- 1 Your Ultimate Home Machine Shop
- 2 Mini Milling Machines
- 3 Grizzly Mill Drills
- 4 Combo Mill and Lathe
- 5 Machine Shop Tooling
- 6 CNC Machines | In the Home Shop?
Your Ultimate Home Machine Shop
Have you all been a looking for a mill drill machine to put into your home machine shop?
Finding a small milling machine to fit your needs can be a challenge. Have a look see around here and fuel your passion to work with metal and make stuff!
Having your own small home shop on demand can be very rewarding and handy for that emergency repair job or modification on some parts for getting you all out of bind or for your hobby needs. Have fun! Get some ideas and start off with a small machine that fits your needs.
Get more info about milling machines in general, and history, by looking around here.
(Scroll down that page to see a miniature milling machine on the right hand side of that page.)
Why Would A Home Shop Want To Use A Benchtop Mill?
It would seem that a standard sized floor model, lets say a Bridgeport type of a knee milling machine, would be a better choice for a small machine shop to employ rather than a benchtop milling machine, but in my experience I have come across a few shops that were utilizing a bench mill in with their everyday production. The machine was usually used for a repetitive purpose rather than as a machine to be set-up and then broken down for specific jobs like a knee mill is used for on a daily basis.
What is great about having a bench top mill set up for a repetitive task is that the time needed to do an operation or small task to a specific part or parts is streamlined and cost efficient. This all great in the machine shop’s world for making a profit, but what about the home shop machine user or machinist that is on a tight budget but still wants to be able to make parts for his home projects? This is where a nice small mill can become a well liked asset to his or her garage. The cost is minimal and the footprint is small enough to have it in one’s garage without to much space being taken up.
A lot of small mills are available that can be plugged right into a wall outlet that do not need to have special high voltage wiring, such as what’s needed in a working machine shop, making it feasible for the hobbyist or the after hours machinist to add to a collection of tools and tooling. The nice thing about having a bench top mill at your disposal is that on a moments notice you can add a hole to a bracket to fix your lawnmower or car, or even mill some material off of the end to make it fit into a place on the repair. Any which of these would have taken a lot of time by trial and error using a bench vise a hand file, and/or a hand held drill motor.
If you like working with your hands, making repairs, or fresh new parts at home in your own workshop a good place to start with is a combo lathe mill drill machine or a good bench top milling machine. Easy to move into position, either on a bench or on a small metal stand, and easy on the old’ pocketbook.
Benchtop Mill Drill
What’s So Great About A BenchTop Mill Drill?
By having a benchtop, or table top milling machine, it can free up some additional space for yourself in your garage or workshop to do the light duty, simple & quick one off jobs for repairs or for making small parts.
Most of these kinds of milling machines are operated manually because of the one off parts that are often made with this type of mill. Some mills that are mounted to a bench top are retrofitted to allow for CNC controls to be used for repeatability or small production runs.
Bench Top Milling Machine
Benchtop Milling Machine – Favored By Most Home Machinists
The benchtop milling machine in my opinion is about every do-it-yourself, home shop machinist’s dream tool. Why? Because it is so universal. Having one around for those unexpected repairs that may require a new metal part or a modification to an old existing part, in order to put something of personal value back into working order again, is priceless! The ability to say, “I did that”, after you got something going again is a great feeling to have.
With a good sturdy work bench, that’s strong enough to fasten the base of the milling machine down, can allow you to make some precise parts from the comfort of your own garage. By eliminating unnecessary vibrations and making your set ups rigid to eliminate tool chatter, allows for a good finished product.
Even though most of these machines are made over seas in China, Korea, etc., some of the brands out there do offer good quality construction and customer support. Finding a company that will be there when you have a problem with your machine can be frustrating, especially after you may have bought one, and you need their help.
One good company to look into for a benchtop milling machine would be the Grizzly Company out of Bellingham, Washington. A favored drill mill machine being used by a lot of home shop craftsmen is the, Grizzly G1007 Mill Drill, it’s rugged enough for those quick repairs, and can accurately make repetitive parts.
One negative ting about these small milling machines from over seas is the they tend to need assembly when they arrive to your shop. Sometimes they come with a rust-preventive coating that can be really tough to remove. The set up and adjustments required to get your machine up and running can take a little more time than figured on at first, but once you are dialed in and fastened down to your bench top, all the extra effort seems worth it. – Have fun!
Shop Dog Sam is using his Grizzly Mill Drill milling machine G1007 in this video.
Mini Milling Machines
A Mini Milling Machine
Having A Milling Machine Can Be A Big Help
Having a milling machine for your home shop or garage can be a life saver when you need to repair something around the house or for a friend. Since I was a kid in high school I have had a mini mill made by Unimat at my disposal which I have made slot car parts of my own design and modified items around the house. My favorite thing that I did recently is I made slip bushings out of some P.C.V. plumbing pipe/tubing to go into the toilet paper rolls for the bathroom. I know this sounds crazy, but it is so nice to have the T.P. roll off the dispenser so smoothly.
Many small or mini milling machines come with many accessories. When I got mine it came with a machine vise and hold downs for it, and a conversion column to go from a lathe into the milling machine. What’s so great about this is the three jaw chuck it came with can hold end mills and cut slots and whatnot in brass without to much trouble.
Most mini mills need to be used with light cuts because there is not much rigidity built into them to allow for heavy cuts. When you are doing jobs or projects for yourself time is not usually an issue so, taking your time to not stress your machine is very important.
With my mini mill and lathe combo I have been able to machine some very accurate bearings for my slot cars, using the lathe to hold some very tight tolerances using miniature reamers for the internal diameters. When the bearings were soldered into place in the chassis, converting over to the vertical milling machine made it so I could line ream both of the bearings in a straight line to assure a proper fit for the axles.
With the portable milling table, that also came with it, I am able to makeshift my own 90 degree angle plate to hold the chassis correctly (vertically) to in-line bore/ream the bearings to fit.
This is just a small example of what I have been able to do with my milling machine set up over the years. Having a milling machine of your own, really no matter what size you can afford and use in your shop space, can save you money, and time from looking for a new part. Making metal shavings can be a whole lot of fun knowing that you made the repairs, or parts, all on your own. – Have Fun!
Having a Mini Milling Machine Can Be Great Fun
Mini milling or miniature machining can be a great past time and profession. There are many aspects of precision mill work that can bring many benefits to your hobby or profession.
1. Small parts for your H.O. train set can be made to scale right in the comfort of your own home machine shop.
2. A mini milling machine can be a combo machine that includes a small lathe built right into the frame of the machine.
3. Materials needed, and the supplies are usually ready available from a local hardware store that is of the older style of stocking complete hardware items. (Not one of these super builder type of stores, in my opinion.)
4. Expenses can be kept to a minimum because you are usually making one off parts for your own use, and the tooling required is of a smaller size, costing less.
One of my favorite things about having a bench mill/combo is the convenience of not having to use a large amount of space to set things up, and the ability to leave things set-up in my garage home shop area.
I have made bearings for my slot cars, and aluminum wheels to accept tire rubber to be glued onto the wheels, and trued up on the lathe with abrasive strips. I have also re-sized the bores on gears for specific applications in a drive train on my slot cars.
It’s fun to watch the chips fly when milling small parts on a bench top mini mill.
Grizzly Mill Drills
Grizzly G1007 Mill Drill
Many Guys Like The Small Grizzly Milling Machines
When working out of your garage or small out building many guys like to have a bench top mill or also called a table top mill to use instead of a floor model typically called a knee mill. Even though you have to take lighter cuts, and you need to stay working within smaller parameters, the job can still be done by yourself at your own pace.
Say you’re working on something on the car and you need to modify a hole in a bracket or you break something, having a small mill at hand can be very helpful and a time saver at that. Being able to make a quick fix to a broken part, or make another on to take it’s place can be a rewarding feeling not to have to wait days for a new one to arrive or have on built. Like the guy says on TV, “Getter it done!”
Grizzly G8689 Mini Mill Drill
G8689 Mini Mill Has A MT3 Taper
This mill comes with a #3 Morse Taper, making in it a little tougher at times when wanting to remove a tool holder from the spindle. With the machine’s light duty and limited power, an R8 spindle would require larger spindle construction, turning it into more of a larger milling machine. As it is, it is just right for making small slot car parts and other parts for various models.
Combo Mill and Lathe
Combo Lathe Mill – Consider One to Save on Floor Space
When looking into what type of a mill you all want to have in your small shop at home, a big consideration could very well be how much money you have to spend on machines, and tooling. How much room there is, and where to put it all are important, too. That’s why some guys go for a combo mill drill, and lathe because they can conserve floor space.
This type of a set-up allows for turning the diameter of a part and getting lets say a slot milled into the center line of the turned shaft all done while the shaft is still in the lathe chuck making for a nice ridged holding while using an end mill to cut the slot.
Atlas Metal Lathe
Atlas Metal Lathe – A Favorite Today & Yesterday
Back during World War Two, many garages and home workshops were equipped with small lathes and related machinery to make small parts for the war effort. Many companies would either set people up who had the capabilities to make parts for them to their specifications, or contract out to bidders. These people were paid for their work!
What is a nice left over from these days are the small lathes and machinery that these companies like, Atlas Tool Works, and similar, were making to supply these small machine shops. For today, we can find used ones from that era to buy for our own home use that were made here in the U.S.A.
Some of these tool companies went on and continued to make smaller machine tools that could be used either at home or in the industry, resulting in various models that were made here during the fifties and sixties, leaving us with a fair supply to choose from. If we seek out an old model from the past that can still be used today that we can rely on, we can expect to make good quality parts for many years to come.
Machine Shop Tooling
Aloris Tool Post
The best quick change tool post system ever invented, in my opinion. Why? Because they have a very high quality level and are made here in the USA.
Once you have a few standard tool bits set up on the center-line of your lathe, they will stay put for as long as there is still a good cutting edge on your tooling. My favorite tool bit to leave set up in a dedicated Aloris Tool Holder is a standard blade cut-off tool.
It makes things so much easier to have about a dozen of various holders for your lathe on hand with common tooling preselected, and ready for use, it puts a nice smile on my face!
Aloris has a variety of sizes available form the industrial sized tool holders right on down to something that will fit a small Atlas Lathe for your home machine shop.
An adjustable reamer can either save the day when it comes to making a repair part or it can be your worst nightmare if you are making a few production run parts.
All I can really say is, be sure to find a few pieces of scrape so you can test run a few parts with different sized pilot holes to check for consistency in your reamed hole size for a production run, and make darn sure that when the reamer is set that it is locked down tight.
Be sure to have a set of plug gauges on hand to check to hole sizes of the reamed hole frequently, preferably every other hole at a minimum.
When you adjust the reamer, see if you can figure out by trial and error how your particular adjustable reamer works on it’s own. What I mean is that some of them have an incremental scale on them that may say 0.001″ or 0.002″ per line but the amount of feed, and type of coolant can play a big factor in how your holes turn out.
Over-sized? or Undersized? That is the question.
From My Experience The BALDOR GRINDERS Are The Best Choice
When ever I used one of these type of grinders or belt sanders made by Baldor (Made in U.S.A. by the way!) my productivity was better. The horsepower of their motors made things so if I was roughing something out it wouldn’t bog down to where the grinding wheel or belt didn’t get all loaded up and not cut anymore. The arbor bearings are accurate and during extended usage the wheels seemed to stay in balance for me. Better motors. Better construction and tighter tolerances are what make the Baldor Grinder and their other products my first choice to use.
CNC Machines | In the Home Shop?
Cnc Vertical Milling Machine
CNC Vertical Milling Machine – The Most Common Form of Production Milling
Most CNC milling devices (also known as machining centers) are computer managed vertical milling machines with the ability to move the spindle vertically alongside the Z-axis. (The vertical up & down movement.) This additional amount of freedom permits their use in tool & die making, engraving pieces/parts, and 3.0 dimensional machining of surfaces such as molds and sculptures. When used with a ball end mill (rounded nose cutter), it significantly enhances precision milling with out impacting the time required for the machining, providing a cost-effective means for contouring a machined surface.
With the modern CNC milling machine it is possible to run large manufacturing orders with little to no scrapped production pieces. The operator monitors the work being completed and takes many critical measurements. If the machine is producing work that is not satisfactory, any adjustments necessary can be made by the machine operator using the monitor, control panel, and the key pad provided on the machine.
A CNC vertical mill (computer numerical control) requires an operator, someone who operates the machine through a computer monitor using a program language such as the M-Code or G-Code functions. The CNC machine can perform operations, such as precision drilling and tapping, cutting, and shaping the material into specific designs. The operator programs the machine to perform the task needed to machine the parts, and then inspects the work, making all necessary adjustments as needed to maintain the parts within tolerances.
The Backbone of CNC Machining – The CNC Spindle
The CNC spindle is usually a precision, highly accurate, well made piece of machinery, intended for continuous usage along with various types of pressures applied to the bearings that it’s built with.
The amount of heat build up in this type of spindle can be considerably more than what heat builds up in a manual machine tool, such as a milling machine. There are many different type of machine tools that require a CNC spindle, but the most common one would be the CNC vertical mill. Many machine operations can be performed on a vertical mill, either CNC or manual, such drilling holes, milling slots and contours.
This type of spindle needs to be accessible for repairs and replacement, should the affected machine need to be shut down for maintenance, or has experienced an operations “crash” causing damage to the spindle bearings or quill functions.
In the CNC vertical mill, the spindle is usually computer controlled in the up and down feed motion, thus giving it the label called the, Z-axis. Different levels of material removal are established by the Z-axis. These movements that are needed to make a depth of cut for an end-mill, or a drill bit, are done by some kind of a servo motor capable of movements in the one-thousandths of an inch, or into ten-thousandths of an inch, and holding it’s position during the cutting motions either by the quill feeding vertically or remaining stationary to allow for other axis feeds to remove material during a cutting motion.
Basically the CNC spindle is the workhorse of the CNC machining world, that has to be made with precision and needs to be able to make precision parts on a daily basis!
Cnc Router Machine
Use A CNC Router to Mill Plastics, Too!
I worked in a shop at one time that used CNC machines to machine parts for their customers who required parts machined out of plastic. It was a new experience for me because I was used to making things of out metal mainly, and milling plastics was a little different and presented a new set of challenges.
1. Heat – Allowing for heat expansion while making a cut.
2. Faster feeds and speeds are required on most set-ups.
3. Ventilation was important because some plastics can give off toxic fumes.
4. Keeping end mills and milling cutters sharp was important in order to get a good surface finish.
Many parts had loose tolerances such as plus or minus +/-.010 (ten-thousandths of an inch) to allow for shrinkage after the parts cooled off, would make it so I could produce parts at a fairly rapid rate. I liked that. It was fun!
One of the “Primary Machines” in this shop was the CNC Router Machine which made milling flat sheet plastic parts a dream because you could do multiple part configurations from one sheet of plastic repeatable. Fast feed rates, multiple parts, that’s what makes an employer happy! Once these were profiled out on the CNC Router, (the end mill would NOT cut completely through to the bottom of the plastic sheet), a router table with a trimming bit in it would separate the parts by hand, routing out the reaming profiles.
This particular router was being run by a simple 1980’s type of P.C. computer for the controller with an old style monitor. (If the wheel ain’t broke why fix it, right?) It worked great. They had some computer designing software in the office, and the guy running the CNC Router would make a program, download it onto the old P.C. computer, get the part zero & tool calibration, and bingo – he’s making parts. This was all done with one end mill, no tool changes, milling everything possible on the part with that one tool.
Any second operations that were needed to be done with other tooling, like drilling or some slots milled out and the like, were done on other milling machine, or lathes. Machining with this type CNC machine can be a whole lot of fun, especially when machining plastic parts.
Mark Gohlke, PO Box 230217, Tigard, Oregon, U.S.A., is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to, amazon.com. He is also a participant in the eBay partner program, ePN.