Last Updated on March 1, 2023 by Charles Wilson
Having a decent combination lathe or lathe mill combo in your shop opens up a lot of opportunities. Well, that’s if you’re well-trained in using the machine.
Lathe Mills are also a synonym for ‘Mother of Machine Tools’ that can do pretty much anything. A lot of machinists frown over the fact that every time they’re working on a project, they need to switch between a number of devices. It kills time and causes a lot of fatigue.
If you forget to make some minor adjustments, then, you have to set up the other machine from scratch. This process is troublesome and boring. Also, this whole change between machines rips the joy out of creating something meaningful and precise.
To solve this problem, you can treat yourself to some of the best lathe mill combo machines. This multi-purpose wonder will save you time, space and energy. It’s a complex machine, yes. But to be the best you have to conquer the worst (read best).
It’s needless to say, a lathe mill combo is one of the best benchtop tools that a craftsman can have. Using this, take your work to a whole another level without sacrificing too much floor space.
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Top-Rated Lathe Mill Combos You Can Find!
Given the fact that they’re complex, it’s even harder to pick one. There are several things that you need to consider before you’re even going to buy one. Hence, I have listed six combination lathes for the money that you should definitely check out.
Here, I will discuss their features as well as their flaws. Also, in the end, I have included a humble buyer’s guide which hopefully will assist to find and buy one for your own workshop.
So, without further ado, let’s begin.
1. Shop Fox M1018 Combo Lathe/Mill
- Motor: 3/4 HP, 110V, single-phase
- Lathe spindle speeds: 7 @ 160, 300, 375, 470, 600, 870, 1360 RPM
- Mill spindle speeds: 14 @ 117, 150, 220, 276, 290, 345, 360, 440, 450, 575, 640, 836, 1000, 1300 RPM
- Swing over bed: 16-1/2″
- Lathe swing over saddle: 11-1/2″ and Mill swing: 12″
- Lathe spindle taper: MT#3
- Mill spindle travel: 3-1/2″
- Spindle bore: 3/4″
- Drawbar thread: 3/8″-16 , Thread range (inch): 27 @ 8-120 TPI , Thread range (metric): 18 @ 0.2-3.0mm
- weight: 478 lbs.
- Warranty: 5 years
This one is built to shoulder your heavy-duty tasks. Yes, the M1018 Combo Lathe/ Mill from Shop fox is a perfect benchtop lathe mill combo that you can bless yourself with. Being more than capable, it carries out jobs like turning, cutting threads, drilling and milling with ease.
We all love to work with freedom and less restraint. As it so happens when you’re working on a very intricate project, well… any time you’re working with a lathe, it’s always intricate and complex. In this case, the design of the machine doesn’t always let us move the workpiece or so to speak ‘us.’
You’ll be glad to find that the M1018 Combo Lathe/Mill features a 16-1/2″ swing over bed. Now, what does it mean? In short, it means the largest diameter of the workpiece that you can mount without striking the bed.
As you can imagine, a 16-1/2″ swing over the bed will cause less hassle while operating the machine. It also offers a bit of breathing space while you rotate your working element. This, however, doesn’t indicate the diameter of the workpiece that can be machined.
A bit confused? Let me clear that up right away. The term for the largest diameter that can be machined is called Swing over cross slide or Swing over the saddle. In this case, The M1018 offers an 11-1/2″ swing over the saddle.
Not to mention the distance between centers is 19-3/16″. If you ask me, this is fairly enough for you to carry out any task. Also, it has 3/4″ spindle bore and MT #3 tapers. In short, these numbers indicate the fact that you can use this lathe mill combo to finish any heavy projects without any hindrance.
We all love our machines a bit more if it has automatic features. Kindly bear with me when I say otherwise. Now, to some extent, automatic features are good. But I believe you know it in your hearts too that, to achieve precise results, you can’t always rely on automaticity.
That is exactly the reason why the Shop Fox M1018 has decent manual carriage controls. There is a longitudinal hand crank that lets you manually move the carriage along the lead screw in the same manner as the power feed.
You’ll also find a graduated dial on the hand crankshaft. It moves on its own from the hand crank and can be ‘zeroed’ when the cutting tool touches the workpiece. The benefit of this feature is that it will help you to keep track of the location and movement of the tool.
In addition, there’s also a manual cross slide hand-wheel with a graduated dial and a compound slide. Using this you can set the tool to advance to the workpiece at an angle and even move linearly along that very angle. Precise and clever, right?
One of the main perks of this machine is its amazing tool post. It can hold up to four half-inch tools. You can save a chunk of your valuable time as you can have multiple tools installed here. All you have to do is loosen the locked liver and move on to the tool that you want to work with. Simple as that.
Also, the manufacturer added a spring-loaded catch here. Using this, you can easily rotate the turret 90-degrees at a time. You will find this maneuver extremely smooth. On another note, if you’re already happy with the tool post’s position and you don’t want it to move, then you can simply lock down the lever.
This whole tool post makes changing between parts a lot easier and certainly not a nuance. This is one of the best combination lathes for a reason. Your work will get better and the workflow will be faster.
Moving on to the speeds… the M1018 from Shop Fox offers FOURTEEN different speeds for all your mill/drill needs that range from 117 to 1300 RPM. In terms of lathe speeds, it also doesn’t disappoint. As a matter of fact, it has seven variable speeds that range from 160 to 1360 RPM.
As for the motor, it has 3/4 horsepower, which is pretty decent for a benchtop combo lathe/mill. This, however, is a single-phase motor. Being one, it costs less and requires very little maintenance. By chance, if there happens to be any trouble with the motor, you can fix them in a whip.
Overall, this is a fine machine. It hardly has any complaints from the customers since it’s made with great professionalism. It comes with a decent two-year guarantee and can serve all the needs of any professional or hobbyist out there. For me, this has to be one of the best lathe mill combos that I’ve seen.
2. Grizzly G9729 Combo Lathe/Mill
- Swing over bed: 16-1/2″,
- Swing over cross slide: 11-1/2″,
- Distance between centers: 31″
- Number of speeds: 7 lathe / 16 mill/drill, Lathe speed range: 175-1425 RPM, Mill/drill speed range: 120-1500 RPM
- Spindle: 4-bolt intrinsic, Spindle nose taper: MT #4, Spindle bore: 1-1/8″
- Spindle to work table: 12″, Spindle travel (drill): 4-5/16″, Spindle taper (drill): MT #3
- Four-position turret tool post
- Range of threads (inches): 4-120 TPI
- Range of threads (metric): 0.75-6.0mm
- Motor size (single-phase 110V): 3/4 H.P.
- Features: Forward / reverse switch, Built-in milling table with T-slots, Two separate motors, Power longitudinal feed, Power crossfeed, Magnetic switch, Four-position turret tool post, Steady and follow rest, Tailstock offsets 1/2″, Threading dial
- Standard Accessories: 5″ 3-jaw chuck, 1/2″ drill chuck, MT #3 chuck arbor 3/8″ x 16 TPI, 2 dead centres, Change gears, Steady rest, Follow rest, 9″ faceplate
- Weight: 692 lbs
When it comes to making an awesome Combination of Lathe and milling machine, Grizzly doesn’t mess around. The G9729 is a prime example of that statement.
If you want to up your game, why not consider this machine? It has a massive 31” between centers and 16-1/2″ swing. It is packed with features, built to last, and offers precise results.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into this beast and discover what it has to offer…
To begin, let’s start with the work capacity. As I already mentioned, it has a huge 31″ between centers and 16-1/2″ swing. That means this is twice as big as Shop Fox’s M1018. But again, the M1018 is a benchtop lathe/mill combo.
If you crave a bigger workspace, this is the combo lathe/mill that you should go for. You can easily imagine yourself fitting large workpieces onto this machine. They won’t put up much of a fight and also, you’ll find a lot of space to move around freely around the machine.
Speaking of the largest diameter of the workpiece, you can mount an element up to an 11-1/2″, this is known as the swing over cross slide. An interesting fact is that the Shop Fox M1018 offers exactly the same number as this combo lathe/mill from Grizzly.
Moving on, it has a nice 4-bolt intrinsic spindle and an MT# 4 nose taper. A gentle reminder: The M1018 has an MT #3 type taper. While it’s a win for Grizzly, it also has a 1-1/8″ spindle bore.
Speaking of spindle bore, you need to remember that, it’s one of the parts that you can’t change or upgrade. The size is the size and it will never expand. If the size of the spindle bore is too small, you’ll not be able to some of the works. But rest assured the 1-1/8″ spindle bore should do the trick for you.
The 3/8″ x 16 TPI drawbar holds the toolholder firmly on the machine and applies force to the spindle, especially when spinning at low speeds. Also, there’s a 4-way turret tool post that will make working with this machine a smooth experience. Change between the tools in a flash and speed up your work process.
Let’s talk about the built-in milling table. It comes with a decent 7/16″ T-slots. It is also spaced 3.54″ (90mm) apart on centers T-slots. The machine also has steady rest and follow rest. It plays an important role in keeping the workpiece steady during turning, especially if it’s long.
Some of the best lathe mill combo machines don’t have that, can you imagine?
At this time, you can’t think of a lathe/mill combo without variable speed. The Grizzly G9729 has plenty. It has SIXTEEN (two more than Shop Fox M1018) mill spindle speeds that range from 120-1500 RPM. As for lathe spindle speed, it has seven ranging from 175-1425 RPM.
This combo lathe/mill is powered by the same single phase 3/4 horsepower motor as the Shop Fox’s machine. Still, it offers plenty of power to work efficiently.
Grizzly is a well-renowned brand and this particular G9729 combo lathe/mill stands tall under the reputation that this company has. It is well-built, has tons of useful features. Apart from the fact that you can’t use it out of the crate, there’s nothing much to be concerned about.
Overall, it’s a nice and capable combo lathe/mill machine that will perform its duties with precision. So, it is safe to say that, you can definitely consider this if you’re thinking of upgrading or taking your mechanistic ability to the next level.
3. Proxxon 34104 Mill/Drill Head – Best Bang for Your Buck!
- 110 – 120V, 60Hz, 140W (0.1877hp)
- Speeds 280 – 550 – 870 – 1,200 – 1,500 and 2,200rpm
- Functions as a compound table
- Travel being longitudinal with X-Y and cross-wise respectively
- Included Three collets. Sizes : 15/64″ – 5/16″ and 25/64″ (6, 8, 10mm)
- The table is 4 5/16″ x 2 3/4″ (110 x 70mm) and has 3-T slots that are 15/32″ x 15/64″ x 15/64″ (12 x 6 x 6mm)
- Dimensions : 13.39 x 9.84 x 8.66 inches
- Weight : 17.75 lbs
- Warranty” 2 Years
Now, there’s a reason for me to put this little Proxxon product at high up my list. Yup, the subhead tells it all. It’s the best when it comes to putting your money to good use. This thing is essentially a drill head that converts your run-of-the-mill lathe machines into beasts.
One good thing about this drill head is that it comes with a wide range of mounting brackets. People can set this thing up wherever it’s more convenient to them. If you’re using a PD250/E lathe to go with this thing, these bolts and brackets are the perfect fit.
Trust me, you won’t have to spend a dime to get the items.
Get creative enough and you can even use this lathe head as a table as well. A bit small to my liking. Yet, 110mm X 70mm is no joke. Gunsmiths will find the small table easily maneuverable and movable. At this price, you’ll hardly find a product more suitable than this.
If you’ve been using Proxxon 674104’s predecessor up until now, rejoice a bit. This “Upgrade” allows metal and woodworkers to use it for small objects. You can move the collets horizontally and vertically. If it sounds like a “Compound” table, it is! Individual collets are of 6, 8, and 10mm respectively.
However, collets don’t solely makeup mill lathe combo. Of course, you’ll need additional accessories.
Hey, it’ll save you some bucks. Ultimately, every piece of accessory (more on this a bit later) will be covered within the budget. Don’t worry about it the slightest.
Go a bit deeper and you’ll find variable speeds. Yup. This little machine can operate at variable speeds. In terms of RPM, the speed ranges from 280 to 2200 RPMs. Yes, people can either go “Very Delicate” with this machine or “Super-Fast.” In total, you have six-speed levels at your disposal.
Case and point: You can polish metal or wood or even go grinding if you choose. With no additional costs, I must add. However, things don’t end there.
Apparently, people can run this thing in variable conditions. I mean, it’s dual-voltage supported. Be it inside the US or in Europe… it won’t cause your electric circuitry to go “Boom” anytime soon.
Proxxon’s Lathe Head has promises, sure. It also has some concerns. For instance, the bolts you see within the machinery, prove to be short (sometimes too short) to hold the parts in place. You might have to buy new ones for the job.
The drill chuck you see might not work with different bit sizes. You’ll have to buy a universal drill chuck I’m afraid. Yup, a bummer… I know.
Check my recommended Lathe chucks and see some of the best options.
4. Hengwei Desktop Mini Lathe Drilling and Milling Machine
- Maximum workpiece turning: 125mm
- Max length of the piece: 180 mm
- Turning diameter on the tool holder: 60mm
- Spindle through the hole diameter: 9mm , Spindle cone: MT.1
- Spindle speed range: 560-2500 rpm Level 5 , Spindle speed range: 500-2500 rpm 10 levels
- Number of treated metric threads: 8 , Metric thread processing range: 0.4-1.5mm , Inch thread range processing: 0.0028-0.0055 1 / n ”
- Longitudinal feed level: 2
- Longitudinal feed for spindle mandrel: 0.07-0.14 mm
- Tailstock travel: 18mm , Tailstock cone: MT.1
- Maximum drilling diameter: 6 mm
- Distance from the end face of the spindle to the work surface: 120-180 millimeters , Distance from central spindle to column area: 125 mm
- Drilling and milling head rotation angle: 360 °
- Drilling and milling vertical lifting head stroke: 60 mm
- Working surface width: 60mm , T-slot work bench width: 8mm
- Working surface length: 85mm
- Spindle sleeve movement quantity: 40mm
This desktop mini-lathe drilling and milling machine from Hengwei is a newcomer. Now, why would you consider something like this? Fair question. But the answer is pretty simple: To stay afloat in the competitive market, you have to be at the level of the renowned brand.
The swing over the bed of this machine is pretty large. It is measured at almost 5 inches (125 mm). On the other hand, it has 2.36 inches swing over the cross slide. As for the maximum length of the workpiece, you can mount up to a workpiece that has a maximum length of 7.08 inches (180mm).
So, obviously, you can see that, you’ll have plenty of workspaces available to you. You can move around freely and you don’t have to feel restrained or stuck while working anymore.
In terms of the workpiece lengths and diameter, it still poses a decent standard. It’s neither too big (which is not recommended in some cases) nor too small. If you work with a big workpiece, it does hold a threat of producing faulty results.
Because when turning at full speed, the spindle vibrates. The longer the workpiece, the greater the vibration.
There are two longitudinal feed level and the longitudinal feed level for the spindle mandrel range from 0.07-0.14 mm. This is a gently tapered cylinder against which you can forge your workpieces. it firmly grips the material so that, you can work on it without any problem.
In terms of variable speeds, it has a good array of options available for the users. For instance, Hengwei offers 5 different lathe spindle speeds. It ranges from 560-2500 RPM. On the other hand, it offers 10 different mill spindle speed that ranges from 500-2500 RPM.
Comparing with the other, it does have few variable speed options on both occasions. But the RPM range is quite the same.
As for the drill head, it’s very convenient. Why? Well, you can rotate it at 360 °. It has two effects. The first one is that, when you’re not working with the drill/ milling head, you can simply move it out of your way. The second one is that you can adjust it in whichever way you see fit, no problem.
In my opinion, there isn’t an issue that can be considered as a deal-breaker. It is a decent piece of machinery that offers both an ample amount of workspace and really pragmatic features. It has a decent build quality and the design is good.
Being new to the game, Hengwei, I think tried their best to make a name for themselves in the market. Hence, they gave this Desktop Mini Lathe Drilling and Milling Machine they’re all to offer great results to its users.
5. Multipurpose 6 in 1 DIY Combo Lathe
- Normal Aluminum+Carbon steel+ABS version.
- Saw blade is special designed, only 4mm cam short trip, which will protect human skin from injury.
- Able to assembled into max 6 kinds of different machine tools, such as Jig-saw, lathe, woodturning lathe, drilling machine, milling machine, sanding machine, however you can use only one kind of these functions at the same time.
- Total weight: about 4.5KG
- Product Dimensions : 9.8 x 5.9 x 3.9 inches
- Weight: 9.5 pounds
Like KKmoon, the Mini Multipurpose Machine 6 in 1 DIY is a similar kind of product. It also has 6 different lathe machines. While not made for professional work, this tool is somewhere between a toy and a real machine.
Even though you can’t perform heavy works with this machine, still, you can have a lot of fun with it. Certainly, if you’re a hobbyist you’ll find it interesting to operate. Along with having fun, you should also get some work done using this DIY tool kit.
Made out of standard Aluminum, carbon steel, and ABS, it weighs just around 9.5 pounds. So, yes…it’s lightweight. If you want more sturdiness and durability, you’ll be glad to know that there’s also a metal version available for this product.
The dimension, on the other hand, is 9.8 x 5.9 x 3.9 inches. So, you can well imagine that this product is rather small in size. But for taking care of small projects, you don’t need a bigger machine. That would be a waste of money. This is designed to bring fun to work.
So, what you can do with this fine-looking machine. Well…it does what the name suggests. There’re six different lathes included that can carry out any lightweight work that has been lying around your household.
It has a jig-saw, lathe, woodturning lathe, drilling machine, milling machine, and sanding machine. The blade in the jig-saw, however, is designed specially. It has only a 4mm cam short trip to protect your skin from any sort of injury.
In addition, in the lathe mode, you do have the option to place a longer workpiece…let’s say a copper rod, through the chuck. Since it’s hollow through the motor and out the back, the maximum diameter of your workpiece can be around 8mm.
One doesn’t need to be a brainer to realize that it can’t process hard metals, right? Still, you can make the best out of this machine since it can operate on wood, plastics, and soft metals like Gold, Copper, Silver, Aluminum, Acrylic, and PCB.
Also, it doesn’t have any variable speeds. Actually, you don’t need this option if you’re just looking for doing small chores now and then.
Setting this whole thing up is also very easy. Anybody can do it. Set it up on a hard surface for maximum stability during any operation. So, it better be a hardboard or table where you want to place it. Be sure to shot off the power when you’re not using it.
It’s highly recommended that you wear safety goggles while working with this product. After each use, make sure you keep the surface clean and dry. To stretch its longevity, kindly maintain the machine properly and lubricate the moving parts from time to time.
6. Muchentec 6 in 1 Mini Handwork Machine kit
- 6 in 1 Mini Multipurpose Machine Lathe
- Motor Speed: 20,000rpm
- Headstock speed: 2,000rpm
- Support power: 12VDC/2A/24W
- 3-jaw chuck(self-centering)
- Max Cutting diameter: 20mm
- Center distance:135mm
- Slide travel: 35 and 45mm
- Table size: 120×100mm
- Collet: 2 or 3mm drilling bit
- (1). Motor Speed: 20,000rpm
- (2). Headstock speed: 2,000rpm
- (3). Support power: 12VDC/2A/24W
- (4). Slide travel: 35 and 45mm
- (5). Vice capacity: 25×35mm
- (6). Collet: 1-4mm milling bits
- Package Dimensions : 21.65 x 15.75 x 3.15 inches
- Weight : 10.56 pounds
This one falls into the same category as the DIY tool kits from KKmoon and Sunwin. Made particularly for soft metal and woodwork, its presence in your home workshop can shine a light on a lot of wasted projects.
So, if you’re the guy who is just looking for fun or wants to make the best use of your time, then you might want to read this one carefully.
Out of the box, this one weighs 10.56 pounds, and the dimension of the package is 21.65 x 15.75 x 3.15 inches. it certainly is heavier and much bigger than the two previous products. The reason behind this is that it’s made out of metal.
Hence, this machine has more durability and stability. Being robust in kind, this one might be a little difficult to move around, but still, it shouldn’t pose much of a problem. Because you’ll only be using one lathe at a time.
Speaking of which, this mini handwork machine kit can be assembled into 6 kinds of different machine tools. In this area, no difference from the other two has been mentioned earlier. Like them, it also has jigsaw, lathe, drilling, milling, sanding & woodturning mini machines.
With these mini machines, you can only operate on wood materials, plastic, and soft metals like Copper, Aluminum, or Gold. If you come to think of it, this 6 in 1 Mini Handwork Machine Kit can become an ideal tool for many things such as a hobby, model making, craft, and processing small parts.
You can also use this toolset for learning the basics. Before buying a bigger complex lathe, you can dirty your hands with this. It won’t cost you much, yet you’ll have a clearer idea about how these things work on a bigger scale.
What caught my eye in this machine is its transformer. Not only it has both CE and UL certifications, but also it has some safety percussions. For instance, the transformer has overcurrent, overvoltage, and overheating protection.
These features add up to the durability of this machine, ensuring you a longer service.
Moving on…the mini lathe and drill both have the same motor speed (20,000 RPM), headstock speed (2,000 RPM), and support power (12VDC/2A/24W). The lathe is equipped with a self-centering 3-jaw chuck and has a maximum cutting diameter of 20mm.
As for the drill, it has a 2/3mm collet and the table size is 120 x 120mm. That is a decent-sized table for a DIY tool like this. The slide travel is 35 and 45mm which is also pretty standard.
In addition, the milling machine also has the same amount of motor speed, headstock speed, and slide travel as the drilling machine. however, the vice capacity is 25 x 35mm and the collet has 1/4mm milling bits.
The same goes for the woodturning machine too. With this, you can process soft metals, wood, and plastic. In terms of maximum processing diameter, you can mount a workpiece that is 45mm in diameter and 135 mm in length.
The handwheel has an accuracy of 0.02 mm scale line. So, it can be small but still, it can produce precise results. Bravo to the machine!
Last but not least, the sanding machine and the jigsaw. Yes, you guessed it right…These two also bear the same amount of motor speed and headstock travel. The sanding machine, though, has a working area of 123 x 100 mm. On the contrary, the jig saw’s table size is 90 x 90 mm with a stroke of 4 mm.
Overall, this 6 in 2 Mini Handwork Machine from Muchentec has the potential to live up to your standards. Out of the three DIY tools that I have discussed in this article, this one is a lot more promising than those two. Considering its features, it surely is one of the finest DIY tools that I’ve ever seen.
and home projects. This is why it’s one of the best DIY tools that are currently on the market. So, what do you think?
Buying Guide To Find The Best Lathe Mill Combo
Now that we have gone through the list, let me help you find the best combo lathe/mill that you can have. There are a lot of things to consider and sadly, there seems to be an ample amount of wrong information over the internet.
Not only they’ll misguide you but also create confusion about this modern phenomenon of a machine. I’ll try to turn you in the right direction and help you search your desired combo lathe/mill machine as best as I can.
Here, I’ll discuss some of the crucial things that you need to consider even before you buy one. So, please read on patiently…
What Are Your Needs and Will It Fit into Your Workplace?
You must know what exactly you want from your combo lathe mill machine. Once you decide what you need, you’ll find that your search area has been compressed hugely. Only then you can search the machines according to your needs.
The next best thing you can do before you buy this machine is that, take the measurement of your workplace. This is where you’re going to install it. If it’s a benchtop that you’re going after, make sure the surface is strong and plane.
Also, normally machines like these seem to weigh a lot. So, it’s better if you have to move it only once. One more thing is that, make sure you have plenty of space to move around your workstation. You won’t feel restrained and you’ll find the space as a blessing since it’ll give you agility and freedom.
How Many Combinations of Machines a Lathe Mill Combo Has to Offer?
This is where things get serious. Given the fact that you already know what you want from a combo lathe/mill, vigorously consider the number of combinations as well as the types. Since you’ll be spending a lot of bucks for this kind of machine, make sure you get the best possible combination that you can find.
If you have to spend money, spend once.
There’s a counter-argument though…You can, most of the time, cut your materials using different types of techniques using only the lathe mill. In that case, you have to spend more time to figure out how can you do that.
However, with a combo, you get more ways of achieving your goal since you’ll have milling, drilling, and turning in one machine. This saves time, energy and eliminates the exhaustion of switching between several machines.
But if you don’t want to spend big bucks and just want to do some lightweight work around your household, then you can consider the DIY tools that I have mentioned beforehand. They offer 6 different combinations of machines.
You can’t process hard metals with them and they’re no match for the combo lath/mills but still, you can get a lot of work done while having some fun. So, you must know exactly what you want, how many combinations you want, and what your job requires.
Is the Machine Efficient Enough?
It won’t do you any good if you end up with a beast of a machine that doesn’t run efficiently. The very performance of the product depends gravely on it. If it’s powerful but you can’t get your work done smoothly then life will become a lot hard for you.
You’ll have to invest more time and energy behind an inefficient machine and most of the time, you won’t be getting the desired results anyway.
So, how can you tell, whether a lathe mill combo for beginners is efficient or not for example? Well, you can simply do it by checking some numbers. For example, check RPM (revolutions per minute) numbers. These numbers indicate how fast can a machine cuts down hard materials using spinning blades.
Are the numbers lower or higher? If it’s around 2000-2500 RPM, then it should be just fine. All the products in this list have the almost same number of RPM. So, yes…they’re pretty efficient.
Another thing you have to take into your consideration is voltage usage. If your machine draws too much power and still you’re not getting enough rotation speed, the cutting tools are not going to do anything.
In this case, what will happen is that both your tools and workpiece will be damaged. So, make sure the product that you’re going to go with, has the right amount of voltage and it can supply the necessary power for your spindle to rotate. There should be a harmony between ‘RPM and Voltage’
You can well imagine the necessity of a combo lath/mill being efficient. Numbers…they don’t lie. Please check them before you make the purchase. If the machine works effectively, it won’t waste materials as much. It’ll make clean cuts and offer accurate results.
Is the Machine Too Hard To Maneuver?
A lath/mill combo is a beautiful piece of machinery. In fact, it’s called the ‘mother of all machines.’ Unfortunately, such high praise strips the product off of its simplicity. But that’s understandable, right? The more thing you can do with it, naturally the more complex and intricate it will become.
Still, there has to be a margin that should indicate the ease of use of this machine…it should get more comfortable to use it after spending some time with it. On the contrary, if it requires more effort than it normally should…well, that’s bad news.
So, what are the things that you can check in the case of some of the best lathe mill combo machines?
First of all, you can consider the working area. Check the swing over bed distance and the swing over the cross slide. If the numbers are handsome and meet your standard, it should be easy for you to operate.
If you’re a gunsmith, check if the product has a large ‘through-hole.’ The Grizzly G0791 in this list has a decent one. The next thing you can check is the distance between centers. If you normally work with bigger projects, make sure the numbers are okay for you.
You don’t want to bring an expensive machine like this to your workplace and still not be able to mount your workpiece. Moving on, check the drill head’s whereabouts. Is it easy to operate? Does it come in your way when you’re not using it?
I’m specifically mentioning these things because you can’t upgrade or change them. Once you buy the device, you’re stuck with it. So, please be watchful and make sure you’re comfortable with every bit of the machine.
One more that can play a huge part in making this machine easy to maneuver is that a digital readout. A digital readout will show you important data like RPM, variable speeds or depth, and lengths of cuts. You will find them extremely crucial and helpful while aiming for precise work results.
Although, most of the machines have them nowadays, still, sometimes we tend to miss the most obvious things. So, do check it too.
Check the Build Quality and Durability of its Parts
Combo lathe/mill is not a child’s play. Excluding the DIY tools, these machines are required to perform heavy duties, days in days out. They have to do a lot of cutting and of course, the materials are meant to be hard and sturdy. Not only that, they have to deliver accurate and precise results while processing them.
Hence, the machine will have to be strong and firm. It should have a decent build quality and ergonomic design. It should scream the words durability and professionalism through its parts. Since they’ll have to face a lot of abuse and be under a lot of pressure, they have to withstand them with vigor.
Check the materials that it’s built with. Especially the build of the parts that will face the most of the music. The spindle, spindle bar, toolpost, drill head, mill, jaw-chuck, gears, motors, power supply, the levers…check everything.
You don’t want it to break down easily. After all, fixing machines like this costs a lot of bucks. So, make sure it’s durable enough before you finalize any deal.
My Final Two Cents
This brings us to the end game of the article. Well, there are a lot of arguments against the idea of a combo lathe/mill on the internet. Some of them are pretty convincing and it almost made me believe that may be…just maybe they could be right.
But once I really dived in, I found that some of the lathe mill combo machines deserve more praise than they get and I put them on my best list. It saves you time, it saves you money…and most importantly, it brings the best in you by improving your workflow by a huge margin.
Take Proxxon’ 34104 or the combo lathe/mill from Hengwei for example. They offer nothing but precision results over time and time again. they’re simply among the best combo lathe/mills that you’ll ever come across.
Yes, they have some minor issues, like the drill chuck of Proxxon might not always work or the Hengwei’s product might require a lot of work done even before you can use it. But again, which machine is absolute and has no problem at all?
Turn Big, Turn Safe. Welcome to the turning world!