Home Made Milling Machine

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Project by Grumpy posted 06-06-2017 02:06 AM 13515 views 10 times favorited 31 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This all started after I made my router jig for doing burls and clock faces and I saw a ‘Woodsmith’ plan for a ‘Rotary Tool Milling Machine’ and thought that would be a great project and make life easier doing exact cuts.

The plans were well priced, reasonably easy to follow & comprehensive. (sorry can’t send you the plans copyrights involved)
The parts were a bit of a challenge but Ebay proved very helpful if you wanted to wait for the bits, like left hand threaded rod & nuts to fit.
The instructions were in inches which need to be followed even if you prefer metric, though I did use metric nuts, bolts & rods.
I only used half the thickness on the base, had part of a 3/4” mdf sheet with one white side that I scrounged from an old office partition.

The Jig comprised 3 moving platforms X, Y and Z, the Z being the vertical platform adjusting the height of the tool & the cutter. The X & Y platforms are on opposing horizontal planes.
This is the X Platform

A threaded rod with two coupling nuts and a hand wheel boxed in with Ways on either side provides the motion needed.
The Y platform is attached to the X Platform so that they move together.

Next came the rotation cutting base. Notice it is in two layers, the top layer being sacrificial.

I didn’t use the break mechanism on the plans, used a lever stop instead & marked each 1/4 of the circle with a reference point on the Y Platform. A threaded insert in the Y Platform was used to hold a bolt (head removed) to support the rotating base & so it had a pivot to rotate on.

The Z Platform supported the router. I had to depart from the Woodsmith plans a bit to fit my small router. I used left hand rod & nuts so the wind down & up movements made sense. Clockwise for down, anti for up.

Next I needed references to measure distances on, this was not covered by the plans. I tossed this over a few times in my sleep (not kidding). Finally came up with a simple solution which is always best. I embedded rare earth magnets along the XY&Z Platforms & could then place stainless rulers that could be moved to an reference point needed. Also cut markers on the platforms to reference off.

Next I needed somewhere to store the router tools and alan key (o remove it) & a reference table for rotation & distance. The rods & threads were at 1.25mm pitch, so 1 rotation= 1.25mm distance.
This was not covered by the plans.

Well the proof is in the test flight and it does work. Cut a nice ring in thin mdf (could have used a better cutter).

The next project will be on how to clamp the work piece to hold for cutting. Used double sided tape & brads on this one. I can also use it for cutting out recesses for clock mechanisms, my wife’s card making projects and anything else that comes along.
Thats all folks.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

31 comments so far

View TomFran's profile


2964 posts in 5278 days

#1 posted 06-06-2017 02:22 AM

Wow! You have been very busy, Tony.

That’s great that you are able to manufacture something to make you a better woodworker.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 4652 days

#2 posted 06-06-2017 02:26 AM

Cool build Grumpy, you’ll get a lot of use out of that rig. Think about a vacuum chuck to hold pieces to the table.

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 5381 days

#3 posted 06-06-2017 02:26 AM

Very cool. Looking forward to some videos. :)

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Grumpy's profile


26812 posts in 5135 days

#4 posted 06-06-2017 02:50 AM

Thanks Tom, Dan & Wayne.
Dan, will be looking into that. Might just use a portable shop vac.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View ZAGREB's profile


1276 posts in 2933 days

#5 posted 06-06-2017 02:55 AM

lot of efort budy
i hope it works like you wants
kiss the wife
have a nice day

-- bambi

View Grumpy's profile


26812 posts in 5135 days

#6 posted 06-06-2017 03:03 AM

Thanks Bambi kiss you wife as well.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Woodknack's profile


13585 posts in 3664 days

#7 posted 06-06-2017 04:12 AM


-- Rick M,

View steliart's profile


2895 posts in 3972 days

#8 posted 06-06-2017 04:31 AM

Very nice build Tony !!!!!!!!!!

-- Stelios L.A. Stavrinides: - I am not so rich to buy cheap tools, but... necessity is the mother of inventions !!!

View Ivan's profile


17049 posts in 4151 days

#9 posted 06-06-2017 04:39 AM

The precise moving bottom table catched my eyes, nice work.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View doubleDD's profile


10798 posts in 3327 days

#10 posted 06-06-2017 04:47 AM

Wow, great piece of work Tony. Looks like you made yourself a winner.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View Grumpy's profile


26812 posts in 5135 days

#11 posted 06-06-2017 06:34 AM

Thanks for your comments Rick, Stelios, Ivan & Dave

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View crowie's profile


5109 posts in 3235 days

#12 posted 06-06-2017 06:59 AM

Tony, That is so very clever, well done sir…

-- Lifes good, Enjoy each new day...... Cheers from "On Top DownUnder" Crowie

View Grumpy's profile


26812 posts in 5135 days

#13 posted 06-06-2017 07:25 AM

Thanks Peter, not so clever just followed the plans.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

27002 posts in 4389 days

#14 posted 06-06-2017 11:11 AM

Great build, Tony. You’ll love having it because it makee some of those crazy set ups with a router so easy. I use mine all the time for woodworking. Teach Toby how to run it now!!!

The high school that I volunteer at bought a vertical mill for the robotics class and put it in the wood shop. Last week I had a student make a jewelry box and showed him how to mill out the inside of a solid block for the body. A lot of kids watched so it might get more use for woodworking now!!

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Karson's profile


35279 posts in 5684 days

#15 posted 06-06-2017 12:54 PM


I finally took the time to read the article. Great looking tool. I might have to give this item a go.

Looks like an easy build.

I’d give it a 9.5 a little ragged on the cut through to the sacrificial top

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

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