Let’s get this straight! CNC milling has always been a fundamental activity, which was never an easy task to perform.
Back in the early days, it took time and patience to mill these circuit boards and had to be outsourced mainly. But as technological developments took place, this process has been simplified and can practically be done by anyone.
But you might be wondering, “wow, there’s a wide variety of options to choose from, so many different features and components, what do I choose from?”
Well, fear not as we’ve tracked down the best CNC milling machines that are exceptional value for money and can make your job a whole lot easier.
Things to Consider Before Buying
These machines tend to be quite meticulous. All the tech talk behind it might confuse the average consumer. So, to put things into simpler terms, here’s a list of things to consider before buying a CNC milling machine for home shop or commercial business.
During the milling process, substantial space is required so that the job is done smoothly and successfully. If a machine has inadequate space to work with, it’ll not only be difficult and time-consuming, most of the times, you won’t even be able to finish your job. So, it’s best to look out for the work area of each machine.
The Synergy Between Software and Hardware
If the internals of the machine do not match up with the externals, or vice versa, that machine has failed to meet its purpose. As such, it is essential to read through whether or not the hardware is adequate to meet the demands of the software. Make sure the software is updated to support more intricate carvings.
Since its main purpose is to make high-quality circuit boards, the grooves that it embeds the stainless-steel sheet with must be extremely precise. If it isn’t, the connections might not align properly, which makes the whole point of the machine quite redundant.
So, having a machine made with high-quality materials that are able to perform crucial and intricate grooves are a must-have.
4 Best CNC Milling Machine Reviews
As mentioned previously, we have experimented with countless CNC milling machines and have narrowed down the list for the top models that you can currently buy in the market.
1. Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO Router Kit
If you are in the market for versatility, then look no further. This device provides stellar cutting capabilities. Showing no restraints to materials such as any type of plastic, wood, soft aluminum, acrylics, PVCs, and PCBs.
It has quite the power to back it up with a very affordable price making it one of the best budget CNC milling machines for small business.
Safety measures for high maintenance machines are a must-have, and the 3018-PRO makes no exceptions. It provides one of the most premium power adapters out there, which has been CE/FCC/UL approved. This helps with the overall stability of the machine whilst increasing usage hours by a greater margin without a fall in performance.
It also boasts a hefty 300 x 180 x 45mm cutting area, which is considerably larger than most in its price range and affordability. This gives you ample space to work on high-end engraving jobs with ease. The in-built CNC machine works quite smoothly as well.
Moreover, the harmony between the integrated hardware and software is so flawless that even beginners would be able to control it with a bit of practice. Especially, the software which uses GRBL allows high performance and greater flexibility. This makes it an excellent buy for both professionals and newcomers.
- Simple assembly
- Harmony between software and hardware
- It uses GRBL
- CE/FCC/UL approved
- Premium power adapter for stability and longer usage
- Software still requires updates and improvements
- Z-axis issues
2. MYSWEETY Updated CNC 3018 Pro 3 Axis
Rolling in with the highest-end specs out there, we have the updated CNC 3018 PRO. This machine is also capable of producing high-quality results, which can be operated by beginners with a little bit of practice. And this updated version comes with a whole set of features exclusive to it as well.
A working area of 30 x 180 x 4.5 mm is decent enough for most users taking on any level of project. It generates enough power to engrave practically any material normally used for engraving such as plastics, aluminum sheets, wood, PVCs, and PCBs.
Mysweety focused on convenience and portability; utilizing light yet durable material with a compact design. And this results in easy setup and effortless movement. Additionally, with its innovative take with the offline controller, operating this device has been extremely simplified.
With the offline controller, you get three significant advantages. Firstly, you don’t need to connect it to a computer, thus skipping an extra step. Secondly, you don’t need to download any major files considering the one needed is already on it. And lastly, you can manually adjust the X Y Z axis for better precision.
It is also equipped with a high-end 775 spindle motor that spins at 10,000 RPMs. This allows for greater precision like never before, allowing cleaner grooves, which ultimately greatly increases the capacity of the circuit board.
- 775 spindle motor
- Ample working space
- Perfect for beginners
- Lightweight form factor
- Offline control for multiple uses
- Offline control is not always reliable
3. Mcwdoit Upgrade Version CNC 3018 Pro
Looking around for the best all-rounder? A CNC milling machine that can do it all? Then look no further. Extremely versatile and user-friendly, this machine has an aura that will draw you closer to it with its peak performance abilities.
It can be up and running within 20 minutes of receiving the product. That just goes to show how easy the set-up is.
Let’s mention some of the many impressive features, shall we? Starting off with its incredible fixed heat sink and effective external fan, it cools down your machine in an instant. The sturdy casing boosts its longevity and durability.
It even comes with a self-contained short circuit system for added protection. Needless to say, you don’t have to worry about this device dying on you when you need it.
This, too, can be operated with an offline controller, having numerous uses to it. The main ones being; it can be used without connecting to a computer. That’s because it has a built-in SD card reader which you can upgrade from its base 125-megabyte capacity to 1 gigabyte.
It also allows you to modify G-code or NC files as you see fit. Moreover, you can manually adjust the engraving starting point on the X, Y, and Z axis for great depth and control.
The device, in general, is extremely versatile in many ways. You will be able to engrave wood, plastic, acrylic, PCB & CCL, softer metals such as copper, aluminum, and other materials of that type.
- Easy user interface
- Offline control for various uses
- Extra safety precautions are taken
- Wide application of materials to use on
- Perfect for beginners
- Has difficulty with harder materials such as jade
4. SainSmart Genmitsu CNC Router Machine 3018-MX3
Ever wondered what it’s like to harness the power of Mach at the palm of your hands? Well, with this nifty yet powerful machine, you’ll be able to do so. Having perfect control is always desirable but it can’t ever be completely achieved.
However, with Mach3 control, you’ll be able to maneuver the CNC router similar to a professional. It also functions like other programs, in the sense that it will import DXF files, while generating G-Code, and is fully customizable.
Although this machine exudes immense power, safety has also been prioritized. With the support of 5mm acrylic railing for protection on both sides of the device, you are able to easily analyze the etching process without worrying about shrapnel getting launched at you.
Furthermore, to emphasize safety matters, each axis has been equipped with a limit switch. This switch allows you to stop the spindle tool from leaving the engraving area. As such, you won’t have to waste your time repositioning the tool again.
But all this safety take doesn’t compromise your ability to create the best boards. This heavy-duty machine has plenty of space on its building platform to deal with larger pieces. The build allows it to handle heavy material as well.
Sometimes, placing your tools in the right position takes ages, and having them there can either make or break the quality of your circuit board. So, the SainSmart unit has an automatic tool setting function that lets you position your tools quickly with just a press of a button.
- Mach3 control for extreme precision
- 5mm acrylic baffles for easy view of the engraving process
- An ideal workspace that can take heavier materials
- Automatic tool setting function
- As large as an inkjet printer, perfect for a desk
- May take practice to use
Frequently Asked Question
1. What is CNC?
Computer Numerical Control, otherwise known as CNC, is a system that controls tools through a computer.
2. Is a CNC milling machine precise?
Absolutely. Since these machines are automated, they will work as precisely as the code instructs them to.
3. What is a CNC machine?
A CNC or Computer Numerical Control machine is a tool that is operated by the computer under certain orders like programs. This, combined with a high precision tool, makes calculated movements that make grooves into the circuit board.
4. Do I need to know programming to use this?
Not necessarily. However, for the best results, we highly recommend you learn a bit of G-code. This will allow you to engrave exactly what you want since you’ll be able to create a custom code.
5. Do I always have to set them up with a Desktop?
Many units come with built in storage systems. As such, those devices don’t require desktop support 24/7. You’ll still need to use it with a desktop computer every now and then.
6. Should I get a laser module?
If you are a seasoned enthusiast, a laser module can help you explore yourself more creatively. So, you should in that case. However, a beginner won’t get much use out of it.
It’s not easy to get into CNC milling. You’ll need to build up a lot of expertise as you continue to use this device for years.
So, now that you’ve went through our guide and explored various manufacturers, you’re ready to find the machine that will stand by you throughout this journey. Whether you are a veteran or a beginner, you’ll want to get your hands on the best CNC milling machines out there.
As such, our reviews and the guide will help you to carefully pick out the one that suits you best!