If you are somebody who likes to make things (we assume you are, as you are reading this), you must have surely felt an urge to start using metal.
3D printers are awesome, but they have a lot of drawbacks, very limited options in material, precision is not as good, and take a long time in printing. If you are looking for metal parts that will conform to even slightly tight tolerances, then a milling machine happens to be your sole practical option. After all, there is a perfectly good reason as to why they are so necessary for manufacturing. It can, however, be very difficult to understand how to get started as a hobbyist who does not have any machining experience.
Best Hobby Milling Machine
Exactly what type of a milling machine to get for yourself? Should you be buying a new one or a used one will do? What in the world is a three-phase power and can you even get it? All these questions, amongst a lot of others, can be really overwhelming for the inexperienced.
What kind of milling machine would you need?
Now before we start getting into the details about what kind of configuration of the milling machine you would most probably want to be buying, let us first let you know that we will only talk about the manual milling machines here. The CNC mills happen to be a whole another beast. Manual milling machines and CNC mills have a lot in common, though the CNC mills most often are just translated manual mills. All the modern milling machines can be divided into two fundamental kinds: vertical and horizontal. This classification determines if the spindle axis of the machine run side to side or up and down. Both these types of machines will usually have columns, heads and tables which swivel or tilt, which also means that both the types can be put to use for similar tasks. However, there are certain kinds of jobs that are going to be easier to do on one machine compared to the other.
New or used
We recommend that you should be serious in buying a used one. Mills happen to be machines which are architected to be able to work and stand abuse for decades together. And you will be able to save some money if you buy used. You can find ads on craigslist and in newspapers. Just make sure that everything is working and that there is no excessive wear.
The fun starts now! You are going to want to get into a lot of experiments when you start out in the beginning. Do your own research on things like speeds (you may want to get a good calculator for this) and feeds, see what the various end mills can do for you, and how to operate it in different ways. Do not be discouraged if you end up breaking an end mill that is exactly why you had bought extras. Practice, practice and practice, and you will soon be thinking of any excuse that will get you to make precision parts of metal for all your projects.
Last update on 2019-01-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API