I suspect most people with milling machines fit into two categories:
- Professional machinists that use their machine on a daily basis
- People with too much disposable income and garage space that bought a machine on a whim and now primarily use it to prevent dust from reaching the floor
Although I may be wrong, I think people like me are a bit of a minority within the population of milling machine owners. I have no occupational prerogative for such a machine, but I use it all the time, for all sorts of things, whether or not it’s “necessary”, or the “proper” tool for the job. If it can be done with the milling machine, it will be done with the milling machine (or at least attempted).
The most recent use was to create a few spacers to fill gaps in my pergola. I had assembled a horizontal beam from two 2×6 boards and set it on top of 4×4 posts, but the combined width of the 2x6s was actually a bit thinner than the 4x4s, leaving an unsightly gap in the connecting bracket.
My work my not be precise, but I try to make it look good.
I needed to fill about 1/4-inch.
I happened to have some 1/4-inch plywood that would work for this task.
<start humming inspirational tune>
But I also happened to have a milling machine, so such band-aid fixes will not suffice!
If I have the means and materials to make a spacer that will outlast the structure, the bracket, and likely human civilization itself, I will avail myself of such means and materials!
So I cut some squares out of a piece of aluminum tool plate (same piece I used for my miter saw fence) with my portable bandsaw (I love), and then used my milling machine to batch them square and bring them to their final dimensions.
Space filled. Problem solved. Milling machine used.
<stop humming inspirational tune>