Milling started in the early 19th century and has gone through a lot of development. The biggest of them was the automation of the control; use of a universal language G-Code to define how the machine would perform a function. The next big thing was the use of Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM). CAD and CAM based system are responsible for the mass production as well as one off products. They have helped in standardization as well as customization of products and processes.
Because of the rise of Open Source hardware & software and availability of components, it has become easier for people and start ups to come up with their own low cost CNC machines. Shopbot, Inventables, Creator Bot are some of the few companies which are making CNC milling machines which could be bought by an individual or a makerspace. I’m currently using a Shopbot (in FabLab CEPT) and a mini Creator Bot CNC mill.
We have been designing and building knockdown furniture, classroom projects of kids using these machines. The furniture built most of the time comes out of a single 8 inch x 4 inch sheet of MDF or plyboard. And as it is knockdown furniture it can be transported, put together and taken apart in a very shot time. We are planning to come up with instructables for the things we build.
Some interesting links to digital joints