Surprisingly, for a company so devoted to its range of amateur and semi-professional machine tools, Emco produced only two small, self-contained conventional vertical milling machine - one that was also intended to fit the Emco Compact 5 and Compact 8 lathes and a "Mill/Drill" unit (also sold for use on Emco 7, V8, 10 and 11 lathes) and evolving through three versions, the final incarnation of this being the popular though very expensive FB-2. However, Emco's first effort was not a complete machine, but a vertical attachment designed as an accessory for the Series 3000 lathe. The attachment, consisting of a shortened replica of the lathe bed and headstock bolted vertically to the back of the actual bed, worked effectively as the headstock was fitted with a built-on, all-belt-drive motor/countershaft system and sliding spindle, the design giving both the required drive and a vertical quill feed. More affluent owners could opt for the machine to be fitted with a second headstock and its motor permanently mounted, meaning the machine was ready for immediate use as either a lathe or miller. Although very rare (and jolly expensive), Emco might also have offered the lathe headstock and bed section set up as a complete machine, the base section bearing some resemblance to that used on much later models with a simple 4-bolt flange running along each side of the casting.
When a new range of Emco geared-head lathes, the 7, 8.4. 8.6 and 10, were introduced during the 1960s, the design of milling attachment followed suite, being fitted with a 4-speed head and offered, like its earlier brother, as a stand-alone machine that was often catalogued in the UK as the "Mentor" (though this was a designation more usually applied to educational versions fitted with armoured electrical cables and safer switchgear). By the 1970s the miller had evolved into the much improved, 6-speed, geared-head FB-2 fitted with a useful 630 mm x 150 mm table with 380 mm of longitudinal travel and 140 mm in traverse. By the 1980s the machine was in its final form as the simplified and cheaper-to-manufacture F1 and FP models, each fitted with belt-driven heads - the former with a miniature V-belt and the latter with a better-gripping Poly-V type. The F1 was also available as a CNC machine, intended for industrial training as well as hobby use. Besides being sold as a complete milling machine the 4 and 6-speed heads, together with column and socket unit, were offered as optional-extra on most of the larger Emco lathes including the 7, 8.4, 8.6 and all versions of the V10, V10P and Super 11. The Emco-made FB-2 has also been found badged as an "Ajax" (a name used by a UK-based import company, originally based near Stockport in Cheshire) and also, in a Taiwanese-built form, as a Warco. All varieties of the later stand-alone miller, from first to last, had tables 150 mm wide (with 3 full-length T-slots) but that on the 4-speed model was, at 520 mm long, some 110 mm shorter than the other versions and its longitudinal travel (of 350 mm) 30 mm less. However, at 150 mm, the 4-speed model enjoyed 10 mm more cross feed than the other types. While "newer" can often mean "better", in the case of the table's longitudinal stops the reverse was true. The original fitment was a pair of decently-sized, chrome-plated handles that allowed settings to be made without recourse to a spanner, but these were replaced first by square blocks held by socket-headed screws and then, on the 6-speed model, by even simpler and cheaper-to-make buttons. Although these change saved the company a few pence per unit Emco also (at some point) exchanged the table's original and cheap-looking plastic handwheels for what must have been very much more costly and attractive aluminium items with chrome handles, identical in design to the type originally used on the head's fine-feed control. When the F1 was introduced the aluminium wheels were retained, but the handles reverted to plastic. The feed-screws, which ran through nuts that were slotted and adjustable by twin clamping screws (to reduce backlash) were fitted with clearly engraved and zeroing-micrometer dials of a good size. Although not listed for either the 4-speed geared-head or FP models the FB-2 was offered with the option of an expensive (and so now very rare) 3-speed table-feed motor unit that worked through a safety-overload clutch and gave travel rates of 1.3, 2.5 and 6.7 inches (33/65/170 mm) per minute. All years of production were fitted with a handy metal-ruler scale, engraved with inch or metric markings, on both X and Y axes.
Of particularly neat and compact construction, early heads were produced in two versions: one carried a side plate labelled "Emcomat" and was fitted with a 0.14 h.p. 1-phase motor with the other badged "Maximat" and equipped with a slightly taller and more powerful 0.20 h.p. 1-phase (or 0.35 h.p. 3-phase) motor. All 4-speed heads were lubricated by grease (Emco order 602-005, but which today can be replaced by any good quality, high-temperature lithium-based product) and ran at 350, 640, 780 and 1450 rpm. However, the 6-speed unit was lubricated by an oil-bath and enjoyed a very much more useful range of speeds: 120, 280, 370, 1100 and 2000 rpm speed. The final production model, the belt-drive FP1, attempted to compromise with 350, 600, 1100 and 2300 rpm. Most versatile of all was the F1P when fitted with the optional variable-speed motor; as the machine also retained its 4-step belt drive this gave speed ranges on each pulley setting of: 100 to 500 rpm, 200 to 1000 rpm, 400 to 2000 rpm and 800 to 4000 rpm. A computer-controlled model was also offered, the F1CNC, a type that found favour in many colleges and schools through Europe.
When fitted with a 60 rather than 50-cycle motor spindle speeds were generally some 25% faster. To users of older machine tools the finned-body motors all appear to run very hot - but this was merely a result of their volume-to-power ratio and reflected the use of efficient modern insulation materials. Even so, these units do not enjoy a reputation for long-term reliability and replacements are both difficult and expensive to obtain.