Looking for a machine for both lathe and mill jobs? Limited budget or workspace? Can't afford two separate machines?
There is a simple solution to these, the best lathe mill combo. It is hard to find the best lathe mill combo as there are not many in the market.
Not all the lathe mill combos in the market are reliable and has a good value for money.
To make this easier, we have discussed with experts and have done extensive research on lathe mill combo. And we have found some good mill combo machines and they were all really good. Finally, after a lot of discussions, we have narrowed down our list to the 7 best lathe combo machines.
We have kept the buying guide at the top so that you have a clear picture of which features are found in lathe mill combos. So, when you will read the reviews it will help you understand the capacity and the functionality of them better.
- Best For Industrial Uses - Grizzly Industrial G9729-31" 3/4 HP Lathe Mill Combo
- Best Value - Baileigh MLD-1030 Mill Drill Lathe
- Best For Beginners - GRANITE XT 1324 /OR / GRANITE XT 1340
- Best Budget-Friendly - Mophorn 7x12 Upgraded Version Mini Metal Milling Lathe
- Best For Hobbyists - SHOP FOX M1018 Small Combo Lathe Mill
Lathe Mill Combo Buying Guide:
The review isn’t about any individual lathe mill but the combo of lathe mills. For your benefit, you should always look for the best combination that has great value for the money.
Looking for combinations in your lathe mill combo machine isn't enough. You should also consider the quality of the combinations, the mill drill head, the lathe head, the compound table, work bench etc. These are the main factors that will make your work experience more comfortable and productive.
To be specific the various ratings of the machines such as the RPM of the motors and the voltage usage of the machine are the base that tells you the efficiency of a best lathe mill combo.
Why should you emphasize on the efficiency so much? That is because it will save your time, money and energy. You will be satisfied with the machine even after a long operation. So, it will be a great deal if you are able to pick the most efficient for you.
Often, there are going to be long projects when you will have to spend many hours in your workshop. If the machine isn’t comfortable, then it is going to be really straining or tiring for your body.
You can always check the comfortability in the workshop. Then again, what's the point of finding it out after purchasing. There are some features that will help you find out the comfort in your mill lathe. Check if the machine is sturdy, check if there are soft and comfy grips. The easy movement of the knobs and screws are also the features of a comfortable lathe mill combo.
A good lathe mill combo machine has to be well built. If your lathe mill isn’t well built then doing a long period of work can be hazardous.
As the parts of the machine such as the mill drill head, the chucks, spindles, jaws are going to be always in pressure so they have to be sturdy and well built. The machine, specially the parts has to be made of metal. Otherwise, they will break down. This is something everyone wants to avoid.
The size and weight:
Speaking of size, your lathe mill combo has to fit into your workspace. For this reason, the dimension or the size is important.
We suggest that you look for a lathe mill combo that fits if you have a small workspace. Make sure that your floor or your table can take the load of the machine you're ordering.
Always remember to measure the dimension of the machine, not the working dimension of it. There is always a chance of a customer confusing these two.
A strong motor is also a vital part of a powerful and versatile lathe mill combo. You have to pay attention to this feature as this is the most important part. A mill combo without a strong motor is like a toy. You should go for the motors that came with the 3 /4 - 4 HP if your project is a professional one. The fact is motors with high HP are capable of taking more loads.
Don’t adjust with a machine that have less than 1 HP motors. This limits your work ability a lot and takes a lot of planning before starting to work.
Revolutions per minute:
RPM (Revolutions per minute) plays a significant role in a good lathe mill combo. Depending on the RPM you can tell if a lathe machine can cut wood or metals.
A spindle with high RPM is designed to work with hard metals. on the other hand the opposite is for the soft metals, woods or plastics. A good machine offers the RPM up to 2500/3000. A professional metal lathe with good RPM is capable of processing both soft and hard metals, such as: aluminum, brass, stainless steel etc.
The workable dimension:
The dimension of the worktable is different from the size of the whole machine. Normally if we consider mini workshops then tables above 10 inches are better. If you are looking for a medium sized workshop then 16 inches is a suitable size.
The DRO, also known as Digital Position Readout is the digital numeric display showing the positions of your machine elements. On a lathe a 3 axis DRO shows the X,Y axis position of the mill table and Z axis position of the cutting tool. On a typical 2 axis DRO shows the positions of the carriage and the cross slide.
DRO prevents the misleading of hand wheels or losing count of the hand wheel rotations. This can be incorporated in a milling machine. There are some machines that are manufactured with it, while there are others which you get them as a package. The DRO shows you how much you have moved the table or made other adjustments which makes your work super easy.
Number of phases:
It will be good to go for a single phase as a DIYer and a 3-phase system for your garage or business.
Has the knowledge been stored in your brain? Now the main part. We have listed lathe mill combos for beginners, DIY workers, enthusiasts, and professionals.
Below is our list of 7 best lathe mill combos
5 Best lathe mill combo Reviews
1. Grizzly Industrial G9729-31" 3/4 HP Lathe Mill Combo - Best For Industrial Uses
Grizzly G9729 is a 3/4 horsepower motored machine that is huge in size. The horsepower makes it a professional class lathe machine from grizzly. Yet being powerful it is really quiet and smooth. You can use this machine for limitless usages such as your DIY or mid-range projects.
At first look, the most satisfying thing is that the whole mill is made of metal. The machine comes fully assembled. The well-built metal body gives the machine a sturdy look.
The machine has two separate motors for the lathe and the mill. The motors are 3/4 HP, which means they can do professional-level jobs. This is good news for your business, right?
The turret tool of the machine makes it a complete do-it-all combo. The 4-way turret tool makes your work easier than ever. You get to clip 4 types of tools at the same angle. There are 3-5” jaws attached to the spindle as well.
The Grizzly Industrial G9729 offers you features like a magnetic controller and a forward reverse switch. The switch makes your work easy while feeding the metal to the lathe. You get the opportunity to make both left and right-hand threads.
This grabs your workpiece really hard and helps you cut, mill precisely. The precise cutting of the lathe combo allows you to cut an inch and metric threads with ease.
The G9729 offers you 16 spindle motor speeds and 7 lathe spindle speeds. This is a wide range from which you can choose for your precise cutting. The lathe speed range of this combo machine is 175-1425RPM.
The mill/drill speed range is also amazing. It is 120 to 1500 RPM. You can choose the suit spot for your work from these options and get your desired result.
There is also a built-in T-slot with the machine. This slot provides you a better holding for your workpiece. There is also a hand rest to make your user experience more comfortable.
The safety feature of this machine is also a great addition. The magnetic switch of the machine prevents it from overloading. The switch goes off automatically when the machine is overloaded. It also auto turns off if the electricity goes off but doesn’t turn the machine on when the electricity is back. This prevents any unwanted accidents from occurring.
There is one thing that you have to be careful about the Grizzly G9729 combo lathe mill is that you have to oil the bearings every day or regularly. Otherwise, they will stay dry and keep damaging while you work.
In the ending remarks, I must say that it has all the features of the professional lathe/mill. You can compare the machine with individual lathe or mills, still you will be satisfied with what you are getting by the money.
2. Baileigh MLD-1030 Mill Drill Lathe - Best Value
The Baileigh MLD 1030 mill is a 3 in 1 drill lathe combo that offers milling, drilling, and performing lathe operations. This is a perfect answer for anyone who looks for great versatility in any machine.
The machine is sturdy, well built. It has a complete metal body. This ensures a long life and years of service.
Not only this, to give this machine more power the manufacturers have installed two motors with the power of 110V. The motors are 1HP each. You get a motor for the mill and one for the lathe. That makes this machine a standard one to be operated in this standard outlet. Another additional benefit from the dual motors is that you get a longer life of the machine and less wear or tear on the motors.
You can adjust the RPM from 50-2000. A lot of options to choose from, isn’t it? You can adjust it and see the reading in the digital readout for accuracy. This will ensure precise cutting at a perfect speed.
The MLD lathe mill combo has a steady rest, follow rest, three-jaw chuck, and a four-jaw chuck. The jaws help you get a stronghold of the metal you are dealing with. The sturdy milling and drilling head of the machine makes it easier to cut strong metals. You can keep an eye on how precise you are as there is a Digital RPM readout.
There’s one negative aspect of the machine is that it is troublesome to operate and install the parts of the machine. The instructions are not well written. You might need past knowledge or expert help to set it up.
The Baileigh MLD-1030 mill/drill lathe is a compact yet durable machine that comes with all the necessary features that you could look for in a machine of such combination. The size, the HP of the motors, and the spindle speed of the machine is perfect for any DIY project or hobbyist. This is an outstanding machine for such requirements.
3. GRANITE XT 1324 /OR / GRANITE XT 1340 - Best For Beginners
Granite XT is one of the best additions in this list. The safety features and the features of this machine earned it a special mention from us. This is one versatile machine anyone can ever think of.
Let’s start with the digital part. The Digital RPM readout feature alone decreases your working complexities to 20%. It works very efficiently and shows the RPM of the changing spindle speeds. You get an accurate reading of what you are doing. The machine is DRO-ready just from the start. The holes are dug in so that you can attach the DRO upgrades.
The spindle bearings are well made and durable. They are industrial grade and you get the accuracy and perfection of cutting as well as a rigid performance.
There is a dial in the machine for the variable speed drive. You can adjust the speed by simply moving the dial. This feature of the lathe combo shows the efficiency and perfect finishing tendency from the manufacturers.
You can take up to 1.125” of large stock because of the large spindle bore
There is a gearbox installed in this lathe combo. You can quickly select the thread pitch and adjust the power feeding. You can do the power feeding while milling. It can be done in both the X and Y-axis. This is another addition to smooth finished works.
In order to precise and perfect metric thread cutting you are going to need adjustment and engagement precisely. The Half-nuts and the threading dials help you do the same. You can adjust your thread precisely by dint of this.
Talking of adjustments, you can also adjust the height of the mill head. If your setup is small or you are working on smaller works then you can pull the head down for height adjustments. You can also rotate it to 360 degrees. It means that it won't get into your way while milling. You can also adjust it to 180 degrees to work on large workpieces. You can adjust the head in case of extra large workpieces as well.
The amazing thing is that the motor is a 2HP drive motor. This means extra power and heavier cuts. The professional performer motor opens the endless door of possibilities. The manufacturers claim that there is 30% more milling capacity in this lathe combo than other machines.
The machine is a dual voltage machine. You can use the 110v for small workshop works. On the other hand, the 220v is convenient for a long period of work.
The considerable thing is that you can’t use this for industrial use. The machine is tough and solid. Still, this is for small production and repair shops. You can use it for professional productions too, but not as much as industrial levels.
If you are a beginner or learner then this can be a great machine for you to start. Otherwise, the working features along with the safety features make this machine a great deal to have.
4. Mophorn 7x12 Upgraded Version Mini Metal Milling Lathe - Best Budget-Friendly
The Mophorn 7x12 is a heavy-duty machine with great mechanisms. The machine offers variable speeds for your works. I would ask you not to judge this machine by its size as it is full of surprises.
You will be impressed to see the sturdy aluminum construction of the machine. The lathe bed is made of high-grade iron. The gears are made of nylon. The machine is wear-resistant and durable. The professional and accurate rotation of the spindle provides precise milling/drilling.
The motor of the machine is really powerful. Does 550W seem enough to you? This is how powerful the motor is.
Mophorn 7x12 offers variable speeds ranging from 50-2500RPM. This is like any professional lathe machine in the market. You can forward and reverse rotation in the machines. If you are not okay with the auto-adjustable feed rate then you can operate manually too. There is also an emergency stop button included if you need it.
The chucks! They are self-centering and 3 jawed. It has been tested with accuracy and repeatability. They are capable of strongly holding cylindrical materials. The spindle is supported by precision tapered roller bearings. The spindle accuracy is within 0.1mm.
The handiest part is the 4-way tool post. It is really easy to change. This features 9 cutters and 7 combined center drills. Bevel cutting, internal cutting, face cutting, etc. can be done by simply adjusting the compound. All you have to do is just change the post angle which is really quick.
This wide applicable lathe machine is perfect for jobs like processing, counterface turning, drilling, threading, and cutting.
You will get 9 cutters for cutting with easy replacements. The professional cross slide is abrasive resistant and ensures free moving.
This is not your long wanted lathe machine. This is a well-built hobby machine. This will do a good job for your small projects but it has its limitations. The advice would be to not expect professional performance from it or you are sure to be disappointed.
As the final verdict of this review, I want to point it out again that this a DIY work-winner machine. The machine can be a great friend for you where you can have a good learning experience. Try the machine keeping this in mind and you won't be disappointed at all.
5. SHOP FOX M1018 Small Combo Lathe Mill - Best For Hobbyists
If you are a hobbyist or an entry-level machinist then shop fox m1018 is the best lathe mill combo for you. The ability to turn, cutting threads, drilling, and milling small projects make this lathe mill impossible to pass up.
The lathe combo comes with a full lathe mill combo package.
A 4 way turret tool post, that has 4 index points which allows you to lock 4 different tools at the same angle. The tools post is capable of holding four 12 inch tools. As you can have multiple tools installed you will save much time. You can change among the tools by simply losing the lock lever and rotating to it.
There is also a 9-½ inch faceplate 4 inch-3 jaw chuck and built-in rotating vise that prevents the mill from coming in your way while using the chucks.
The shop fox combo also features a swing over bed measuring 16-½ inches. A swing over the saddle 19-3/16 inch. The spindle bore is ¾ inches and MT #3 tapers.
The motor of the lathe is a 3/4 HP, 110v single-phase motor that makes it a good machine to work in your workshop. The machine can drill steel up to ⅞ inches. The spindle offers 14 speeds at 117, 150, 220, 276, 290, 345, 360, 440, 450, 575, 640, 836, 1000, 1300 RPM.
Another good fact about shop fox m1018 is that it comes fully assembled. You don’t have to take the hassle of reading the manual for this. There are no plastic gears in this machine. All the cutting gears are fully metal and you will get a smooth and comfy grip on everything.
You will be able to turn brass and aluminum with good results. Stainless steel of 7/ 8 inches is the regular thing for this machine. The tools posts are really stiff and this keeps the pieces in position while milling.
The one negative fact about the shop fox combo mill is that it doesn’t come with a mounting template. This makes it hard to work on the workbench. Drilling accurate holes become an issue for this.
Apart from the cons, the M1018 is a sturdy high-quality lathe mill combination. As I said it is tough to pass up if you are a hobbyist or entry-level machinist. This machine can be a great deal for your projects.
These are the must-have criteria for any machine you are buying. I always look for more safety features. It is important! There are some features that you should look for in your lathe combo machine. They are pointed below.
- Wear safety glasses that are CSA-certified and other protective equipment as required, for example, hearing protection, apron, and footwear.
- Make sure that you have the start/stop button of the machine within easy reach.
- Make sure that the machine has an emergency stop button.
- Keep the machine clear of tools at all times.
- Make sure that the floor around the machine is free of any grease and oil, in order to avoid accidents.
- Avoid splashing cutting oil by using appropriate splash guards.
- Keep the working surface clear of materials, scraps and tools at all times.
- When moving heavy work to or from the machine, use lifting equipment to do so.
- Turn off the power supply to the motor before removing accessories or mounting.
- Carefully inspect the chuck for any damage before use. Flying pieces can be extremely risky.
- Keep your hands, rags, and brushes away from contacting the revolving milling cutter.
- Never work mounting devices or adjust the workpiece when the machine is operating.
- Hold the cutters using a cloth in order to refrain from cutting yourself when handling them.
- Stop the machine before making adjustments or measurements on the workpiece.
- At the end of your work, remove chips using pliers. Do not attempt to remove the chips using your bare hands as they will be hot and could cause burns and bruises on your skin.
Lathe-Mill Maintenance and Cleaning:
To maintain the optimum condition and precise performance of your machine it is a must that you take care of it. It should be turned into a work habit on a daily basis. Otherwise, idleness might become a problem. I am sure you don't want a messy working machine while working with it either.
First of all, it is important that you operate the machine carefully. Always keep it in a clean work environment to prevent it from catching corrosion.
We often keep our tools on top of the machines. Stop using it as a shelf!. Put them on another table or on a shelf below the machine. Avoid putting tools on a shelf above the machine where they could vibrate off and fall on top of it. Sometimes the weight of the tools are also capable of doing harm to the machine.
Another crucial point to keep in mind is to clean away metal chips throughout your work progress. By doing so, it will prevent small chips or filings from scoring the surface of your machine. Sometimes the chips enter the machine and jam the spindle or the motors. If you are careful and do regular cleaning of the machine, there is less chance of this happening.
You need to take extra precautions when working with dusty materials, such as plastics, wood, and cast iron. This is because the dust tends to cling to all the machine’s lubrication.
Note: The dust from cast iron is very abrasive. When working with cast iron, clean throughout your work progress and also after you are finished.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
What is the best Lathe Mill combo?
Ans: We have talked about it already in the buying guide. In short, a lathe mill combo having a good RPM, Metallic body, powerful Motors, DRO, and the ability to process both metal and wood can be considered as the best lathe mill combo.
What is DRO?
Ans: DRO is a digital position readout that is showing the precision of your machine adjustment.
How much does a lathe mill combo cost?
Ans: A top-quality lathe mill will cost from 1500-3000 bucks. On the other hand, a mini lathe mill can cost up to 1000$.
Can a combo lathe mill perform DIY and professional tasks?
Ans: A lathe mill with good power and good materials can perform both your DIY and Professional works. Sometimes too much power has proven to be bad for DIY projects. For this reason, there are machines that are less powerful but perfect for DIY enthusiasts.
As a final verdict, I want to warn you that you can’t go wrong in this. Keeping the cost aside, It is going to affect your time, effort, and motivation if you fail in picking the best lathe combo machine for you.
Ultimately, the best lathe machine combo is the one that suits your working purpose and professional skills. Pick up the one with the good functionalities, features, safety features, and of course! Depending on your project type. We hope you find the one that is on the line with your demand. Glad if we were of any use.