A benchtop milling machine is a device used to remove material from solid objects. The size, function, and cost of such a machine can vary significantly, so before you begin your search for a benchtop milling machine, it is important to determine how you will be using it as well as how much you are willing to pay for it. Think carefully about the types of materials you will be machining, as well as what kinds of projects you will be doing: a business may require a CNC machine that can do the same milling over and over again, while a hobbyist may not need such capabilities.
A CNC, or computer numeric control, machine will feature a computer that will give the benchtop milling machine instructions as to how to cut, where to cut, and when to cut. These machines tend to be much more expensive than other benchtop milling machine options, and they will take up more space, so you will need to account for this in your budget as well as your workshop. This is a great option for businesses that will be making a product over and over again to fill orders, but it might be more machine than is necessary for a hobbyist.
If you will not be using a CNC machine, you will still need to measure your workspace carefully to find out how much space you have to spare for the benchtop milling machine. Once you have determined how much space you have available, consider whether you will keep the machine in place on the benchtop or whether you will store it while not in use. These machines can be exceptionally heavy, so you will need to take weight into consideration if you plan on moving the unit regularly.
You may be able to save some money by buying a used benchtop milling machine. If you choose to go this route, be sure to set aside extra money for potential repairs or upgrades that may be necessary after purchase. Whenever possible, buy a machine from a reputable dealer that will offer a warranty or return policy at purchase. If you buy from a private seller, you may end up saving money on the initial purchase, but you will have no recourse if the machine breaks shortly after purchase. Be sure to do a careful visual inspection of the machine regardless of where you purchase it, and whenever possible, test out the machine with some scrap materials to ensure it works properly.