Milling Machine Parts (Anatomy)

If you are a beginner in the milling machine, then this article is for you, especially when you are going to purchase a milling machine and end up choosing the benchtop type as the one that meets your needs. For experts, we need your feedback to improve and build more informational content.

Since there are several types of milling machines, it’s definitely unfair to define the milling machine parts without telling the type. In this case, we are going to cover the parts of a benchtop milling machine.

7 Major Parts of A Benchtop Milling Machine

These are some important parts of a benchtop milling machine that you need to know. We compile them from the top to the bottom as the following:

1. Motor

The source of energy. The electric energy from the outlet is converted into motion and the motion will spin the cutting tools. A typical motor for benchtop milling machine ranges from 2 HP to 1/2 HP.

2. Spindle

The power that is generated by the motor will be transferred to the spindle. The spindle itself will spin the cutting tools. Between spindle and cutting tools, there is another part that functions to hold the cutting tools.

3. Worktable

It functions as the table where the workpiece is locked on there so that the workpiece can be securely machined. It’s movable and acts as the X-axis. Its location is on the top of the saddle. On the worktable, there are commonly T-slots for vice mounting.

4. Saddle

The saddle is positioned below the milling table and at top of the base. It can be moved forward and backward by operating the handwheel. Because it moves by crossing the X-axis table, it acts as the Y-axis. But, it doesn’t function as a table like the X-axis table.

5. Base

The base is important for rigidity. It holds all the weights from the motor to the saddle. It’s mounted to the stand or benchtop. The column is also mounted on it. It’s the stationary part of the milling machine together with the column.

6. Column

It’s mounted to the base to hold the motor, spindle, control panel, etc. Some models come with a stationary column, but you could find some of them can be tilted left or right to a certain degree.

7. Headstock

The part where spindle, drawbar, control panel, drill chuck, quill handle, are mounted is called headstock. This part can be turned up and down as well because it’s mounted to the column but not stationary.

Additional Features

There are also other features that commonly found in the high-end model of benchtop milling machines.

1. X, Y, Z-axis DRO

DRO stands for Digital Read Out. This instrument functions to give coordinate numbers of the cutting tool in X, Y, and Z. The X-axis is the length. The Y-axis is the width. The Z-axis is the height.

2. Depth Gauge

It could be the manual or digital model. Most importantly, it benefits you to provide how deep the quill has taken. It’s important to work measurably.

3. RPM readout

It’s up to you but in our opinion, it’s important to keep track of the RPM during the work. There will be commonly a type of digital RPM readout mounted near the spindle motor. It’s a kind of tachometer. In some cases, you also could buy one if it does not come with a tachometer.

4. Power Drawbar

Loosening the cutting can be so much fun and easy with a power drawbar. You don’t need to use wrench anymore. It speeds up the process. Handling a lot of works at once is possible.

5. Feed Power

This feature is commonly found in the high-end models. Instead of hand wheeling the handwheel, there will be a motor stepper or servo to move the worktable. In terms of CNC conversion, you’ll need three motors for each axis.


That’s all that we can write to you now. We hope in the future it can be improved to give more detailed information. It feels there are other parts that not mentioned in this article.