10 Best Mini Milling Machine Reviews – 2019 Ultimate Guide
Once upon a time, milling machines were only relevant to large garages and factories. And it remained so for a long time, because who would want to bring home a machine weighing hundreds or thousands of pounds anyway?
Over time, technology made it possible for a small garage/shop owner like you to enjoy the power and functionality of the milling machine.
That has been accomplished by the introduction of smaller, lightweight models weighing less than 100 pounds. Today, there are even some portable ones weighing less than 10 pounds!
In this post, we’re going to help you find the best mini mill by exploring the top models in the market. With the models in our list, you can mill a wide variety of materials at home and achieve great, professional results.
And the best part? You’ll be able to secure a fantastic, robust model without having to break the bank to meet the initial cost.
What is a Mill Machine?
A milling machine is a tool designed to remove matter from wood, metal, or other solid material. The machine normally has a motor that turns a spindle connected to a cutter.
By connecting a specific style of a cutter to the spindle, you’re able to change the material by:
The task is achieved through the spinning action of the spindle, which in turn, spins the cutter.
Moving the worktable and across or vertically and moving the head stock up and down helps align the material properly to be cut in the desired manner.
Some mini mills have adjustable speed controls, allowing you to regulate them to a more precise cut.
Mills are versatile tools. You can use them for a variety of projects, for instance:
Without further ado, let’s go over our top mini milling machine reviews.
Our 10 Best Mini Mill Machine Reviews:
1. Klutch Mini Milling Machine
If you want a sturdy, compact machine that you won’t have to break the bank to secure, the Klutch Mini Mill is just the one.
It is suited for light to medium duty tasks, with excellent performance.
The machine has a ½ HP motor that uses a power input of 110 V. Thus, you can operate it at home, sourcing the power from your wall outlet.
Just to clear out the confusion, they have a description saying “3/4 HP” on amazon, but it’s actually ½ HP.
The motor puts out a wattage of 350 watts. That’s just enough to handle your light to medium duty machining tasks.
You will love the performance of the spindle. It’s truly heavy duty,and it turns so smoothly. There’s no deflection, and hence it’s easy to achieve a clean cut without much effort.
Versatility is one of the most notable benefits of this machine. The first versatile feature is the speed. You can adjust it easily with the forward/reverse switch.
The other versatile feature is the movement of the parts. You can adjust both the worktable and the head using the hand wheels.
Two of them are for moving the worktable along the x and y axes, and the other one is for moving the head along the z axis.
The 360° swivel of the head allows you to set your workpieces without a hitch.
This machine doesn’t come with a stand. But that’s not really a problem because it’s super stable on a flat working surface.
If you like a good old quiet mill, go ahead and check out the Klutch Mini Mill on Amazon now. It’s got a nice rating and you’ll be glad you secured it.
2. JET JMD-18 Mill
Looking to bring industrial power to your shop? The JET JMD-18 Mill is just what you need.
The machine comes with a powerful 2 HP motor that is UL listed. What that basically means is that the motor is strong enough to give you spindle speeds going up to 3000 RPM.
That is power enough for you to handle any heavy duty machining task at hand. So if you need the best mini milling machine business or professional use, this one will serve you superbly.
Variable speed settings allow you to set speeds as low as 15 RPM. In fact, there are 12 speed settings to suit different needs.
When you want to tackle large-scale projects, space and flexibility are crucial. This mill comes with a huge worktable to make that happen.
It measures 9.5” x 31.75” to offer you the desired flexibility. In addition to that, a lamp is attached to ensure you’re able to work without problems even if the room’s lighting is not dependable.
Are you tired of those painful delays when transitioning to different speeds? Switch to this mill. Why? It’s fitted with a hinged belt cover.
This supports the motor, eliminating those painful wait seconds, and allowing you to complete your work faster.
Strength and durability are some of the most important factors to use when deciding whether or not to buy. Guess what?
The appliance has its one-piece column made of cast iron. That gives you support and takes away the worry you might have when dealing with heavy materials.
Consistency is incredibly easy to attain with the depth gauge an the quick-stop knob.
So far, we haven’t noted any downsides. The mill is good by both performance and longevity. Go ahead and see what other machinists are saying on amazon.
3. Erie Tools Variable Speed Mini Mill
Are you a DIYer or hobbyist and you need a good mill to help you with your small machining tasks? Then you’ll benefit tremendously from the Erie Tools Variable Speed Mini Mill.
First and foremost, this is one of the most versatile mini mills you’ll ever find. You can use it for a variety of machining needs, including deep milling, face milling, and drilling.
For that, you can use it to cut flat-bottomed cavities and cut flat surfaces into workpieces. It also means you can use the machine to cut deep slots, gear teeth, and threads.
As you can see, the possibilities are endless with this small appliance.
Being electric, this machine is quite easy to use. It has a forward/reverse switch, which you can use to increase the torque according to your needs.
Precision is easy to achieve with the Erie Tools Mini Mill. In that regard, the machine comes with three hand wheels.
One wheel is for the longitudinal feed, and this moves the head up and down. The other two wheels are for moving the clamp along the x and y axes.
As these wheels are easy to operate, they make the task of cutting metal a cinch.
One of our favorite features on this one, and we’re sure you’ll love it too, is the adjustable depth stop. This makes certain that when drilling those holes, you don’t go past the intended level.
On the flip side, the power output is just 150 watts, which you can’t depend on for heavy duty tasks. But as we stated, this machine is meant for DIYers and hobbyists; not professionals.
Overall, it’s a good machine that comes with T-slot nuts, a draw bar, a spindle locking pin, an oil can, a couple of hex wrenches and several other items needed to get started.
4. Sunwin Mini Milling Machine
Looking for the best mini mill for the money?
The Sunwin Mini Milling Machine currently goes for just over 200 bucks, making it one of the cheapest electric mills in the market.
It’s a small mill weighing in at just 6.2 pounds. Therefore, if you need a portable mill that you can transport from place to place without a struggle, this is the one to buy.
With a good classic-style motor, the spindle is able to rotate with speeds of up to 2000 rpm. That, along with good end mills, will help you cut through soft metal and wood efficiently.
Safety is a matter of utmost importance when purchasing a mill. You’ll be happy to know that this Sunwin machine is built with the highest safety standards.
It has both UL and CE certifications to prove it.
The coolest part is that the machine is able to handle really small bits of steel. With the three hand wheels, you’ll be able to move the worktable as well as the head freely.
There are vibrations from the motor, but for the price, they are not very noisy.
Our concern with this mill is that the worktable is not big enough for large projects. You can only set materials with dimensions of not more than 9 by 7 inches.
That said, the milling machine is a no-fuss model recommended only for DIYers, students, and hobbyists.
It certainly will not work for professionals, but for everyone else, especially beginners, this is a perfect pick.
5. OTMT OT2213 X2
From versatility to speed variation and strength, the pluses of getting the OTMT OT2213 X2 are limitless. At least we cannot exhaustively talk about them here.
First of all, the motor is not the conventional type used in the cheaper models. This is a modern high-quality ½ HP motor capable of delivering up to 2500 RPM spindle speeds.
With 2 speed settings – high and low, you get to set the RPM to the level that suits the current project and achieve great results. The gear drive helps you save time when changing the speeds.
This Otmt mill is for three different purposes – drilling, end milling, and face milling.
The capacities for drilling, end milling, and face milling are 0.51 inches, 0.62 inches, and 0.81 inches respectively.
Achieving consistent and accurate results is a breeze with the internal easy to read dial. The dial allows you to fine-tune the milling size to an accuracy of as low as 0.0001 inches.
That makes certain you achieve the finest results.
The worktable accepts materials with a measurement of 15 by 3.5 inches (lxw)
We cannot really say that’s huge. But, it is ample space for those small projects.
Besides, the 8.66 by 3.93 inches travel offer you lots of flexibility to work on the materials and produce the shapes you want without hassle.
Moreover, the headstock has a travel of 7.08 inches, which we’d say is a good range. Definitely offers you more versatility and helps you accomplish tasks faster.
The only minus with this model is the size,but that’s a benefit to those seeking a small and portable mill.
6. Mophorn Mini Milling Machine
With an RPM of 2500, a variable speed setting, and a wattage of 550, the Mophorn Mini Milling Machine is just the perfect small mill for professional or business use.
We’re going to expound on the features and show you why this mill could be what you’re looking for.
First of all, strength is incredible. This strength is brought about by the robust construction, which enables you to work on hard metals without the worry of breaking the machine.
The motor supports the mill is handling heavy duty tasks by providing a wattage of 550 and high speeds of up to 2500 RPM.
With the straightforward gear drive, you can set your desired speeds between 20 and 2500.
Ease of use is one of the top reasons why we the mill made it to this list. You can swing the head vertically at an angle of 90°. This is very helpful when setting or removing your workpiece.
Apart from that, you can rotate the spindle at an angle of 45°. That gives you the flexibility to work on different parts of your material without having to move the worktable too much.
The travel distances along the x, y, and z axes are 11.81, 5.51, and 8.66 inches respectively.
With such freedom of movement, operating the machine becomes a piece of cake.
Here’s a unique feature that makes things even better – the digital readout display. It makes achieving precise cuts such an easy task.
The Mophorn Mini Milling Machine’s versatility is amazing. It is designed to handle a large number of tasks, including threading, drilling, and more.
You can use it for sample processing, modelling, and part processing among other tasks.
7. JET 350017/JMD-15
Need a big working surface? The JET 350017/JMD-15 has a large worktable with space measuring 23 by 7.5 inches.
That is big enough for those large materials you want to work on, isn’t it?
With all that work space and the numerous useful features that that this mill is packed with, it’s a perfect model for professional and business use.
Sturdiness is one of the biggest joys of owning this model. Its one-piece cast iron column is super tough and hard to break. It’s the kind of construction you can rely on when dealing with hard materials.
The 1 HP motor gives you the power you need to work on those heavy-duty projects. It has 12 select able speeds,and with its power, it’s able to deliver an RPM of up to 2580.
With this beast, there’s no more time wastage when changing the speed. When changing the belt speeds, the quick slide latch comes in handy, helping you avoid those annoying wait seconds.
Setting and removing materials from the worktable is a cinch, thanks to the head’s 360° swivel. As stated before, the worktable is large enough for a wide range of material sizes.
When lateral forces are exerted against the bit, it’s possible to for the cutting tool to get accidentally disconnected from the spindle. When that happens, a bad cut on the material might be executed or worse, you could get injured.
Relax. This machine comes with a locking collet to prevent all that from happening.
In fact, the whole machine goes through rigorous quality testing exercises to make sure it’s totally safe. It even has a UL certification.
8. Proxxon Micro Mill FF 230
Want a small-size mill that can also work as a drill stand? Go for the Proxxon Micro Mill FF 230.
The biggest plus with this machine is that it runs really smoothly and the noise is minimal. Definitely not one of those low-quality models that let off annoying squeaky sounds.
With a robust motor and a Poly V drive system, the mill is able to achieve speeds of up to 2500 RPM. There are 6 select able speeds.
A table size of 10 5/8 by 3 5/32 inches allows you to work on your small scale projects without a problem. The two hand wheels allow you to adjust the worktable quickly and conveniently so you can finish your task without stress.
The coolest thing about the hand wheels is that they’re comfortable to grab and really easy to operate.
With the hand crank, you get to move the vertically. The crank is shaped such that the operation is a piece of cake.
When milling, you can use the fine feed to adjust the height to a comfortable level.
Once you get this mill, you’re provided with three collets of varying sizes. These are very useful, as they prevent your cutting tools from falling off the spindle. That means you get to work faster and more safely.
Our only issue with this machine is that the instructions don’t seem very helpful.
On the brighter side, the machine is not hard to operate. It works like most other mini mills and watching a video on YouTube will make the process easy.
Overall, it’s a great machine that leaves a beautiful finish when you use the right cutter.
9. Shop Fox M1111
How would you like to own a mini mill with 4 adjustable steel feet? With these, you’ll be able to level up your machine without having to fasten it down.
If you’re using a machine whose worktable has to be raised and lowered during operation, you know how hectic it can be. Fortunately, the Shop Fox M1111 has a head that you can raise and lower instead of having to move the worktable.
Raising the head is a little bit of a hassle, but lowering it is a cinch. You can do it effortlessly with one hand.
The 1 HP motor is pretty heavy duty, providing spindle speeds of up to 1750 RPM. The coolest part is that it is relatively quiet especially when you operate it within the low to medium speeds.
As a modern brushless motor, it’s a lasting device that doesn’t really need maintenance.
Another cool part is that it requires just 110 volts. Hence, it’s something you can run at home, sourcing power from your wall outlet.
The speed is variable between 100 and 1750 RPM, giving you the freedom to work on a wide range of projects.
You’ll be amazed at how much is included when you purchase this mill. You get a 5/8-inch drill chuck and arbor, combo wrenches, T-nuts, hex wrenches, and a spare drive belt.
If you’re looking for a good mill for small to medium projects, this would definitely be a great selection. It’s loaded with many other features that make it easy to use, such as the push-button speed control.
Precision is also easy to achieve with the digital read out and the digital depth scale.
Check it out on Amazon to see the full list of the awesome features and benefits.
10. Shop Fox M1036 Micro Mill
If you don’t wish to break the bank to get a nice mill that can handle your light to medium duty machining tasks, the Shop Fox M1036 Micro Mill is for you.
With this mill, you get to enjoy premium features, such as a digital readout, without having to pay a premium price.
With solid construction, the mill is built to provide you with many years of trouble-free service. The operation is safe and reliable for the most part.
The 0.2 HP motor delivers speeds of up to 3600 RPM.
You can select between the low speed setting, which is 0 to 500 RPM and the high speed setting, which is 500 to 3600 RPM.
The table measures 8 by 3.5 inches. That’s not suitable for large projects,but it’s perfect for the small projects, especially because of all the features meant for improving the precision.
With the digital readout, you’re able to measure the depth accurately and bore holes precisely.
The variable speed control and the micro down feed knob further boost the precision.
One of the main issues that machinists face when using a mini mill is vibration. On this model, the axes are locked in position to alleviate this issue. Minimal vibration means you get to work peacefully.
There’s one minus affecting this machine – the motor. When you work for long hours, it overheats and dies.
The most appropriate way to fix the problem is to replace the motor. Once you do that, the mill will serve you exceptionally.
Other than that, the mill has no issues,and it performs well and lasts.
Key Factors to Consider Before Buying
When looking for the mills to include in our review, we went through a significant number of models. Many of the did not make it to our list, as we were using a fixed criterion to determine the finest models.
In this section, we’re going to share our criterion with you. The following are some of the features you need to look for to find the best small milling machine that suits you.
If you’re here, it’s because you’re looking for a small milling machine. When talking of small, we imagine you need something you can use at home or your shop and maybe something you can transport.
Some models weigh as little as 6 pounds, while others weight a few hundred pounds. They’re both considered small-size,but the 6-pound model is obviously much lighter.
But the weight is not always determined by the size. Two mills can be of the same size but different weights. Why? The materials used to make them.
A heavier machine normally performs better and lasts longer than a lightweight mill. However, you also have to account for the ease of transportation and the place where you will keep the mill.
If you want a tabletop model, then a lighter machine will be more appropriate. But if you have a heavy-duty table, feel free to get a heavier model.
The last thing you want is a mill that vibrates too much. Why? It makes achieving a clean, precise cut so difficult. Getting the right depth and uniform cuts becomes such a hassle.
A good mini mill ought to be vibration-free.
We recommend you get a heavier model, as the light mills tend to vibrate more.
This refers to the distance between the spindle and the table. It’s important as it determines the height of the materials you can machine with the mill, as well the size of the cutters/end mills.
A bigger table is always better as it gives you more working space especially if you have large projects.
And even when you’re working on smaller materials, a bigger table gives you more room for securing the clamping.
Movement in all 3 planes
By the 3 planes, we’re talking about the x, y, and z axes. For ease of operation, there should be hand wheels or cranks for moving the worktable along the x and y axes.
Some models are designed such that the worktable can also move along the z axis (vertically),but it’s better for the head to move along the z axis.
These movements allow longer single cuts, and in the end, help you achieve better results with less effort.
Electric mills have different power needs. Some need 110V, some 230V, and so on. Fortunately, you can alter them to work with your shop’s or garage’s power output, though you might need an electrician for that.
Check the motor too. How much power can it deliver? There are several ratings you can look at. The first on is the HP rating, which can be 0.something, 1, 2, and so on. The higher the rating,the more/better the output.
There’s also the wattage. 150 watts is okay for the light-duty tasks. But if you need something that can work on harder materials faster, then go for one that can put out at least 500 watts.
And lastly, there’s the spindle speed. You’ll see a rating like 0 to 2000 RPM (rotations per minute) or 0 to 3000 RPM. The higher the spindle speeds a mill can attain, the wider the range of tasks it can handle. Again, higher speeds create a smoother finish.
Types of Milling Machines
There are many different types of milling machines. Each type has its special specs and uses. But for the sake of making this section easy to understand, we’ll explore only the main categories.
Essentially, milling machines are classified into two major types – vertical and horizontal.
Mills are further categorized into these classes:
In this mill, the spindle has a perpendicular axis to the worktable. A vertical milling machine, is hence, suitable for making horizontal cuts on the material.
In this type of mill, the spindle is situated such that it’s horizontal to the worktable. This type is appropriate for making vertical cuts on the material.
Ram-type mills have a spindle mounted to the top of the column. The purpose of the ram is to allow the cutter to be positioned rearward or forward horizontally.
This type has a projection at the middle that looks like the knee of the mill. It also has a worktable that is adjusted vertically, and which rests on a saddle that sits on the knee.
Normally, the worktable is situated on top,but on the bed-type mill, it’s positioned on the bed. This type doesn’t have a knee, and that allows the worktable to move along the vertical plane.
How To Use a Milling Machine
Before we jump into the process, there’s one thing we’d like to point out. There are different models out there, and each of them comes with its specific instructional manual.
Therefore, ensure you keep your manual nearby for reference or details. Find a picture in there that labels the parts of your machine and be sure to understand the parts and functions. That will help you use the appliance more efficiently.
Here are 5 easy steps to follow when using a milling machine:
Step 1: Safety first
There’s going to be lots of material shatter, and you don’t want it to land in your eyes. That’s why you want to put on safety glasses.
It’d also help to wear a pair of gloves to protect your hands.
When using the machine, stay keen at all times. Remember, your hands could be milled if you’re not careful.
Step 2: Gather the parts
Get all the tools and supplies you will be using for the exercise. That might include wrenches, T-slots, an oiler, and the manual in case you need to refer something. You also need to have nearby the materials that you will be machining.
With everything laid out there, you won’t have to go looking for parts or tools in the middle of your projects. It helps with both speed and safety.
This video discusses some of the most important supplies you’ll need for the milling task, such as end mills. We’re sure you’ll learn a lot from it.
Step 3: Put on the handles
This step may be relevant or irrelevant depending on your machine. If the handles are not connected, go ahead and put them on. You might need to use wrenches for this exercise.
Apart from the handles, you also need to connect the end mill or drill to the spindle. Pick the right cutter depending on the kind of project you’re dealing with.
Connecting the mills is normally a straightforward process,but if you have any problems, you can always refer to your manual.
Step 4: Locate the dial and switch
These might be located on the front or the side. The switch is what you’ll use to get the motor started and get the spindle spinning. Before turning on the switch, turn the dial to the lowest level.
The dial is for increasing and reducing the speed.
Step 5: Set the vise/clamp and have fun
Once you’re sure the dial is working properly and you’re sure that the spindle is spinning properly, it’s time to connect the vise.
On the worktable, you’ll note there are spaces. These allow you to connect the fasteners that hold the vise.
Use the vise to hold your material.
Then, turn on the switch and rotate the dial to suitable speeds.
Using the handwheels, you’ll be able to move the worktable and the headstock suitably to make your cuts.
Here’s an illustration video by Minescitl that you will likely find helpful:
Safety Rules for Milling Machines
A mini mill contains both cutting and electric parts, so you want to exercise double caution while using it.
Here’s a list of some of the most important safety considerations for milling:
Some Frequently Answer Questions
1. What is a milling machine?
A mill is a machine that uses a rotating cutter attached to a spindle to adjust the shape of solid pieces such as metal or wood or to cut shapes on them. It works by removing material from the workpiece.
2. What’s the use of a mini mill?
A mini mill is a small version of an industrial mill. It’s a versatile machine used to drill, produce slots, bore holes, cut gears, and achieve a range of other functions by removing material from solid items.
3. How does a mill differ from a lathe?
Both machines process solid materials by cutting. However, while a mill uses a spinning feature to cut, a lathe spins the object being cut.
4. What items can I cut with a mill?
Some of the items that machinists process with a milling machine include:
5. What is an endmill?
An endmill is a kind of milling cutter that is connected to the spindle of the milling machine. End mills come in varying shapes and sizes for accomplishing different cutting functions.
For instance, some have huge tools to remove more material faster while others have small teeth for finer finishes.
Over to you now. What model are you going to secure? Will you go for the no-fuss little Sunwin Mini Milling Machine or will you get the more robust Klutch mini milling machine that is first on our list?
Remember, getting the best mini milling machine requires you to speculate the features carefully. Follow our links to see more features on amazon while checking what other machinists are saying about your preferred model.
Don’t forget to share this article with your fellow machinists.