Woodwork is getting more interesting these days, the technology bug has caught up with this revered art form, and even the most basic handymen are quickly getting familiar with an array of tools and apparatus that would set them apart in the short term and long run.
One of these sophisticated tools is the milling machine, a tool that goes a long way in getting the job done, and lets the handyman focus on some other pressing needs. The milling machine has grown in stature over the years, and thanks to technology there’s a milling machine for every salary range, and you don’t have to look too far to get your level.
Milling machines have been a staple in the woodworking industry for a minute, so it’s only right that we dedicate a piece to its excellence.
Here we’ll be checking out the definition of a milling machine, reviewing some of the best hobbyist milling machines in the market, and giving you concrete advice on what to look out for before purchasing your machine.
There’s quite a lot to cover, so let’s get right into it!
About Milling Machines
Milling machines are machines specially manufactured to “remove metal from the work piece to get the desired shape with the help of a revolving cutter called known as a milling cutter”. They make the metal removal process super easy, and you won’t have to painstakingly separate it while getting bothered that you’ll miss the spot.
Milling machines are often “used on flat, rough, and irregular surfaces and it is completed by place the work piece opposite the rotating milling cutter”. The main essence is to give the woodwork a tasteful outlook and a proper finishing.
That goes a long way in ensuring that the woodwork would meet the taste of the person making the order, and also in ensuring that the final product is “Instagram worthy” and suitable for the outlined purpose.
Most handymen would find a milling machine pretty useful, as they are fantastic for a busy day at work, you can run your wood through the milling machine, saving countless hours which you might have spent doing something profitable or super different. Milling machines come in different shapes and sizes, some of them could be industrial, while the rest are rather understated.
The main purpose of such machines is to support the woodworking grind and make it more worthwhile for people going into it either full-time or part-time. Gear milling, thread milling, angular milling, you name it, milling machines got you strapped for the long run.
Milling Machines that We Love
Jet JMD-18 350018
A tool with a sophisticated outlook, but one of the easiest milling machines to operate by a long shot. The Jet JMD-18 350018 is an excellent tool that merges some of the finest features in your favorite milling machines and gives users a variety that is ever so rare in the woodworking industry.
It has a nice list of features such as the hinged belt cover that allows faster speed changing, there are also heavy-duty tapered roller bearings that are more than useful in supporting the spindle, ensuring that they don’t veer off the track.
Also, the easy-to-read internal depth gauge and a work lamp, are worthy of mention, as no one seems to have the time for long hours of research nowadays.
Understated but not to be underrated, the Proxxon 37110 ticks a lot of woodworking boxes, and the best part is that you’re bound to discover a new feature with every use. This woodworking masterpiece was manufactured for handymen that love their peace, people that move in silence yet don’t sacrifice excellence, and people after the perfect finished project.
The Proxxon 37110 has some of the most unique features in the industry such as its low weight and slim design, which never compromises its performance or any of the things that make a woodworking tool useful.
There’s also the quiet and precise feature that assures gentle scenery as handymen are getting the job done, and last but not least is the stability and adjustability that it guarantees, as you can set Proxxon in motion while doing some other things in your work station.
The Grizzly G4015Z sure lives up to its name, and it has garnered a deserving reputation for being one of the most durable tools in the entire woodworking industry. This standout tool has gotten a lot of plaudits for its efficiency, with the radical part being that, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The Grizzly G4015Z has a set of amazing features which make other milling machines look quite childish in comparison. Such features include the cross slide which perfectly doubles as a mill table making for increased specialization and enviable versatility.
Then there’s the buffing system which serves the purpose either in a quiet home or in a rowdy workplace, the choice being yours. Last but not least is the relatively lightweight of the machine, as it comes in at a ridiculously light 475 pounds which seems like an absolute steal considering the amount of work being done, and that makes for easy movement and enviable portability.
SHOP FOX M1036
This machine is just like the name aptly states, it’s a fox but of the most versatile milling machines in an already over-saturated marketplace. The SHOP FOX M1036 is what you would call excellence in the woodworking industry, as it offers users so many cool options, and is pretty affordable too.
Some features are absolutely out of this realm, things like the dovetail column ways that make for perfect accuracy and leaves hardly any room for mistakes or stories that touch.
Then there’s the push-button motor control that is tailor-made for forward, reverse, tapping and on/off, and any other speed function that you can think of. Then there’s no way we’ll forget the digital spindle scale in metric or inch which turns out to be the finest we’ve seen in the woodworking industry.
Something that we’re pretty sure would make woodworkers and handymen around the country smile in absolute glee.
This milling machine is one of the finest in the market for an array of reasons, asides from the fact that it looks so easy on the eyes, it has a plethora of features that would put a handyman at ease and give a woodworker much-needed flexibility. Such features include the High Precision Tapered Roller Bearings which supports the Spindle quite nicely.
Then there’s the precision and compactness that it assures, meaning that you’ll be getting quality service at an amazing price range.
Last but not least is the machine’s ability to take heavier cuts compared with other machines in this size range. That’s just the tip when it comes to the Precision Matthew PM-727M, and you too can be one of the many handymen that have to fall in love with this tool of excellence.
Milling machines didn’t get the respect they deserved in the past, maybe it was as a result of self-denial, or because experienced woodworkers and handymen were scared that a pesky little machine would take their jobs and render them redundant.
Over the last few years, the story has changed, and some of the fiercest milling machine critics have become their biggest fans, singing praise to a tool that has made woodworking so much fun.
Milling machines bring the hobby to the woodworking industry, there are so many choices nowadays, that it’s becoming a little difficult to pick the right one, but don’t worry, that’s why you got us. The above five milling machines are some of the best the industry has to offer, but if that changes, you’ll be sure to be hearing from us in no time at all.