There are plenty of cnc knee mill machines out there. A good cnc knee mill really comes down to the purpose it is going to serve.
Whether it is a new machine, a cnc knee mill conversion or a knee mill cnc retrofit, we have you covered below with our top 10:
1. Bolton Tools Industrial 3-Axis CNC Milling Machine
For a 3 axis cnc machine, this machine is super cheap. Coming in at only $12,000 USD. Similar machines can be up to 4-5 times that amount easy. This machine comes with a solid working table area of 11.8″ x 31.5″.
2. K2 cnc router, cnc milling machines 2514
K2 do some great stuff and are relatively cheap. You should be able to check out this model on Amazon. Coming in at around $3000 USD, it is very cheap, but does not do cnc.
3. Grizzly g0499 10″ x 54″ 3-axis cnc milling machine
Grizzly are a solid brand to go for and have been around for along time. Definitely a trusted mill to go for. Because of it’s cnc capabilities, you are looking at around the$27-30,000 mark for this machine. They have someone that will come out to you and go through the operation of the machine for an extra charge too.
4. Jet 690912 JTM-1050EVS/230 milling machine with 3 axis cnc
Jet is also a well known brand. This machine comes in at just under $40,000 USD. With menu prompted conversational programming and easy to follow software, this is a solid choice for many.
5. Minitech Minimill-4 Cnc benchtop 3 axis milling machine
The 4 series is Minitech’s largest in terms of a benchtop machine. A great option for someone looking for a machine that will not take up extra workshop floor space. Don’t mistake this machine for something that can’t do the job because it is a bench top machine. This machine will be able to offer a solid production experience for a 3 axis machine. Pricing comes in at just under $20,000 USD.
There are also many other add-ons that can be found for this machine, such as an extra axis and different spindles.
How about a Used CNC Knee Mill?
Going the used route can be a great way to save some extra $$.
The problem is location, cnc machines can’t be shipped easily, so you are limited by where you live. If you are one of our US readers, then I highly suggest checking out used machines (see link below).
Otherwise it can be tough to find a good machine to buy used or even to be retrofitted with cnc.
Also think about software upgrades, maintenance and training to use a new/used cnc machine. All this can very easily add up pretty fast.
For used machines, check out our previous recommendations here.
Knee mill cnc conversion – Convert it or let it die?
Another way forward is doing a conversion by yourself. Here are some steps:
1.) Set a budget – around 10k is a good start to possibly help a mill such as a bridgeport cnc knee mill to convert to a 3 axis cnc mill.
2.) Define what you want it for: This will help you decide the tooling that may be needed. It will also help you figure out just how much power you might need.
For an auto part maker, a 2 or 3hp model works well. For cutting tougher materials such as thick Carbon Fiber for the marine industry, you will need more power.
3.) Define what you want the machine to do. Do you want it to just do regular milling on 3 axis, or do you require a fancier 5 axis retrofit or special turn types.
Remember that with a 3 axis machine, calibration and the right clamps/ vises, you could definitely shift a part around to get the job done (more time wasted, but may save you on a 5 axis machine set-up). I have seen this done successfully before.
4.) Look at the knee mill cnc condition. Is it even worth a retrofit? Some models are hard to do this worth and may break down soon.
If this is a machine that you have owned personally for a long time, then you know the history. But buying a machine especially for a retrofit can be bad news, as it may break down shortly after paying a lot of money to retrofit it.
Good luck in finding or retrofitting your dream cnc knee mill machine!