A VMC is a machine with a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) controller. As mentioned, the cutting head in this milling machine is vertical and is a particular type of milling machine where the spindle runs in a vertical axis known as the “z” axis. They are typically enclosed and most often used for cutting metal.

Rotating Spindle

The Spindle, which is perpendicular to the working surface or table, can hold a variety of cutting tools (or mills as they are sometimes called). The spindle cartridge is mounted in a housing that moved up and down—this direction of motion is called the Z-Axis.


The Table is a platform on which to mount workpieces—either directly or through a variety of fixtures like milled aluminum plates or hard clamping vises. The table has a motion of left and right, which we call the X-Axis, and front to back, which is called the Y-Axis. These two axes of motion, coupled with the Z-Axis, allow for virtually unlimited contouring across the planes of motion.