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shoprat
09-05-2015, 03:05 PM
hi been thinking of small benchtop cnc mills or maybe a Tormach so I could work in my basement workshop instead of out in
garage,for a few different reasons. I am working on a few ideas for a part time,pre-retirement business and later to supplement my
retirement.

So it wouldn't be production but a few of my ideas would be machined out of stainless so it would have to have a little mass to it...possible?

Any of you have any experience with the Tormach ? seems kind of expensive for a mill of this size but maybe not. I have checked out You Tube
and they appear to do ok in aluminum but not sure how well they could cut ss.

Also wondering about noise/smell machining in basement thanks for any input

TN Pat
09-05-2015, 04:24 PM
Depends on how high you want to go with the cash. Honestly, before I went with the aggravation of kits or a tiny thing like a Tormach, if I had any intention to make parts from anything but aluminum and plastic - I'd look for a used Haas. I love Haas machines, run them daily.

The price may be daunting, but look at, say, used Mini Mills. They are similar in capacity to a Tormach, but a lot more capable. Honestly, if one buys a CNC, you don't gain a great deal without an automatic tool changer. That right there can bump a new Tormach 1100 up on towards 10K. Add the cabinet, etc., it becomes a sizeable investment. For just a few more grand, I believe I'd at least search for a used Mini Mill... I don't know what a used, basic Mini Mill would fetch, but surely not too much more than a new Tormach. But if ya need assurance that it won't squeal and holler in stainless, tool steel, etc., you do need a bit more beef. For the real aficianados out there, a Haas isn't even enough, but it's all down to what you need.

The basement requirement, and the air requirement of the MM makes it a bit more of a deal, though.

Greg
09-05-2015, 05:06 PM
I have a Tormach in my basement shop and have for a number of years . I don't do production work so I don't need the biggest fastest most powerful CNC machine. The Tormach easily handles aluminium, steel, stainless steel for me but again I don't need to maximize my machining time so I certainly don't require a Haas or larger. It was no problem moving the Tormach into the basement, noise is not an issue nor is the smell. I do not have an automatic tool changer and don't miss it because I am doing this for pleasure not trying to make money.
The Tormach is the best machining purchase I have made. Since owning it I seldom use my Excello knee mill. I'm retired now but in my working career I had access to the latest and greatest CNC machines. My Tormach has done everything I have ever asked of it, every day I'm pleased to have it.
I suggest you talk to other owners and get their opinions. If you are retired and not trying to earn your living doing machining you don't need an big expensive industrial class machine.
If I can answer any questions for you about my machine and its uses please contact me.

garyhlucas
09-05-2015, 05:38 PM
The Tormach is clearly in a class by itself. It is way more machine than a sherline or taig, and less machine than a VMC like a Haas. They are a very capable mill for the dollars spent and from what I see they hold their value well. I have their tooling system on my homebuilt machine and it is simple and very functional. In building my own machine I spent close to a Tormach over a period of 2 years and some things I did over. I've owned two CNC knee mills, a bridgeport size and a huge Shizouka, for CNC a knee mill really sucks. At work I got us a great deal on a Servo 5000 bed mill with a 4th axis, but 6,000 lbs ain't going in my garage! So if I needed to do over at home the Tormach would be my first choice currently.

shoprat
09-05-2015, 06:35 PM
Thanks for the replies, yea I don't need a production type machine. It is more hobby/business and hopefully be able to boost retirement income in a few years. The reason I wanted to have it in the basement was partly privacy and comfort as my garage is detatched. I have a furnace in it but no ac or water
and it costs a fortune to heat in winter.

I checked out prices on tormach 1100 and it gets pretty close to a used haas tm but it would fit in the basement easy enough.

justanengineer
09-05-2015, 08:57 PM
JMO, but I wouldn't even entertain the thought of a Tormach. Its kind of like the old argument about buying benchtop machines vs something a bit bigger, if you need tiny youre going to pay more for less. That's not a function of quality, that's a combination of hobbyist needs, ignorance, and to some extent fan clubs. For what a Tormach costs you can get more capable VMCs in nice condition that are easier to use, which will hold value long term, and will be easily rebuilt in 20 years (assuming you work them hard enough to wear them out) vs scrapping the Tormach. Not to sound like an ignorant jerk, but Tormachs really are the Atlas of the cnc world, ultra low quality, old technology, lightweight, and built to an ultra low price-point.

FWIW, I also wouldn't be interested in a Haas as theyre like South Bend and Bridgeport - their brand and fan clubs keep the prices high, not bc theyre an overly high quality machine. Personally, I'd look for a Fadal, Hurco, or if youre cramped for room a Fanuc Robodrill.

philbur
09-06-2015, 11:22 AM
Have you searched/asked here:

http://www.cnczone.com/forums/tormach-personal-cnc-mill/

Phil:)

PS: Mine handles 304 stainless just fine.

shoprat
09-06-2015, 01:44 PM
no i haven't, thanks for the link seems like a lot of info about them on there!

philbur
09-06-2015, 06:43 PM
Search youtube using "Tormach stainless steel" there are several videos.

Phil:)

garyhlucas
09-06-2015, 07:06 PM
I love the suggestion of buying a VMC. Yes you can find used ones for about the price of a new Tormach. However if you need some piddling little part like a spindle, or a ball screw or a servo motor you find out you are buying parts for a $100,000 machine, not a $7,000 one! Same deal as with boats, I have a boat I paid $6500 for and it would sell for $85,000 new today. Parts for it of course are the parts for the $85,000 boat! Tormach saw the demand for something better than a hobby machine, and less than a professional 24/7 capable VMC. They have done very well in that niche, as witnessed by how many they have sold.

TOOLZNTHINGS
09-06-2015, 09:17 PM
You are never going to find better support than Tormach. Great company !

38_Cal
09-06-2015, 09:34 PM
A good friend of mine ended up with a Tormach when his big cnc died and the cost for parts and electronics was 60% or more of the cost of the Tormach. He was producing (among other things) custom hammers for Ruger No. 1 rifles with it, not on a huge scale, but with a bit of thought and fixture building was able to do six to eight pieces at a time.

justanengineer
09-07-2015, 01:16 AM
I love the suggestion of buying a VMC. Yes you can find used ones for about the price of a new Tormach. However if you need some piddling little part like a spindle, or a ball screw or a servo motor you find out you are buying parts for a $100,000 machine, not a $7,000 one!

Huh?? We're not talking $100k machines here, we're talking $20-40k machines meant to run tens of thousands of hours vs a machine thatll run a thousand or two if its babied. Depending on the model youre looking at and the options you want the Tormach also isnt even close to $7k, a friend was at $12k on his PCNC 1100 with enclosure, tool changer, control/computer, and tooling. JMO, but that's a LOT of cash for a machine that's quality-wise pretty similar to most mini-mills. Costs are also relative to the timeline used, when its worn the Tormach needs to be scraped or scrapped and otherwise rebuilt with their proprietary parts (if you can get them) vs spending a few thousand rebuilding a VMC with industry standard parts if he lives long enough to wear it out. Unless you want to make an already slow machine slower, you also have to use Tormach's proprietary tooling with their machines which is unusable and wasted cash if the OP ever wants to upgrade vs cheap standard tooling.

As I can sense the "ALL VMCs are HUGE" comment coming, here's one my former employer had for a few years. When they sold it for $10k I was VERY tempted but really didn't have the funds to spend, IIRC its ~$30k new.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWdxCapDHNU

dalee100
09-07-2015, 10:42 AM
Hi,

Well, other than "If you ain't got the room for it, no sense in buying one" statement, it appears you haven't had to buy parts for a "real" vmc. A new spindle motor for a Fadal cost $4000 this past summer. A used hydraulic vacuum pump on a Cincinnati laser is $1500 used or $3000 rebuilt, (still trying to talk boss into it). It cost $500 to replace a single hydraulic hose on a Mori Seiki lathe this summer too. Speaking of Mori's, Tomorrow morning I will need to try and figure out just what happened to the old Mori VMC after a brownout raised hob with the shop last Thursday. It has randomly started to shut down since that incident. I suspect a power supply or board. Can't wait to try and find those parts if needed. And make no mistake, that $20,000 machine will most likely need repair before use. It was worked like a rented mule, and then put up wet. You could easily blow through another $10,000 making it right, depending on the usage.

The little second op machine in the video looks like an over priced Tormach to me. Complete with an even tinier work envelope. The Tormach might not be my first choice either. If room is a problem, a Tree or Milltronics knee style CNC would be my first choice. They are still a bit bigger than the Tormach and every bit as floppy noodle as Sir John's old BP. But they are noticeable step up in performance.

Dalee

KiddZimaHater
09-07-2015, 11:09 AM
The two big sellers for me with Tormach, were FOOTPRINT SIZE and CUSTOMER SUPPORT.
I have a small. one car garage, definitely not enough room for a VMC.
And I HATE breakdowns, that's why I absolutely love TORMACH's customer support.
All-in-all, I love my Tormach 770.
It can do anything a "real" VMC can do, just a lot slower, and with lighter cuts.
If you're putting it in your basement, then YES, look into buying a Tormach.

sansbury
09-07-2015, 01:33 PM
I've had an 1100 for two years and love it. For hobby and prototype use it's plenty capable and a lot nicer than a converted RF-45 or what have you. I estimate that versus any VMC I saved at least 6-8k in not needing to run 3-phase, rigged it myself, no big air compressor needed, and TTS holders cost a lot less than CAT-40s. And I got a new, warrantied machine whose insides I understood with a rotary table and touch probe, delivered, for 14k.

It's not a production machine though I have made some runs of a few dozen small parts with good fixtures. If you get the ATC and enclosure it heads towards 20k pretty fast and I'd agree that at some point if you *need* those capabilities you might be better off thinking VMC. But don't kid yourself on the costs there--unless you get a sweet deal you're going to be spending more.

justanengineer
09-07-2015, 03:51 PM
Hi,

Well, other than "If you ain't got the room for it, no sense in buying one" statement, it appears you haven't had to buy parts for a "real" vmc. A new spindle motor for a Fadal cost $4000 this past summer...... And make no mistake, that $20,000 machine will most likely need repair before use. It was worked like a rented mule, and then put up wet. You could easily blow through another $10,000 making it right, depending on the usage.

The little second op machine in the video looks like an over priced Tormach to me. Complete with an even tinier work envelope. The Tormach might not be my first choice either. If room is a problem, a Tree or Milltronics knee style CNC would be my first choice. They are still a bit bigger than the Tormach and every bit as floppy noodle as Sir John's old BP. But they are noticeable step up in performance.


Sounds like you've got a bit of experience with Larry's and the OEMs overpriced parts business, I'd have gone direct to Baldor or other suppliers direct, the aftermarket, or for a "non-precision" part like a spindle motor even a used-ey for a fraction of that. Yes, I've done a bit of machine repair, also did a bit of special production machine design and am aware of the pricing when you get into heavy-duty precision components. The OP's not looking for high end specialty machines nor anything larger tho, he's looking at smaller, lighter, machines with cheaper, smaller commodity components. He wont need rails, ballscrews, thrust washers, spindle bearings, servos, drives, etc simultaneously, he might need 1-2 for a VMC off the list after the first few thousand hours (bc he bought used), long after the Tormach would be toast.

For ~$20k the OP could get a new Haas with warranty, financing, on-site service, and 24/7 customer support, I'm not suggesting that btw. For ~$10k he could get a Tormach or an "other" used machine that doesn't have the following Haas does in really nice condition with tooling. Fadal, Hardinge, Brother, Fanuc, Sharp, Hurco, Trak, Enshu, etc. take your pick on the used market, theyre all decently cheap and make smaller machines, some very similarly sized (or smaller) as the Tormach and with single phase power requirements. I'm not suggesting buying a project or something abused, he could call HGR or other dealer and have a complete but beat VMC project delivered for <$5k (<$3k if he's good at haggling) that would need $10k+ worth of work, or for ~$10k he could buy something ready to run.

As for the Trak 2op, comparing that to a Tormach is silly. Its got more travel on 2 of 3 axes, high precision linear ways vs poorly ground dovetails, accuracy&repeatability specs that are a fraction of the Tormach's, an easy to use/standard control vs hobby-grade PC electronics, and feeds that are faster than the Tormach's rapids. Its a "production capable" machine, not a toy, and uses standard cheap tooling vs the expensive Tormach system. Don't get me wrong, I'm not so much a fan of it as I am of the Robodrill (built like a tank and lightning quick) and other machines, but the Trak had a neat video and comes with a pallet jack for moving so was a good example of small size AND capability.


The two big sellers for me with Tormach, were FOOTPRINT SIZE and CUSTOMER SUPPORT.

I estimate that versus any VMC I saved at least 6-8k in not needing to run 3-phase, rigged it myself, no big air compressor needed, and TTS holders cost a lot less than CAT-40s.

^^^And since so many folks keep believing and repeating these myths about professional VMCs, I'm going to politely bow out of this thread as I cannot argue with ignorance. None of these are true btw, there are many identical or smaller size VMCs that run single phase, that have 24/7 customer support vs the limited Tormach support, don't need a big compressor, and use common 30-50 taper tooling you can buy buckets of for pennies vs the expensive Tormach system which you likely wont find used.

John Stevenson
09-07-2015, 04:40 PM
For ~$20k the OP could get a new Haas with warranty, financing, on-site service, and 24/7 customer support,






Any links on a machine at that price ? We can't even get one for 20 UKP which is about $35k

Rosco-P
09-07-2015, 04:49 PM
Why did Tormach develop their own tool holders instead of having a spindle that accepted NMTB or Cat tooling?

garyhlucas
09-07-2015, 05:05 PM
Tormachs spindle is R8 like a Bridgeport. So you get to use any tooling thats fits a Bridgeport. For CNC though you really want tools that repeat on length. This IS a small machine. Some their solution is quite workable and very low in cost. I have it on my homebuilt and it works fine on this class of machine. An excellent selection of tooling is available, and they have been copied too. I've noticed that the posters here that HAVE a Tormach seem pretty pleased with them. I'd really like to drive a Ferrari but my Scion gets me to work everyday.

philbur
09-07-2015, 05:24 PM
Why did Tormach develop their own tool holders instead of having a spindle that accepted NMTB or Cat tooling?

You can have an ISO30 spindle if you choose, but not with the tool changer.

I believe they were selling the tooling system before they developed the mill and certainly well before the powered draw bar.

A good portion of there market would probably have been upgrading from a manual mill with an R8 spindle for which they would already have tooling.

The Tormach was never intended as a production machine but to give an individual the opportunity to do their own prototyping and one offs with a low cost, reliable, well supported machine. The entry level Tormach 1100 is 8,400, the entry level for the 2-OP is north of 30,000. It's apples and oranges and seems like a pointless comparison.

Phil:)

Doc Nickel
09-07-2015, 08:23 PM
Why did Tormach develop their own tool holders instead of having a spindle that accepted NMTB or Cat tooling?

-Two reasons: First, R8 collets have no way to set tool length. For a CNC program, the computer has to know where the end of the tool is, and very accurately- but without a way to set tool length, if you change tools, you have to go through a height-setting routine each time, which slows down production considerably. :D

Second, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to use a tool changer with loose tools and a standard collet.

So what they did was basically make an R8 into a sort of quick-change tool holder system.

The Tormach tool holders are simply a holder with a straight 3/4" shank with a machined reference face at the base of it. The taper is standard R8, but the collet they use is shortened- it doesn't protrude from the face of the spindle.

In use, the toolholder is simply put into the collet, and raised 'til it seats against the face of the spindle. The collet is tightened, which holds it in place, and draws it tightly against the spindle.

That gives an accurate dead-length setting, and an easy quickchange- the power drawbar just loosens the collet slightly, the toolholder is slipped out, the next slipped in, and the collet retightened.

While it has some drawbacks (no positive toolholder retention, a small reduction in rigidity, a limit in HP driving capacity, etc.) it has the benefit of using any existing R8 spindle (and thus allowing standard R8 tooling, like Weldon holders, ER holders, etc.) and only needing a modified 3/4" collet and a power drawbar makes it an easy retrofit to existing machines.

Doc.

Doc Nickel
09-07-2015, 08:36 PM
The entry level Tormach 1100 is €8,400, the entry level for the 2-OP is north of €30,000. It's apples and oranges and seems like a pointless comparison.

-I think the argument is more that a Tormach with options (that, depending on what you're doing, aren't always all that optional) is closer to $16K, while a used production-quality VMC can often be had for $10K to $20K.

Which is, of course, a valid argument. I glanced at their Slantbed CNC lathe out of curiosity, and with options like the 8-position turret and whatnot, would easily pass $16K before shipping. But on the other hand, I'd seen a good, running CNC production lathe (I forget the brand) on Seattle's Craigslist not too long ago, for just $7500.

Yes, you can argue both ways- the Tormach is brand new, under warranty, and has factory support. The production machine may be nearing the end of it's lifepsan and may shortly need expensive repairs- and may no longer be supported by the factory. The Tormach undoubtedly has a smaller footprint, and being lighter would be much easier to get into a small shop or basement. The production machine would need a forklift and a loading dock.

Then again, the Tormach is a fairly light machine, and is limited in speed and metal removal, whereas the production machine very likely has a higher spindle speed, probably a bigger spindle thru-hole, better software and more horsepower.

On the third hand, you can't always find a deal like the production machine, and may have to settle for one with more hours or less tooling, or older software or whatever, whereas the Tormach would arrive new-in-the-crate.

So yes, there's pros and cons to either option- and, of course, each person's needs are different. One guy might just want a good machine for making home-shop trinkets and parts for his race car, while the next guy might be trying to make a 50K part run for his small business.

Doc.

Spin Doctor
09-08-2015, 07:53 PM
The Tormach is a step up from the CNC vesions of the RF-45 simply because of its headstock and the way it is attached to the z axis slide. If I had the room and cash I would consider one. But more room and cash something like the VMC the guy from Fadal built for himself would sweet. Cost wise would linear bearing ways be that much more expensive.

garyhlucas
09-08-2015, 09:11 PM
You guys do know that only the very small Fadals had linear ways? The 4020, the 6030, 8040, and I think the 3016 were all box way machines with Turcite, like the Tormach. I spent a year programming on Fadals about 16 yrs ago. The surface of their tables was finished on the machine using its own spindle and some special tooling that made it look hand scraped. The program to do that was right in the machine ROM and was accessed by a special code so your table could be resurfaced at any time. One of the cool things I learned how to do was make a subroutine that was modal just like a drill cycle. You basically had to fool the CNC by the way you declared whether it was modal or not. Then you could write a subroutine to say cut an odd shaped pocket and use it all over the place just like you would a drill cycle. The macro language was actually a version of Mbasic, which meant if you could program Mbasic you could really do stuff with the Fadal. Had a Qwerty keyboard too, which made switching from PC to machine easy to do.