What Is a Mill-Drill-Lathe?

Jean Marie Asta
Jean Marie Asta
Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

A mill-drill-lathe is a combination of mill and a lathe. Since mills are able to perform drilling functions as well, the potential to use the tool for drilling is sometimes mentioned in the name. This is not always done as it is redundant and doesn’t describe any additional functions of the tool.

One piece of mill-drill-lathes is a horizontal lathe that can be used to spin work pieces at high speeds so they may be carved into. This can be done either by using the attached mill, or by using other tools associated with lathes. Since the attached lathe is horizontal in design, large, oddly shaped, or heavy objects cannot be worked on. When they are spun they may hit the surrounding tool components, or fall off the lathe. Due to the fact that the lathe spins objects around at fairly high speeds, accidents and injuries may result from spinning an object that is too heavy.

The mill component of the mill-drill-lathe is mounted above the lathe. In most models it can rotate 360 degrees around the object in the lathe. It can also move horizontally along the length of the object in the lathe so that it may carve or drill at any point on the object’s length.

Various different bits can be installed in the head of the mill for different tasks. Router bits, drill bits, and circular saws may be used to get the desired cut or bore in the work piece. The installation of a drill bit allows the mill to function as a drill press.

Combination tools such as the mill-drill-lathe are desirable in situations where the amount of space in which a person works is limited. They also can save a person or business money compared to purchasing a mill and a lathe separately. Many advanced milling machines can create the same results that a lathe is capable of, however. So, unless a lathe would be purchased anyway, or the specific needs of the worker require a mill attached to a lathe, it may be an unnecessary combination.

A person can buy a mill-drill-lathe from most hardware stores. They are also available online. Sizes and complexity vary, so people should keep in mind what they plan on using their mill-drill-lathe on before they commit to a model that is either too small, or larger and more expensive than it needs to be.

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