How to Buy a Used Milling Machine

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How to Buy a Used Milling Machine

The purpose of a milling machine is to cut wood into various shapes and sizes. A good used milling machine performs a multitude of functions, such as drilling, cutting, planking, and angled cuts. They are made to be versatile woodworking machines. Similar to a lathe, a milling machine can be used for both simple and complex projects. Understanding how to use the machine as well as all of its functions and features is very important for both safety and proper cutting.

New milling machines can be extremely expensive, particularly if they are multifunctional industrial milling machines. To avoid the cost, many people look to shops and online auctions, such as eBay, for a good used milling machine. Industrial milling machines and commercial types are available at a reasonable price as used machines. To purchase a used milling machine, a buyer has to figure out which of the three types are most comfortable for him or her, know what the main parts of the machine are, and know how to tell if all of those parts are working. If interested in a used milling machine, there is probably a reason for the purchase, keep that reason in mind while searching.

The Three Types of Milling Machines

There are three basic types of milling machines available to the public. Each of the three types come in both commercial and industrial options. Industrial machines are almost always preferred to the commercial ones because they are built to be used more and under more difficult circumstances.

Knee-Type of Milling Machine

The knee type of milling machine has a vertically adjusting work board that is meant to rest on one knee, hence the name. This construction has a vertical worktable, which rests on the knee by using a saddle for protection. This type of milling machine is highly adjustable to multiple angles so that each cut can be perfect. It can be adjusted up to 360 degrees with a 180 degree turn radius. This is one of the more versatile types of milling machine because of its degree of adjustability. Most of these do, however, require the user to be experienced with this type of milling. Like with any bladed machine, there are dangers that are inherent to using it. With the knee-type milling machine, normally the saddle that is supported by the knee is designed to protect the body from injury, but this does not mean it cannot happen.

This type of milling machine can be power fed or manually fed. This increases the versatility of the types of materials that can be cut. It also increases the amount and speed at which these cuts can be made. Many amatuer machinists prefer these types of milling machines because they are extremely versatile.

The Universal Horizontal Milling Machine

As the name implies, universal horizontal milling machines can tackle just about any woodworking job that needs to be done. The universal milling machine has a table that can be swung up to 45 degrees. This allows for angular and helical milling. This particular type of milling machine also allows a woodworker to attach a variety of accessories and attachments so that almost all of the woodworker's needs are fulfilled in one machine.

Ram Type Milling Machine

The ram type milling machine covers a few different types of milling machines. The first is the universal ram type and is different from other types of milling machines in that the head is mounted on a moveable housing called a ram. The next ram type is very similar, and is the swivel cutter head type of milling machine. This milling machine has a 360-degree rotation to make circular and other rounded cuts without having to change heads out on the machine.

Most of the different types of milling machine are similar in what they do and the attachments that they accept. It is a matter of personal preference for which type of milling machine a person chooses. Most of the different types of milling machine perform the same tasks, but in slightly different ways. No single type of machine is better to use, and a person working with a milling machine should choose the one with which they are most comfortable.

Other Factors When Purchasing a Milling Machine

There are several other factors that influence the decision of which milling machine to purchase. When making a purchase, consider for what the milling machine is used, how much space is available, and what the overall budget is.

Uses for a Milling Machine

Many milling machines are multi-purpose. They can work as planking machines, lumber mills, angle saws, jig saws, and a variety of other things.  in addition, there are attachments that can be purchased for the milling machine. These attachments can improve the versatility of the milling machine, allowing the owner to accomplish a variety of tasks with it. It is a good idea to make a list of all of the uses for the milling machine prior to purchase. Then, decide if a simple machine is good enough, or if one of the more industrial models of milling machine work out better. Keep in mind the attachments for a particular milling machine. If a smaller milling machine with attachments is more practical, then choose that particular type. If a larger milling machine is needed, then it is best to choose a large all-in-one machine.

Space for the Milling Machine

Space is another consideration before purchasing a milling machine. When a person has limited room, a smaller, perhaps less versatile, milling machine may work well. If there is ample room for one of the industrial milling machines, and the owner has use for one that is industrial, it may be the best decision. Industrial milling machines tend to last longer and be tougher than the smaller, less commercial types.


Budget is always a factor when purchasing anything. Purchasing a used milling machine is usually more cost effective than purchasing a new one. It is important to remember how much use a buyer can get out of the milling machine. Essentially, the first question that a person needs to ask is if it can pay for itself. If the amount of money spent on a used milling machine is equal to the amount of work that it performs and its usefulness, then the expense is usually justified. A person can get more out of their money by purchasing a used milling machine, rather than a new one. Used milling machines have many of the same features as new ones, but cost considerably less than the newer ones.

A buyer can also purchase used accessories for the milling machine. This gives the buyer the opportunity to purchase more accessories than they may if they were purchasing them new. At times, hobbyists may sell a barely used milling machine. There are many reasons why people sell them used. One of the primary reasons is loss of interest in either the hobby or the milling work.

Buying a Used Milling Machine on eBay

It is not difficult to purchase a used milling machine on eBay. All you have to do is input the keywords "used milling machine" into the search bar, and eBay populates a list of all of the items that match those keywords. Scroll through this list to find the type of milling machine that best fits what you need. You may need to broaden or narrow the keywords a bit to get the exact products that you want. If you want to narrow the results, then add some keywords, and if you want to make the search broader, subtract them.

As you scroll through the listings, look for the milling machine that suits your needs the best. Once you find it, click on the listing and a detailed description appears. Read this detailed description carefully to be sure it is the milling machine that you want. If you have any questions, use the "ask the seller a question" feature in order to make sure that you have all of the information you need before ordering. You may also want to check out the seller's shipping and return policies. Here you can also take a look at the seller's feedback to make sure that you know what to expect from the seller.


There are many reasons to purchase a used milling machine. It is important to look carefully so that the milling machine and its accessories are exactly what is desired. Most modern milling machines come in one of three styles, and the style that is chosen is the one that suits the user best. There is the knee-lift milling machine, the horizontal milling machine, and the ram style milling machine. Each of these have their pros and cons. Deciding on which of the three suits the needs of the buyer the best is the first step in purchasing a milling machine. After the type of machine is decided upon, all that a buyer needs to do is find one that is within their budget. A buyer can find a good used milling machine at a few brick and mortar shops, but are likely to find a wider selection from an online auction website, such as eBay.

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