What Is a Drill Press Milling Machine?

Posted on Dec 10, 2020

Drill Press Milling Machine

A drill press milling machine, also known as a milling drilling machine, mill drill, or drill mill, is a compound machine that covers the functions of both a drill press and a mill.

What is a drill press milling machine?

Literally speaking, the drill press milling machine is a combination of drill press and milling machine. The capabilities of a drill press milling machine are higher than drilling and milling.

This machine not only creates holes with the drilling function, but also deals with milling, grooving, spotting, or chamfering, etc. In other words, one mill drill is able to make the same results as that on two individual machines. Investing in a mill drill brings a lot of advantages for the manufacturers. For one thing, the multi-functional feature eliminates the need to transfer workpieces from one machine to another. For another, the time and cost saved in work transferring and buying two machines improve productivity and efficiency.

For the manufacturers specialized in one machining task in the production line, buying a single drill press or milling machine is enough. However, as the customized requirements increase, most factories have to handle several tasks in order to balance the cost and profit. Despite one drill press milling machine may be slightly more expensive than a drill press or a milling machine, the profit it makes outperforms the cost spent in the long term.

:: Read More: What is a Drill Mill?

What is a drill press?

A drill press also called a drilling machine, is used to create holes from the surface to the interior of the workpieces. For example, it drills holes in a cylindrical workpiece. 

The cutting tools used on the drilling machines are drill bits. The drill bit is held by the chuck and connected to the spindle. The spindle rotates while performing up-and-down movements (Z-axis drilling). The high-speed rotary motion forces the removal of materials from the workpieces, and the longitudinal motion defines the depth of the holes. 

A drill press is usually operated manually, which requires an operator to rotate the handles in order to adjust the position of the workpiece and the drilling depth. In some cases, it is the CNC system that deals with the operation of the machine. The CNC drilling machine involves a computerized system in the design of products and the control of the process. Nowadays, a CNC machining center covers multiple machining tasks, which are more than drilling. Therefore, the CNC drilling machines specialized in drilling are less common now.

What is a milling machine?

More than drilling holes, a milling machine, also called a mill, is able to conduct other tasks like milling, grooving, slotting, chamfering, or facing, and so on. In other words, the mill handles multiple tasks on one device and thereby results in a broader range of product types it can achieve. 

The cutting tools for mills are the end mills. With the design of flutes and teeth, the parts the end mills are capable of creating are diversified. In addition to the versatility the end mills have due to their configurations, the machining orientation has something to do with it. 

A milling machine usually contains a slide, which is mounted on the work table and slides the workpiece during the machining process. The purpose of installing a slide is to allow the machine to cut from the x-axis and y-axis. Combined with the z-axis, which refers to the up-and-down movements the cutters provide, the mill is able to attain at least three axes of cutting directions.

What's more, when added with a swivel head or rotary table, for example, the mills can meet the requirements of more axes of machining orientations. This is common on a CNC machining center, which applies an automatic operation method in the machining process, and can reach up to 5-axis machining.

What are the important elements of a drill press milling machine?

● Column

The column on a drill press milling machine allows for the longitudinal travel of the machine head, as well as the cutting tool it holds. It is at the back of the machine and attached to the machine head on the top and the table at the bottom. The column can be regarded as the support for the entire machine.

● Cross slide

The cross slide equipped on the table is responsible for facilitating the x-axis and y-axis machining directions. One slide overlaps the other and makes the configuration of the cross slide. The workpiece is placed on the upper slide rather than the table and moved as is required for being machined.

● Speed adjusting knob

The speed adjusting knob is equipped on the machine head, which is used to adjust the spindle speed. No matter for drilling, milling, or other machining tasks, the rotary motion that the spindle provides is indispensable. The slow speed of the spindle extends the cycle time, and too fast the spindle speed may lead to deviation. Thus, using the speed adjusting knob to control the appropriate speed of the spindle is one of the important procedures.

● Spindle and chuck

The spindle and chuck are set on the machine head, and both attached to the cutting tool. The former provides high-speed rotary motion to facilitate the removal of material with the cutting tool, and the latter is used to clamp and fix the tool and prevent it from sliding off during the process.

● Lever and cranks

The lever is at the side of the machine head and is applied for changing the height of the head. This is for the purpose of controlling the cutting depth as the cutting tool digs into the surface of the workpiece. Furthermore, on a drill press milling machine, there are two cranks equipped on the cross slide. The two cranks deal with the x-axis and y-axis machining directions as they are rotated.

:: Read More: Consider These Things Before You Buy a Mill Drill Machine


Combined with a drill press and a mill, the drill press milling machine is capable of at least three axes of machining directions, including x, y, and z axes. The multitasking function also makes the manufacturing of products with intricate design not a difficult thing for this machine. If you are looking for a cost-effective high efficient machine for your production, a drill press milling machine would be the best choice for you.

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