A Harbor Freight mill conversion kit is the most cost-efficient solution for CNC milling
If you’re a professional machinist looking for an affordable yet effective CNC solution, then a Harbor Freight mini mill and its conversion kit is the one-stop solution for you.
We know what you’re wondering: there’s no way a mini mill CNC conversion may be carried out for less than a few dollars per day. Well, our thoughts were no different.
Let’s dive deeper into it.
Usually, we’re more than willing to invest money on a piece of good equipment. However, a CNC mill investment seemed quite outrageous, even for the low-end equipment.
While a mini mill CNC conversion seemed a bit more affordable, we had a hard time justifying the cost. We talked about getting a CNC mill with anyone who showed even the slightest of interest and eventually decided to get one.
So, we’re finally building a CNC mill, or should we say, converting a Harbor Freight Mini Mill to CNC.
You’ll agree when we say that CNC machining has become a prerequisite for all workshops, notwithstanding their size and scale of operations. After all, nothing really compares to the high accuracy, scalability, and precision that a CNC machine brings about.
But, as a matter of fact, CNC machines don’t come cheap, and a brand new CNC milling machine even can cost you upward of $10,000. As such, a CNC machine is sure to break the bank.
So is there a cost-efficient alternative?
You see, manual mills are still available at incredibly low-cost on the market, something you can buy along with the CNC conversion kits and turn into fully-fledged CNC machines.
And when it comes to a medium-sized milling machine, the Harbor Freight mini mill and CNC conversion kit duo is the best combination for optimum machining.
If you think that CNC mill is expensive, we’re in the same boat. Let’s see how a Harbor Freight CNC Mini Mill Conversion Kit can help.
There isn’t a more cost-effective solution than the Harbor Freight mill CNC conversion kit
As we saw earlier, a typical CNC milling machine can be quite expensive. Take the Tormach CNC mills, for instance, which have a price range going up to $15,000.
That’s simply too much to pay for a mill, isn’t it?
Even though investing in a heavy-duty mill like the ones from Tormach is worthwhile for a large machine shop, that’s not the case with medium-sized mills. That’s because such milling capabilities are not relevant for mini workshops since they mostly machine smaller and less sophisticated workpieces.
And that is exactly why opting for a cost-effective solution in the form of a mill CNC conversion kit makes sense.
Talking about cost efficiency, you can’t get a more affordable machine than the Harbor Freight mill CNC conversion kit.
You may question, “Why are we wasting our time and money building a toy CNC Mill?
Well, because we want to learn about the CNC process. We didn’t want to waste $15,000 for a Tormach, just to realize that we weren’t really into CNC machining.
The financial experts advise us not to purchase things. They say, “Spend your money on experiences, like overseas trips.” Well and good, but a simple cost-benefit analysis indicates that we’ll get much more experience building our own CNC mill than investing in a few classes just to learn the basics.
How economical can such CNC conversion be?
You can easily get a Harbor Freight mini mill for $900 or even less if you buy a used machine. Also, you can get a CNC conversion kit for the milling machine, the prices of which range anywhere from $700 to $1200.
That’s quite a bargain for a CNC mill, isn’t it?
A Harbor Freight mill CNC conversion kit offers unmatched scalability
Have you ever wondered if you can scale your machining business with a mini mill?
You can now do so; all you need is a Harbor Freight mini mill upgraded to CNC with a conversion kit.
It’s true that manual machines have their limitations, but that’s not the case anymore once you’ve converted the same machine to CNC. And that’s especially true for Harbor Freight milling machine CNC conversion, which brings the mill at par with machines seen mostly in large workshops.
As a result, your Harbor Freight mill can machine many complex workpieces with better accuracy and at a faster speed.
In case you’re guessing, here’s how your machining ability is enhanced post-CNC conversion:
First, the machining speed on a CNC mill is way higher than on a manual mill, meaning you can produce more parts in a particular time period.
Second, CNC conversion also enhances the endurance of your machine, letting you run it for longer durations. That means you can now use your mill for long-haul machining sessions, including 24×7 non-stop milling.
And since CNC automates the entire process of parts production, programming the machine is all you need to do.
CNC conversion on a Harbor Freight mill is DIY-friendly
Machining capacity apart, CNC conversion on a Harbor freight mini mill is also very DIY-friendly. So much so that you can complete the entire CNC conversion process by following the manufacturer-provided user manual in the kit package.
We’re people who love to experiment with things and thrive by learning on our own. Whether that is coded in our DNA or a product of our primary education, doing it on our own is how we learn best.
What worked so well for us in the primary education was the ability to ask questions and proceed at our own pace.
Inevitably, when you practice self-learning, you’ll make mistakes. We’re more comfortable crashing a tool on a $600 mini mill as compared to a $15,000 Tormach. Also, lower power is less intimidating.
Meaning even though you might end up making mistakes while working with the conversion kit, since there isn’t a significant investment involved, it’s worth the trial and error.
Harbor Freight mill CNC conversion kit: FAQs
#1. Should you buy a used Harbor Freight mini mill?
As a hobbyist or a beginner machinist, you can consider buying a used Harbor Freight milling machine. However, it’s better to check the condition of the machine and make sure all the components are functioning well before you buy one such mill.
Also, if you’re a professional machinist, you should definitely go for a brand-new milling machine. That’s because the new machines are covered by a warranty and have their components in the best condition. As such, you can rest assured of the long service life of your machine.
#2. Do you need to upgrade to a belt drive system on your mill?
For hobbyists, spending extra bucks on a belt drive system isn’t important, as the milling machine runs well on the factory-installed drive.
As far as professionals are concerned, a shift to the belt-drive system will depend on the type of machining intended for the mill.
The final word
If there’s one milling machine that offers the perfect balance between price and performance, it’s the Harbor Freight mini mill.
You see, buying a CNC machine, no matter its size, is sure to be a costly affair. But, to that end, the Harbor Freight mini mill and CNC conversion kit combo are clearly an exception.
Not to forget, as an operational CNC milling machine, there are no limits to what this machine can achieve.
Lastly, we’re not planning to initiate a CNC machining business. We’re not going to lose sleep over an operation that doesn’t take more than two minutes on a VMC but takes 15 minutes on our mini mill. We’re the type of individuals who could sit and watch a VMC make chips for lengthy durations.
However, the owner of a machine shop that makes use of VMCs doesn’t want to watch the machine make chips; they want to see the machine finishing parts. To them, VMC is nothing but a money-making machine. To us, the CNC mini mill is a tool to build our widgets and offer some decent dinner party conversations.
Make this process easier and invest in a Harbor Freight Mini Mill Conversion Kit by CNC Conversion Plus. Give us a call now!
At CNC Conversion Plus, we provide top-of-the-line mill and lathe machines of all sizes, along with their CNC conversion kits. So whatever your requirement is, we’ve got you covered.