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CNC Milling Machine Basics - The Beginner's Guide

Are you looking forward to DIY CNC milling machine plans or coming up with an idea to buy affordable CNC mills? Review the 2021 buyer's guide for CNC millers, machinists, operators and beginners, we'll offer you the best CNC mills of 2021 with custom CNC milling service to fit your projects, ideas and plans.

What is a CNC Milling Machine?

CNC milling machine is a power milling machine with CNC (Computer Numerical Controlled) controller, which is used to mill 2D/3D shapes or patterns on various materials. CNC milling is a CNC machining method similar to both carving and cutting, and able to achieve many of the operations performed by cutting and carving machines. Like carving, milling uses a rotating cylindrical tool. However, the tool in a CNC mill is able to move along multiple axis, and can create a variety of shapes, slots and holes. In addition, the workpiece is often moved across the milling tool in different directions.

How Does a CNC Milling Machine Work?

CNC milling machines are the most common type of CNC machine. Typically, they are grouped by the number of axis on which they operate, which are labeled with various letters. X and Y designate horizontal movement of the work-piece (forward-and-back and side-to-side on a flat plane). Z represents vertical, or up-and-down, movement, while W represents diagonal movement across a vertical plane. Most machines offer from 3 to 5 axis, providing performance along at least the X, Y and Z axis. Advanced milling machines, such as 5 axis CNC mills, require CNC programming for optimal performance due to the incredibly complex geometries involved in the milling process. These devices are extremely useful because they are able to produce shapes that would be nearly impossible using manual tooling methods. CNC mills also integrate a machine tool for cutting fluid pump to the CNC tool during machining.

Computer numerical controlled mills are used to generate a variety of components, and tooling costs involved have continued to become more affordable. Generally, large manufacturing runs requiring relatively simple designs are better served by other methods, although CNC machining can now accommodate a wide range of manufacturing needs. CNC mills are ideal solutions to everything ranging from prototyping and short-run production of complex parts to the fabrication of unique precision components.

Basically etch material that can be sculpted or cut can be machined by a CNC mill, although a lot of the work done is performed in metal. As with carving and cutting, the right mills must be selected for every type of material in order to avert possible issues. The hardness of the work-piece material, as well as the rotation of the mill must all be factored before start the milling.

How Many Types of CNC Mills?

CNC mills are commonly classified as being vertical or horizontal to indicate the axis of the spindle. These machines are also classified as ram types, knee types, planer types, and manufacturing or bed types. Most CNC mills have complete CNC controller, variable spindles, electric drive motors, coolant systems, and poweroperated table feeds. CNC milling machines are also known as CNC mill, CNC machining center, CNC milling center, CNC molding machine. CNC mills are divided into home CNC mills, small CNC mills, mini CNC mills, desktop CNC mills, tabletop CNC mills, hobby CNC mills, 5 axis CNC mills, large format CNC mills.

What is a CNC Mill Used For?

CNC mills are suitable for carving, milling, cutting and drilling most materials, including copper, aluminum, steel, iron, brass, wood, foam, and plastics. It is widely used in injection mould, ironware mould, metal molds, shoe mold, drop mold, clock parts, zinc electrodes, copper electrodes, automotive, metal electrodes, metal crafts, jade, metal arts, jewelry, dental crown, and other molding industries. It is especially designed for batch milling molds, watch, eyeglasses, panel, brand, badge, outside surface's sleeking, three-dimensional graphics and words, It’s easy for this mill to form 2D or 3D relieves on a wide range of materials.

How Much Does a CNC Milling Machine Cost?

CNC milling machines with different configurations and specifications have different costs. Machines from different brands have different service and support, which will lead to different price.

CNC mills from different countries have different different customs, tax rates, different shipping costs. All of these factors will result in the final price.

You will get a price range of $3,000.00 to $120,000.00 from STYLECNC.

If you want to buy a cheap CNC mill overseas, and get the final price, please contact us to get a free quotation, we'll calculate the final price of your required mill.

Technical Parameters

Control SystemNC Studio, SYNTEC
DriverYaskawa Servo Motor, Stepper Motor
Capability2D Milling, 3D Milling
Milling Speed6000 mm/min
Price Range$3,000.00 - $120,000.00

What are the Features of CNC Mills?

With the rapid development of the processing industry, CNC mills play an increasingly important role, so what are its features?

High Reliability

As the integration density of the summary line is increased, the hard connection of the components of the numerical control and the driving device is reduced, and the welding points, the connection points and the exterior are continuously reduced, thereby greatly reducing the failure rate.

Strong Flexibility

Since the CNC system hardware is universal and standardized, for the control requirements of different machine tools, it is only necessary to change the system control program in the programmable read-only memory. At the same time, due to the modular structure, it is also convenient for the expansion of system functions.

Strong Adaptability

The adaptive part, so-called flexibility, is the adaptability of the exponentially controlled machine tool to change with the production object. Product processing is carried out on CNC equipment. When the product changes, only the input program of the CNC equipment can be changed to meet the production needs of the new product. There is no need to change the hardware of the mechanical part and the control part, and the production process is automatically completed . This feature not only satisfies the market competition needs for fast product updates, but also solves the problem of automated production of single-piece, small-batch, and variable products. Strong adaptability is the most prominent advantage of CNC equipment, and it is also the main reason for the emergence and rapid development of CNC equipment.


After the use of VLSI, the size of the CNC cabinet is reduced, the programmable interface is used, and the logic circuits of S, M, T (spindle transfer control, auxiliary function and tool parameters) and other sequential control parts are combined with the Nc device. Therefore, all the control boxes are entered into the machine, which reduces the floor space and facilitates the management of the equipment.


1. Clean up the work site every day to ensure that the equipment, spindle motor, work surface, and control cabinet are clean;

2. Every day, pay attention to whether the circulation of the spindle cooling water is smooth, whether the power supply of the water pump is connected, little cooling water, no water, or high water temperature can cause damage to the spindle motor.

3. The continuous running time of the engraving machine is less than 10 hours a day to ensure the cleanliness of the cooling water and the normal operation of the water pump. The water-cooled spindle motor must not be lacking in water. Replace the cooling water regularly to prevent excessive water temperature.

4. The chuck and fastening nut of the spindle motor should also be cleaned every day.

5. Every time the engraving machine is used, pay attention to cleaning up. Be sure to clean up the dust on the platform and transmission system. Regularly (weekly) the bearings, guide rails, gears and precision gears of the transmission system X, Y, Z axis transmission Strips, and add lubricating oil (butter). When adding lubricating oil, if the lubricating oil can be evenly distributed on the transmission parts, the service life of the equipment can be prolonged.

6. If the engraving machine is not in use for a long time, it should be refueled and run regularly (weekly) to ensure the flexibility of the transmission system.

7. The engraving machine regularly cleans the dust in the electrical box (according to the usage), checks whether the terminal screws are loose, and check whether the screws of the various parts of the machine are loose. To ensure the safe and reliable use of the circuit.

8. Check the working conditions of the CPU fan and power supply fan in the control computer, check whether there is a virus, and check whether the contact with the USB cable is firm.


1. Spindle motor failure: It will cause different engraving depths.

2. The spindle and the table are not perpendicular to the table and need to be corrected (symptoms: the depth of the cutting and closing positions is different): It will cause the milling machine to fail.

3. Troubles for spindle stalling: 

3.1. Short circuit inside the spindle; 

3.2. Current shielding; 

3.3. The inverter parameter setting is wrong or its own fault; 

3.4. The control card is faulty; 

3.5. The main shaft line or the data line is short-circuited.

4. Problems for abnormal sound of spindle rotation: 

4.1. The inverter is set incorrectly; 

4.2. The spindle does not rotate; 

4.3. There is a problem with the spindle itself (damaged bearing).

5. Troubles for the spindle to rotate automatically or fail to stop: 

5.1. The control card is faulty; 

5.2. The inverter is faulty.

6. Problems why the spindle motor does not rotate or reverse: 

6.1. Check the parameter settings of the inverter; 

6.2. Whether the signal wire of the inverter is connected reversely.

7. Troubles for the sudden stop or slow rotation of the spindle motor during the working process: 

7.1. The working voltage is unstable or overloaded, just add a voltage stabilizer; 

7.2. Check whether the middle line is connected well and whether the end of the line is unsoldered.

Solving the problems according to the causes of these failures can restore the normal operation of the CNC mill.

CNC Milling Machines for Sale

(4 Items)

Full Automatic CNC Milling Machine for Mold Making


$9000.00 - $18500.00

CNC milling machine is used for mold making and 3D milling works, including metal molds, clock parts, drop molding, copper electrodes, zinc electrodes, metal electrodes, shoe molds, metal arts & crafts, jewelry and other molds making, the CNC mill can make 2D or 3D relief on various materials.

Small Desktop CNC Milling Machine for Sale


$3000.00 - $4000.00

Small desktop CNC milling machine is used for deep milling on metal, such as aluminum, brass, copper and other soft metal materials. Now the best desktop CNC mill for sale at cost price.

Cheap CNC Milling Machine for Home Use


$6200.00 - $10000.00

Cheap CNC milling machine for home use is designed for home shop and home business for iron, copper, aluminum, stainless steel, mould steel, MDF sheets, PMMA, PVC Sheet, ABS sheet, KT sheet, timber, gemstone, marble. Now the affordable home CNC mill machine for sale at cheap price.

Small 5 Axis CNC Machining Center for 3D Woodworking


$80000.00 - $90000.00

Small 5 axis CNC machining center is an entry-level five-axis CNC router machine with HSD spindle, which is widely used in 3D woodworking, mold making, 3D cutting and 3D carving. Now the small five axis CNC machining center for sale at affordable price.

Hobby CNC Mill for Metal Milling, Engraving and Drilling


$6000.00 - $6500.00

Hobby CNC milling machine is used to mill, engrave, cut and drill on soft metal materials including brass, copper, aluminum, iron, etc. Now the small hobby CNC mill for sale at cost price.

Mini 5 Axis CNC Milling Machine for 3D Modeling & Cutting


$90000.00 - $120000.00

Mini 5 axis CNC milling machine with double tables is designed for 3D cutting, 3D mold making, and 3D modeling, such as wood mold making, foam mold making, automotive models, metal mold making, building models. Now the small 5 axis CNC milling machine for sale at affordable price.

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