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Thread: To Tormach or Not ???

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    Registered kregan's Avatar
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    Default To Tormach or Not ???

    Hi guys,

    After converting my first mill, a small Jet round column, I am looking for a nice square column. I am very happy with the conversion I have done and it cuts pretty good for what it is. Sample of my first parts: http://k-frames.blogspot.com/

    My first thought was a RF45 or a IH manual mill with the larger work envelope and then convert it myself. But the more I think about it I am not sure if I want to build again. I think I would rather just start making parts but I am torn.

    $8500 + 450 shipping is a good chunk of change and that is for the machine only, no stand. I am also concerned about the stepper motors instead of servo's. Unfortunately I have no experience with steppers as I used the DMM Ac servo's on my build. I like the fact that it is belt drive and it looks like I could rig up my own power draw bar ALA Hoss Machine plans for this instead of pay the 1280 + shipping for that option.

    I am really torn on this and would love to hear your thoughts.

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    I have heard few, if any, complaints about the Tormach machines. I hope to be buying a second machine in a few months, and a Tormach 1100 is top of my list (I was set on a Mikini, as they are located very close to me, and it's totally enclosed, but they seem to be having a lot of spindle controller problems - not good!).

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with steppers on a machine this size - they will give you just as good a result as servos, unless you really like to brag about rapid speeds. And, Tormach has just switched from two-phase to three-phase steppers, which has given them both better accuracy, and increased speed.

    If your intent is to actually DO work, rather than working on the machine itself, buy a Tormach. I don't think you'll regret it.

    Regards,
    Ray L.



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    Registered arizonavideo's Avatar
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    It looks like you do mostly smaller parts.

    I would CNC a Weiss 30 or PM30.

    They have more travel and are more ridged than a RF-31, they also have a faster spindle over a RF-45.

    They have just enough room to fit a ball nut under the table.

    The only weak link is the 1.5HP motor just doesn't compare to the 4 HP on my IH mill but they are not really in the same class.

    I had both a RF-31 and the Weiss 30 at the same time and the Weiss was much more ridged and made nicer cuts. The travel is longer than some RF-45 type of mills

    You could get it all going for around $2500 for everything.

    I still think it is the best machine for a small shop if you don't need higher HP and I have a IH mill, a Weiss 30 and a G0704 to compare to.



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    If your like the rest of us and enjoy designing, machining, building the machine I would say convert one of the machines mentioned above. Otherwise get the Tormach. There machines are the only RTR machines I would buy. I've thought about it and probably will have one eventually, but I enjoy the build process.



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    Hi arizonavideo,
    May I know what weight of IH milling head approximately? What height of Z from table top to Z top? I am now in the process of building one, just to compare.

    Last edited by asuratman; 11-02-2011 at 10:47 AM. Reason: typo


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    I seem to compare stuff frequently. For the money you get a lot more with the Novakon NM-200 series 2 compared to the PCNC 1100.

    Matt

    NM-200 Pro Series 2



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    Quote Originally Posted by mmprestine View Post
    I seem to compare stuff frequently. For the money you get a lot more with the Novakon NM-200 series 2 compared to the PCNC 1100.

    Matt

    NM-200 Pro Series 2
    In terms of "features", perhaps. But spend some time on the Novakon forum and listen to some of the problems people over there have had getting their machines to actually work as advertised, and getting support from Novakon. The Tormach machines actually work as advertised out of the box, so if you want to get to work right away, to me there is no question which one to go with. And, by all reports, Tormach support is outstanding.

    Regards,
    Ray L.



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    I'll second that. There are people in most of the forums that love each of the vendors. In the Tormach forum, it seems EVERYONE loves the vendor. Even when users have issues they get resolved quickly and professionally.

    Look in other forums and there are many stories of lingering issues or outright negligence of the costumers' needs on some cases. I have yet to see a single case of that with Tormach.

    CAD, CAM, Scanning, Modelling, Machining and more. http://www.mcpii.com/3dservices.html


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    That is kind of why I asked about the Tormach. I have read the "IH return my money thread" and the various other threads and they scare me.

    If I am going to work on a machine to tweak it and fix it I would rather have built it in the first place, know exactly what parts are needed, and not have to rely on any one source for repairs.

    I never have been a big warranty kind of guy, I would rather fix it myself then send stuff back to have it fixed. I guess that is why I am torn.

    Let me ask this... are there any bench top machines with fixed heads like the Tormach... IE: without a quill that needs to be locked and already have belt drives?

    Closest I can find is the G0720R with a belt drive.

    Quote Originally Posted by mcphill View Post
    I'll second that. There are people in most of the forums that love each of the vendors. In the Tormach forum, it seems EVERYONE loves the vendor. Even when users have issues they get resolved quickly and professionally.

    Look in other forums and there are many stories of lingering issues or outright negligence of the costumers' needs on some cases. I have yet to see a single case of that with Tormach.


    Last edited by kregan; 11-02-2011 at 06:50 PM.


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    All chinese made machines are likely to have issues if the manufacturers are left unchecked. In general if something can be done by hand in a chinese factory it will be and that leads to a lot of variation. You can get quality product from Japanese manufacturers, but you have to do stringent QA and make sure they end up paying for they're mistakes.
    Tormach in particular seems to have the QA side down and they seem smart enough to keep their customers happy, they also charge a premium to be able to do that.

    I ended up ordering one of the EOL Novakon NM-145's, should have it in the next couple of weeks, we'll see how it goes, but my attitude is to assume it only has basic QA on it, and that I will have to address various issues when they arrise. Interestingly many of the complaints about the NM-145 seem centered on the electronics, the bulk of which are sourced and fitted in the US.



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    The Optimum machines would be good to look into. I think everyone that has bought these machines are very pleased. But they do cost a little more. They come out of Germany and they seem to be built a lot better than other machines. I am not sure if all of them are this way but they come with hardened ways, hand scraped and fitted, with good DC controllled PMDC spindle motors with veriable speed, plus I believe gears also.



    There is a lot of choices out there right now. Main thing is research and look around for what fits yoru needs best.



    Jess

    GOD Bless, and prayers for all.


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    Default Tormach

    I recently bought a Tormach 770 and couldn't be more pleased with it. My first CNC mill was a conversion but this time I just wanted to make parts. The 770 was ready to go to work quickly. It is easy to use (still getting used to not having hand wheels!) and so much more powerful than my old machine. I haven't had any problems with skipping steps on the steppers, the mills tend to break first!

    I wasn't totally sure that the Tormach was the right choice but I made a trip to their headquarters and saw the machines in action. I also met several of the staff and was impressed with the professionalism displayed. I think the thing that ended up convincing me in the end was seeing their R&D area and the number of accessories being designed and tested. Any company that is so actively supporting their product and working to make it better, I didn't think I could go wrong!

    Bob



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