Hi guys, I don't have a Tormach mill, but I am very tempted to invest in some TTS tooling.
I'm not sure whether to just go for the full CNC set (in metric) or to just put together a set of tools myself. I live in the UK, so shipping costs are an issue (that's good tool money!) so I am half tempted to drop the surface plate, height gauge and drill chucks (but not JT adaptors).
I already have a height gauge - is the Tooling Assistant a real benefit, or just nice? I'm not running Mach 3, so am I right in thinking their height gauge and USB dongle would just save me transcribing the height readings into the PC?
Also, which toolholders do you guys wish you had more of? I've always been a fan of collet-chucks, but they are rather pricey, and TBH I've probably used them more as compact chucks to hold my favourite drill sizes than to hold odd endmill diameters.
I initially bought the larger set with the height gauge and plate but would buy differently if I were doing it today (especially if shipping over the ocean).
I personally don't like the holders with the fixed size holes unless it's just to hold an indicator or something like that. I also have not used their height gauge or the surface plate as I already had those items. For the drill chucks in the set there are only 1/2 inch and 1/4 inch, to me 3/8 are much more useful.
The TTS collet chucks (ER20 and ER16) along with the JT-x taper holders (3/8 inch chucks) are my most used items. I also made some collars for some of my 3/4 inch tools so I have the TTS feature without a holder (I posted pics here a while back).
The Tooling Assistant software is not really worth the bother - I used it once or twice, and now just manually input the numbers into Mach3. Trouble is, TA writes a tools file, but to load it into Mach3, you have to exit, and restart, Mach3. Entering the offsets manually works just as fast.
I consider it a favor. Both companies advertise here. This particular tool similarity has been listed several times in the Tormach list. So has Shars and Glacern. Again, I don't always know the options, so I find it helpful when someone provides options.
Luckily for me, the cheap ER20 holders are out of stock, so I don't need to test my moral compass for alignment
They also seem rather too cheap to me, and I have learnt the hard way that it's better to buy expensive tools cheaply (e.g. second hand) than just buy cheap tools...
I also would feel bad about buying knock-off TTS, but then again I have no qualms about buying generic Cola - I'm a hippocrite, I admit it!
That said, I do think the TTS ER-collet chucks are rather pricey - why is there a $20 premium for ER20 over ER16? Maritool seem to be highly regarded on here, and their straight-shank ER-collets are sub $60, which feels more like it to me...
Then again, everything is relative - a tank 45L tank of petrol is pushing $100 over here - it makes most other things seem rather reasonable...
I totally understand your point. I design, mfg custom parts, that I sell into niche markets and know the tremendous amount of time it takes to develope the simple stuff I do. If someone were to take my idea, replicated it and undersell me... well I guess Id be a bit upset about it. Thats the only reason I wouldnt promote companies selling the copies, especially in the creators forum.
If it were a part that wasnt blatantly ripped off but an original design, I wouldnt have the same feeling about it. To each his own I guess.
Digits, I have a ton of the setscrew holders and have been really happy with them. I use the ER20 and ER16 holders for .1875 and smaller cutters(and engravers).
It may be benificial for you to have the ER style holders depending on your work, but for the stuff I do, its not even remotely an issue.
If I was going to purchase more ER style holders, they will be ER16 for the above reasons. Much more reasonably priced.