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  • Tormach 1100 owners, educate me

    I think I will purchase one later this year, after I work enough overtime to pay for it.
    What are your thoughts, feelings, problems, issues? Thinking just getting the deluxe stand, not the full enclosure. I suppose the TTS and air driven drawbar is well worth it...
    Will keep my Bridgeport as is for manual stuff.

  • #2
    I have owned a 1100 for about 10 years. It has positive and negative issues as with most things. One really needs to know how it is planned to be used before deciding if it is the right machine for the application. It's not a VMC if that is the intended use I would look elsewhere. If you are a hobby person or a very small job shop it may be ideal. If you use small bits and need high spindle speeds for AL, plastics, etc, again not the right tool for the job (the 770 may be). If you need all the automation accessories look for a good used VMC as you will be in that price range.

    It's a China tool built to a price point so there are compromises. It works well for what it was designed for, but don't expect more than that.

    Robert

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    • #3
      I have been inside Tormachs plant in WI. It was started by 2 American men who saw a need for a small CNC machine. since then one of the owners was tragically killed in a accident. I was impressed with the customer service as they have one room with all the machines they sell and when someone calls them the agent walks to the room and tries to duplicate the problem so it can be fixed ASAP. The basic machines are made in China and they have an employee there watching the production and when I was there I helped them with some design changes to improve their machines.

      I was told that some of the machines parts are made in the USA. Check out John Saunders You Tube shows as he has a few Tomachs in his shop. His name on YTube is NYC CNC. If I needed a machine and was starting out, I would go for it. :-)

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      • #4
        Originally posted by RB211 View Post
        I think I will purchase one later this year, after I work enough overtime to pay for it.
        What are your thoughts, feelings, problems, issues? Thinking just getting the deluxe stand, not the full enclosure. I suppose the TTS and air driven drawbar is well worth it...
        Will keep my Bridgeport as is for manual stuff.
        I just ordered an 1100 (Part Maker Package) last week. I've been reading about and following Tormach as a company for years and I periodically read the Tormach group on CNC Zone.

        Here is the gist of it.

        1. Its a kit machine. Not like many of the Chinese machines that are actually complete and you have to tear them all apart to fix them, but more along the lines of none of your options come assembled or installed. It all comes separate and you have to put it together. I can live with that, but a first time machine owner might be a little intimidated by it. Fortunately both owners and Tormach have well documented most of the assemblies and installations on YouTube already. If you can't follow the included instructions you can find a video. Even in a "package" all the options come as options packaged separately.

        2. In all the time I have been following Tormach I only know of one owner who was so frustrated with the impossibility of making his parts with it that he publicly trashed them for it after months of trying to get his parts to cut. Tormach bought the machine back from him. From what I understand for full price including freight and return freight. I do a lot of complex short move 3D machining of a similar type as he was trying to do. Its very processor intensive on a machine. I am not surprised he struggled with it. I still do, but with my newer faster computers its much better now. I can run a couple million lines of very complex code without crashing now. From what I have seen Tormach has followed suit. I have confidence if he bought his machine today it would handle it. If he broke the job down back then it might still have handled it. I also suspect he didn't understand "acceptable tolerance" and he designed all his jobs to be "PERFECT." I ran over a million lines of code on a TAIG back then. I just had to do everything just right.

        3. It has really only one major draw back in my opinion. Feed and acceleration. Mostly acceleration. On complex short move machining it will NEVER reach the full programmed federate. Feed is "fast enough," but if you are coming from a machine with 300IPM capability then rapids will eat you alive until your learn to program to minimize them. CAM programs like Fusion360 do a pretty good job of that, but your choice of options makes a difference. If you are doing 3D scanline with no crossover even the height of your clearance plain makes a big difference in job time.

        Now before some tunnel vision fanboy trashes my comments or says I have no reason to give my honest opinions because I don't yet own one bear this in mind. I know its capabilities and its limitations. I've followed them for years. I bought one. It will never replace my little Speedmasters or my gantry wood router (I had to rebuild all of those when they were brand new) for a lot of types of work, but I am confident I will get a lot of work out of it.
        Last edited by Bob La Londe; 03-04-2018, 02:11 PM.
        *** I always wanted a welding stinger that looked like the north end of a south bound chicken. Often my welds look like somebody pointed the wrong end of a chicken at the joint and squeezed until something came out. Might as well look the part.

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        • #5
          Thank you guys. Do I need to purchase their computer, or can I install their path pilot on my own pc?


          Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

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          • #6
            Originally posted by RB211 View Post
            Thank you guys. Do I need to purchase their computer, or can I install their path pilot on my own pc?


            Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
            I do not believe they provide PathPilot independently, but if you have the confidence to figure out and setup everything on your own you can run the machine with either LinuxCNC or Mach 3 or I believe Mach 4. I believe one of the beenfits of buying their PathPilot computer is that it includes an internally installed and preconfigured Mesa motion control board. A decent motion control board to take pulse stream generation load off the PC processor is something you want. Even on a multi core. All the machines I am currently running (the Tormach hasn't even been shipped yet) use a Smooth Steppper as the motion control board. Some I setup and installed, others came that way. Its makes a difference. A big difference.

            I would recommend buying their preconfigured PathPilot computer controller for probably 95%-99% of all buyers. If you want to save some cash ask if they have a cheaper lever draw bar or something like that instead. If you might go ATC down the road don't skimp their either. I am 100% certain I could setup my own computer to run the machine (I have done it on other machines), but I decided the time from crate to part was more important to me. Its not worth skimping on.

            To give you an idea how solid people believe the PathPilot preconfigured computer is... I know of one guy who is using it to control his Novakon CNC mill.
            Last edited by Bob La Londe; 03-04-2018, 02:51 PM.
            *** I always wanted a welding stinger that looked like the north end of a south bound chicken. Often my welds look like somebody pointed the wrong end of a chicken at the joint and squeezed until something came out. Might as well look the part.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by RB211 View Post
              Thank you guys. Do I need to purchase their computer, or can I install their path pilot on my own pc?
              Don't buy the controller. It is overpriced. Just about any pc will work, even one that is 6 years old; that is the beauty of PP and Linux. They will sell you PP on a usb thumb drive and the Mesa controller card. Installation is child's play. Recommend you have at least 2GB of RAM (no kidding: I bought my 1100 controller from them in 2013 and it had 1 GB).

              The stand looks really nice, but it sucks for chip collection and coolant management. It is nice to buy it with the machine so you can immediately start making chips, but that is about it.

              The 1100 is well built, and they have a great manual that goes along with it. The power drawbar is very nice to have.

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              • #8
                The machine is decent for the price and Tormach support is excellent. Tormach does a better job supporting their machines than many much more expensive high end CNCs. For that I think a lot of Tormach and I greatly admire their dedication to customers. It will be difficult to find a company who does a better job of after sales support.

                One thing I don't like about the 1100 is the TTS tooling system. I've experienced a number of tools that have walked out. The power drawbar is nice but relies on belleville washers - be aware that they should be replaced as they wear over time.

                I've never purchased a Tormach personally but have done so for someone I do work for. If I was going to buy one for myself for semi production work I would buy the BT30 spindle and put together some sort of power drawbar for it. BT30 is far superior than the R8/ TTS system for light production work.

                For home shop stuff the TTS system is probably fine. But then I think 14K is a lot of money for a home shop CNC setup.

                Personally I think their smaller machines are a better compromise for home shop types but that's just me. If I had a home shop with a knee mill I would really try to hold onto the knee mill and buy a 440 vs the option of selling my knee mill and pay for the larger 1100. I think the 440 and a manual knee mill is the best of both worlds for the home shop.

                I know you are keeping your knee mill so the above statement is of little value - more for others considering the CNC jump. Going CNC really depends what you want to do and how big of machine you want. My personal favorite is the middle 770 as the higher spindle speed is a significant benefit.
                Last edited by enginuity; 03-04-2018, 05:11 PM.
                www.thecogwheel.net

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                • #9
                  I'm hoping to get a 440, maybe a 770 here shortly- like within the next three months- and most of what I've read here is pretty much spot on from everything I've learned about the machines over the last year or two.

                  They're good machines for what they are. They're not production-ready HAAS machining centers, and never will be, but they are, in fact, capable machines within their limitations.

                  I'd love to have an 1100 but it's just too big for my already-crowded shop. Most of the parts I need to make are aluminum and relatively small (palm sized or even smaller) so even a 440 with coolant and an enclosure should be sufficient.

                  Doc.
                  Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

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                  • #10
                    I’m a tunnel vision fanboy who has been running a PCNC1100 for the last 12 years so my input is based on first person experience not what I read on the internet.

                    I’m a hobbyist using it for mainly one offs (mostly 2.5D) and for this it is perfect. I don’t have a tool changer, a power drawbar or a deluxe stand. I do have the TTS plus a home converted 4th axis together with the upgrade to 3 phase steppers, Emerson VFD and Pathpilot controller.

                    It typically takes me an hour + to design and draw a part, 10 minute to setup and the maybe 10 to 15 minutes to produce the part so machining speed is not a primary consideration. A machine that runs reliably year after year and has great support when needed is much more important to me.

                    I work 70% in brass 20% in aluminium and 10% in steel, if the 770 had been around when I bought the 1100 I might have gone that route for the higher spindle speed. If you are looking to go semi-production then you might want to consider alternatives but for the new to CNC hobbyist you will find it hard to beat Tormach.

                    Phil

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by philbur View Post
                      I’m a tunnel vision fanboy who has been running a PCNC1100 for the last 12 years so my input is based on first person experience not what I read on the internet.
                      Always one. LOL. Welcome to the conversation. Even fan boys have some good input. You just have to listen carefully between the company propaganda. LOL.

                      Rather nice left handed dig. You've been running a Tormach almost as long as I have been running CNC machines in general. Obviously you should have some good input.

                      For me the Tormach is supplemental. My Hurco does the heavy work, and the little Speedmasters do the complex organic 3D carving that benefits from more acceleration. The 1100 is an in between machine. Of course if I had 80 grand just laying around burning a hole in my pocket I'd consider a Haas OM2 instead, but its just not in the budget this year. Not even next year. I keep an eye out for used ones, but they get picked up quick and for a lot of moola still. Yeah I have heard "go buy a used machine" plenty of times. That's how I got the Hurco. It was a 3 year project to get it running though. I don't have the time to do that again. Wouldn't take me three years, but I still don't have the time to rebuild machines before they can start making parts. I had to do that with my Speedmasters too, and they were brand new. LOL. That is the main reason I bought a Tormach this time around. I think it will be the least time from crate to part. Any guess how long it will take me to get it going. I'm thinking two hours at the end of the day every day. About three days to move machines around to make room for it where I want it, and set it in place. Then assembly. I figure putting the machine on the stand as part of putting it in place.

                      Brass? Ok. I haven't really had any need to machine brass, but it does machine easily. I'm running a bunch of 4140HT steel parts right now.

                      P.S. I have looked at the 770 a bunch of times, but ultimately it comes down to the modest acceleration for me. I do a lot of very detailed 3D aluminum parts and that 10K spindle might be a nice compromise if it could get upto programmed feed rate for some stuff. The Tormach can semi automate some of the repeat steel supplemental parts. As to needing a production machine. I started out with a Taig and ran jobs on it that ran for over 30 hrs. It made tens of thousands of dollars worth of parts. I know one largish spincasting company that uses one today to make masters to make some of their heat vulcanize spincast molds. Just have to know how to get the most of what you can afford or choose to spend your money on. Now if you have employees that's another story. Employees are always harder on your equipment than you are. Then you need tougher stuff that doesn't present many surprises.

                      P.P.S. I actually don't do much "production" work. Every job is custom and I'm not making brackets or bearing carriers or anything else that simple. I've made plenty of parts like that but my custom work tends to be halfway between organic and artistic. The production type parts tend to be either for repairs or in house builds (still one off) or supplemental to the organic and artistic custom work. Like making a 3D embossing die and all the supplemental hardware to go with it.

                      But that's ok. I don't mind being "judged" by for not having high end production equipment. I still get paid to play in my shop everyday.
                      Last edited by Bob La Londe; 03-04-2018, 08:54 PM.
                      *** I always wanted a welding stinger that looked like the north end of a south bound chicken. Often my welds look like somebody pointed the wrong end of a chicken at the joint and squeezed until something came out. Might as well look the part.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Actually all good info.

                        Originally posted by Bob La Londe View Post
                        1. Its a kit machine. Not like many of the Chinese machines that are actually complete and you have to tear them all apart to fix them, but more along the lines of none of your options come assembled or installed. It all comes separate and you have to put it together. I can live with that, but a first time machine owner might be a little intimidated by it. Fortunately both owners and Tormach have well documented most of the assemblies and installations on YouTube already. If you can't follow the included instructions you can find a video. Even in a "package" all the options come as options packaged separately.
                        In my opinion if you can't handle assembling a Tormach then you really shouldn't be buying one. If you don't have the patience to setup one up I can't imagine you spending enough time to understand using it. The real plus is the amazing support from both Tormach and the existing owners.

                        I'd like one and almost pulled the trigger last year. The 1100 is close in work envelope to a 9 inch knee 32 table Bridgeport. At this point I think I want to take a Fusion 360 class and build by CAD skills.
                        Last edited by Ohio Mike; 03-04-2018, 09:04 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Ohio Mike View Post
                          Actually all good info.



                          In my opinion if you can't handle assembling a Tormach then you really shouldn't be buying one. If you don't have the patience to setup one up I can't imagine you spending enough time to understand using it. The real plus is the amazing support from both Tormach and the existing owners.

                          I'd like one and almost pulled the trigger last year. The 1100 is close in work envelope to a 9 inch knee 32 table Bridgeport. At this point I think I want to take a Fusion 360 class and build by CAD skills.
                          Did you read the whole part you quoted or did you just react to the first sentence? It wasn't an assault on Tormach. It was an informational explanation of what you get and how it arrives, and perhaps a wakeup for somebody who might think their learning curve starts with how to run it. I see you highlighted part of it. So you must have read it. I never owned a mill or used one before my first little CNC machine. When mine said "turnkey" on the sales title I thought it would arrive all assembled and ready to go. Obviously I managed it or I wouldn't be doing what I do today, but its was intimidating to open a box with part of the machine, and then open another with a kit to make it into a CNC machine when you have never even taken the time to look at a mill up close before. If you wouldn't have found that a little bit intimidating starting out like that my hat is off to you. I just don't let things that intimidate me or even that scare me stop me from doing things, and I am not afraid to admit it when they do scare me a little.

                          ~~~~~~~

                          For clarity to those who may not know a Tormach does not arrive as a partial machine as I described about my first CNC machine. That was just to illustrate a point. The basic machine is "almost" fully assembled. Options like PDB, tool changer, stand, shields etc all have to be installed. Its doable and as I already said the first time around the information to help you if you have any problems is readily available.

                          There is another issue with Tormach I forgot to mention the first time around. It seems there are a few people that are hyper defensive about it. If you want any help from them you may want to walk on egg shells when describing anything you perceive as a short coming when you are trying to solve a problem or describe a situation.
                          Last edited by Bob La Londe; 03-04-2018, 09:40 PM. Reason: For Clarity
                          *** I always wanted a welding stinger that looked like the north end of a south bound chicken. Often my welds look like somebody pointed the wrong end of a chicken at the joint and squeezed until something came out. Might as well look the part.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Bob La Londe View Post
                            Did you read the whole part you quoted or did you just react to the first sentence? It wasn't an assault on Tormach. It was an informational explanation of what you get and how it arrives, and perhaps a wakeup for somebody who might think their learning curve starts with how to run it. I see you highlighted part of it. So you must have read it. I never owned a mill or used one before my first little CNC machine. When mine said "turnkey" on the sales title I thought it would arrive all assembled and ready to go. Obviously I managed it or I wouldn't be doing what I do today, but its was intimidating to open a box with part of the machine, and then open another with a kit to make it into a CNC machine when you have never even taken the time to look at a mill up close before. If you wouldn't have found that a little bit intimidating starting out like that my hat is off to you. I just don't let things that intimidate me or even that scare me stop me from doing things, and I am not afraid to admit it when they do scare me a little.
                            No I read the whole thing. I wasn't disagreeing with or attacking you just making an observation. It would be unfortunate for someone like yourself to think they were receiving a complete machine shipped only get an assortment of boxes with various parts so you make a very good point. I guess my prior experience with folks that already have setup Tormach machines influenced me because it never crossed my mind that someone would buy one and assume it came shipped intact like a HAAS. I just happen to already know exactly how they are shipped. For certain if you haven't ever even run a mill there would be fair amount of stress in the whole project. So my hat is off to you...

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Doc Nickel View Post
                              I'm hoping to get a 440, maybe a 770 here shortly-
                              I would strongly recommend the 770 over the 440. The 440 has had problems with the all-in-one Leadshine MX3660 smoking, and the BLDC spindle controller has been downrated to stop it from smoking. 770 is much more machine for only a few thousand more.

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