15 Mill Projects That Are SUPER Easy for Beginners!

15 Mill Projects That Are SUPER Easy for Beginners

Last Updated on March 1, 2023 by GotFunnyPictures

Milling machines are one of the best tools to have around. It’s useful and powerful, and you will have mill projects to work on.

If you’re a beginner looking for ideas on what to do with your milling machine, you’ve come to the right place.

I’ve listed some of the best beginner-friendly mill projects you can do, which I’m sure you’ll enjoy!

15 Milling Machine Projects That You Can Try

I have a few favorite milling projects I did as a beginner. The difficulty ranged from easy to fair, which included a few challenging tasks to sharpen my skills.

Here are some cool and useful CNC mill projects you should try out.

1) Coasters

Coasters

Coasters are pretty easy to make, which makes it a great beginner-friendly idea! It doesn’t require a lot of tools, and you can even use leftover materials like acrylic and wood. 

You don’t need any fancy tools for this project. You’re all set as long as you’ve got your CNC mill machine with you and a determination to learn. 

What makes this project great for beginners is cutting your material into a perfect circle. Cylindrical shapes take some time to master, and it could be challenging for a beginner. 

Nonetheless, it’s nothing several practices can’t cure. You’ll be able to practice carving well-defined curves and master the skill in no time.

You can create your original design and be as creative as you want! The project can take a day or two to complete, depending on your skill level.

Project Information

  • Difficulty Level: Beginner
  • Duration: 1 to 2 days
  • Material Type: Acrylic or wood

2) Fashion Jewelry or Pendants

Fashion Jewelry or Pendants

Jewelry and pendants are easy to make with the help of a CNC milling machine. What better way to accessorize than by using your very own jewelry collection?

You can create jewelry that matches your style. Plus, your accessory will always be unique to you! It’ll make a great conversation starter when you’re out with friends.

CNC machines have always been a handy tool for creating statement pieces like earrings, belts, rings, necklaces, and pendants!

Fair warning, the difficulty level can vary depending on the type of jewelry. A simple pendant carving can take a few hours to complete, especially when you use CNC machines.

But more intricate pieces like rings and earrings might take a few extra days to complete.

You can even play around with different materials like wood and metal, depending on the aesthetic you’re going for.

Project Information

  • Difficulty Level: Beginner
  • Duration: 1 to 2 days
  • Material Type: Aluminum, metal, plastic, or wood

3) Machinist Hammer

Machinist Hammer

A machinist hammer is a great tool to add to your toolbox. It has a ton of use for metalworking projects, making it a must-have among the metal working community.

Did you know they’re also very easy to make? Creating this project on a vertical mill takes a day to complete. Once done with it, you’ve got a professional-looking hammer.

Making a machinist hammer is one of the best ways to practice your shaping and sharpening techniques. It’s also a great way to master your mill machine and what it can and can’t do.

Keep in mind that this tool usually comes in a metal body. This will add a ton of weight to the tool, which might make it hard to sculpt.

Not to mention, working with metal is a bit tricky to work with. They’re relatively hard to sculpt, which will probably be your biggest challenge.

Project Information

  • Difficulty Level: Beginner
  • Duration: 1 day
  • Material Type: Aluminum or metal

4) Nut and Bolt

Nut and Bolt

Another essential item you need to add to your toolbox is nuts and bolts. These two are always designed together, ensuring a perfect fit each time.

Because of its irregular shape and patterns, creating nuts and bolts might be a challenge. More importantly, both nuts and bolts have threads that need to pair.

The challenge in creating nuts and bolts is ensuring each piece’s threading matches. After all, it helps ensure that your nut and bolt can keep things in place.

Although the threads look challenging to make, creating them is possible! It may take you a few drilling practices!

But once you’ve mastered this skill, creating a nut and bolt is like cutting butter. You can do a ton of them within a day!

Project Information

  • Difficulty Level: Beginner
  • Duration: 1 day
  • Material Type: Aluminum or metal

5) Serving Trays

Serving Trays

Serving trays are quintessential CNC mill projects for people who use a CNC mill. You don’t need a ton of relevant experience; all you need is your unique drawing or design.

What makes it a beginner-friendly project is you only need to cut down your favorite block of wood to the desired size. Engrave the design on the surface, and voila!

You’ll hardly face any challenges in creating this project. If there’s any challenge, it’s cutting or shaping the materials to your desired shape.

Measure your desired dimensions beforehand, and secure it on the table for cutting. This prevents your material from slipping and sliding all over the place.

Besides that, the only real challenge is figuring out a unique concept to put on the surface of your tray! Top your wood with epoxy, and have a smooth-looking tray.

Project Information

  • Difficulty Level: Beginner
  • Duration: 1 to 2 days
  • Material Type: Acrylic, aluminum, metal, or wood

6) Tap Guide

Tap Guide

Another tool you need in your shop is a tap guide.

This tool looks very simple and features different counterbored threaded holes. It’s one of the tools you need for creating nuts, bolts, and a set screw!

Creating a tap guide is one of the best ways to help you practice your accuracy and precision skills. It’s a project I’m sure a perfectionist will be interested in creating for their set screw.

In theory, this project is easy to do. Although it generally is, it will preoccupy a beginner for hours. With all the different thread hole sizes, you’ll need a day to master it.

To be honest, making tools such as this one is a little frustrating. Drilling through metal and perfecting the threads can be challenging. Not to mention, it’s tricky to work with.

But once you’ve mastered the required skills, you’ll realize that this project is pretty simple.

Just make sure to have a toolmaker’s vise to make your job easier.

Project Information

  • Difficulty Level: Beginner
  • Duration: 1 day
  • Material Type: Metal

7) Tumbler Engraving

Tumbler Engraving

The market is filled with tumblers, thanks to the movement of using reusable everyday items. This being the case, there is a market for creating personalized tumblers.

You can’t begin to imagine how many tumbler engraving projects I’ve done for myself and my friends. 

For only a small design, one tumbler would take me no less than 10 minutes to engrave on my CNC machine. 

The average duration would take somewhere between three minutes to an hour, depending on several factors:

  • Design size
  • Laser power
  • Sheet metal/material to be engraved

As long as you use a CNC mill with powerful lasers, you’re off to a good start. Make sure to use a reliable and good machining system and master the CNC control for the best results. 

Project Information

  • Difficulty Level: Beginner
  • Duration: 1 day
  • Material Type: Aluminum or wood

8) Christmas Ornaments

Christmas Ornaments

Start the Christmas season with a bang by decorating your tree with your very own Christmas ornaments creation.

Skip the trip to the department store and create your ornaments at home.

With the help of a reliable CNC machine, you can produce your favorite ornaments in no time. They’re aesthetically pleasing and give a sense of nostalgia in every piece.

You can create ornaments like Christmas trees, elves, reindeer, and even snowflakes! Each piece requires a different difficulty, and I’m sure every beginner is ready to take on.

In making your ornaments, I always recommend using durable materials so that you can store and reuse them yearly.

You can even design ornaments you can give to your friends and family! I’m sure it’ll be one of the best ornaments on their tree.

Project Information

  • Difficulty Level: Beginner to medium
  • Duration: 1 day
  • Material Type: Acrylic or wood

9) Personalized Gift Boxes

Personalized Gift Boxes

Gift boxes are a crowd favorite for every celebration. It’s a unique way of giving and receiving gifts to your loved ones.

Make it extra special by creating personalized gift boxes to give! It’ll be a unique box dedicated to that person and for a particular occasion.

The beauty of giving personalized gift boxes is you can choose what type of metal, wood, or acrylic to use. The more durable it is, the better! Go wild with your imagination, and start drawing a unique design.

In general, gift boxes are easy and straightforward to create. The challenge is cutting every piece to ensure they’re the same size and putting them all together.

Depending on your ability, one project could take you a day or a week. Regardless of what you do, remember to have fun.

Project Information

  • Difficulty Level: Beginner to medium
  • Duration: 2 to 4 days
  • Material Type: Acrylic or wood

10) Turner’s Cube

Turner_s Cube

A turner’s cube is a small little project you can do during your free time. It’s a cube that features a cube inside a cube, and creating this project takes several attempts.

Be warned, this project isn’t for anyone who gives up easily. It will test your patience, especially with all the little details you need to carve.

This being the case, you must be already familiar with your machining system before creating this project. You also need to know what tool to use to help you perfect this cube.

A skilled worker can complete this cube in a day, while a beginner might need a few days to a week. This small block is a lot of fun to make, and I’m sure many will love to do it.

You begin by using soft wood since they’re a lot easier to work with than metal.

Project Information

  • Difficulty Level: Beginner to medium
  • Duration: 1 to 7 days
  • Material Type: Wood metal

11) Metal Dice

Metal Dice

If you want to practice creating an even surface, test your skills by crafting a metal dice. 

It might sound like a simple project, but it requires some skills a beginner needs to acquire. Understanding the z-axis and your raw material is a good place to start. 

What makes this project extra challenging is using metal, which we all know is tricky to manipulate. Using soft metal would be a good starting point. An excellent example of this includes:

  • Aluminum
  • Brass
  • Bronze
  • Copper 
  • Zinc

You’ll also have fun drilling the dots on each dice’s surface. This is the only easy part of this project that beginners can do without breaking a sweat. 

Project Information

  • Difficulty Level: Medium
  • Duration: 1 to 3 days
  • Material Type: Metal

12) Chess Set

Chess Set

Start your mill projects with a bang and try creating your very own chess set. There are many different pieces to create that will surely challenge you from start to finish.

What I love about this cool project is being as creative as I want. I can let my imagination run wild and design my own chess set.

One of the challenges a beginner might encounter is getting the curves and sharp corners right on every piece. Creating a plan on how to execute this project will help.

This project should take you several days to finish, and it’s a great opportunity for you to master new skills. It’s also a great way to get acquainted with the skills you have yet to learn.

Completing the set could take you a day or an entire week. The duration varies depending on your ability and the material you’re working on.

Project Information

  • Difficulty Level: Medium to hard
  • Duration: 3 to 7 days
  • Material Type: Plastic or wood

13) Decorative Tiles

Decorative Tiles

Decorative tiles are one of the best ways to add personality to a room.  It’s also a great project where you can try to make complex and intricate designs.

There are a lot of shapes and patterns you can use to style your tiles. Not to mention different materials to use, like wood and ceramic.

Don’t give up if you can’t perfect your tiles on your first try! You can always keep practicing until you master your craft.

More importantly, use a reliable CNC mill to help you get the job done faster. It can help you save a lot of time carving or engraving patterns on the surface.

But the biggest challenge you’ll have to face in this project is figuring out what design to create. I’m sure you’ve got a lot of ideas in mind, choosing which of them to use might be difficult.

Project Information

  • Difficulty Level: Medium to hard
  • Duration: 2 to 5 days
  • Material Type: Ceramic or wood

14) Laptop Stand

Laptop Stand

Another awesome everyday item to make is a laptop stand. They’re a lifesaver when it comes to saving our posture! You can save your back and neck from hurting with the right laptop stand.

With the help of your CNC mill, you can create a laptop stand tailored to your needs. You can set it to the right height and according to the dimensions of your laptop.

Creating a stand is tricky, but it only takes a day to complete. The assembly process might be the biggest challenge, but it won’t be a problem.

Soon enough, you’ll be able to make a ton of stands to give out to your friends and coworkers! It’s a practical gift I’m sure they’ll love to receive.

You might even want to consider turning it into a business. With many people looking for a reliable laptop stand, I’m sure yours will be a cut among the rest.

Project Information

  • Difficulty Level: Medium to hard
  • Duration: 1 day
  • Material Type: Acrylic, metal, or wood

15) Magic 8 Ball

Magic 8 Ball

Magic 8 balls are one of the best toys I played with as a kid. Something is thrilling about knowing about your ‘future’ from a toy.

And admit it, we all believed magic eight balls to be true.

Crafting a magic eight-ball is one of the hardest mill projects on this list. Perfecting its round shape makes it challenging; we all know how hard that can be.

Soft metal will make your life much easier since you can maneuver them better. Alternatively, you can build the ball in separate pieces and assemble them later.

All you need is a reliable CNC mill, a CNC lathe, vee blocks, the right tools, and the determination to finish the project! Although this project is hard, it’s still good for a beginner machinist.

You’ll probably have your hands tied for several days, but consider it a good time to practice your machine skills.

Rest assured, you’ll come out of this project feeling like an expert machinist.

Project Information

  • Difficulty Level: Hard
  • Duration: 2 to 3 days
  • Material Type: Plastic, metal, or wood

What Tools are Needed for Machinist Projects?

Next to milling machines, there are a few other tools you need to complete your project. I’ve listed some of them so you can prepare them in advance. 

Calipers

Every beginner machinist must have a caliper in their tool box. It’s an essential measuring tool for machining, which can accurately measure the distance between two opposite points. 

You can choose between a manual or digital caliper, whichever you find more convenient. Just make sure to store them properly to keep them precise at all times. 

Combination Square Set

The combination square set has many uses, which is why it’s always in a machinist tool box. It’s a general tool you can use for different activities, not just machining! 

This tool might look intimidating, especially with its different attachments. You can use it to measure the length of an object and even its angle. 

Dial Indicator

Another must-have machining tool is a dial indicator. It helps measure and level your table, ensuring your surface is always flat. 

A dial indicator is a must-have for machining because it also offers a lot of versatility. Regardless of the machining services you’ve got lined up, you’ll need a dial indicator. 

Micrometer 

Few beginners know about micrometers since it’s not commonly used in crafting beginner-friendly mill projects. 

Nonetheless, that shouldn’t mean you shouldn’t have one in your workstation. They’re handy tools for measuring your object’s diameter and thickness. 

Make sure you have a micrometer stand to avoid losing this tool.

Screw Jacks

Screw jacks are handy around the workroom and popularly used on machines that need to do some heavy lifting. It features a wide range of uses, making it a favorite among machining experts..

What Can You Do With Your Milling Projects?

Once you’ve mastered milling machines, I doubt you’ll run out of ideas to make. You’ll have your own workstation soon and many finished mill projects.

What are you going to do with them? Surely you can’t leave them lying around to collect dust. It would be a waste!

Luckily, I’ve got a few clever ideas you could do for your finished projects.

Give Them as Gifts to Others

Consider gifting your friends and family with your unique creation. Instead of leaving them to collect dust, give them to someone you know will have a use for them.

It doesn’t have to be spectacular, and even a simple coaster could be enough. It’s something people always need, regardless of the occasion.

Alternatively, you can also make personalized gifts for your friends and family. Nothing beats receiving a gift made especially for you!

You could give them a pendant of your design or a simple Christmas ornament they can remember you by. Whatever it is, I’m sure they’ll find it to be a heartwarming gesture.

Start a Small Business From Your Hobby

Turn your passion into a profession! A new door filled with opportunities is waiting for you once you’ve mastered how to use your milling machine. 

You can start creating a bunch of mill projects and making tools you can start selling. Why not earn a few extra bucks from your passion projects? 

If you also have a few projects you’re not using, you can sell them to someone who needs them. They’ll find a better use for it than keeping it at home to collect dust. 

Once you’ve increased your skill level, you can become a one-stop shop for all fun and useful crafts! 

Use Them at Home

What better way to enjoy your finished projects than by using them yourself. Instead of letting it collect dust in a drawer somewhere, use it! 

Beginner projects such as key holders, organizers, coasters, and Christmas ornaments are perfect for home use. You don’t have to buy them anymore and save a few extra bucks. 

CNC Milling Machine Project Tips for Beginners

Creating structured pieces using a CNC mill can be challenging for beginners. Mastering how to create flat, sharp, and curved edges takes some time, but it’s a skill worth learning.

Once you’ve mastered the basics, you’ll be able to create many more projects in no time.

Knowing where and how to start a project is a challenge in itself. I’ve listed several tips below to help beginners get started.

1) Always Tram Your CNC Mill

Before starting a project, always tram your CNC mill. This ensures that tram and CNC lathes are parallel to the x and y-axis, and even the z-axis, for an accurate and smooth finish each time.

Most CNC machine users overlook this simple solution. Tramming a CNC mill might sound complicated for a beginner, but it’s anything but that.

There are various tools you can use to help ensure your tram stays parallel. I always recommend clearing the chip clearance to keep your cut surfaces flat.

2) Assemble Your Project Together

Whenever you’re putting two pieces together, use a reliable adhesive material. You can use hot glue, wax, or even double-sided tape!

Regardless of what you use, ensure it’s suitable for the material you’re working with. More importantly, make sure that it can hold your projects together.

In the alternative, you can also use screws, nuts, and bolts, especially when you’re using wood or metal.

3) Choose the Right Material to Work With

Some beginners make the mistake of using hard materials like stainless steel on their first try. Although stainless steel is a great material, cutting it takes a lot of work.

I recommend starting with materials like aluminum and brass because they’re a lot softer and easier to cut. Using soft materials helps you master how to cut and gain confidence.

You can work your way up to hard materials once you get the hang of using a CNC mill.

4) Find a Reliable Clamping Kit

Keep your project secured on the table, even as a rotary table passes. A good clamping kit can get the job done and even last you years.

You don’t have to worry about your project shifting into different positions. More importantly, you don’t have to manually secure your project to the table.

5) Start Small

I’m sure you’re excited to roll with the big guys, but it takes some time to acquire specific skills before you can.

For newbies, I always recommend starting with small projects that are easy to complete. Familiarize yourself with the machine shop, your CNC mill machine, and what it can and can’t do.

Once you’ve gained enough confidence, you’ll feel much more comfortable taking on challenging tasks. You can start moving up the block to more intense CNC projects.

6) Use Quality Cutters or End Mill

You need sharp and quality cutters or an end mill because you’ll be cutting and drilling many materials during your project.

Nothing can be more frustrating than cutting your material back and forth. You may have a reliable band saw, but what if its blades are dull?

Worse than that is ending up with ragged edges that leave your project looking unpolished.

Make sure to find quality cutters for your projects. Your project can come out looking professional and well thought of.

7) Get to Know Your CNC Milling Machine

Knowing how to master your CNC machine is vital to ensure you see the best results for your project. It’s not enough that you feed data on the machine, tool path program, and understand G codes.

You also need to understand the machine setup, how your CNC machine works and its limitations.

In general, a CNC machine can do a wide range of activities besides drilling and engraving on a block of the object.

Knowing what these help you create a wide range of projects with your CNC mill.

8) Finalize Your Project

Once you’re happy with your project, it’s time to wrap things up and start finalizing the small details.

You can begin by brushing off any excess material to ensure it’s clean. You can also apply a clear lacquer to give it a nice finish.

Pack it in a box, and you’re ready to give it as a gift!

Conclusion

I’ve named some of my favorite beginner-friendly mill projects in this list, and I hope you get to try out all of them.

Consider this a great opportunity to get to know your milling machine and familiarize yourself with the setup. Soon enough, you can start a small business out of your projects.

Remember those I’ve named here if you’re suffering from a creative block and running out of projects to do with your CNC mill.

I hope you enjoyed this article. Let me know in the comments what projects you’re excited to work on!

Feel free to share this article with your friends in the machine shop. You can use this as a great bonding activity.