Poll: What Machine Tool Would you have?

If you could only have one machine tool, what would it be?

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Maybe there’s another tool I’m not thinking of, so be sure to let me know in the comments if I missed it.  As for me, I have a manual mill, CNC router, and recently, a manual lathe.  They were obtained in that order, but if I had to choose one, it would probably be the CNC router.

Zen Toolworks CNC router 7x12 final assemblyThe manual milling machine would be hard to give up though, as it’s incredibly useful for doing stuff that I need to take a small cut off of, or for use as a really great drill press.  My CNC router from Zen Toolworks is capable of doing more detailed stuff, including PCBs if needed.  In theory, once something is designed it can be set up and run, but there is a learning curve associated with it that shouldn’t be overlooked.  It’s now more of a tool for me than an experiment (which is great), but that’s after over a year of work.  I’ve documented this in my CNC catgory, so check it if you want – there are 14 pages of posts as of this writing!  Or take a look at this post that shows the ZTW 7×12 going together.

My lathe will also be a really cool addition to the shop, but for what I’m doing it will most likely be used less than my CNC router or milling machine.  Anything circular though, and a lathe is a great tool to have.  It’s very new to me, so I may find more uses for it than I now realize.


  1. I want a 3D Printer just for the cool factor.

    • Yeah, they are pretty cool. After more thought, I wonder if my first choice wouldn’t be a laser cutter. Seems I will never have enough tools! Thx for commenting!

  2. Good article. That CNC router is a neat machine, you can do so much with it, however a manual mill and a manual lathe are also good machines so it’s kind of hard to choose for me.