lathe CNC conversion

5 Benefits Of Automating Your Manual Lathe With A CNC Conversion Kit

A lathe CNC conversion can be the best value addition to your machine shop 

As a manual lathe machinist, an upgrade to CNC is something you should go for, and thanks to conversion kits, you can do so hassle-free. 

 

But why go for a CNC lathe, you may ask? 

 

The answer is simple, to produce top-notch pieces more efficiently. 

 

You see, on a manual lathe, you need intense time and effort to create a high-quality part. And even after relentless efforts, there’s a good chance the pieces won’t be as good as one machined in a CNC lathe. 

 

On the contrary, with the advanced capabilities and endless customization options that CNC machining offers, you can precisely machine just about any workpiece. 

 

However, the biggest worry for you as a hobbyist or small workshop owner could be the high cost of a CNC lathe. 

 

So, what’s the solution? 

 

Well, if you already own a manual turning machine, turning it into a CNC machine using a CNC conversion kit can be your best bet. As such, you’ll have the same machining capabilities as a brand-new CNC lathe without breaking the bank. 

 

There’s more to lathe machine CNC conversion, so let’s have a look in detail. 

What is a lathe CNC conversion kit? 

lathe CNC conversion

As you may know, a lathe machine, at its very basic, is a machine tool used to rotate a workpiece on an axis. And that is true for both manual and automatic lathes performing multiple operations like drilling, turning, facing, knurling, cutting, and more. 

 

Now coming to a lathe CNC conversion kit, as the name suggests, you can use one to automate your manual lathe machine and make it CNC-capable. 

 

CNC conversion kits for turning machines bring about ‘computer numeric control,’ which uses pre-programing software/s to control and run your machine. 

 

The result: you no longer need to run your lathe manually, as you can simply program it to your workpiece specifications, and it’ll do the machining. 

 

Interesting, isn’t it? 

Reasons to go for lathe CNC conversion:

lathe CNC conversion

#1. Easy and quick machining with 100 percent automation

If you’ve some experience with a manual lathe, you’ll agree with the fact that machining on such lathes isn’t easy at all. It can rather take days, if not months, for even a seasoned machinist to attain accuracy on a certain workpiece. 

 

But what if you could make machining easy and quick on your lathe? 

 

It’s now possible to do so with CNC lathe conversion, which automates and turns your regular manual lathe into a high-capacity CNC lathe. Meaning, you can now produce pieces of the highest quality with the click of a button. 

 

As a CNC lathe eliminates the requirement to manually machine the pieces, all you need to do is set the G-codes and monitor the machining process. That’s because your CNC lathe will produce the parts from start to finish all by itself.

 

Talking about machining speed, a CNC lathe machine outplays its manual counterpart here as well. 

 

You see, while attaining accuracy and precision on a larger quantity of workpieces is time-consuming on manual lathes, that’s not the case anymore post CNC conversion. So you can produce tons of parts way too quickly, as CNC increases the speed of your lathe manifold. 

 

In fact, industry data show that CNC lathes can produce twenty times more than manual lathes in a given time period. 

 

Also, with greater speed comes scalability, meaning you’ll be able to machine a lot more pieces in far less time, thus growing your business. 

 

Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? 

#2. A CNC kit can make your lathe versatile

When it comes to the kinds of workpieces you can machine on your manual lathe; the list will be really small. And for obvious reasons as there are serious limitations to such lathes’ machining capabilities. 

 

Nevertheless, with a CNC lathe kit, you can change it, making your machine highly versatile and flexible. 

 

How? 

 

While you can work, at the most, on one or two workpiece types with a manually controlled lathe, it’s an entirely different story on a CNC lathe. That means the materials you can machine on your converted CNC lathe machine will be endless. 

 

So from different wood types to plastic to soft and hard metals, you name it, and your CNC lathe can handle it. 

 

Want more? 

 

After lathe CNC conversion, your machine will be able to create just about any shape you want on your workpiece. In fact, you’ll be able to create even such shapes, designs, and patterns that aren’t humanly possible on a non-CNC lathe. 

 

Amazing, right? 

#3. Unmatched machine tolerance after CNC conversion

As you saw, with lathe CNC conversion comes scalability since you’re able to produce more and better pieces. 

 

But, when scaling your production, there’s another challenge that you’ll be faced with, which is the tolerance of your lathe. 

 

On a manual lathe, tolerance levels are less, meaning you can run the machine only for a fixed number of hours. And because it’s the same machine you’re using after CNC conversion to increase production, you’re sure to wonder how long you can operate it. 

 

You see, a lathe post CNC conversion is as good as a brand new CNC lathe machine. That’s because the process of turning your machine to CNC involves a change of machine tools and an upgrade to stepper motors. 

 

So for a medium-sized lathe, the tolerance levels will be quite similar to a mini lathe CNC machine

 

As such, you can rest assured of high tolerance levels on your newly converted lathe, which can now operate for long hours non-stop.

#4. Nothing beats the efficiency levels of a CNC lathe

CNC machines, including lathes and mills, are known for their high efficiency, which stands to save you money. 

 

But what exactly makes these machines so efficient? 

 

You can find the answer to this in the way a CNC lathe works. 

 

At first, a CNC lathe, be it brand-new or post conversion, brings down waste generation during machining to zero. That’s not the case with many manually controlled lathes, which produce a lot of waste while machining.  

 

And with the elimination of waste, you’ll be able to utilize most of your workpiece to create parts, thus producing more with the same amount of materials. 

 

Second, you will no longer need a lot of people at your CNC machine shop to help you with production. That’s because the turning process is automatic and doesn’t require a person to control the CNC machine tools

 

Also, you’ll need a less skilled workforce since small to medium CNC lathes are fairly easy to operate and don’t need extensive training or expertise. 

 

As a result, lathe CNC conversion will reduce your operating costs significantly while also increasing the quality of production. 

#5. CNC lathe conversion ensures zero error in machining 

Even if you’re a highly skilled machinist, there are chances that you might make errors when creating a piece on a manual lathe. In fact, the very process of attaining accuracy and producing precise parts on such lathes involves a lot of trial and error. 

 

And while making errors on a lathe is part of honing your machining skills, the only problem is that it results in a waste of time and resources. 

 

You can’t afford to be inefficient in a market that is so competitive. Can you? 

 

Since a CNC lathe eliminates human error entirely, you can easily achieve 100 percent accuracy in manufacturing. 

CNC lathe machine: FAQs

lathe CNC conversion

#1. What are the different types of CNC lathes on the market? 

You may have come across popular names like engine lathes, turret lathes, speed lathes, etc. However, in terms of machining, there are only two lathe types, namely, vertical and horizontal lathes.  

 

To begin with, a vertical lathe, be it manual or CNC has its spindle axis oriented vertically. Herein, the workpiece is rotated upright, letting the spindle make cuts at certain fixed angles. 

 

Vertical lathes usually occupy less space and are a great option for machining heavy and large workpieces. 

 

Next up, we’ve got the horizontal lathes which have their cutting tools mounted horizontally, thus rotating workpieces cylindrically. 

 

Since workpieces are held vertically on the chuck on these lathes, they are apt to machine light materials. 

 

But, if you’re looking for a compact lathe, we will suggest you go for a vertical lathe. That’s because horizontal lathes take up a lot of areas, which can be problematic for a small-sized machine shop. 

#2. How to choose the right lathe CNC conversion kit? 

While lathe CNC conversion is an awesome way to turn your manual lathe into a CNC machine, choosing the right conversion kit for the purpose can be tricky. 

 

Nevertheless, you can have the right CNC conversion kit for your lathe by considering the following: 

  • The conversion kit should be apt to the size of your lathe. And even though finding such a conversion kit may sound hectic, you can simply get one from the same manufacturer as your lathe. For instance, if you own a Grizzly G9972Z lathe, you can go for a Grizzly G9972Z conversion kit
  • You should definitely consider the power and feed rate of the stepper motor and buy a conversion kit with the right motor to cover your requirements. 

Conclusion 

As you can see, the benefits of converting your lathe to CNC are endless. So with a lathe CNC conversion kit, not only do you provide a fillip to your business but also make the task of machining a lot easier. 

 

And not to forget, a conversion kit lets you have a CNC lathe on a shoe-string budget, thus saving your upfront investment. 

 

Looking for one such CNC conversion kit for your manual lathe? 

 

You can reach out to us.

 

At CNC Conversion Plus, we have the widest range of cost-effective and high-performance lathe and mill conversion kits for just about every machine shop. 

 

mini lathe cnc machine

A Complete Guide To Buying A Mini Lathe CNC Machine

A mini lathe CNC machine can extend industrial-grade quality to your small workshop

As a mini lathe machine owner, you might have considered a CNC upgrade. And for good reasons, since all small and medium machine shops are switching to CNC machining for high-quality workpieces. 

 

In fact, it is none but CNC machines that provide the larger industries a competitive edge by bringing about precision and efficiency. 

 

You might wonder if you can match the workpiece quality of such large workshops by having an industrial lathe. 

 

But, there’s a catch. 

 

A CNC lathe machine deployed in an industrial production unit is usually huge. So much so that it can occupy the entire length and breadth of your shop. Also, machines such as these aren’t suited for producing small parts, as their tools are designed for bigger work holdings. 

 

Then what’s the solution, you may ask? 

 

Well, for your smaller lathe shop to have the same capability as an industrial unit, a mini lathe CNC machine should be an ideal solution. 

 

And to acquaint you with these small yet incredible CNC lathes, as well as their mini lathe CNC conversion kit, we have put together this comprehensive guide. So let’s dive in. 

What is a mini lathe CNC machine? 

mini lathe cnc machine

As you might be aware, a CNC or computer numeric control system uses computer programming to automate the machining process. And the same goes for a CNC lathe, which uses G-codes to allow the lathe operator to deliver instructions and produce precise parts. 

 

Now, coming to a mini lathe CNC machine, these are smaller versions of industrial lathes designed specifically for hobbyists and small businesses. 

 

So do these mini lathes match their industrial counterparts? 

 

They certainly do. 

 

You see, even as a mini CNC lathe is way smaller in size compared to large industrial machines, they offer the same accuracy and power. In fact, these compact CNC lathes are an optimum machining solution for midsize shops as they help achieve high-precision on small parts. 

There’s more to it

While a medium-sized lathe may sound like a delicate machine when compared to larger ones, it is actually very sturdy. That’s because top-notch mini lathes like the Grizzly G9972Z lathe are built with cast-iron columns and feature sturdy construction, just like large lathes or mills. 

 

Also, such machines are quite heavy-duty and can easily withstand the wear and tear from long-haul machining operations. 

 

That’s impressive for sure, isn’t it? 

What are the different components of a mini CNC lathe? 

mini lathe cnc machine

Now that you’ve seen what a mini lathe CNC machine exactly is, you might be pondering over what components make these machines. 

 

Simply put, a medium lathe has components similar to its large-sized counterparts, and these parts are the same for different manufacturers. 

 

Nonetheless, as a lathe machinist, it is necessary that you have a good know-how of these complex machine parts. And that’s why we have here some critical lathe machine components along with important considerations that you should keep in mind. So let’s have a look at them. 

#1. Headstock and spindle

The headstock of a mini lathe CNC is usually located on the left corner of the machine, and together with bearings, it holds the spindle in place. Also, with the help of a motor, the headstock provides the power needed to rotate the spindle and the workpiece. 

 

Next up is the spindle of your lathe, which is a rotating shaft with a fixture that holds the tools or parts to be machined. Talking about its utility, the spindle acts as a positioner, support, or rotary drive for the workpieces on a lathe. 

 

You see, the very fact that the spindle determines how large a workpiece you can machine on your lathe is enough to understand its importance. And while a one-inch spindle should be ideal for a medium-sized CNC lathe machine, you can even accommodate larger workpieces with an inch-and-a-quarter spindle. 

Pro tip: go for a headstock that allows outboarding

Even as pieces are mostly over the lathe bed between the headstock and tailstock, outboarding will allow you to mount the workpiece away from the body. 

 

As such, it will greatly increase the diameter of the workpiece so that you can turn on your lathe. In fact, some headstocks can also be rotated, which makes outboarding even simpler. 

#2. Chuck 

The chuck on your mini lathe is a specialized clamp that holds cylindrical workpieces. 

 

Some modern lathe chucks also have a through-hole which allows long pieces to extend being your lathe through the chuck itself. 

 

When it comes to deciding on the size of a lathe chuck, we suggest you consider the same factors as when choosing the headstock. And for that matter, a mini CNC lathe featuring a chuck with a through-hole should be your ideal pick. 

 

Also, the usual size of your workpieces should be a priority, as the lathe chuck should be able to hold them. 

 

Further, while different lathes feature different chucks, jawed chucks are a standard on most mini lathes. 

 

But are jawed chuck lathes worthwhile? 

 

Definitely! 

 

We always recommend lathes with jawed chucks for your machine shop, as they’re movable and allow you to easily loosen or tighten them to fit your workpiece. In fact, jaw chucks are apt for pieces of any shape or size since you can either tighten them together or move them independently to hold odd-shaped workpieces. 

 

Amazing, right? 

#3. Lathe bed

The lathe bed is a horizontal structure that supports other components on your machine, like headstock and tailstock. And almost all lathes have a bed, except for the ones used in the woodworking industry. 

 

Choosing a lathe bed for your mini CNC machine is fairly simple, as the bed type rarely makes a difference to the overall working of the lathe. That means you can go for the most preferred and cost-effective v-bed for your lathe machine and rest assured of quality machining. 

#4. Tailstock 

There’s a single purpose that a tailstock serves on a lathe, which is to hold the far end of your workpiece. 

 

Since a tailstock is an optional feature and not required for small-sized pieces, many lathe manufacturers don’t include them in their new mini CNC machine packages. 

 

Nevertheless, if you’re looking to machine large pieces, it’s better to go for a lathe machine with a tailstock. 

 

Why? 

 

You see, a tailstock reduces the flex, so when you machine bigger workpieces without one, it can result in too much flex. Meaning, you can have undesirable curves or warps on your finished piece. 

#5. Carriage, cross-slide, and turret

The trio of carriage, cross-slide, and turret is also called the ‘business parts’ of a CNC lathe and help you with the smooth functioning of your machine. 

 

To begin with, the carriage is a set of two-three bars that runs through the length of a lathe. Also, the cross-slide rests on the carriage itself and holds the lathe turret.

 

Coming to the lathe turret, it stores different cutting and boring tools which you use to machine a workpiece. 

 

In case you’re wondering why these components are so important, they’re so because:

  • Whether your mini CNC lathe will be a two, three, or four-axis machine is determined by the carriage and cross-slide. 
  • Similarly, the turret size will decide the size of your tools, so you should choose the turret based on the size of your cutting tools.

Some important considerations before you buy a mini lathe CNC machine:

mini lathe cnc machine

When looking to buy a lathe CNC machine or even a CNC lathe conversion kit, for that matter, you can’t rely on a one-size-fits-all approach. That’s because the requirements for machine shops are different, and so are the many lathe machine options. 

 

So here are some factors you should definitely consider before you finalize a mini CNC lathe for your machine shop. 

#1. The size of your CNC lathe

The size of a lathe machine is denoted in inches, for instance, 10″ x 26″. 

 

Also called the ‘swing’ of the machine, the first number, i.e., 10″ is the maximum diameter of a workpiece that you can have above the lathe bed. Similarly, the second number, i.e., 26″ reflects the distance between the headstock and tailstock, or simply the largest material size that you can machine. 

 

But how do you exactly decide on the size of your lathe? 

 

As a hobbyist or small machine shop owner, a mini CNC lathe size between 3″ x 15″ and 6″ x 30″ should be your go-to choice. That’s because machines in this size range can easily fit in your workshop, which isn’t the case with their large-sized counterparts. 

 

And since you don’t need to machine huge pieces, these medium machines will be ideal for your everyday operations. 

#2. Power or feed rate 

It is the motor of your CNC lathe which determines the power or feed rate of your machine. And while some lathes operate at a single speed, others can have multiple speed feeds ranging even up to 5000 RPM. 

 

Now, when choosing a machine, you should factor in the type of workpiece that you intend to machine. For instance, if your workshop handles large-sized pieces, then you should definitely go for lathes with high RPMs. 

 

Nevertheless, it’s not just the maximum RPM of a lathe that is important, as minimum RPMs are also critical for things like screw-cutting. 

#3. Axis

On any standard lathe, at least two axes, i.e., the X and Y for movement of pieces, are a given. However, modern-day advanced CNC lathes can have as many as seven axes, ranging from the standard X and Y to multiple rotating axes. 

 

So how many axes should your mini lathe CNC machine have? 

 

Well, the answer to that varies and depends, among others, on the workpiece and the intended shape you’re looking to create. To put it simply, the more complex your projects are, the more additional axes you’ll need on your CNC lathe. 

What machine features should you look for in a mini CNC lathe? 

A mini CNC lathe can range from a basic automated machine to a versatile lathe with wide-ranging features. However, for optimum performance on these machines, certain features are a must-have. 

 

So here are some features you should look for when buying a mid-sized CNC lathe: 

  • High-speed spindles
  • Variable speed settings 
  • An extended warranty cover 
  • Advanced cooling systems
  • Live control for tooling 
  • A detailed threading guide  
  • A large swing over the bed for an increased working area 

Wrapping it up 

The lathes as we see them today are advanced versions of ancient lathe machines. Surprising as it may sound, lathes have been around for centuries, and their utility only increased after the industrial revolution. 

 

The modern-day CNC lathes owe their origin to the 1950s when servomotors brought about increased controllability in the turning process. 

 

Talking about present-day machining, CNC conversion has changed it all. That’s because a CNC lathe conversion kit can today automate just about any manual lathe. 

 

In fact, as a manual mini lathe machine shop owner, you’ve got your best bet in the form of a lathe CNC conversion kit.

 

And if you’re looking for one such CNC conversion kit or a fully-fledged mini CNC lathe, you can reach out to us. We’ve got the best lathe machines and their CNC control packages on the market at the most cost-efficient prices. 

 

CNC lathe conversion

Top 7 CNC Lathe Machines And Conversion Kits In 2022

Nothing beats an automated workshop equipped with a CNC lathe machine or conversion kit

Having your machine shop CNC-capable with a fully-fledged CNC lathe machine or a conversion kit has become a prerequisite. And that’s for good since you can’t achieve precision machining and high efficiency on a manual lathe. 

 

You see, as a machinist looking to scale your business, your biggest worry could be accuracy in manual workpiece production. That’s because no matter how seasoned or skillful a machine operator you’re, the limitations of a manual lathe will bog you down. 

 

Not to forget, CNC lathe machines have become a phenomenon even among small hobby workshops, which means your competitors are just about everywhere. 

 

So a CNC lathe machine is your one-stop solution not only to keep your business relevant but also to grow it exponentially. 

 

Even if the upfront cost of CNC is a concern, you can still have CNC capability thanks to the readily available conversion kits. In fact, you can buy high-performance manual lathes along with a CNC conversion kit to have a cost-effective CNC machine. 

 

Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? 

 

But, you may find choosing a CNC lathe or its conversion kit tricky since there are so many options on the market. Also, you never know which manufacturer or product you can trust for reliable performance. 

 

Nevertheless, you can rest easy as we have compiled here the best CNC lathes and conversion kits to modernize your machine shop. So, let’s have a look. 

#1. Grizzly G9972Z benchtop lathe and CNC conversion kit

CNC lathe conversion

If you think that CNC-capable machining can cost you a fortune, then you haven’t come across this lathe machine and its conversion kit yet. 

 

The Grizzly G9972Z benchtop lathe is a mid-sized machine ideal for small to medium-sized workshops and hobby machinists. So if you’re looking for a lathe machine that you can use for tasks like woodworking, shaping, etc., it has got you covered. 

 

Surprising as it may sound, the Grizzly G9972Z outperforms most professional metal lathes despite being a beginner machine. 

 

Even though this lathe machine is manually controlled, you can easily turn it into a CNC lathe using its conversion kit. That’s because the Grizzly G9972Z conversion kit is one of the most DIY-friendly kits. 

 

What makes this package a truly DIY CNC lathe kit is its simple-to-use features and a detailed user guide which lets just about anyone convert the machine. 

 

Want more? 

 

The lathes and CNC conversion kits from Grizzly include everything that you need. So, from ball screws and nuts to stepper motor mounts to bearings to shaft connectors to mounting hardware, you’ll find them all included in the package. 

 

Now, talking about its machining capabilities, a Grizzly G9972Z CNC lathe comes with a 6-speed feature between 150-2400 RPM. Also, the RPM feed is pre-programmable, which you can set as per your workpiece requirements. 

And here’s the best thing about this lathe machine CNC conversion package: 

While any beginner-grade CNC lathe can cost you upward of $30,000, you can have a Grizzly G9972Z CNC lathe for less than a third of that quote. 

 

It can’t get more cost-effective, can it? 

#2. Sherline 17″ CNC lathe and conversion kit

CNC lathe conversion

Are you a hobbyist looking for a CNC lathe machine ideal for your needs? 

 

If yes, you’re at the right place, as the Sherline 17″ CNC lathe and conversion kit have got you covered. 

 

Even as Sherline manufactures an 8″ lathe, the 17″ machine will let you easily work on even large-sized workpieces. 

 

You see, while you may not need the extra length too often as a hobby machinist, having an extra capability always makes sense. More so when there isn’t much price difference between Sherline 8″ and 17″ lathe machines. 

 

The best thing about Sherline CNC lathes is the customization options they offer you, which also hold for this machine. The Sherline 17″ lathe, in particular, lets you choose the stepper motor and driver as per your precise requirement. 

 

There’s more to this amazing CNC lathe. 

 

Just like its Grizzly counterpart, the Sherline 17″ lathe is also DIY-friendly, which means if you’re a DIY person, this is yet another ideal choice for you. All you need for your DIY project is to purchase this CNC-ready lathe along with its CNC conversion kit. 

 

 

Also, this machine is packed with features like rigidity, sturdiness, and mobility, which is a hard bargain among most lathes. 

But what about its machining capabilities, you may ask? 

 

Sherline provides a 60-watt motor with a variable speed between 70 and 2800 RPM along with the lathe. And this motor can generate enough torque for all small to medium-range turning operations. 

 

There you have it, the best hobby CNC lathe and conversion kit on the market. 

#3. Proxxon precision benchtop lathe PD 400

CNC lathe conversion

If a multipurpose CNC lathe or conversion kit that can enable metal machining is your go-to choice, then the Proxxon precision lathe PD 400 is something you should definitely consider. 

 

Proxxon is a renowned German lathe manufacturing company, and its Precision lathe PD 400 is a heavy-duty and high-accuracy medium-sized machine. 

 

The machine weighs 100 lbs and has a diameter of 35.4″ x 15.8″ x 11.8″, which makes it simple to install. So much so that you can easily place it on the work table by yourself and start machining workpieces. 

 

You may wonder what makes this lathe capable of turning metals. 

 

The answer lies in the sturdy construction of the machine itself, which suppresses vibrations, thus allowing you to machine metals. 

 

This benchtop CNC lathe features a six-speed drive system ranging from 80 RPM right up to 2800 RPM. So, whatever your required application is, this machine has an ideal speed range for it. 

 

Also, since this lathe is powered by a 550-watt motor, you’ll have enough torque for just about any operation, be it turning, thread cutting, or milling. 

 

Further, you can conveniently machine workpieces up to 15.75 inches in length and 4.56 inches in diameter. And as an additional advantage, the rotating tailstock ensures a smooth operation. 

 

Impressive, isn’t it? 

#4. Grizzly G0084 CNC lathe

Is there an affordable CNC lathe or conversion kit that you can use for heavy machining? 

 

Certainly yes.

 

If you’re looking for a cost-efficient lathe for a large-scale workshop, then the Grizzly G0084 CNC lathe is your one-stop solution. That’s because this lathe offers industrial-grade machining speed and quality and is apt for machine shops of all sizes, from small to large. 

 

In fact, if you need a lathe machine capable of operating multiple tools in quick succession, then one is worth considering. 

 

The Grizzly G0084 CNC lathe machine is sized 67″ x 75″ and can perfectly accommodate workpieces up to 27 inches in length and 13 inches in diameter. So, even if you have large workpieces to machine, you can rest easy as they’ll fit in the lathe. 

 

The lathe has a 4 hp motor to drive the spindle and can run between a speed range of 30 RPM and 4000 RPM. That means you can easily use it for an extensive range of machining requirements. 

 

Since this is a heavy-build lathe with a weight of close to 3100 lbs, it offers you high tolerance levels and, thus, low vibration. And a feed rate of 300 inches for every minute means that you’ll be able to cut workpieces faster, reducing the cycle time. 

 

The best thing is that this high-end CNC lathe is made in the US and has a technical support team based in the country. 

 

Bonus: 

 

Grizzly provides a 14-gallon coolant tank with its G0084 CNC lathe, which ensures that you can have long hours of uninterrupted operations. Also, the lathe has an enclosed working area which enhances user safety while keeping the work area clean. 

#5. TAIG 4029 CNC lathe

Among all CNC lathes and CNC conversion kits on the market, this lathe has the most user-friendly CNC software. 

 

Featuring Mach3 CNC software, the TAIG 4029 lathe is a highly reliable machine for small workshops and hobby machinists. 

 

Since Mach3 is one of the simplest to use CNC software, you need not learn programs like CAD/CAM. 

 

Even as TAIG still offers an earlier version of this lathe, i.e., the 4019 lathe, the TAIG 4029 fares better thanks to its 5C headstock. 

 

You see, the 5C headstocks have a way larger diameter, which allows them to firmly grip your workpiece all around. And that brings about high accuracy in operations since the workpiece is held firm. 

 

On the contrary, a traditional jaw chuck holds your parts only at three or four points, thus affecting the accuracy. 

 

In terms of safety, the TAIG 4029 CNC lathe is equipped with a chip guard and emergency stop switch, making the machine safe to use. 

 

However, there are a few limitations in the lathe which might prevent you from machining large parts or having quick production. 

 

For instance, the TAIG 4029 lathe has a speed limit of 1800 RPM, which increases manufacturing time and limits the materials you can machine. And since the machine is lightweight, you can expect vibrations at a higher speed. 

 

Also, the lathe lacks a tailstock, so you can expect instability and stress when working on large-sized workpieces. 

 

Nonetheless, this one is an excellent option for an entry-level CNC lathe and a user-friendly lathe. 

#6. Tormach 8L CNC lathe machine

If there is one machine among all CNC lathes and lathe conversion kits that bring about all-inclusive machining, it’s the Tormach 8L. 

 

A yet another made-in-America lathe, the Tormach 8L is a compact but highly capable machine sizing 50″ x 26″. 

 

What underscores its performance capability is the fact that you can perform turning, grooving, facing, and boring operations all on one machine. Together with the high precision of the machine, it will even let you produce wide-ranging and top-notch prototypes. 

 

The Tormach 8L CNC lathe features a 1.5 hp spindle and has high variable speeds between 100 RPM and 500 RPM. Also, the lathe has a sturdy build quality and an 838 lbs weight. And coupled with the variable speeds, this sturdy construct lets you cut anything from soft materials like wood to hard materials like titanium. 

 

So how large a workpiece can this CNC lathe handle? 

 

With a Tormach 8L lathe, you can machine up to 16 inches in length and 8 inches in diameter, which is remarkable for a compact-sized machine. 

 

Further, since the machine can work on a 115 V single-phase AC supply, you can easily use one for hobby machining in your home. All you’ll need to do is hook the lathe to an electrical socket in your home, and you can have your lathe running. 

 

Amazing, right? 

 

You may well wonder if the lathe is safe to use in your home or your workshop, for that matter. And to that end, you can rest assured as a safety enclosure comes as standard for all Tormach lathe packages. 

#7. Haas Toolroom lathe TL-1-EDU

As a counterpart to Grizzly G0084, the Hass toolroom lathe is another excellent industrial-grade lathe machine. 

 

Haas already has a reputation across the country as a high-quality manufacturer and exceptional after-sales services provider. And their toolroom lathe TL-1-EDU stands true to its fame, apart from being the most affordable industrial CNC lathe. 

 

In fact, if you need a high-precision and heavy-duty CNC lathe that offers great customization options, too, then this machine is worth considering. That’s because from spindle type to chuck size to spindle RPM to a turret type, you can install custom parts as per your exact requirements. 

 

In terms of workpiece size, the toolroom CNC lathe can handle parts up to a diameter of 8 inches and a length of 30 inches. Also, you can machine both soft and hard materials, which makes this lathe unique among CNC lathes and lathe conversion kits in this category. 

 

Now, coming to operation, the lathe is easy to use and doesn’t need G-code for programming. Meaning, even if you’re a beginner at CNC, you can easily use this machine. 

 

Talking about machining efficiency, Haas provides a coolant and chip removal system in their machines, including the toolroom CNC lathe, for highly efficient operations. 

 

There it is, another cost-effective yet sturdy American lathe. 

The final word 

While there are endless choices for CNC lathes and lathe conversion kits on the market, choosing the right one is never so easy. That’s so since machining capabilities and cost are some factors that you’re most likely to consider for your lathe. 

 

Nevertheless, you should also keep in mind your precise requirements and go for a CNC lathe that meets them all. You see, every workshop and machinist has a different requirement altogether, meaning you can’t apply a one-size-fits-all approach. 

 

And not to forget, the longevity and sturdiness of a do dictate the choice. After all, you want your lathe to last for a long time, don’t you? 

 

If you’re looking for your ideal lathe and CNC lathe conversion kit, you can reach out to us. We have top-of-the-line lathes from leading manufacturers like Grizzly and Shop Fox at the most cost-efficient prices. And we can deliver your ideal lathe to your workshop for free. 

 

benchtop CNC lathe

Everything You Need To Know About A Benchtop CNC Lathe

If you own a benchtop lathe, you should definitely consider making it CNC capable

CNC machining is already a trendsetter among machine shops, and workshops with a benchtop lathe are no strangers to this. 

 

You see, while CNC has been preferred among the larger industries, hobby machinists and small workshop owners have realized its potential of late. So the shift to a CNC lathe machine among the latter isn’t surprising. 

 

After all, nothing really can beat the performance of a CNC machine which brings along high precision and greater machining ability. 

 

And even as CNC machines are more expensive than their manual counterparts, CNC conversion kits are readily available for workshops as a cost-effective option. In fact, you can buy a lathe CNC conversion kit and DIY your ‘computer numeric control’ machine on a shoestring budget. 

 

With a CNC lathe, you will have versatile machining capabilities to make different metal or wood pieces using facing, turning, or grooving. 

 

Though the basic function of a benchtop CNC lathe is to accurately turn asymmetrical parts, you can even use one for drilling, shaping, or cutting. 

 

But before you make a switch to a CNC lathe, you may have a lot of questions. And that’s exactly why we have answered all your questions about CNC lathes, from their working to types to parts to applications. 

 

So let’s have a detailed look. 

What is a benchtop CNC lathe? 

benchtop CNC lathe

Simply put, benchtop CNC lathe machines are the modified versions of manual benchtop lathes, which involve integrating a computer system with the latter. 

 

As you may know, a benchtop lathe is all about machining on a workbench and is ideal for small operations. 

 

On a benchtop CNC lathe, the workpieces rotate at a much higher speed, and the cutting tools are computer-programmed to machine these workpieces with high accuracy. 

 

Now, coming to the application of such lathe machines, you can use them to machine wood, plastic, and soft metals. Also, depending on the cutting tools, you can even use a CNC lathe to machine heavy metals. 

 

A benchtop lathe generally comes in two configurations, vertical and horizontal, and you can have various axis setups on both of them. And, since modern-day CNC lathes have 3, 4, or even more axes systems, you will have the capability to machine complex workpieces quickly and precisely. 

 

Interesting, isn’t it? 

How does a CNC lathe work? 

benchtop CNC lathe

When it comes to the working of a benchtop CNC lathe, it is entirely different from its manual counterparts. And that holds for a lathe post CNC conversion as well as a brand new CNC lathe. 

 

You see, while a manual lathe is all about hand-held cutting tools used for shaping workpieces, CNC eliminates the requirement of human interaction. All you need to do on a CNC lathe is program the machine to your workpiece specifications. 

 

Nevertheless, you’ll still have to understand CNC programs, your exact project requirements, and its blueprint, along with designing and processing the workpiece on your machine. 

 

And in case you’re wondering, here’s how a CNC lathe machine works, from designing a project to eventually manufacturing it:

#1. The CAD phase 

The CAD phase is the first step in manufacturing a piece on a benchtop CNC lathe. Herein, you’ll be preparing a design on your computer that precisely replicates the final workpiece. 

 

And to create a 3D STL design for the turning operation, there are multiple CAD software like Autodesk Fusion 360, Catia, Blender, etc., readily available. 

 

Further, you can use almost all CAD file formats for machining operations. But you might need to do some post-processing to make a CAD file compatible with your benchtop CNC lathe. 

 

Talking about CAD files, the IGES file format is quite popular among CNC lathes. So if you’re using one such file format, you should convert all your design files to IGES to enable CNC turning. 

 

Once you’ve prepared and finalized the design, you’ll have to configure your machine to cut or shape the material. 

#2. The CAM phase

After you’ve prepared the design of your product in the first phase, i.e., the CAD phase, it’s followed by the CAM phase. 

 

The CAM phase is all about converting your design into code using either dedicated CNC software or manual programming. 

 

There are popular CNC software programs like Mach3, MeshCAM, EstlCAM, and more, which you can use to create automated code. 

 

On the other hand, for manual programming, you need good know-how of part drawing, along with G-codes. However, there are multiple G-code editors which you can use to either write a code or modify an existing one. 

 

The program codes that you create during the CAM process are like commands for your benchtop CNC lathe, telling it what and how to perform a task. 

 

And while you need to be a skilled CNC machinist for effective CNC programming, the beginner-grade CNC lathes do come with a detailed user guide. 

 

That’s impressive for sure, isn’t it? 

 

Going forward in the CAM phase, you’ll need to program your CNC lathe with specially customized G-codes and M-codes. 

 

You might wonder what exactly these codes are. 

 

While G-codes are used to control movements on a benchtop CNC lathe, M-codes control other settings on the machine, like turning the coolant on/off, unclamping the chuck, etc. 

#3. The control phase 

The control phase comes after CAD and CAM and is one of the most critical elements of the working of a benchtop CNC lathe. 

 

But why is the control phase so crucial, you may ask? 

 

You see, what underscores the importance of the control phase is the fact that both the accuracy and quality of your product hinges on it. 

 

In this machining phase on your mini lathe CNC machine, you will control both the machine and the cutting tools. 

Here’s a step-by-step process you can follow to set up your benchtop CNC lathe for the control phase: 

  • The first thing that you’ll need to do after turning on the lathe is to position the cutting tool at zero. You can do so by bringing the tool to its original point at the XY axes. 
  • Next up, you will install your workpiece on the spindle for machining. And the workpiece you use should be larger in size than the product you plan on making. 
  • Before setting the cutting tool, you should tighten and lock the chuck in the right place. 
  • Now comes choosing the cutting tools for your CNC lathe. Even though there is an extensive range of cutting tools for benchtop lathes, the one you choose will depend on your workpiece material and the use of the lathe, among others. 
  • Once you’ve put the workpiece and cutting tools in place, you should load the program file to the lathe CNC controller. You’ll be able to do that by using an inbuilt file explorer on the CNC lathe or directly sending the program from a computer. 
  • After you’ve imported the program file to the controller, you need to set tool and work offsets. 

Having completed all these steps, you can now use your benchtop CNC lathe to run the job. And even as the entire process is automated, we suggest you monitor the machining process closely to avoid mishaps. 

#4. The post-processing phase 

Post-processing is the final phase of manufacturing on a benchtop CNC lathe and includes roughing and finishing operations. 

 

To begin with, you have the roughing operation, which isn’t required for all the products you manufacture in your machine shop. Instead, you need roughing only on products with some excess materials that couldn’t be removed during turning operations.  

 

When it comes to conducting a roughing operation, you can either do it manually on a lathe or use a grinder wheel for the purpose. 

 

Upon finishing roughing, you can begin with the finishing operation, which is needed to enhance the surface finish of your product. As a result, your workpieces will turn out much shinier and smoother. 

 

For polishing your workpiece during the finishing operation, you can use anything from polishing compounds to emery paper to abrasive paste. 

 

And once you’ve completed both roughing and finishing, your workpiece will be ready. 

What are the different types of lathe machines? 

benchtop CNC lathe

Now that you’ve seen how a benchtop CNC lathe actually works, you might wonder what the various types of lathe machines on the market are. 

 

You see, depending on their orientation, CNC lathe machines are mainly categorized into two types, namely vertical and horizontal lathes. And the main difference between these two lathe types is in the way workpieces are positioned, i.e., horizontally and vertically. 

 

A horizontal benchtop CNC lathe is something you can use for almost every generic application. In fact, such lathe machines are apt for small workshops and hobby machinists since they don’t need to produce complex parts. 

 

A vertical CNC turning center, on the contrary, is used to machine heavy parts and is ideal for industrial settings. 

 

Apart from the classification based on orientation, lathe machines are also categorized on the basis of their sizes, such as mini lathes and full-size lathes. 

What parts does a benchtop CNC lathe consist of? 

Just like a manual benchtop lathe, the CNC lathes are also made of various parts. And, thanks to these CNC lathe parts, you can accurately and efficiently machine your workpieces. 

 

So let’s have a look at the CNC lathe parts that enable effective machining in your workshop. 

#1. Headstock

A headstock on a benchtop CNC lathe is mostly located on the left and hosts multiple components of your machine. And the most critical component in the headstock is the spindle used to turn your workpieces. 

 

To move the spindle, CNC lathes usually have a high-performance spindle drive like a servo motor. 

#2. Tailstock 

The tailstock in your CNC lathe is meant to provide axial support to the workpiece. Also, it provides the extra support needed for machining large-sized workpieces. 

#3. Work-holding device 

As the name suggests, a work-holding device is something you will employ to hold your workpiece in place. And on a CNC lathe, 3-jaw hydraulic chucks are usually deployed to firmly hold the workpieces. 

 

With the help of outer and inner diameter clamping jaws, these work-holding devices are able to hold your work. Also, depending on the shape and size of your workpiece, you can even use other work-holding devices like a collet, 4-jaw chuck, faceplate, etc. 

#4. Tool turret 

A tool turret is that component of your benchtop CNC lathe that carries the tools. So you can use the turret to store multiple tools, which will come in handy during different machining operations. 

 

For instance, you can load the turret with tools for threading, grooving, and turning, along with drills, a boring bar, etc. 

#5. Machine Bed

The machine bed on your CNC lathe is generally a solid metallic structure that supports moving components like headstock, tailstock, and tool post. 

 

And, since the operations, as well as safety, depends on the machine bed, it is usually built with sturdy and dependable materials like cast iron. 

#6. Machine control unit or MCU

The machine control unit on a benchtop CNC lathe consists of a screen, controller, and limit switches, among other components. You can think of the MCU as a processing unit of your lathe. 

 

Depending on the capabilities of your machine control unit, you can use it either independently or by linking it to a computer. 

#7. Foot switches

The foot switches or foot pedals are those controls on a CNC lathe that you can use with your feet. 

 

In general, the foot switches allow you to activate or deactivate the tailstock support or work holding quickly and easily. 

Benchtop CNC lathe: FAQs

#1. Is a CNC lathe different from a CNC turning center? 

Yes, a CNC lathe is very different from a CNC turning center, both in terms of its uses and scope. 

 

For instance, the application of a benchtop CNC lathe is limited to turning and shaping a cylindrical workpiece. On the contrary, you can use a CNC turning center for much-advanced milling and turning operations. 

#2. How to choose a CNC lathe for your workshop? 

You should factor in some important considerations like the intended use of the machine, the area in your machine shop, the speed and torque you need, and much more. 

 

In fact, we have compiled a comprehensive list of things to consider before you buy a CNC lathe machine in a previous blog

Wrapping it up

A benchtop CNC lathe is synonymous with high accuracy and high volume production among small and medium machine shops. Not to forget, the increased profitability such a machine brings about by increasing efficiency manifold and thus lowering your production costs. 

 

You see, while manual lathes can be used for simple machining operations, bringing precision to workpieces is a hard bargain. And a CNC lathe or a lathe conversion kit offers the best solution to this. 

 

If you’re looking for one such machine for your workshop, you can reach out to us. At CNC Conversion Plus, we have the best CNC lathe machines and lathe CNC conversion kits on the market at the most affordable prices. 

 

mini lathe CNC conversion kit

Here’s Why You Should Go For a Grizzly G9972Z Mini Lathe CNC Conversion Kit

A mini lathe CNC conversion kit is all it takes to make your lathe machine high-precision

If you are a lathe machinist, you might have considered a mini lathe CNC conversion kit for your machine shop. After all, nothing really can match the accuracy and quality of workpiece production that CNC lathe conversion brings about. 

 

However, when it comes to choosing a CNC conversion kit for your lathe, you’re sure to be confused between the many options on the market. That’s because there are so many CNC lathe kits for different machine sizes and types. 

 

Nevertheless, you can rest assured as we have the right CNC conversion kit recommendation for your small-sized workshop in the form of Grizzly G9972Z. 

But why exactly should you buy a Grizzly G9972Z benchtop lathe in the first place? 

mini lathe CNC conversion kit

As a hobbyist or small machine shop owner, the right lathe machine is as important as the conversion kit itself. And the Grizzly G9972 benchtop lathe has all that it takes for high-quality workpiece production.  

 

You see, the Grizzly G9972 lathe is specially designed for light-duty machining and powered by a 1 HP motor to efficiently machine even tricky workpieces. 

 

What makes it ideal for a mini-workshop is its multipurpose features which allow you to machine both metals and wood in many shapes and sizes. 

 

And as icing on the cake, the Grizzly G9972 benchtop lathe is covered by a one-year warranty. 

 

Interesting, isn’t it? 

Reasons to go for a Grizzly G9972Z mini benchtop lathe CNC conversion kit: 

mini lathe CNC conversion kit

As you can see, a Grizzly G9972Z benchtop lathe is apt for your small workshop. The only catch here is that the lathe machine is not CNC-enabled. 

 

CNC machining is already transforming machine shops across the world with improved efficiency and better workpiece quality. And we can’t overstate the importance of a lathe CNC conversion kit, given the highly precise and complex models that a lathe machine has to create. 

 

A Grizzly G9972Z lathe conversion kit not only makes machining such pieces easy but also makes sure that you can machine models of just about any shape. 

 

There’s more to a Grizzly CNC lathe conversion kit, so let’s have a look in detail. 

#1. Grizzly G9972Z is a cost-efficient mini lathe CNC conversion kit

A fully-fledged CNC machine doesn’t come cheap and, at times, can even cost you a fortune. So when it comes to having a CNC-enabled machine shop, you can expect to spend upward of $100,000. 

 

In fact, the very reason why CNC conversion kits have gained popularity is that they make your existing lathe or mill CNC capable at just about a fraction of what a brand-new machine costs. 

 

And when we talk about a cost-efficient lathe or mill CNC conversion kit, nothing comes close to a Grizzly G9972Z mini benchtop lathe CNC conversion kit. 

 

While a small lathe CNC kit can cost $1000 on average, you can get a Grizzly G9972 lathe conversion kit for well under $800. 

 

Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? 

#2. It’s a DIY CNC lathe kit

Out of all CNC lathe kits, the Grizzly G9972Z lathe conversion kit is the most DIY-friendly. 

 

So what makes it a DIY CNC lathe kit, you may ask? 

 

You see, converting a mill or lathe using CNC conversion kits involves a complex process and requires good know-how in machining. That means you’ll need to hire a CNC expert to turn your manual lathe to CNC. 

 

But that’s not the case with the Grizzly G9972Z mini benchtop lathe CNC conversion kit, which is one the easiest to convert kits on the market. More so, since this lathe CNC kit includes a simple-to-follow user manual, even a beginner machinist can use it without any hassle. 

 

As you know, a DIY CNC conversion stands to save your additional labor cost. And not to forget the sense of joy and satisfaction DIY projects bring about. 

#3. It turns your Grizzly G9972Z benchtop lathe into a high-capacity CNC machine

The Grizzly G9972Z benchtop lathe is known as a mini machine for smaller workpieces. And while it is true for the non-CNC version of this lathe, it’s an entirely different story after CNC conversion. 

 

You see, a Grizzly G9972Z mini lathe CNC conversion kit can turn this benchtop lathe into a high-capacity machine. Meaning, your lathe can now handle even large workpieces and endure long hours of operation. 

 

So in terms of machining capacity, your CNC lathe machine will be very similar to its industrial-grade counterparts.  

 

Amazing, right? 

#4. The mini lathe CNC conversion kit package has everything you need for high efficiency 

What makes the Grizzly G9972Z mini lathe CNC conversion kit different from others on the market is its all-inclusive package. This CNC lathe conversion kit has all that you’ll need to make your machine highly efficient. 

 

To begin with, the Grizzly G9972Z CNC conversion plans include double opposing ball nuts, just like its mill CNC conversion kit counterparts. By installing these double opposing nuts on the ball screws of your lathe, you can simply double the accuracy of your machine. 

 

Next up in this mini lathe CNC conversion kit are high-quality NEMA 23 stepper motors for the X, Y, and Z axis. With these motors on your lathe, you can stay assured of smooth machining and years of reliable service. 

 

Lastly, the kit includes all essential CNC machining components like ball screws, nut assemblies, bearings, shaft connectors, and mounting hardware. 

Wrapping it up

mini lathe CNC conversion kit

When it comes to modern-day machining, we can’t deny the role that a CNC machine has to play. 

 

As a machine shop owner, there are plenty of turnkey solutions readily available for you, thanks to the CNC conversion kits. 

 

But of all these solutions, nothing beats the Grizzly G9972Z mini lathe CNC conversion kit. You see, getting a highly featureful CNC conversion kit from an industry-leading manufacturer on a shoestring budget is simply not possible. 

 

If you are looking for one such CNC conversion kit, you can reach out to us. We have in our store CNC conversion kits from renowned manufacturers like Grizzly, Precision Matthews, Sieg, etc. And we can deliver your ideal mill or lathe CNC kit to your machine shop at the most competitive price. 

 

cnc milling machines

10 Best CNC Machines for Advanced Milling Operations (2022 Updates)

High-performance CNC milling machines are a prerequisite for high-precision

CNC milling machines have become commonplace for mills, and rightly so. You see, when it comes to milling, nothing can beat the quality that CNC capable machines offer.

 

Metal, wood, or plastic is fed through a revolving, multipoint cutter on a table that rotates to the right and left as well as forward and backward during the milling operation. 

 

Similar to the vertical movement of a drill press, the CNC milling cutter can be lifted or lowered to modify the depth of the cut. The tool’s three control axes enable precise cutting across the whole surface of the material.

 

However, since choosing the right option can be both confusing and hectic, we have compiled together the best CNC milling machines available on the market. So let’s have a look. 

What exactly is CNC milling?

cnc milling machines

CNC milling is a method that shapes an item by removing metal and other elements to create a flat surface. It is mostly utilized to create specialized parts in the automobile and aerospace sectors. The CNC cutting tool can automatically move in all three dimensions to create the desired shape. 

 

When opting for CNC machining in your workshop, there are typically two options, i.e., a brand new CNC machine or CNC conversion kits

 

If you already own a milling machine, CNC conversion offers a low-cost yet reliable solution. 

 

Smaller CNC milling machines that sit on a workbench are also employed in home workshops. Face milling and peripheral milling are the two main types of milling.

 

Aluminum, brass, silver, copper, acrylic, carbon fiber, and hard plastic are the most popular materials milled, but there are many more options. When buying a milling machine for your workshop, you should check if the cutting edges will function on the material you intend to mill. Some household cutters will not cut through heavy metals.

Best CNC Milling Machines On The Market:

cnc milling machines

 

Below is a summary of several top selections as well as information about milling machine characteristics to assist you in selecting the best CNC machine for your workplace.

#1. Grizzly G8689 Mini CNC Milling Machines

If you require a milling machine for small components and tools, the Grizzly G8689 Mini CNC Milling Machines will suffice. The 3/4-hp machine includes various advanced capabilities to handle a variety of milling operations, including 1/2-inch drilling, 1/2-inch end mills, and 1-inch facing. 

 

The compact mill easily and firmly mounts to your bench, allowing you to control the cuts with accuracy. Even more, its variable speed control and gear drives ensure that milling is a pleasure.

 

Features

  • 350W motor 
  • 7-1/2-inch head travel 
  • Horsepower: 3/4 
  • Table travel measures 7-5/16-inch longitudinally and 4-inch across. 
  • Emergency shut-off switch

 
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#2. JET 350017/JMD-15 Milling/Drilling Machines

This mill drill is lightweight and portable, making it ideal for moving about your workspace. Its 1 HP motor is powerful enough to cut pieces out of hardened steel and other tough materials. 

 

The speed of this CNC milling machine can be adjusted from 110 RPM to 2,580 RPM, depending on the materials you’re working with and the precision you require for the finished product.

 

Features

  •  One horsepower motor
  • Table travel is 14 inches long and 1-1/2 inches wide.
  • RPM: 110 – 2,850
  • Drill chuck 1/2-inch

 
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#3. Grizzly G0704 CNC Drill Milling Machines 

cnc milling machines

The Grizzly G0704 drill mill is a compact milling machine that shares several functions with larger milling machines. It has a 1-hp motor that is designed for use on tough metal in your workshop. 

 

You can use these CNC milling machines to make simple tools and parts, but with the appropriate settings, they can also work on sophisticated items like small engines. You never have to mount the unit on a table because it comes with its own stand. 

 

Whether you are just starting out as an engineer or an experienced one, this will be an excellent addition to your machine collection.

 

Features

  • One horsepower single-phase motor
  • 15-inch swing
  • 11-inch travel for the head and 2-inch travel for the spindle
  • Table travel of 18-7/8-inch longitudinal and 6-7/8-inch cross

 
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#4. Grizzly G0781 3/4 hp Mill/Drill Machines

When you require small tools or parts, this small drill mill is a powerhouse. It has a strong 600W DC motor with a high torque output that can drill hardened mill steel. 

 

Even better, the speed may be adjusted from 50 to 1000 on low RPM and from 120 to 2000 on high RPM. 

 

Apart from controlling the speed, these CNC milling machines have various other capabilities to help you set up your machine shop, such as an adjustable depth stop, precise feed head control, and a 45-degree head tilt, depending on your work.

 

Notable Features

  • Head travel of 7-1/16 inches 
  • Motor: 600W, 3/4-HP
  • 45-degree left/right head tilt 
  • 12-3/4 inches swing
  • 11-13/16″ longitudinal travel and 5-1/8″ cross table travel

 
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#5. PROXXON MICRO Mill MF 70

It is ideal for jewelry, optics, electronics, model-making, and other precision projects. Die-cast aluminum protects the 24 pole-balanced motors. Even when used at maximum speed, it remains steady. 

 

This CNC milling machine weighs 15-12 pounds, and the axes include play-free adjustable slides. The table includes three T-slots with an adjustable scale for simple workpiece positioning. The handwheels have a revolution of 3/64 inches and a division of.002 inches.

 

Technology:

  • RPM ranges from 5,000 to 20,000.
  •  The dimensions of the table are 7 7/8 x 2 34 inches.
  •  The dimensions are 5 7/64 x 8 55/64 inches.
  •  At 110V, the maximum power is 1/8 horsepower.

 
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#6. Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO Router Kit GRBL Control

The Genmitsu CNC milling machine runs on commands sent into the Arduino and GRBL software.

 

The overall working area of this milling machine is 150.8 inches cubed. It has an X-axis length of 11.8 inches, a Y-axis length of 7.1 inches, and a Z-axis length of 1.8 inches. It can be used with plastics, wood, acrylics, PVCs, PCBs, and soft metals such as aluminum.
 
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#7. Jet JTM-2 115/230-Volt Vertical CNC Milling Machines

These full-size CNC milling machines from Jet stand more than 6 feet tall and are ideal for use in maintenance, repair, or machine shop. They feature an X-axis power feed installed for accurate material feed rate, making duplicate cuts in many pieces of metal easy.

 

The 2-HP motor generates spindle speeds ranging from 80 to 2,720 RPM, and a heavy-duty spindle brake swiftly brings the tool to a halt when the job is completed. The worktable measures 9 by 42 inches and includes 23.9-inch X-axis travel, 12.5-inch Y-axis travel, and 5-inch Z-axis travel. For increased stability, the milling machine’s worktable includes three 2.5-inch T-slots.
 
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#8. Precision Matthews PM-940M Benchtop CNC Mills 

Precision Matthews PM-940M benchtop mill is a heavy-duty milling machine with a base and offers one of the most extensive milling capabilities.

 

Despite the fact that these CNC milling machines are referred to as “benchtop” mills, they’re rather hefty and would require a large, very solid benchtop to sit on. NEMA 34 stepper mounts are included with these conversion kits. 

 

Apart from this benchtop CNC mill, Precision Matthews PM-727M tabletop mill is another ideal small-scale machine and hobby milling.
 
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#9. SUNWIN Metal CNC Mini Milling Machines

These compact CNC milling cutter machines are ideal for enthusiasts, especially those who need to handle smaller metalworking and woodworking chores. This milling machine weighs 7.71 pounds, making it easy to transport or store when you need to change where you’re working. 

 

As long as you utilize the proper tooling, feed, and speed, the unit can mill microscopic amounts of steel. For soft materials like resin, general steel, aluminum, and brass, high-speed steel (HSS) is the ideal choice.

 

Technology:

  • It runs at 20,000 RPM.
  • The power supply is 12 VDC/2A/24W AC/DC.
  • The headstock rotational speed is 2,000 RPM.
  • The sliding travel ranges from 1.37 to 1.77 inches.
  • The vise has a capacity of.98 x 1.37 inches.

 
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#10. Klutch Mini Milling Machines

cnc milling machines

These tiny CNC milling machines are best suited for light work, such as that undertaken by hobbyists. They’re optimized for slow feed rates, light feeds, and tolerances, making them ideal for jewelry, electronics, and optical projects. The foundation is made entirely of cast iron and runs very smoothly and without vibration.

 

One additional advantage is that this milling machine may be upgraded. This is really useful when you get used to how it operates and want to expand its possibilities.

 

Technology:

  • RPM ranges from 100 to 2,500.
  • It has a 12-horsepower engine.
  • The power input is 110V and requires 5 amps.
  • It has a two-speed gearbox and produces 350 watts of power.
  • The milling head and column tilt 45 degrees to the left or right.

 
Buy Now
 

Conclusion

Unlike lathes, which rotate the component being lathed, CNC milling machines clamp or vice the object being lathed. 

 

With a wide range of CNC milling machines available, including c-frame, column, horizontal tracer operated, turret, CNC, bed type, and planer-style, you should be able to easily determine your unique task and materials.

 

That’s all for this article, folks! 

 

We hope you liked our blog, and it did help you in getting acquainted with CNC machines for advanced milling. 

 

For any doubts or queries, do reach out to us, and we’d be happy to help!

 

mill cnc conversion kit

A Comprehensive Guide To DIY Your Ideal CNC Mill Using A Conversion Kit

A conversion kit is the best way to make your manual mill CNC capable

If you own a machine shop with a manual mill, making it CNC capable with a conversion kit might be on your mind. And rightly so, since workshops of nearly all sizes are eyeing precision and speed with a CNC machine. 

 

You see, manual milling machines are not without limitations, and that can impact your business by affecting your workpiece quality. 

 

How? 

 

You can’t expect a manually operated milling machine to create all the workpieces in precisely the same shape and size. That’s because manual operations are prone to human error, something best reflected in the inaccuracy of manufactured goods. 

 

By switching over to CNC milling, you can easily overcome this problem, as automation eliminates the slightest chance of individual error. Also, the manufacturing process is aided by a computer program that provides high precision to your projects and gives them a competitive edge. 

 

But, when it comes to making your workshop CNC capable, the choice is between a brand new CNC machine and CNC conversion. And while it’s a good idea to buy a fully-fledged CNC machine for a new workshop, if you already own a milling machine, CNC conversion should be your go-to solution. 

Why exactly should you buy a mill CNC conversion kit?

You might be wondering why a mill CNC conversion kit fares better than a brand-new machine for your existing mill. And the answer to this lies in the cost of a CNC mill and that of milling machine CNC conversion

 

While a new 3-axis milling machine can cost you between $60,000 and $100,000, you can have your existing mill converted to CNC for as less as $5000. 

 

Not to forget, a conversion kit extends the same CNC features to your mill as a brand new CNC machine. 

 

So, as a machine shop owner, you can have the best of CNC features on a shoestring budget. 

 

Awesome, right? 

Things to consider before you opt for milling machine CNC conversion

mill cnc conversion kit

As you can see, CNC conversion is a lucrative project to go for as an owner of a manual mill. 

 

However, DIY CNC conversion isn’t as simple as it sounds since you’ll need to work with complex mechanical and electrical components. 

 

Before you begin with your DIY CNC mill with a conversion kit, you should remember that the entire process can take anywhere between a week and a month. Meaning, CNC conversion is time-consuming, and you can’t expect to turn your milling machine within days. 

 

Also, DIY CNC conversion is something that you can’t do alone, and we suggest you have another person to help you out. 

 

Why you may ask? 

 

You see, during the conversion process, you might be required to disassemble the mill or parts of it. And as you know, milling machine components can be too heavy for you to handle by yourself. 

 

Further, even if you’re a seasoned milling machine operator, you should have knowledge about the various parts of a milling machine. 

 

While a mill CNC conversion kit may include a user guide, a knowledge of machine parts will come in handy while disassembling or re-assembling its various components. 

 

That said, with the right conversion kit for your mill and a well-charted plan, you can achieve your CNC goals hassle-free. 

Which is the best mill CNC conversion kit for DIY? 

A DIY CNC conversion is a preferred choice among mill machinists, more so among hobbyists and beginners. And that is despite the fact that CNC conversions are complex projects requiring a lot of time and technical expertise. 

 

Nevertheless, with the right mill CNC conversion kit, the whole process will not just become simple but also swift. 

 

For instance, a Harbor Freight mill CNC conversion kit is apt for DIY CNC conversions since they’re the least bulky, easy to work with, and compatible with almost every mini mill. 

 

So no matter what kind of mill machine your workshop has, you can go for Harbor Freight milling machine CNC conversion. 

 

Want more? 

 

A Harbor Freight CNC conversion kit is the most cost-effective way to makeover your old milling machine. That’s because these conversion kits are readily available on the market for well under $2000. 

 

CNC machining can’t get more affordable than this, can it? 

What tools do you need for DIY CNC conversion? 

mill cnc conversion kit

Now that you know about CNC conversion kits and the ones ideal for DIY projects, you might wonder if you need some additional components too.

 

You see, in order to turn your existing mill into a CNC milling machine, you do need to buy some additional machining tools. That’s because the tools on your older mill may not be capable of advanced milling, and that will make your CNC mill inefficient. 

 

If you’re thinking about what these components are, let’s have a look at them. 

#1. Mechanical components to support CNC milling

When you’re converting your manual mill to CNC, you should replace the existing mechanical components like lead screws with a duo of ball screws and double nuts. 

 

You may wonder why you need to do so. 

 

The very reason why we recommend you replace these mechanical components is that lead screws on a mill machine have backlash and are not compatible with CNC operations. 

 

On the contrary, ball screws have very little to no backlash at all and are a go-to choice for the drive of a CNC milling machine. 

 

And while you may have to buy ball screws and double nuts separately, paying for them over and above the conversion kit, that isn’t always the case. That’s because there are many manufacturers who provide these components in their mill CNC conversion kit package. 

 

For instance, if you buy a Grizzly G0704 benchtop mill conversion kit, you’ll get 16mm ball screws and double nuts on the X and Y axis, among others, included in the package. 

 

Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? 

#2. Electrical components for your CNC milling machine 

While buying a mill CNC conversion kit, there are some electrical components that you’ll need to purchase, too, since they’re required to control CNC machining. 

 

To begin with, you should buy a good quality controller, along with some limit switches, stepper drivers, and mechanical probes to effectively control the X, Y, and Z movements of your machine. 

 

Next up comes the spindle control, and if you’re looking to control the RPM manually using buttons, we recommend you buy a VFD. 

 

Lastly, you’ll need a computer placed at the opposite end of the controller to run the CNC software and give instructions to your milling machine. And once you’ve bought the computer, there are many CNC software readily available to install and run, from Mach3 to GRBL to LinuxCNC. 

How to convert your mill with a CNC conversion kit? 

mill cnc conversion kit

The conversion process of mills differs for different milling machines and conversion kits. But, generally speaking, here’s what the whole process includes: 

#1. Mechanical retrofitting of your mill 

Mechanical retrofitting is the first step in CNC conversion, and herein you’ll be required to disassemble the entire mill before you deploy the conversion kit. And it isn’t as simple as merely replacing the components since disassembly and reassembly processes involve dealing with bulky and complex machine parts. 

 

At first, you should remove each axis of your mill and replace lead screws in each of the axes with ball screws. 

 

Since the Z axis of your machine, in particular, can weigh a thousand pounds, you simply can’t remove it manually. So we recommend an engine hoist to easily pick up and safely move the axes. 

 

Also, your mill might well be screwed to the floor with nuts and bolts, which you’ll have to remove. 

 

When each axis is removed, you can individually add the CNC components to them. 

 

The next step in mill CNC conversion is attaching stepper motors to your machine’s axis. During this process, you should ensure that the stepper motor is capable of handling the heavy weight of the Z axis. 

 

After you’ve attached the stepper motors to the X, Y, and Z axis, you’ll need to put them back in their place. 

There’s more to mechanical retrofitting

Before you can start using the milling machine, you need to properly square the Z axis and make sure that it is precisely perpendicular to the work table. This process is also called tramming of the mill and is done using a tramming indicator. 

 

If you find that the mill isn’t properly trimmed, then you can use the metal sheets under the machine’s base to shim the column and adjust its leaning. 

 

Once you’ve completed tramming of the column, you need to do the same for the spindle, too, and make sure it’s not tilting.

 

Having completed tramming on both column and spindle, your milling machine will now be ready to use. 

#2. Electronics installation to make your mill CNC capable

After mechanical retrofitting comes setting up electronic components, which is necessary to enable CNC milling on your machine. 

 

And here’s a catch you should be aware of. 

 

You need to install the stepper motors on each axis before you begin installing electrical parts on your machine. 

 

To start with, you’ll need a control system to be fixed for the stepper motors. You see, the control system is the most critical component of your machine since it makes the mill computer-controlled instead of hand-operated. 

 

Apart from the control system, there are a host of other electrical components you should purchase for the mill. And that includes an unregulated DC power supply, three limit switches, and two probes. Also, we recommend you buy three stepper motor drivers to run your mill’s stepper motors. 

 

Next comes the controller of your benchtop CNC mill, something you should carefully choose as the controller needs to be compatible with CNC software. 

 

However, if the CNC control packages are compatible with Mach3, LinuxCNC, or GRBL, you can certainly go for it. That’s because these are the most common CNC software and many popular mill conversion kit brands include them in their kit package. 

Spindle retrofit to effectively use a mill CNC conversion kit

For an effective CNC conversion of your mill, you’ll need to retrofit the spindle system. 

 

So, if your mill runs on a spindle motor system that is gear driven, you’ll have to convert it to a belt drive system. And for that matter, a belt drive mill CNC conversion kit will be ideal for converting your milling machine. 

 

Further, you should get a VFD motor controller apt for the spindle motor to control the spindle of your machine. You’ll usually find manual buttons on VFDs, which you can use to increase or decrease the spindle’s RPM. 

Wrapping it up

A DIY mill CNC conversion is indeed the best project you can undertake for your machine shop, all you need is the right conversion kit. 

 

And while CNC conversions may sound complicated, if you’re acquainted with milling machines, you can also convert them to CNC without any trouble. 

 

In fact, the mill CNC conversion kit manufacturers even provide a user manual with a detailed step-by-step process, which you can use to convert the machine. 

 

If you’re looking for one such mill conversion kit, you can check out our products. We have the best CNC conversion kits on the market from world-renowned manufacturers. And we can ship your ideal conversion kit right to your machine shop, that too, at the most competitive price. 

 

CNC conversion kit

7 Reasons Why You Should Buy A CNC Conversion Kit

A CNC conversion kit is your one-stop solution for both automation and precision

The world is on the brink of what is being called a Fourth Industrial Revolution, and a CNC conversion kit can be your ticket to success here. 

 

But why exactly CNC conversion, you may wonder? 

 

You see, as a workshop owner or small-scale producer, accuracy in production is most likely your biggest challenge. And that can even be a hurdle to scaling your business and making it more competitive. 

 

There’s already a huge demand for high-precision goods, and unsurprisingly there are a large number of manufacturers too for the same. 

 

So competing in such a marketplace with a manual machine can be a task. More so, as most machine shop owners have already attained automation and accuracy by switching over to CNC machining. 

 

However, depending on your machining requirements, CNC machines can be really expensive, and they might even break your bank. 

 

But what if you could simply convert your manual machine to CNC? 

 

Yes, it is possible to have your regular milling or lathe machine converted and include the best machining features with a CNC conversion kit. 

 

In fact, CNC conversion kits offer you the most affordable solution for a highly accurate and fast-paced production. 

 

There’s more to CNC conversion and how it can benefit your machine shop, so let’s have a look in detail. 

#1. A CNC conversion kit offers high precision and better accuracy 

CNC conversion kit

To achieve a precise workpiece using your manual milling or lathe machine can be very tricky. And not to forget how much of a task it can be just to improve on accuracy. 

 

So the only way you can improve quality and achieve workpiece specifications on a manual machine is by having the unbroken attention of a highly skilled machinist throughout the production. 

 

And even with a skillful machine operator with years of experience, you can’t rule out the possibility of human error. As such, accuracy in a manually controlled manufacturing process remains a myth. 

 

Nevertheless, you can buy a CNC conversion kit and have the qualities of a high-performance CNC machine on your manual machine itself. 

 

You see, as you automate your machining, the chances of human error will come down to zero. Also, you can pre-set your workpiece specifications in the CNC software, which will then produce it exactly to your specific requirements. 

 

The result: you’ll have much-improved accuracy in production, and your produced workpieces will be highly precise. 

 

Done right, you can even create the most complex pieces by achieving a tolerance as small as 0.004 mm. 

 

Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? 

Here’s a catch:

While working on a CNC machine, you need to maintain an ideal operating environment and the right calibration on your cutting tool. That’s because, even as a CNC conversion kit automates machining by pre-programming it, ensuring the duo is critical to your machine’s accuracy. 

#2. Nothing beats the endurance of a CNC machine

Nothing comes even close to a CNC machine when it comes to high endurance and round-the-clock functioning. 

 

You see, your manual machine will run and continue to produce workpieces only as long as you have skillful machinists. And not only do these machine specialists need to run the machines manually, but they’ve also got to constantly check for the right calibration. 

 

That means no sooner than the operators’ work-shift ends; your production will come to a complete halt. 

 

However, a CNC conversion kit lets you turn your manually-controlled machine into fully-fledged CNC-capable equipment. As such, you can have a machine that runs 24 hours a day non-stop and without needing any machine operators. 

 

In fact, a machine operator can program the computer of your CNC machine as per the design requirements of your project. As a result, you can get your workpiece or parts of it manufactured as often as you need, thus increasing the production capacity of your machine shop manifold. 

 

Also, with your machining process being automated and the need for human intervention reduced, you’ll need far fewer machine operators. 

There’s more to a conversion kit enabled CNC machine

With one such machine, you can have unmatched flexibility in production, as it allows for quick product and design changes. 

 

For instance, if you need to produce a small number of products, you can set the machine for that amount of order. And as soon as the production is complete, you can quickly change the CNC program for the next round of production. 

 

That degree of flexibility means your CNC-enabled machine shop can complete just about any order right on time. And that ranges from huge batches of similar workpieces to single prototypes. 

 

Further, what underscores the endurance of a conversion kit powered CNC machine is the fact that it needs the least maintenance. 

 

While CNC machines can be worn since they run continuously, you can keep track of it with regular machine inspections. And once wear is detected, you can address and fix it in no time. 

#3. Attain higher production and scalability with CNC 

CNC conversion kit

Are you looking to scale and grow your manufacturing business? 

 

If yes, a CNC conversion kit is your gateway to business expansion via large-scale production of various workpieces. 

 

After you’ve converted your mill or lathe machine with a CNC conversion kit, you’re set to start production. All you need to do is program your CNC machine as per the design requirements of the product. 

 

And once you’ve kickstarted the production using CNC, manufacturing workpieces takes very little time. That means you can increase production volume multiple times by having more workpieces ready than in the manual process in the same amount of time. 

 

Also, apart from being able to produce parts in a much higher quantity, a CNC machine is very scalable. Meaning, you can program your machine to produce workpieces of different shapes and sizes; and in different quantities, i.e., form a single product to thousands of its variants. 

 

Since you can use optimal resources and produce the maximum number of goods, you’re sure to attain high efficiency as well. 

 

Amazing, right? 

#4. Get unmatched speed with a CNC conversion kit 

A manual machine’s working is not-hassle free at all, and one of the problems you’ll encounter often is slow-paced production. 

 

You can, however, overcome this hurdle with the turnkey solution offered by a CNC conversion kit. 

 

You can attain the highest possible production speed by converting your manual machine and switching over to CNC machining. That’s because with automation comes speed, as the machine is able to use its fastest setting in the safest way. 

 

So how exactly does a CNC conversion kit help attain high speed? 

 

You see, in a conventional mill machine, you’re required to manually operate the system. And that includes frequently changing the tooling depending on the type of cutting operation you need. 

 

As such, producing even a single workpiece takes a lot of time, resulting in slowed operations and inefficiency. 

 

But that’s not the case anymore after you’ve enabled CNC on your machine using a conversion kit. 

 

Since all manual functions are performed automatically via a computer program, you’ll have high speed, best accuracy, and minimum waste. In fact, there’s no better way to attain quick, efficient, and much-diversified production than CNC machining. 

 

There you have it, the best solution for high-speed machining. 

#5. Enhanced machining capability 

CNC conversion kit

If you’re looking to produce a wide variety of workpieces on a single machine, you should definitely consider upgrading to CNC with a conversion kit. 

 

Your manual machine isn’t without shortcomings, one of them being a lack of ability to work on different workpieces. However, you can machine many types of workpieces on the same mini lathe or mill with a CNC conversion kit. 

 

Your machine with CNC capability can have a rotating carousel that can easily carry up to 30 machine tools. Also, these tools can be swapped automatically during the milling or machining operations, thus allowing for various products to be machined. 

 

Want more? 

 

The CNC conversion plans bring along top-of-the-line design software, which makes working with sophisticated designs possible. In fact, with the right software on your CNC machine, you can produce a workpiece of just about any shape and size. 

 

On the contrary, we can’t even imagine machining products with delicate designs on manual mills. Can we? 

#6. You can machine any material with a conversion kit

Our manual machines are seriously limited when it comes to the materials they can machine. For instance, if you own a small-sized manual mill, you’re most likely to machine only softer metals like aluminum, brass, copper, etc. 

 

A mill CNC conversion kit, on the other hand, can enable you to machine even hard metals like stainless steel by diversifying the machine tools and increasing machining capability. 

 

Also, since CNC machines are equipped with multiple tools, they’re even compatible with materials like composites, plastics, rigid, and carving foam, among others. 

 

Nonetheless, there are certain considerations that you should factor in when choosing a material for CNC milling. For instance, it makes sense to take into account your machine’s design tolerance, stress resistance, heat tolerance, hardness, and fastening before you choose a material. 

#7. A CNC conversion kit makes machining safe

CNC machines and conversion kits have brought about increased safety in the manufacturing industry. 

 

You see, all an operator needs to do on CNC-enabled equipment is enter the code and maintain the machine’s functioning as per workpiece specifications. 

 

Since a CNC conversion kit makes the machining process entirely automatic, the interaction of an operator is limited to pre-programming. As such, machine operators no longer need to go near the cutting tools. 

 

As a result, there are lesser occupational health concerns and safety-related accidents on CNC machines. 

 

Even as machine operators may find the working of CNC machines complex initially, once acquainted, they’re sure to find it much safer and simpler to use.

BONUS: Reduced production costs and increased profitability 

A CNC conversion kit may need an upfront investment at first, but it will bring down your cost of workpiece production remarkably. That’s because CNC machines not only minimize waste generation but also increase output. 

 

Also, you need a smaller workforce and lesser skill training to run a CNC machine workshop, which again reduces the overall cost. 

 

Altogether, this lowered cost of running the machine shop and producing workpieces will result in higher profitability for your business. 

 

Interesting, isn’t it? 

Wrapping it up

The methods of manufacturing are changing across the world, and automation is clearly leading this change. With automation has come high precision and mass production, so businesses achieving these two are growing at a faster pace. 

 

Automation, however, isn’t very affordable and can even cost a fortune. 

 

Interestingly, a CNC conversion kit can offer you automation on a shoestring budget by simply converting your manual machine into a computerized and programmable manufacturing device. 

 

If you’re looking for such turn key machines for your machine shop, you can reach out to us. We’ve got CNC conversion kits from industry-leading manufacturers, and we can convert your manual machine in the most cost-effective way. 

 

Best CNC Conversion Kits

10 Best CNC Conversion Kits For Small Businesses (2022 Updates) 

With the best CNC conversion kits, you can attain precision and automation in no time

Machine tools, like most modern equipment, have improved and reduced in size over the years, and with the best CNC conversion kits, you can make them much more effective. Modern lathes and milling machines have come a long way since the Industrial Revolution’s massive, room-sized machines. While room-sized machines can still be found in large factories and high-end production facilities, small machine tools are more common than ever in home workshops.

 

The majority of small lathes and mills do not have CNC capabilities, despite recent advancements in technology and affordability. That isn’t a problem for most hobbyists, but it does mean that a small lathe can’t do everything.

 

Most hobbyists are unable to purchase a CNC mill because the machines are either too expensive or too large. For small shops or hobbyists with a little more time on their hands, a CNC milling machine conversion kit is a convenient workaround.

 

If you are wondering what are the best CNC conversion kits out there, do read on. 

What exactly is a CNC conversion kit?

Best CNC Conversion Kits

A typical CNC conversion kit for an older mill includes a variety of new components as well as installation instructions. New hardware, such as motors, will allow the mill to move automatically along the X, Y, and Z axes. A new control unit and software are also included. 

How do CNC Conversion kits work?

CNC Conversion kits best utilize a mill’s existing layout; they don’t typically add new axes of movement, but they motorize existing ones and allow pre-programmed movement. So it reduces the amount of work required to modify the mill, making most conversions a matter of hours rather than days.

The Best CNC Conversion Kits On The Market:

Best CNC Conversion Kits

#1. Grizzly G0704 Benchtop Mill Conversion Kits (Best CNC choice for medium-sized workshops)

This Grizzly G0704 CNC conversion Kit is a popular mid-size benchtop mill. The G0704 comes standard with a base. As a benchtop CNC mill, it also has a digital display for the rpm and quill feed. The table should be modified to accommodate the 16mm ball screws and nuts. The NEMA 23 stepper motors can be used on the X and Y, but due to the weight of the head, we recommend a NEMA 34 on the Z. Our Grizzly G0704 Benchtop Mill Conversion Kit will assist you in converting your old machine to a CNC machine.

 

It includes-

  •  NEMA 34 stepper mounts
  •  Ball screws and nuts- 16mm
  •  Double opposing ball nuts on the X and Y axes for increased precision
  •  Ball nut attachments
  •  All new angular contact bearings • All mounting hardware required • Grease fittings on all bearings

#2. Sieg X2 Benchtop Mill CNC Conversion Kits (Best for manual benchtop mills)

The Sieg X2 CNC Conversion is by far the most popular benchtop mill to be converted to CNC. The Sieg X2 mini-mill is sold under a variety of brand names, including Harbor Freight, Klutch, and others. 

 

For sieg x2 CNC conversion, no additional holes or enlargements are required. Grease fittings are available on all bearings. The Z axis is mounted at the head’s midpoint. Putting the center of gravity right where it should be. 

 

This mill conversion kit significantly reduces drag on the stepper motor’s Z axis and eliminates stalling. Our most popular of all turn key machine is the Sieg conversion kit.

 

The kit includes:

  • (3) stepper motor adaptors NEMA 23 
  •  (3) ball screw and nut assemblies (16mm) 
  •  Completely new bearings 
  • All bearings have grease fittings.
  •  All necessary mounting hardware

#3. Sieg X2D Benchtop Mill CNC Conversion Kits (Best bolt-on kit)

The Sieg X2D mini mill is a more robust machine with a fixed column and extended travels than the Sieg X2. The headstock of this CNC machine, on the other hand, uses the same motor and drive system. The Little Machine Shop in Pasadena, California, sells this machine:

 

The Sieg X2D Conversion kit is the market’s only true “bolt-on” kit. There is no need to drill more holes or make existing ones larger. Grease fittings are available on all bearings (where possible). This significantly reduces drag and eliminates stalling on the Z-axis stepper motor. Because of its simple instructions, the Sieg X2D conversion kit is one of our best-selling products. 

 

The kit includes:

  • (3) NEMA 23 stepper motor adaptors
  • (3) 16mm ball screw and nut assemblies
  • All new bearings
  • All bearings have grease fittings.
  • All necessary mounting hardware

#4. CNC SUPRA® Vertical Knee Mill Retrofit Kit

Retrofit your own Vertical Knee Mill Bridgeport Copy-Type 9×42″ or 9×49″ table with 12″ Knee with our complete, three axes CNC Kit for a low price.

 

Highlights

  • Use automation technology to boost the productivity of your milling machine!
  • Simple turn-key operation
  • No elaborate setups are required.
  • Simple to Use for New and Experienced Machinists

#5. Grizzly G0755 Benchtop Mill CNC Conversion Kits (The best cost-effective solution)

Although it has a base as standard, this machine is gaining popularity as a large benchtop mill. It is durable and cost-effective for its size. On all axes, NEMA 34 stepper motors are required. Your old machine will be up and running with improved accuracy, power, and performance thanks to the Grizzly g0755 Benchtop Mill Conversion Kit.

 

The kit Includes:

  • NEMA 34 stepper mounts
  • Ball screws and nuts- 16mm
  • Double opposing ball nuts on the X and Y axes for increased precision
  • Ball nut attachments
  • All new angular contact bearings.
  • All necessary mounting hardware
  • All bearings have grease fittings.  

#6. Grizzly G9972Z Benchtop Lathe CNC Conversion Kits (Best option to convert a lathe machine)

This mid-size benchtop lathe is an excellent candidate for CNC conversion. For drilling, we recommend a NEMA 34 stepper on the Z. If drilling is not a significant issue, a NEMA 23 can be used. Using our Grizzly G9972z Lathe Conversion Kit, you can easily convert your Grizzly benchtop lathe into a customized and powerful CNC machine.

 

The kit includes:

  • (2) NEMA 23 stepper motor mounts
  • (2) ball screw and nut assemblies, 16mm
  • Completely new bearings
  • Completely new shaft connectors
  • All necessary mounting hardware

#7. Precision Matthews PM-32M Benchtop Mill Conversion Kit

It’s another medium size benchtop mill. Precision pm932m benchtop conversion kit includes NEMA 34 stepper motors as well as 16mm ball screws and nuts.

 

Includes:

  • NEMA 34 stepper mounts
  • Ball screws and nuts – 16mm
  • Double opposing ball nuts on the X and Y axes for increased precision
  • Ball nut attachments
  • Thoroughly new angular contact bearings.
  • All necessary mounting hardware
  • All bearings have grease fittings.
  • Double opposing ball nuts are available as an option on all axes.

#8. Shop Fox M1099 Benchtop Lathe Conversion Kit

Another good candidate for CNC conversion. Grizzly and Shop Fox sell this machine. With the m1099 benchtop lathe conversion kit, you can upgrade this machine’s accuracy, power, and performance.

 

Kit includes: 

  • (2) ball screw and nut assemblies, 16mm
  • Completely new bearings
  • Completely new shaft connectors
  • All necessary mounting hardware

#9. 7 X 12 Benchtop Lathe Conversion Kit

A popular candidate for CNC conversion. Economically priced and available under a variety of brand names. However, its capabilities are limited, and it is classified as “light duty.” It can be outfitted with a spindle encoder to allow for threading. 

 

With our 7×12 benchtop lathe conversion kit, you can push the machine’s limits and improve production and accuracy, even for heavy-duty tasks.

 

The kit includes:

  • (2) NEMA 23 stepper motor mounts
  • (2) ball screw and nut assemblies, 16mm
  • Completely new bearings
  • Completely new shaft connectors
  • All necessary mounting hardware

#10. WEN 33075 Benchtop Mill Conversion Kit

In terms of size, this machine is comparable to the PM-25 M and the Grizzly G0704. However, mounting the Z-axis stepper is difficult due to the geometry of the column casting. On the X and Y axes, we used NEMA 34 steppers. We used the rack and pinion gearing to move the Z and mounted a NEMA 23 stepper on the machine’s column feed shaft.

 

Kit includes:

  •  (3) NEMA 23 stepper motor mounts
  • (3) ball screw and nut assemblies (16mm)
  • Completely new bearings
  • Completely new shaft connectors
  • All required mounting hardware

The Final Word 

That’s all for this article, folks! We hope this blog gave you a fair idea about CNC conversion kits and the best options available on the market. Also, we hope it did help you in your search for a suitable CNC Conversion Kit and CNC machines for your Workshop.

 

For any doubts or queries, do reach out to us, and we’d be happy to help! 

 

cnc milling machine tools

7 Most Important Tools For Your CNC Milling Machine

The tools in a CNC milling machine determine its overall functioning

For any CNC milling machine, its tools or parts are most critical since the productivity and precision hinge on it. 

 

You can have the best benchtop CNC mill after mill CNC conversion, but poor machine tools will only deteriorate your workpiece quality instead of improving it. 

 

Also, there are some vital machine tools without which a mill CNC conversion kit is simply ineffective. 

 

You see, CNC milling machines are popular worldwide for they increase your production and offer you unmatched accuracy. 

 

But have you wondered how these machines are able to do so? 

 

CNC milling machines automate your entire production process, be it cutting metal pieces or drawing certain patterns on them. And it’s none but the CNC machine tools/parts that provide efficiency and speed to your milling machine. 

 

In fact, so much is the importance of these tools that their quality itself can decide how large or complex workpieces your mill can handle. 

 

When we talk about CNC milling machines, they’re of two types, namely vertical and horizontal milling machines. And even as the utility and operations of these machines are entirely different, the tools they’re made of are similar. 

 

That means you’ll need common tools no matter what kind of CNC milling machine or mill conversion kit you’re using. 

 

And if you’re wondering which tools you’ll necessarily need for successful CNC milling, we’ve compiled them all here. So let’s have a look at them. 

#1. Column and base are critical CNC milling machine tools

cnc milling machine tools

When it comes to the most critical elements that support your milling machine, column and base top the list. That’s because it’s the column and base which supports all other parts of the CNC turn key machines

 

To begin with, the column is located right above the base of your mill machine. Also, it is the column of the machine where you’ll find the cooling and oiling systems.  

 

And what about its utility, you may ask? 

 

The CNC machine column directly bears the weight of the work table and the knee, thus ensuring stable machining. 

 

Next up, you’ve got the base of your CNC milling machine, which is essentially a foundation that carries the weight of everything on the machine. 

 

As such, the column and base together bear the load of the machine, its various tools, and the workpiece. And that, in turn, makes sure that there’s the least vibration and the best surface finish even if you cut the heaviest of workpieces

 

Interesting, isn’t it? 

#2. Knee to ensure stability if your mill machine

The knee in your CNC milling machine is used to provide vertical or upward and downward movement of your workpiece. It is located at the column of the machine, where it is attached by dovetail ways. 

 

The knee itself is supported by a vertical positioning or elevating screw, which runs from the machine’s base vertically. In fact, you can use these screws to adjust the knee either up or down, depending on your machining requirement. 

 

Within mill machines, vertical movement can either be achieved by a handle or power feed. And it’s the knee of your machine where the handle used to move the saddle in or out is located. Also, the gearing mechanism of a CNC milling machine is enclosed in its knee. 

 

Depending on the type of your milling machine, it may have a power feed table positioned in the transverse direction, which is again located on the knee. 

 

There’s more to the story. 

 

The very quality of operations on your mill machine hinges on the knee. That’s because the knee is among those tools that provide stability to your CNC milling machine. 

 

How? 

 

You see, the knee rides vertically on the column of your machine and also firmly clamps the column in a fixed position. And that ensures the spindle and milling head are fixed vertically during the operations. 

 

There you have it, the most vital of all tools for the smooth and stable functioning of a CNC milling machine. 

#3. The power feed mechanism of your CNC milling machine

cnc milling machine tools

The power feed mechanism is something you should count among critical machine tools for optimum CNC milling. 

 

Why? 

 

You will need a power feed mechanism when controlling the feed rates on your benchtop CNC mill. And that holds for all the feeds, namely, upward and downward (vertical feed), inward and outward (transverse feed), and left and right (longitudinal feed).

 

When we talk about the variations of these feed tools, they’re of two types and differ according to the CNC milling machine. 

 

For instance, some milling machines have a specialized speed selection handle to change and control the feed rates. And this is especially the case with knee milling machines that use rotary cutting tools. 

 

Similarly, you may find a rapid traverse lever among preferred feed tools for a modern CNC milling machine. That’s because such a lever comes in handy when a temporary increase in speed is needed for vertical, transverse, or longitudinal feeds. 

 

So, the right power feed mechanism adept for your CNC milling machine, and you can rest assured of precision cutting

 

Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? 

#4. The work table is among vital CNC milling machine tools 

Be it a manual or a CNC mill, the machining will happen on the work table of your machine. And that underscores how critical tools work tables are for a CNC milling machine. 

 

The work table for your milling machine will typically be a rectangular structure made of cast iron. It will consist of T-slots, which you can use to clamp workpieces directly on the table or to fasten vises. 

 

In fact, you can fasten other work-holding devices as well on your work table. That way, you can hold smaller parts firmly in one place and machine them efficiently and safely. 

 

Want more? 

 

The power feed and handles for your machine’s longitudinal variable speed are a part of the work table itself. 

 

Further, an X-axis lead screw is located under the table, which joins a nut to assist the table’s horizontal movement. 

 

As you can see, we can’t overstate the importance of a work table for your milling machine operations. 

#5. Ram of your machine 

cnc milling machine tools

 

If you are looking to machine large workpieces through CNC milling, the ram will be among your most critical tools. 

 

The ram is an overhanging and moveable arm on a vertical CNC milling machine. It is mounted atop the column of the machine, and the milling head is attached to it on another end. 

 

So how exactly does the ram allow machining on large workpieces? 

 

You see, the ram will allow you to position various machine tools on a much larger range of space. That means you can put a large-sized workpiece on the work table and effectively machine it. 

 

In fact, you can simply extend and swivel the ram on most milling machines, thus covering more of the work table for bigger workpieces. 

 

Amazing, right? 

#6. Not to forget the overarm

The overarm of your milling machine, also called the overhanging arm, is a horizontal cast iron beam. These CNC milling tools are fixed on the top of the machine column and support the workpieces forward. 

 

To draw a comparison for better understanding, an overarm function on a horizontal milling machine just as the ram does on a vertical milling machine. 

 

So if you own a horizontal CNC milling machine, an overarm should be on your list of critical tools. 

#7. Do not miss out on the spindle 

The spindle is among the most essential CNC milling machine tools. That’s because it is the spindle that decides how precisely and efficiently your machine can cut the workpieces. 

 

So how exactly does a spindle do that? 

 

You see, the spindle is that tool of your milling machine upon which the cutters are mounted for cutting workpieces. 

 

Since the spindle holds firmly and drives the cutting tools, the very quality of your machining depends on it. And that’s precisely why you shouldn’t compromise on the quality of your milling machine spindle. 

 

Apart from the cutters, the spindle also holds the collets, drill chuck, and other tool-holding components. 

 

Your milling machine performs a variety of functions like flat milling and side milling, among others. And for all such milling operations, a high-quality spindle is a prerequisite. 

 

That means a top-of-the-line spindle, and you can produce the best-in-class workpieces and scale up your business. 

Wrapping it up

As you saw, you do need to invest in some critical tools before you begin with CNC milling machine operations. 

 

Both manual and CNC milling machines work on a simple concept by creating desired shapes and dimensions on your workpieces. But to create those shapes and sizes, you need the right tools, and that too, the top-notch ones. 

 

You see, you can’t expect to attain high precision and increase production volume on a low-quality spindle or ram. Can you? 

 

At CNC Conversion Plus, we provide the best turn key CNC milling solutions equipped with the best tools on the market. 

 

Accustomed to manual milling machines? 

 

We can provide you with easy-to-use CNC milling machines so that you can have the best of automation without any hassle. 

 

If you are looking for one such machine for your workshop, you can reach out to us