How to Choose a Mini Milling Drilling Machine?

Posted on Jun 1, 2021

A mini milling drilling machine combines the features of mills and drills. Because of its compact size, such a machine is ideal only for small-scale tasks. Therefore, it is mostly seen in workshops for DIYers, metalwork/woodwork hobbyists, artists, or designers.

One of a mini milling drilling machine's advantages is that it is portable and can be relocated if necessary. It happens quite often that the operator settles a mini milling drilling machine next to a lathe or a grinding wheel. This way, the operator can transfer the workpiece from station to station efficiently.

If you intend to purchase a mini mill drill, there are several factors to consider in advance other than its size and mobility. In the following sections, we will break down the important features of a mini milling drilling machine. We hope this article helps you determine whether this is a machine you are looking for or not.

Mini Mill Drill Machining Orientation

A mini mill drill can only perform machining tasks in the vertical orientation. The vertical machining orientation is professionally referred to as the Z-axis machining. Usually, a full-size milling machine has the ability to mill both vertically and horizontally. However, a mini mill drill cannot drill and mill in the horizontal direction.

The limitation of machining orientation comes from the machine's basic structure. Most mini mill drills come with a C frame construction. The main machining spindle is held over the worktable by a single column. This configuration restricts the machine's moving capability profoundly. The spindle only moves up and down to cut the workpieces.

Movable Worktable Allows More Machining Capability

The worktable is where a workpiece is clamped and machining tasks performed. The clamping system on a mini milling drilling machine is typically a vise. That said, there are cases that technicians modify the worktable and install a chuck on it to clamp workpieces with particular shapes.

Based on the models, the worktable can move in two orientations (or at least one). They are the X-axis and Y-axis movements. That is, the worktable moves along the longitudinal axis and latitudinal axis of the machine. With these two moving orientations, the machine has more freedom to perform cutting tasks.

Power Output Determines the Tasks the Mini Mill Drill Performs

Another restriction that comes from the small size is the power output. The rotating speed of the spindle ranges from about 100 to 3000 RPM. The torque output of mini milling drilling machines is also less powerful when compared with regular-sized mills. As a result, they are not able to handle hard-to-machine materials and heavy-duty operations.

Is a Mini Mill Drill Automated?

Most small drill presses and mini mill drills are manually operated. The worktable is movable but the operator has to position the table with cranks. The spindle is motorized but the operator has to feed the drill bit with a wheel. It takes a lot of time to set up the machine, so it is not suitable for mass production.

:: Read More: What Is a CNC Mill Drill Used for?

Accuracy and Precision Level is a Concern

Since a mini milling drilling machine does not work with a CNC system, it is not the best choice for an intricate job. Instead, this type of machine is more of a hobbyist’s gadget. It works well with small projects where fine tolerance and accuracy are not required. As for precision machining, a full-sized CNC mill is recommended.

Affordability is a Key Consideration

Affordability is always one of the top concerns when purchasing a tool for the shop. Mini mill drills are relatively simple in construction. The tasks they can process are also limited. However, this is not necessarily a drawback. Simple designs assure an affordable price range. Regarding the basic functionalities a mini machine has, it is still reliable for light-duty applications.

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