Milling is the process in which materials like wood and metal are cut and drilled. Computer-generated milling machines are called CNC Milling Machines. There are manual ones too.
Both manual and computerized machines have a cylindrical tool which does the work. This tool is held in a spindle, and it comes in different shapes and sizes. The specialty of these machines is that they can cut in many different angles and work in multiple axes.
The best CNC milling machines will be able to do all of the things that a drill machine can do, and much more. Keep reading to learn more about them.
Our Editor’s Pick
The finest option for milling is the CNC 3018pro-M DIY Mini Machine. It has the best desktop CNC router among a selection of milling machines at different price ranges.
The laser module is given with the set, and it can work on all sorts of materials. Positioning and working on the work-piece is made very easy by the high precision measurement of this machine.
You will never find a better machine in this price range. It has a bit of a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, you will be able to do detailed work with this machine.
The 5 Best CNC Milling Machine Reviews
You need to learn about these machines before you set out to buy one for yourself. But before that, we will give you a list of some of the finest options out there. Take a look and compare between 5 top-quality CNC milling machines in the market right now.
Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO Router Kit GRBL Control 3 Axis Plastic Acrylic
With this machine, connecting the command to the action is done by the integration of the mainboard and the custom software. A flawless network of the system has the software and the hardware working simultaneously with negligible lagging.
The company has used high-performance software for this machine. It is an open-source software called GRBL, and it uses the open-source electronic platform called Adruino to make its operations accessible to the general user.
Using GRBL is simple and hassle-free, unlike some other operative systems. For this reason, it is used by a lot of people in the industry – you will never run of resources when using this software. You will be able to find professional tech support for any technical problem you face with it.
This particular milling machine is a rendition of a previous model. Therefore, it has been updated to come to your best use. Standing at the base height of 4 cm, this is the perfect benchtop CNC milling machine as it can balance the weight perfectly and maintain stability during the performance.
Another useful aspect is that you can get down to work with it even if the parts have not positioned in place. And when you do need to assemble it, you will find instructions easy to follow and use. The manual guide is provided in the package, and you will get further help from online resources as this is quite a popular machine.
- Versatile uses ranging from working on plastics to acrylics, PVCs, etc
- A very stable machine that stands at a comfortable height of 4 cm
- Operations are simple to understand and easy to follow
- You can start using the machine even before you assemble all the parts to it
- Clear instructions provided for positioning the components
- Not recommended for cutting PCBs at all
- The software is subpar in quality
PCB PVC Wood Carving Milling Engraving Machine
If you, as a beginner, are searching for a friendly milling machine to work with at home, then this is the right one for you. You will be able to make many fun and exciting things with this tool.
You will get to engrave on wood and make beautiful patterns on the surface. This is one of the best CNC machines for woodworking in the market, and it will be particularly useful for you if you are a student assigned to work on projects with a DIY CNC mill on your own.
Inside this kit, you will find a DIY router kit, one extension rod with an ER11 collet, 4 plate clamps, 10 carving knives for the CNC router bits, a disk to show you through the process of work. And of course, an easy-to-follow manual guide.
Before buying this machine, make sure to ask for details on the operating systems that it supports. If it turns out that this machine will not run on your computer, then buying it would be a waste of resources for you.
This machine also has the GRBL software, which you can easily install on your computer and use directly to control the milling process. No extra accessories will be required for starting up this process.
Just get them synced together, and get right into work. Another cool aspect of this machine is that it will give you control on it even if you are offline. All you need to do is to manually adjust the location on the X, Y and Z axes using the spindle cooling fan.
But the cherry on top is that this machine is more than just a wood engraver. It can also engrave using a laser. It is compatible with different laser modules. Check the different capacities of the laser beams that can be used to engrave with this tool from the guide book.
- Can do both wood and laser engravings
- Works on wood, plastic, acrylic, PCB CCL, and certain soft metals
- The machine can be synced up with the computer in no time
- Provides offline control as well
- No extra accessories are required
- The only problem is that you have to purchase the laser separately
CNC 3018pro-M DIY Mini CNC Machine
This machine is another upgrade on a previous model. The benefit of buying upgraded machines is that they run more smoothly than the originals.
You won’t even have to attach all the accessories in place before getting started. This machine comes with a system with high precision, and therefore, you can trust it to work in isolation from the rest of the accessories as well.
In order of convenience, this machine is a one-piece molding system, and you won’t need to use any corner pieces with it. Installation is fully completed during the incorporation of the motor, so you won’t have to bother with that one either.
The base height has also been upgraded to stand at 4 cm, which gives the machine much more accuracy and strength. The mounting holes have been all reserved in place so that when you later assemble the components, you can do it without a speck of trouble. And of course, this machine can work offline. This is a modern device, after all.
Other than the usual accessories that come with the regular milling machines, one extra advantage is that a 2500mW laser head also comes with it.
Besides the good old wood engraving, you will get to use laser beams to carve patterns on a wide range of materials like wood, plastic, PCB CCL, copper, aluminum, acrylic and so on.
Only hard materials are off-limits to this machine. But let’s face it, this machine is already capable of a lot considering that it is only a DIY Mini CNC Machine.
- Very easy to install, and only takes 20 minutes for complete assembly
- Can be used with high precision before the assembly too
- The machine supports Win XP, Win 7, Win and Win 10
- Uses the friendly GRBL software to connect to computers
- Can be controlled when offline as well
- Couldn’t find a drawback
Upgrade Version CNC 3018 Pro GRBL Control DIY Mini CNC Machine
This elegant-looking milling machine is really going to give you all the applications you need in order to get your work done. The sleek plastic body will only add to the overall decor of your home.
There are two advantages to using this machine. It works with any supported systems without lagging. But that’s not the point we are getting at. The advantage is that this machine works offline as smoothly as it works online.
It is convenient to such a degree that you won’t even need to tackle the hassle of downloading files to support it. It has all that it needs to be built right into the system.
Another advantage is that you can set the location axes manually. Everything can be done manually once the set up has been completed with the CNC router that comes with the set. You will find instructions for this in the manual guide.
It is one of the best wood CNC machines and can accomplish various types of projects. The machine is also superb for engraving plastic, PVC, PCB and other materials that are soft. The drill bit that is attached with it will unfortunately not be able to withstand the demands of working with hard materials like jade, hard metals and so on.
It can work with laser too. But one minor setback with regards to this is that you have to buy the laser head separately. All in all, if you are looking for home CNC machines, then this will be a good suit for you.
- The machine will work with most windows and iOS systems
- Plastic frames are pretty solid and sturdy
- A controller display is incorporated into the device
- It is not necessary to keep it hooked into a computer all the time
- One of the slide bearings of the machine is often faulty
CNC 3018 Pro GRBL Control DIY Mini CNC Machine
This is the most hassle-free mini DIY machine out there. It’s an upgraded version of a model that had some faults in it, and therefore, the company has fixed all the potholes that might come in the way of your work.
Some components have already been assembled into place so that you can use it right out of the box for simple operations.
When you do need to install it properly, you will find all the instructions for it inside the kit. Since some of the parts have already been installed, all you need to do is to adjust the remaining pieces. This milling machine is perfect for working on a good range of different materials. It can be used to engrave on wood, aluminum, acrylics, PVCs, PCBs, and many other projects.
This is the best small CNC mill machine you can find to work on your DIY projects at home. The software used is very convenient to be used by non-professionals as well. You can use this controller to monitor the speed and acceleration of the spindle according to the amount of pressure the task requires.
You can use this machine by using laser beams too. But you will need to buy the laser separately as it is not provided by the company. Another disadvantage you will face is that you won’t get instructions with this device.
If you are a first-time user of milling machines, then you might be at a loss at what to do. In this case, we recommend you to get directions from the internet. Other than that, it is a pretty decent machine to work with.
- Control pulses remain stable all throughout the operation
- The spindle has superb control on acceleration rates
- GRBL control systems are very easy to use and convenient
- You can work on a wide range of materials
- The machine is lightweight yet sturdy
- No laser
- The cable for one component is missing
- Does not contain clear instructions
Buying Guide: Thing You Need To Look Out For
Buying new items can be quite overwhelming. Especially when they are highly technical machines such as these. You need to understand all the components before you dive into your wallet to get out the huge bundle of money. We will help you here to find home CNC machines by telling you about the factors you need to keep in mind before purchasing.
Milling machines are used for a wide range of different tasks. You could be needing them for regular carving or 3D carving; someone else could be needing them for making machines.
Companies make these machines for a set of different uses. Your machine can be versatile, but there will still be a limit to the type of tasks that it can handle. Therefore, choose the machine by considering the needs of your production first.
If you are working at home, then you can make-do with commercial milling machines. However, if you have an industrial-grade use for it, then it is best to get machines that particularly designed for industrial work as well.
Machines that can pump out more work within a short time will be expensive. If you are not working under a time constraint, then you can buy something that is not equipped with a lot of power and capacity.
These home milling machines will be fine as long as you don’t command them to work with hard materials like stones and strong metals. Another aspect of slow machines is that they can work with more precision. Big bulky production facilities work on a huge pile in a very short time, so their machines only produce subpar results.
For your home or DIY project, you might need more precision. In that regard, compromising on the speed will be a worthy deal for you.
- CNC or Manual?
Since CNC machines have hit the stores, the demand for them has been rising exponentially. Not only do they have higher precision than manual machines, most CNC machines can work manually too. Also, once you complete the set up by syncing the machine with the laptop, you will be able to handle it offline as well.
These machines are faster by miles than manual machines. And in the long run, they allow much more productivity by finishing up the assigned work with such deftness.
The more precise the operations of your machine, the higher its price. If you are a first-time buyer, you could use a secondhand machine before you finally invest in a brand new one.
You will learn the operations properly by then, and you will also be able to understand these machines firsthand so that you can take a more educated decision when you choose to buy a fresh one.
- Check If the Machine Has All the Parts
If your machine is missing parts, then it will not work for you. Other than the display in some machines, missing parts is a crucial setback to these products. This is why you need to check carefully for the small bits and nooks to be all in place before you pay out their sum.
- Safety Button
All CNC machines come with an emergency button. If the machine cannot be stopped instantaneously when required, then you might have to pay large sums of money for getting it repaired. Both hardware and software systems might get busted if the operations continue with faulty commands.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I cut thick bamboo with home CNC machines?
Yes, you can. Bamboo will cut more swiftly than wood as it is lighter and more porous than wood.
- How do I know if my machine will be able to cut flat surfaces?
Only machines that have an axis higher than 3 will be able to cut flat surfaces properly. Anything below that value of axis is not recommended as it might put dents on the surface and ruin the exterior of your work-piece.
- Can I use the laser beams to engrave on materials like aluminum?
No, the laser beams will not work on pure aluminum. But if your aluminum has a layer of oxide on it, then you be able to etch on that oxide layer with ease.
- How do I program the control board?
In CNC machines, you do not need to program the control board. All the programs have already been installed. You just need to connect the machine to your computer system. That will be all.
- How do I position my work-piece when working with laser beams?
Exactly as you were positioning it for engraving. You will need to be using the x, y, and z axes locations to set up in alignment.
In order to get the best CNC milling machine out there, you need to understand them properly.Pick the machine according to the use you have for it. Also, take appropriate precautions before using the machine. We hope you have been able to know more about these machines from this article. Thank you for reading till the end and best of luck with the purchase!