Best Milling Machines of 2019

Posted on

We live in a world of automation yet we still love to make things manually. It’s a “human” thing. Milling machines help to bring out the creative flow in hobbyists and professionals alike. My easy-to-read guide doesn’t assume you know anything about choosing the best milling machine. This short introduction may also serve as a good refresher familiar with the tech. In this guide, we show you the best milling machines.

Budget
Best-budget-milling-machine
Proxxon 37110
4.2/5.0
18.2 lbs.
Desktop Micro Mill
Stable cast iron base. Lightweight, small size.
Check Amazon
Best Value
Best-value-milling-machine
Grizzly G0704
4.7/5.0
342 lbs.
Floor-standing drill/mill
Suitable for pro and DIY use. 90-degree tilting head.
Check Amazon
Top Pick
Top-value-milling-machine
Jet JMD 18
4.8/5.0
342 lbs.
Floor-standing drill/mill
Heavy duty 360 degree milling machine for pros.
Check Amazon

The aim of this overview is to help familiarize the uninitiated with the technology and its uses. This short primer will help to make sense of the reviews that follow it. Those who don’t need an intro or a refresher on milling machines can jump straight to the product reviews.







About My Guide

The idea of the introduction is to familiarize you with milling machines and the reasons you might want one. It’s not a tutorial on how to operate them or to walk you through the production stages. If you need to learn more there are plenty of online written and video tutorials for that. By now—at least—you have some basics that will surely make these mini reviews easier to follow.

I’ve chosen the seven products below based on personal thoughts, user reviews, and the opinions of industry experts. The top three machines are in order of Best Budget, Best Value, and Top Pick. The milling machines below the top three are in order of price starting with the least expensive first.

Best Milling Machines Comparison Table

The table below shows the seven milling machines in the order they appear in this guide:

Make and ModelStandWeightPrice
Proxxon 37110 Micro Mill / MF 70N/A18.2 lbs.Check Price
Grizzly G0704 Drill Mill w/ StandYes342 lbs.Check Price
Jet 350018 230 Milling MachineOptional739 lbs.Check Price
OTMT Mini OT2213 Milling MachineN/A140 lbs.Check Price
Sherline 5400 (CNC-Ready) Milling MachineN/A40 lbs.Check Price
Shop Fox Model M1110 Milling MachineN/A413 lbs.Check Price
JET 350017/JMD-15 Milling/Drilling MachineOptional457 lbs.Check Price

1. Proxxon 37110 Micro Mill / MF 70

Proxxon 37110 Micro Mill / MF 70View on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.2/5

Some of us just need a capable machine for light milling jobs. The affordable Proxxon MF 70 is an ideal choice for that purpose. It’s a capable tool produced by a well-established manufacturer.

  • Best feature 1: Ultra-stable cast iron base
  • Best feature 2: Perfect milling machine for entry-level users
  • Plus points: Adjustable gib plates, variable speeds, small and lightweight, price tag
  • Minus points: Head doesn’t rotate, limited range of use, has to be bolted down

There’s no getting away from the fact that the price of the MF 70 is a key attraction. It also means trade-offs but most people who invest in this Desktop style Micro Milling Machine expect that.

Who Is the Proxxon Micro Mill MF 70 For

This is a small vibration-free unit that’s perfect for anyone who has space restrictions. It’s a good choice for the DIY craftsman but alsothe small business that needs to produce precision parts. Some of these may include labs, electronics, model building, and jewelers, etc.

The adjustable gib plates provide the machinist with smooth, accurate movements. This is not only convenient but it also adds to the versatility of use. All axes are ‘play-free’ and sport fully-adjustable slides. The variable speeds (5000-20000-Rpm) make the machining of different materials much easier. The Proxxon 37110 Micro Mil is not heavy for an instrument in its class despite its cast iron base.

The Not So Good

The machine’s head doesn’t rotate. That’s a drawback for anyone who may need to sometimes position the spindle horizontally. The device is still very capable for a product in its category. However, it still has a limited range of use so that’s something to definitely think about.

You will also need to bolt it down to a sturdy surface. This point is not really a con but it’s something to be aware of. Having space is fine but if you can’t secure the Micro Mill then you can’t safely use it.

amazon

Tech Specs
Type: Desktop Micro Mill
Usage: Delicate projects, for work with small cutters
Dimensions: 16.9 x 10.8 x 9.2″
Product Weight: 18.2 lbs. (8.2 kg)
Table Size: 7-7/8-Inch by 2-3/4-Inch
The Pros
Stable cast iron base
Versatile machine for entry-level users and small businesses
Adjustable gib plates
Variable speeds
Lightweight, small size
Attractive price tag
The Cons
Needs bolting down
Limited range of use
Some reports of intermittent vibration

2. Grizzly G0704 Drill Mill w/ Stand

Grizzly G0704 Drill Mill w/ StandView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.7/5

The Grizzly G0704 Drill Mill is a step up from the previous pick. Despite its small size the G0704 has a 1HP motor and performs more like bigger costlier machines.

  • Best feature 1: Includes a robust stand
  • Best feature 2: Big performance from a small machine
  • Plus points: Perfect for home use, 90° tilting head, suitable for pro and hobby use, price
  • Minus points: Restrictions

It’s fair to say the Grizzly G0704 is a competent drill mill that beats most of its rivals hands down.

Who Is the Grizzly G0704 Drill Mill For

The price, quality, and flexibility of this drill mill make it another great choice for entry-level DIY. It’s also an affordable single-purpose extra machine for a busy workshop. And this little device is capable of a lot more than its impression suggests despite the small size.

The spindle is the heart of the mill. Here are the specs:

  • R-8 spindle taper
  • 2″ spindle travel
  • 11″ head travel
  • Head tilts 90-degrees left/right
  • Maximum distance to table is 13″with 15″ swing
  • Spindle speed 50-2250 RPM

There’s even a robust stand included which comes with a chip tray and cabinet. I mention these things because not all brands and models include a stand as they’re often optional extras.

The Grizzly G0704 Drill Mill is well-built and works exactly as advertised. Yet despite its use as a capable manual machine some folks like to convert it to CNC. There’s lots of online community help for people who want to do just that.

The Not So Good

The advantages can also be disadvantages. Being small and space efficient also means it has some restrictions. As long as it lives up to your needs and current expectations you shouldn’t run into any disappointments with this popular little drill/mill.

amazon

Tech Specs
Type: Floor-standing drill/mill
Usage: Ideal for smaller projects at home or as a dedicated single-purpose machine in a busy workshop
Dimensions: 30 x 27.5 x 35.5″
Product Weight: 342 lbs. (155 kg)
Table Size: 7-1/16″ x 26-5/8″
The Pros
Suitable for pro and DIY use
Includes stand
Sports some features found on larger drill mills
Perfect for home use and smaller workshops
90-degree tilting head
Attractive price
The Cons
Small size means some restrictions

3. Jet JMD 18 230v Milling Machine

Jet JMD 18 230v Milling MachineView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.8/5

The Jet JMD 18 230v shares some features with machines much bigger and costlier just like the previous pick. Although it’s primarily a milling tool it also doubles as a competent drill press.

  • Best feature 1: 360-degree swiveling head
  • Best feature 2: Tapered heavy-duty roller bearing
  • Plus points: Large work table, hinged belt cover, two-year warranty, excellent value
  • Minus points: Stand not included, limited to 230 volts

This is perhaps the most user-friendly machine in this guide.

Who is the Jet JMD 18 230v Milling Machine For

This machine checks a lot of boxes for entry-level DIY users and professionals. Consider this if you’re new and/or have limited space and a tight budget. You get a capable milling device with plenty of functionality at the professional level too but without the weight and hefty price tag. It’s the costliest product in this guide so far but nowhere near the five-figure expense of a high-end milling machine.

It’s a capable instrument whether you work with metal or wood. The worktable has a generous 400 pound max weight capacity. The 9.5 x 31.75-inch worktable is also generous and allows you to tackle bigger jobs as well as heavier projects. Despite the impressive features and spec sheet, it’s the user-friendliness of this machine that first caught my eye. It really is a manageable piece of equipment.

The Not So Good

There are a couple of cons to the Jet JMD 18 230v. One of these is the absence of a stand. Sellers usually advertise this machine on a Jet brand stand but it’s most likely for display purposes only. If you want the stand (recommended) then factor that into the cost if it’s not already included in the price.

The other downside—for some—is the milling machine’s single-phase 2HP motor that operates only on 230v. Make sure the power you use is compatible with the product prior to purchase.

amazon

Tech Specs
Type: Floor-standing drill/mill
Usage: Ideal for smaller projects at home or as a dedicated single-purpose machine in a busy workshop
Dimensions: 30 x 27.5 x 35.5″
Product Weight: 342 lbs. (155 kg)
Table Size: 7-1/16″ x 26-5/8″
The Pros
Suitable for pro and DIY use
Includes stand
Sports some features found on larger drill mills
Perfect for home use and smaller workshops
90-degree tilting head
Attractive price
The Cons
Small size means some restrictions

4. OTMT Mini OT2213 Milling Machine

OTMT Mini OT2213 Milling MachineView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

Consider the OTMT mini-mill if you need more versatility and reach than a micro mill. It’s a good compromise between smaller devices and the much costlier, larger full-sized machines.

  • Best feature 1: Compact design
  • Best feature 2: Ideal for the home workshop
  • Plus points: 2-speed bands, easy-to-read dial, two feeds, attractive price
  • Minus points: Some slack in X and Y axis, restricted use

What we have here is a capable little milling machine that has a lot to offer for its price.

Who Is the OTMT Mini OT2213 Milling Machine For

There’s a niche market for mini-mills and only you can know if this one offers what you need. It’s fair to say this puppy is capable of punching well above its weight despite its size. The OTMT is compact in design which makes it a good choice for folks with restricted space. Although it’s only ½HP (horsepower) it has enough power to carry out most jobs expected of a mini machine in its class.

You’ve got two speeds to work with; low up to 1100RPM and high up to 2500RPM. The easy-to-read dial provides small increments making it both clear and accurate. The two feed options are fine and coarse. Coarse feed is perfect for drilling jobs whereas fine is ideal for milling.

The OTMT Mini OT2213’s head swivels 45° in both directions. This is a serious little milling product that’s versatile and practical and will please any user who works within its boundaries. Best of all is the attractive price tag which is especially appealing to entry-level users.

The Not So Good

You may come across some reviews that talk about the slack in the X and Y axis. It’s true too, but it’s not an issue that deters people from buying this machine. A little table rebuild usually fixes the issue. The other disadvantage is with limitations. That’s only a problem when people buy the machine with expectations that surpass the machine’s capabilities.

amazon

Tech Specs
Type: Mini Milling Machine
Usage: Great introduction and learning tool. Ideal for smaller milling projects.
Dimensions: 22 x 19.7 x 29.1″
Product Weight: 140 lbs. (64 kg)
Table Size: 15″ x 3-1/2″
The Pros
Compact mini design
Great little milling machine for the home workshop
2-speed bands
Easy-to-read dial
Two feeds;coarse & fine
Affordable price
The Cons
Some slack in X and Y axis
Restricted use (smaller jobs)

5. Sherline 5400 Deluxe Milling Machine

Sherline 5400 Deluxe Milling MachineView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.1/5

My fifth pick is the Sherline 5400 (CNC-Ready) milling machine. It’s another smaller choice but one that performs akin to much larger machines. Let’s check it out.

  • Best feature 1: CNC upgrade ready
  • Best feature 2: Easily performs routine tasks
  • Plus points: Made in the US, operates traditionally or with CNC motor, dovetailed slides
  • Minus points: No disadvantages noted

I’m usually reluctant to include products in my reviews that are new or lack user feedback. I’ve made an exception in the case of the Sherline 5400 not least because of its CNC-Ready appeal. It’s also a reputable company founded in Australia with its headquarters now in Vista, California, USA.

Who Is the Sherline 5400 Deluxe Milling Machine For

Sherline milling machines are ideal for advanced home users and small workshops. The appeal is their ability to perform the same or similar jobs of much larger and costlier products. You’ll want to consider this model if you need to do a multitude of precision tasks. These could include fly cutting, drilling, boring and other such routine tasks.

The machine is rigid accurate and capable of performing difficult tasks with relative ease. Here are a few of the other key features:

  • Precision machined dovetailed slides with adjustable gibs
  • Spindle bearings (permanently lubricated)
  • Adjustable preload anti-backlash feed screws
  • High-torque 90V DC motor
  • Electronic speed control, variable from 70 to 2800 RPM (no gear or belt changes)

The Not So Good

There are no noted disadvantages to this product at the time of writing. Once real user feedback comes in I will update this section accordingly.

amazon

Tech Specs
Type: Mini Bench Top Milling Machine
Usage: Fly cutting, drilling, boring and other routine tasks
Product Weight: 40 lb. (18.2 kg)
Table Size: 2.75″ x 13.00″
The Pros
Made in the USA
Powerful 90V DC motor w/ electronic speed controller
CNC upgrade ready
Performs all manner of routine jobs
Red hand-wheels (on request)
Dovetailed slides
The Cons
None noted

6. Shop Fox Model M1110 Milling Machine

Shop Fox Model M1110 Milling MachineView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.4/5

The HOP FOX M1111 6-Inch Mill & Drill machine comes with an easy access control panel. It’s also built to last which is why every new sale comes with a full 2-year warranty.

  • Best feature 1: Dovetail column
  • Best feature 2: Push-button emergency switch
  • Plus points: Strong &quiet motor, variable speed, 3/4-horsepower, single-phase motor
  • Minus points: Needs some tweaks, thin paint cover, heavy for size

The M1110 is a variable speed mill/drill machine. And the ground dovetail precision column makes it easy to change tools. That’s because there’s no need to re-register the spindle’s centerline each time.

Who Is the Fox Model M1110 Milling Machine For

This is a tabletop mill-drill and a good choice for anyone who has a spare sturdy surface. It’s not light at 413 pounds so you’ll want to find a permanent home for it. The silent yet quiet single-phase 3/4-horsepower motor is perfect for a machine in this category and with these specs.

Some users find that they have to tweak things a bit to get it working at optimal performance. Because of this it’s perhaps better suited for the more advanced DIY enthusiast and small enterprise.

The Shop Fox Model M1110 is reliable and capable as a functioning milling machine. It will effortlessly tap and drill into wood, steel, aluminum, plastics, and other materials. You can use just about all end mills, face cutters, and drill bits up to two inches in diameter.

The easy-access CP or control panel is a nice touch which sports some invaluable functions. These include the main power switch and a fault indicator light. There’s also a motor speed dial, a forward and reverse switch, and an emergency STOP button.

The Not So Good

A lot of reviewers talk about how the machine needs some tweaking out of the box. The company doesn’t advertise this but it’s worth a mention because it’s a shared gripe. This doesn’t deter people from buying it but most would sooner not have to bother.

Another criticism I came across was the thinly painted metal. People don’t like to see paint chip off easily even with working tools. It seems like an unnecessary penny-pinching tactic in my book. Finally, this machine is heavy—for its size. Find a permanent home for it early on and let it stay there.

amazon

Tech Specs
Type: Table Top Mill/Drill Machine
Usage: Advanced DIY and small business that needs to produce precision parts.
Dimensions: 39.6 x 31.5 x 31″
Product Weight: 413 lbs. (187 kg)
Table Size: 6-1/4″ x 21-5/8″
The Pros
Dovetail column
Easy-Access Control Panel w/ Emergency stop button
Quiet strong 3/4 HP motor
Variable speeds
Built to last
2-year warranty
The Cons
May need tweaking
Thin paint cover
Heavy for size

7. JET 350017 Milling/Drilling Machine

JET 350017 Milling/Drilling MachineView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.3/5

The last of my milling machine picks go to the Jet 350017 milling & drilling machine. It’s not as capable as the newer Jet 350018 but it still offers a lot of bang for your hard-earned buck.

  • Best feature 1: Tapered base for faster clean-up
  • Best feature 2: Dovetail column
  • Plus points: Variable speeds, coolant troughs, pushbutton speed change, value for money
  • Minus points:Advertised stand not included

What we have here is a power-packed milling/drilling machine capable of producing superior parts.

Who Is the JET 350017 Milling/Drilling Machine For

This is a good choice for the serious DIY user and professional workshops. It’s a two-in-one lathe device that offers a lot of versatility at an affordable price. The robust iron column makes it a tough and stable machine to operate. You will want to consider this model if you work with softer metals for smaller tasks. The powerful 1HP motor will then effortlessly mill and drill any job you present it with.

The depth gauge is crystal clear. I mention this simply because not all depth gauges on all machines are as clear. This product also comes with a variable speed motor. Other highlights include a head swivel with 360-degree rotation and a fast slide latch. The latter makes it quick and easy to manage belt adjustments—useful for adjusting spindle speeds.

The Not So Good

This machine doesn’t come with a stand unless sold as part of a deal. If you want the stand make sure you can get one before placing an order.

amazon

Tech Specs
Type: Desktop or floor stand milling/drilling machine
Usage: Milling & drilling especially softer metals and other materials
Dimensions: 36.5 x 37.5 x 35.5″
Product Weight: 457 lbs. (207 kg)
Table Size: 7-1/2 x 23″
The Pros
Tapered base/faster clean-up
Dovetail column
Variable speeds
Coolant troughs
Pushbutton speed change
Value for money
The Cons
Stand not included
Predecessor to the newer Jet 350018