10 Tips How to Use or Operate a CNC Milling Machine

How to Use or Operate a CNC Milling Machine

You have finally got those pieces of machinery you have wanted. Your milling machine collection is now complete. All you have to do now is to get some good materials and make your prototype come to life. But is this all you need to succeed? What if you don’t get the expected results? You might need a backup plan.

There are so many things you need to think about when you are a beginner milling machine user. Although it sounds unfair, it is a very difficult task. If only someone gave you tips to succeed as a beginner, right? That is where we come in. In this article, we will provide you the exact tips on how to use a CNC machine. Follow along if you don’t want to miss out.

Tips for beginner CNC Milling Machine users to succeed

Let’s get started with the tips and tricks for every CNC milling machine beginners. Just follow the steps below.

1. Get the right cutters

You will probably get some cutters along with the milling machine. But they don’t work as good as the branded ones. You will need a good set of branded cutters. The ones that are reliable cut well and sustain work pressure. High-speed cutters are very useful.

A set of ½ inch, a ¼ inch, and maybe a set of 3/16 inch cutters are very good for a start-up. We don’t recommend going any lower. Going anywhere lower than this is going to be too difficult for a beginner.

2. Acquire the right tools

Get yourself a good vise grip, a set of clamping kits, and a set of parallels to get started. Some of these tools are expensive, but they are 100% worth it. You will need vise grips to hold your workpiece in place. You do not want your workpiece to move while you are working on it. And you will need a set of clampers to mount the workpiece on to your milling machine. A good set of clampers will go a long way. To have practical and better ideas, you can visit the Plastic China Injection molding Service art machining website.

Last but not least, a set of parallels. But they are not until you learn to make step jaws.

3. Acquire a proper misting setup for coolant

Blades or cutters on milling machines are weak. They become even weaker when they are cutting wood or plastics at high speed. It is for sure that there will be chips lying around as you cut things. Be careful with chips as they contribute a lot towards breaking cutters. Don’t let this happen by buying a misting device. A misting device will take care of this problem. As a beginning CNC milling machine user, you will need this to succeed in your future projects.

4. Learn the use of MDI

Your next trip is to learn to use an MDI. It stands for Manual Data Input. You need to run your CNC workshop as if it had manual mills and power feeds on every corner. In your use of MDI, you will learn the basic use of g-codes. This will help you get a long way.

5. Acquire a calculator for feeds and speeds

You will need a decent feeds and speeds calculator. It will save a lot of trouble. As a beginner, you will have a lot of trouble understanding the feeds and speeds of your mill. Invest in good quality feeds and speeds calculator and work unstopped.

If you are smart, you can get a free calculator tool from online. Online tools will not go a long way, but they will help you since you are a beginner. It will also save some money. A thing that will help you succeed as a beginning CNC milling machine user in the future.

6. Acquire a Z-height gizmo

A Z-height measuring gizmo will tell your machine where the cutter pin is. This gizmo helps you tell your machine where the tool is and how long it is. This helps your machine understand the tool and bring out effective results.

7. Tram you mill and vise

Tramming is a basic skill for every machinist. Learn to tram so that you don’t have to get out of your shop every time you are done with something.

8. Start with cheap and affordable materials

Start with cheap and affordable materials like wood, brass, plastics, and aluminium. These are easy to work on and require average grade tools. That means they are perfect for beginners.

Avoid stainless materials like steel. For a beginner, it will be very hard to learn about stainless materials. Furthermore, this type of material requires expensive tools and equipment, which is not worth it for beginners.

9. Pick an easy project for your startup

As a beginner, we advise you to start an easy project. Take a piece of aluminium and make a set of step jaws. This is the most basic thing and a very beginner-friendly project.

10. Extensive knowledge of CAD/CAM

Now that you have come to the last step, we advise you to be proficient at it. You have already done the basics. Now it is time to ensure you get to the next level and stay there. Learn and become a g-code master by mastering CAD or CAM. Both are very difficult to master. But give yourself some time. Become a graduate of CAM or CAD.

Both of these programs will help you implement g-codes into your CNC machines. As CNC machines work with these codes, the programs will be very useful.

We hope the above listed 10 tips help you get through your CNC milling machine journey in the beginning stages and succeed. Follow them and become the best machinist out there.


When you start out on something, it always seems difficult. Nothing is easy in this world; nothing is impossible either. It is always the starting that seems intimidating. But once you get started, you will start to see positive things happen.

This is why we have made this list of 10 beginner tips to get you started. To help you get through that beginner phase. We believe this list of 10 tips on how to operate a CNC machine will help you in the future too. Last but not least, be patient in your work. It is not only a great virtue, but it is also a great trait that brings success.

One Response

  1. Alice Carroll November 18, 2020

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