CNC milling is a popular, highly accurate, fast and productive way of drilling and cutting a wide range of materials. Although it is a form of subtractive manufacturing, there is often little waste thanks to the level of precision they are capable of. They are typically used in a manufacturing environment for high volume production but can also be used by hobbyists and enthusiasts too. Whether you are an established or small business, or even a novice, finding the right CNC machine can involve a little research. We’ve done the hard work for you and put together five of the best CNC mills you can purchase in 2022.
1. The Tomarch PCNC 440
Tormach is a popular brand of CNC milling machine. The 440 is compact in size and according to its spec, it ‘fits almost anywhere’. Its smaller size means it’s ideal for locations like an office, machine shop or even in a garage. This Tomarch model can effectively cut almost any material and is capable of engraving and shaping too with the use of its Poly-V Belt transmission system. Priced between around $4,950 and $6,495 these milling machines are often use for small production runs, prototyping and in education settings.
2. Maslow CNC
Although the Maslow CNC machine is large in comparison to most other cost-effective CNC mills, it is relatively inexpensive at around $500. It’s a powerful machine that is popular for making furniture, models, houses and boats – almost anything – out of affordable materials that are also easy to ship. The Maslow CNC produces large pieces thanks to the Maslow Project Community which focusses on producing large format CNC technology, utilising open-source technology (source code that is freely available to edit for everyone). This also means that other designs are available that can be digitally edited and built on without having to start from scratch – ideal for small business owners.
3. Haas Modular Mini Mill
The Modular Mini Mill from Haas is a high-quality CNC mill often used for small parts machining. It comes with an abundance of features despite its compact size. Although it is not cheap it is one of the least expensive from the Haas brand, which is known for producing professional-grade machinery. The Mini Mill utilises 40-taper performance and offers full size machine features – it’s popular for many reasons including its ease of use and compact footprint. Again, it can be a good option for small businesses and organisations like schools and universities or as a secondary option in workshops.
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4. BobsCNC Evolution 4 Router
Ideal for hobbyists, the BobsCNC 4 Evolution is a more affordable CNC milling machine, usable on either desktop or floor space. Suitable for both experts and beginners, this machine can be moved easily due to its light weight. It is typically used for softer materials like foam, plastics, wood and acrylic materials – unlike mills that are usually used for metal cutting. They are often popular for detailed wood carvings and users find the software they run on simple and easy to use.
5. SainSmart Genmitsu CNC Router 3018-PROVer
The SainSmart is a good choice if you are starting out with CNC engraving, cutting and carving. A desktop machine with an entirely aluminium body, it is ideal for use with softer materials, and thanks to its compact size it has a small footprint and is easy to store. Built on open-source technology Grbl v.i.i, it is capable of operating powerfully, yet smoothly and quietly. Its added Optocouplers protect your mainboard from hard stops, and its stability allows for a wider variety of materials to be milled. The SainSmart Genmitsu can be typically purchased for around $400.
There is an abundance of CNC milling machines available on the market. Although industrial machines can reach tens of thousands of dollars in terms of price bracket, affordable versions still offer some solid features. For more cost-effective machines, ensure you are choosing a product that comes with a specification that meets your wider needs, as well as matching your price objectives. By assessing what your current and future requirements are and pairing these with the features offered on different models, there are lots of options available.