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  • Tormach or benchtop cnc

    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

  • #2
    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.

    Comment


    • #3
      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.

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      • #4
        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.

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        • #5
          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.

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          • #6
            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.
            "I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer -- born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in the steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace, and propelled by compressible flow."

            Comment


            • #7
              Have you searched/asked here:

              http://www.cnczone.com/forums/tormac...onal-cnc-mill/

              Phil

              PS: Mine handles 304 stainless just fine.
              Last edited by philbur; 09-06-2015, 11:29 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                no i haven't, thanks for the link seems like a lot of info about them on there!

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                • #9
                  Search youtube using "Tormach stainless steel" there are several videos.

                  Phil

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                  • #10
                    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.

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                    • #11
                      You are never going to find better support than Tormach. Great company !
                      Toolznthings

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                      • #12
                        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.
                        David Kaiser
                        “You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once.”
                        ― Robert A. Heinlein

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by garyhlucas View Post
                          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
                          Last edited by justanengineer; 09-07-2015, 01:21 AM.
                          "I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer -- born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in the steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace, and propelled by compressible flow."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            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
                            If you think you understand what is going on, you haven't been paying attention.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              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.

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