View Full Version : Quick Change Tormach Tool System

01-31-2008, 12:03 AM
At Cabin Fever looked this over at few vendors' tables, and I think it was referenced in post here. I'm a manual mill (6x26) homeshop, but it looks like it would "speed up" my tool changes and give me a little more "daylight" between the spindle and table.

It looked "good" in person at the show, but does anyone here have it "operational" at the shop?

01-31-2008, 12:21 AM
They're pretty darned expensive for what they are. For CNC, I guess I can understand the desireability.

Personally, for a manual mill, you'll get radical fast tool changes building a powered drawbar. You can do that for $100 or so, and when you're done you can use all your existing R8 tooling and anything new you buy.

Here is the one I built:


Just press the "Out" lever and the tooling pops out in your hand:


For CNC I will add a touchsetter which lets me automate a touch off to get the tool offset. Also much cheaper than the TTS.



PS For info on where to get the plans for the powered drawbar, see my site: http://www.cnccookbook.com/CCMillDrawbar.html

01-31-2008, 03:37 AM
I am selling my set if anyone is interested. Two master collets, 4 ER-20 chucks, 4 3/8" end mill holders, 4 1/2" holders, JT-33 drill chuck holder, JT-1 chuck holder, 7/8-20 boring bar holder, wrenches, height block, rack to hold the stuff.

Changing my spindle to 30 taper so dont need it anymore. Good for light to medium milling.

Whats nice about it is the repeatable z and you dont have to pull out a full 4" of shank out of the spindle to get the tool out in a change. Really nice if you have limited Z. Only takes about a half wrench turn to of the drawbar to change tools.

If you are changing bits often it does speed things up. You can preset your tool offsets before the tools are even on the machine.

They seem to be pretty well made as well. Nice finish on the collet chucks and the company is good to deal with. They also make blanks with their shanks to make your own tooling. Prices are not that bad. The collet chucks are a bit spendy though.

02-02-2008, 02:18 PM
They seem pretty well made and not all that expensive to me. I use them on a Tormach mill so that certainly colors my thinking. I think they'd be a lot handier on a CNC mill than on a manual mill, though.

02-02-2008, 03:30 PM
An alternative is Royal's "EasyChange" system,:


I use this system on my BP clone CNC and it works pretty well but with some limitations. You can't do heavy (at least heavy for a BP) high RPM milling with it, so when I need to do that I use endmill holders or ER32-R8 holders from www.maritool.com (a nice guy runs that operation by the way, all top notch stuff for good prices, has some R8 stuff and ER collet sets).

Tool changes are pretty fast, less than 10 secs, so we use the system heavily on the small parts runs we do here that have spotting, drilling, tapping and light milling. After getting used to it on the CNC machine I bought a 2nd holder to use on the manual mill also, its nice to have standard tools all set up and be able to pop them in the manual machine fast for simple quicky jobs.

Other than only for light milling the other rub is cost. I got my systems used on Ebay and bought some additional holders new and they're not cheap. www.use-enco.com sells them but be sitting down when you look at the prices. But if you're going to use the system for a few years at least it may be worth it to you.

Paul T.

02-02-2008, 05:03 PM
I'm a bit foggy on one aspect of how the powered drawbar works.

When I loosen my drawbar I invariably have to tap it down to get the collet to release and I'm quite certain I do not overtighten.
(Unless of course, that indicates I'm overtightening!)

Does the powered drawbar address this?

02-04-2008, 02:51 AM
The powered draw bars are not an option, for two reasons:

1) Something (mill or the "power unit) would need a major "redesign" to fit together and still be functional.
2) There ain't enough vertical shop space above the mill, (and no, I ain't cutting a hole in the 50+ year old concrete above the mill)

Because of "2" above, I sometimes need to "tilt the head" to change tooling (PITA) and using less space between the spindle-table is a bonus to the knee cranking arm (cranked all the way down, and still no room...)

I wasn't sure if the TTS would do to the mill what an Aloris (vs "lantern") did for the lathe. I don't see horror stories (yet) about the TTS, and the only "alt" item would use more of my hard earned salt. I don't want to waste my share of the "economic stimulus package" on a paperweight.

John Stevenson
02-04-2008, 06:19 AM
Take a good look at one and you will see that it's just a holder with a slight recess at the back to allow it to trap up on the collet.

If you are undecided then turn a couple up out of mild steel, hold in a collet and bore the end mill hole and tap for a screw to engage the flat.

Will they be as good and accurate at the Tormach ones ? hell no but for an hours work you will be able to evaluate the system to see if it suits you before shelling out cash.

For some people with a little care in manufacture these holder may be good enought for 90% of general work.



02-04-2008, 10:22 PM
John Stevenson:

I was more concerned about some "flaming FUBAR" not obvious until after it is in use, the I'd never buy that crap type thing. There are two positive replies, and the only "rival design" looks more complicated and is more expensive. Other than the "specially" ground R8 collet (~$20), I don't think there is anything in the system "beyond" this "average HSM";)


I've marked this thread, but don't have false hope of quick action; the winter heating oil bill is draining the tooling budget:(

02-05-2008, 04:24 PM
I looked at the other quick change designs before. Advantages of these systems are extremely positive retention. Bad things are they are very expensive and take up at least 2" of daylight under the spindle.

The tormach system would be able to be made from scratch but when you take into consideration the hardened and ground finish on the tool holders it makes them pretty hard to justify making. Especially with the fits of the endmill collet holders. The endmill holders have a very nice fit and unless you have a cylindrical grinder at home its going to be hard to duplicate.