Are you looking for a new mini cnc milling machine? Well t here are many places out there where you can get a smaller cnc machine to get your smaller projects done.
This article will give you all the information you need on what the best mini cnc milling machine is, what you need to know when buying one and where you can go to get the best mini cnc machine for your specific project needs. So let’s get started:
What should you look for in a cnc mini milling machine?
Well there are seven areas that you should focus on when buying:
1. Mill Frame
The mill frame is split up into different things. First of all, you have the material. This will determine how strong the machine is. Aluminum is the common material used these days in mini milling machines. You will also be looking at the overall size to see where the machine will fit in your workshop.
The most important thing to look at is the X, Y, Z axis travel distances. This is normally listed in both inches and millimeters. This will determine the limitations of the machine in terms of what it can really cut. Distances from 5″ upwards to 25″ is common depending on the axis.
The other thing that is important to look at is the table size. This will determine how big your objects can be that you want to be milled on the machine. Remember that some of this table size will be used as a hold down provision for clamping or screwing things down.
Choosing the spindle for your mini cnc machine is important, but if you are buying a full pre-built machine, then this would normally be pre-determined. The big things to look for here is the motor, speed and maximum output power.
Look at the minimum and the maximum rpm speeds to determine just how fast the spindle will spin. A larger range means you are able to have more cutting power. Of course, it really depends on what you are cutting. After a certain point, there will be diminishing returns. For mini cnc milling machines, this can range from 70 to well over 60,000 rpm. Talk to the cnc manufacturer to see what will best suit your project needs.
Maximum output power does not matter too much, but usually range from as low as 125 watts to 350 watts.
Accuracy of the spindle is also important to look at. But nowadays the accuracy levels are so good, it should not be too much of an issue, unless you were doing a lot of precision cnc machining. In this case, get something that will suit the margins you need for your cnc work.
3. Rotary Axis
A rotary axis rotates the material on the bed as well. This can be a 4 axis or 5 axis rotary axis. Adding a 5 axis spindle adds significantly to the cost of the overall cnc machine, but is well worth it if you need to mill complex shapes. You can get away with no rotary axis if you just want to stick to 3 axis cnc machining.
You will need to look at how you will be holding the work onto the cnc machine. To save money, you could use existing clamps in your workshop, or screw/ glue your work onto a board and clamp it down. If this is possible, getting a vise with a good jaw width and depth is the way to go. This will allow you to clamp things onto the machine securely for milling.
There are some really useful workholding vises out there, so be sure to look into this option if you need something to hold smaller or even larger objects.
This connects to your computer. Check to see what software and operating system you will need for your own computer first. Sometimes controllers come with a pre-configured computer to make things easier, which may be worth paying extra for.
This is where you may consider extra things such as extra milling parts, tooling and even an enclosure. It all depends on the scope of your project. An enclosure can be handy if you are cutting dangerous parts or need something to stop loose material from flying everywhere. Consider getting some extra accessories at the time the mini cnc milling machine is for sale to see if you can get some sort of discount.
Getting the right software package is curcial. This is where you should spend a lot of time researching to see just what will suit your project needs.
Some are geared more towards rapid prototyping, hobby or more general machining markets. I recommend getting something that generates the tool-path. That way you can calculate how long a job will take and how the machine will mill your material in a virtual environment. Sometimes it will take a big chunk out of the material, so you will need to preview how it will mill before you actually commit the cnc machine to milling your expensive material.
Also, if you are using a 4 or 5 axis cnc machine, you will need software that will work for these extra axis.
The other big thing to think about is getting software that is somewhat future-proof. The last thing you need is software to get outdated and become incompatible with other new file formats coming onto the market. See how much it would cost for future upgrades before purchasing. Also look at licensing. See if you need to purchase multiple licenses to install on different machines, or if it will only just install on one machine.
What is the best mini cnc milling machine?
A mini milling machine cnc is something that is really dependent on what the project scope is. Getting a mini desktop cnc machine can be hard, but if you follow the above tips, you should be able to get something tailored to your specific project needs. Of course, there are always some better brands out there where you can get started. I recommend checking out these mini cnc milling machine manufacturers and sellers:
Minitech Machinery – These guys let you choose all the different parts to build the best machine for your needs. You should be able to find a good mini desktop cnc machine here.
CNC Masters – These guys have a big range of different cnc machines and include some really good milling machines to choose from.
Sherline – This company is based in America and offer a solid range of machines to help you find the right cnc mini router machine for your project needs.
Taig Tools – Also based in America, has a small, but good range of micro mills and lathes. They have an older style website but have been around for a long time.
Shop Fox – Shop Fox has a huge range of cnc milling machines and lathes. You may be able to find the right table top cnc mill there too.
Remember that every project is different, so make sure you look into the above points to help you decide what you need. Go check out the recommended manufacturers to see what they may be able to offer you. Good luck in finding the right mini cnc machine for your next project.