How to Pick the Right Mini CNC Milling Machine for Your Shop

Posted on Sep 17, 2020

Mini CNC Milling Machine

Mini CNC milling machines can provide small-scale industrial-style processing for home or workshop use. Although these machines are generally uneconomical, they have powerful functions that cannot be replicated with other simpler and cheaper tools. Whether for freelance technicians, home or interior designers, DIY enthusiasts, or artists, micro CNC milling machines are invaluable for your projects, and in the long run, they can even save you a lot of time and money.

Mini mills are a valuable investment and can bring industrial-style processing capabilities into homes or shops. Mini CNC milling machines possess the power to take a piece of raw scrap and quickly turn it into a useable part, something you can’t say about a hammer or a saw. In this blog post, we will break down all the aspects of choosing the right mini CNC milling machine.


What is a Mini CNC Milling Machine?

Generally speaking, a milling machine consists of a fixed cutting tool and a movable worktable, which is controlled by manual or computer direction. The workpiece is fixed on a worktable that moves around a rotating blade to perform the cutting to obtain the desired result. Like a full-size milling machine, a mini CNC milling machine is a smaller engineering milling machine that can sit on a workbench or table and create or modify wooden, metal, or modern composite components.

Although full-size milling machines can be horizontal or vertical, small milling machines usually have a vertical orientation, and the axis of the rotating shaft is also vertical. A small CNC milling machine is basically a compact machining center. It provides an economical solution for the processing of small parts in a compact package that has full-size functionality. The main limitation of the micro mill is not the quality of the work it can produce, but the size of the work it can handle. Mini CNC milling machines are very suitable for schools, start-up shops, or as the first step of CNC machining.


Mini CNC Milling Machine Considerations

Several factors that need to be considered when choosing the most suitable mini CNC milling machine for you are size, adjustable table position, clamps to hold the material in place, speed range, motor power and horsepower, the depth that the spindle can reach, torque, and distance between the table and the head. In addition, you can choose whether you want to use various additional functions, such as a coolant pump, electric auxiliary workbench, or built-in lighting. Generally speaking, the more additional fees you want, the more fees you will have to pay.

  • Mass and Rigidity
    We want quality and stiffness because machine tools flourish on it. Commercial VMCs weighs thousands of pounds. If your machine lacks sufficient rigidity, you will be limited in the use of size cutters and processing speed. For many hobbyists, this may not matter - we have all seen the amazing work done by machinists on mini CMC milling machines. However, with all other conditions being equal, we hope that the factory with the largest budget and space can serve as a starting point.
  • Mini CNC Milling Machine Spindle
    The heart of any machine is the main shaft. An RF-45 for example is normally limited to a maximum of 1600 rpm on the spindle. For steel, this is good, but for aluminum and other software materials, it is not enough. To be sure, you can process these materials well, but your surface roughness and processing speed will be limited compared to a better spindle. Furthermore, the noise level of the gearbox on these machines must be trusted-oops! To understand the meaning of "better", we only need to look at the Bridgeport plant with a wide variety of gardens. The spindle of 5000-6500 rpm can make better metal processing machinery. These are belt-driven spindles, not gear-driven spindles, so they are also quieter.
    All these gear ratios are not very conducive to the spindle rpm controlled by CNC, and the belt drive with 2 pulley ratios can achieve a wider torque curve, which is the perfect choice for VFD spindle rpm control. A good way to master spindle specifications is to make a list of machining operations. Since we are talking about the ultimate mini CNC milling machine here, we want to also mention the 30-taper spindle. They are rare, but at least for RF-45 machines, they are the place for such machines. The NMTB and BT-30 tool holders are more powerful and have been set up from the beginning to be compatible with the tool changer. They will be more expensive, but if you can choose, we believe they will be better than R8 spindles. Spindle boxes can be purchased at 30 taper angles from places like Tormach. In any case, you must perform considerable surgery on the RF-45 to convert it to a belt-drive, so you may have to pull out the head and install a new spindle box so that you have enough ability to justify it.

:: Read more : How to Pick the Right Mini CNC Milling Machine for Your Shop


Other Considerations

Many functions of the mini CNC milling machine are no big deal because you will discard the power source and other accessories. For those who are just starting to build a DIY mini CNC milling machine, another consideration when choosing a mini CNC milling machine is to find the largest possible community for other people to convert the same milling machine. These people can provide help and guidance for your project. A further important point of the service is the availability of CNC conversion kits. Purely mechanical kits can save you a lot of time and usually don't add too much cost to the project.

We strongly recommend beginners to use them, because using the kit allows you to get up and running projects faster than you don't have to make everything from scratch. Look for a high-quality method, and then choose a clone that suits your machine style, it will be better. The quality of the lead screw is not important-you will replace the lead screw with a ball screw as soon as possible. Mini CNC milling machines with an oiler are definitely a plus, but you can also easily add an oiler to most machines.

:: Read more : What to expect from CNC Milling machines in the future?


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