP motor that is powerful enough to work on heavy duty materials as smoothly as the lighter ones.
You can select between 12 speeds, and they go up to RPM 2580. You also won’t be wasting any time when changing speed because the slide latch prevents any delay. The head also has a 360-degree swivel, and a locking collet is present to avoid any injuries and bad cuts while working.
All in all, this machine offers a pretty sweet deal for its price.
8. KKMoon Mini Metal Lathe : 6 in 1 Mini Milling Machine
Coming from one of most reputed manufacturers, this machine can do more than milling works only. But that’s not the only reason why this is one of the best mini mill in the market.
First of all, this device has a 6 in 1 mini lathe machine, which allows you to saw, drill, grind, and lathe – along with milling. So, if you are a garage worker, plumber, handyman, or woodworker – this will work as an all-in-one machining tool for you.
The body of the machine is made of aluminum which not only gives it a premium feel, but also increases the durability and longevity of the device. If you’re worried about your safety, the KKMoon has got you covered there too. The machine comes with a pair of protective gloves and glasses.
Other features of the machine are – motor speed of up to 20000 RPM, motor wattage of 48W, and ability to process materials like wood, soft metal, plastics, aluminum, etc.
Other Great Picks
OTMT Mini OT2213 has truly endless advantages – from strength to versatility, this device has it all.
First of all, the motor itself is high end and miles better than the conventional motors. The high quality ½ HP motor can deliver spindle speeds of up to 2500 RPM. There are two speed settings – high and low, and you can pick the RPM setting according to your project needs. There is also a gear drive which will save you tons of time when you’re changing speeds.
You can do drilling, face milling, and end milling with this device. The capacities for each of these functions are 0.51 inches, 0.62 inches, and 0.81 inches respectively. Moreover, since you can achieve accuracy as low as 0.0001 inches, so you will be getting consistent and accurate results every single time.
The headstock has a travel of 7.08 inches, the worktable dimensions are 8.66 by 3.93 inches, and it accepts materials that measure 15 by 3.5 inches.
10. Grizzly G8689
At first glance, this machine can appear to be a little expensive – but honestly, it is totally bang for the buck.
You can do drilling, milling and facing with this device – and it handles all of them like a champion. The machine features 1/2″ drilling 1/2″ end mills and 1″ facing mills to take care of these tasks.
Moreover, unlike other mini mills, you don’t have to go through the hassle of changing with this device – which will save both your money and time.
Other significant features of the machine that make it truly one of the top products in line include – a safety shutoff switch, a find feed control, a dovetail column, cleaned spindle guard, adjustable that stop, feared drive, rubber chip guards, and zero settings dials.
The rotational speed of the machine lies between 0 and 2500 rpm, and you can adjust that according to the task at hand. The dovetail column is also adjustable.
Here are the things you should keep in mind when buying a milling machine:
Weight is the biggest factor that influences the portability of a milling machine. If you’re looking for something that you can use at home, a shop, or both – we need to keep in mind the weight of the machine.
However, it should be noted that weight isn’t necessarily the same as size. Depending on the material, two males of the same size can have different weights. Ideally, we should go for a light machine if you want to work on a table, but feel free to get a heavier one if your table is sturdy.
You don’t want the machine that vibrates too much, because it will interfere with the cut. Vibration free machine we’ll give you clean and precise cuts. Most of the light weight models also tend to vibrate more.
3. Spindle clearance
This means that the distance between the spindle and the table should be as per your requirement. This is because it is this distance that decides the height of the materials you can use the machine to cut, as well as what the size of the cutters and end mills will be.
4. Table size
If possible, opt for a bigger table size as it gives you more working space when handling large projects. And even when you’re working on smaller projects it gives you more space for secure clamping.
5. Movement in all three planes
Always opt for the machine that has hand wheels or cranks to move the table along x and y axes. For the z axis, some work tables move vertically, but if you can find a machine in which the head moves, then that’s the one you should buy.
Movements along all three axes are necessary because they allow longer single cuts, which resulted in better overall results with less effort and time.
There are three things you need to consider here:
- Horsepower rating – this may range from 0.something to 1, 2, etc. The higher the horsepower rating of the machine, the better the output.
- Wattage – 150 watts is good enough for light to medium tasks, but if you want to work on harder materials, go for something that has an output of at least 500 watts.
- Spindle speed – higher speeds create a better finish and it means that the machine can handle a wider range of tasks.
Types of Milling Machines
Milling machines can be categorized into two types of axes:
1. Vertical milling machine
In this type, the axis of the spindle is perpendicular to the work table. That is why this type of machine is most suitable for making horizontal cuts.
2. Horizontal milling machine
In this type, the axis of the spindle is horizontal to the work table. That is why it is perfectly suited for making vertical cuts. Basically, the machine itself is parallel to the ground and the work table moves sideways while the cutting device moves up and down.
Besides these two types, milling machines can further be categorized into four classes. They are as follows:
1. Ram type milling machine
In this type of machine, the spindle is mounted on top of the column. Due to this positioning, the cutter can be positioned horizontally either in the forward direction or in the backward direction.
2. Knee type milling machine
In this type of machine, there is a projection in the middle which gives the impression that the machine has a knee, hence the name. The worktable is adjusted vertically and it rests on a saddle, which further rests on the knee.
3. Bed type milling machine
In this type of machine, instead of being placed on the top, the worktable is positioned on the bed. The machine doesn’t have a knee, due to which the worktable can move along the vertical axis.
4. Planer type milling machine
This type of machine is very similar to the bed type milling machine. The only difference is that it includes cutters and heads with which you can perform a wider range of milling actions.
Safety measures for using a milling Machine
Before you start using a milling machine, you need to keep in mind certain precautions. This is necessary both to make sure that the cuts are clean, and also so that there is no injury.
1. Know the process for using the machine
This one is self-explanatory. You need to know what the steps are for using the machine before you start working. Here is a brief explanation of the same:
1.1 Follow safety protocols
When using a milling machine, it’s possible that some of the material will shatter while making the cuts. To prevent it from landing in your eyes, you must wear safety glasses. Similarly, use a pair of safety gloves to protect your hands.
Also, be vigilant and watchful at all times when the machine is on to prevent any accidents.
1.2. Gather everything that you need
Whether it is wrenches, the oiler, T-slots, or any other tools and supplies, but maybe the instruction manual the machine itself – whatever it is that you will need while working, you should have it all in one place. Also make sure that all the materials that you will be machining in that particular session are at one place.
When everything is laid out neatly, you will not waste any time looking for any tools or parts in the middle of machining. Not only does it save time, but also prevent any accidental injury.
1.3. Attach the handles
If your milling machine has handles that are not connected, make sure that they are connected before you start working. You may need to use wrenches to do this. Then make sure that the end mill or drill is connected to the spindle, and that you have chosen the right type of cutter for your project.
1.4. Locate the switch and dial
Make sure that you know where the switch and dial are before you start working. Most of the time, they are located in the front. The switch gets the motor started and the spindle spinning, but before you turn it on, make sure that the dial is at the lowest setting. You can then increase the speed after the motor has been turned on.
1.5. Set the vise or clamp
Once you’ve made sure that the dial is working and the spindle is spinning properly, connect the fasteners that hold the vise. This is done to ensure that your material is held in the vise properly.
2. Don’t change the speed of the spindle while the machine is running. First disconnect the cutter and then change the speed.
3. Make sure that the material is held rigidly by a vise.
4. When the mill is ON, do not remove or tighten the arbor.
5. Make sure that your body stays away from the cutter at all times. Do not touch the middle or the workpiece while the machine is on. Use hand wheels to operate the worktable.
6. Use safety guards to prevent spillage of cutting oil and metal chips.
7. Use a rag to attach or detach the blades on the machine to prevent injury.
8. Turn off the machine before making any adjustments or measurements.
9. Before you start using the machine, make sure you can locate all the controls and safety features, such as the emergency stop.
The bottom line – different devices work for different people. Before you pick a mini mill for yourself, you need to evaluate your needs carefully and pick the one that works for you. Don’t go for bells and whistles, go for what will be most useful for you!
From our personal experience, if this is your first time buying a small mill then you can go for: Klutch Mini Milling machine since it has everything you need and comes at a good budget. If you are a professional and looking for an option that’s reliable then opt for Jet JMD-18 Mini mill machine.