Instructables

Milling machine cheep from Harbor freight

Ever wanted a small milling machine to mill aluminum ? Heres a cheep way to do it. It's not real accurate but it gets the job done. and for under $ 160.00. all the parts come from Harbor Freight (Drill press on sale 70.00) (roto zipp bit 2.99) ( 8 inch crosss vice 39.00) some bolts and thats it ! it's slow so take your time and the vice is a little rought but it gets the job done. Run the drill press at the highest speed on aluminim slower on plastic and use small cuts , don't try to hog out the part it will break the bit. have fun !! There you have it.

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punkhead583 years ago
Yes, I do this as well. I use it mainly for milling out tang slots in knife guards. However, the part where you say, "Run the drill press at the highest speed on aluminum slower on plastic..." is backwards. You want to use the highest speed possible for milling plastic and slow it down for aluminum, and all other non-ferrous metals for that matter otherwise you're likely to smoke your bit. I wouldn't recommend using this set-up to mill ferrous metals, as it's hard on the bearings, but, I have before, and if you must, take it very slow and use cutting oil. 
Oh, and one more thing: Rotozipp and/or Dremel bits work fine for milling plastic and wood, but they tend to bend and vibrate a lot in metal. If you do intend on milling metal, get yourself some cheap endmills.

Little Machine Shop sells some good sets.
LinuxH4x0r6 years ago
I do this all the time, except I use dremel bits.
I use end mills, bought from McmAster Carr
motorcoach1 (author)  LinuxH4x0r6 years ago
That great, people ask me all the time how I do it so I thought I'd post it. I'll have to try dremels bits good idea ! I'm working on a CNC mill so this has to do till I get it built. Thanks for the input :)
Can't wait to see the cnc. I'm going to convert a plotter into a laser cutter