What, No Newsletter?
I would like to apologize for the fact that we have not put out a newsletter for a while. With so many new projects there simply has not been time to publish a newsletter lately. Until our newsletter editor gets caught up on a few things, I'll substitute a real newsletter with this lengthy email to both the Yahoo and CNC Zone discussion forums.
As many people know, SprutCAM is a tremendous CAM program but the learning curve can sometimes feel like a brick wall due to some pretty weak documentation from the SprutCAM folks. We've been working on developing our own support program and her name is Sally Johnson. Eventually this may be fee based support program, but until Sally comes fully up to speed we're offering free SprutCAM support. Sally's not sure she'll have answers to every question, but she's anxious to give it a shot. Please send your SprutCAM questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Email is the best way to contact her for now.
The recent price changes were necessary due to a combination of material cost increases and changes in international exchange rates. The exceptions include the PCNC 1100 itself and the cost of a 12 month warranty extension. We have kept the price of the PCNC 1100 the same and the price of the warranty extension has actually come down by about 40%. Our obsession with quality and reliability continues to pay off. This has allowed us to keep the price of the machine low and provides rewards for both Tormach and customers alike.
Drive Upgrade Kits:
Drive upgrade kits are now shipping. The drive packages have been assembled and tested, but we had a few days of delay as we debugged some Mach3 software improvements. Mach3 allows for motion delays on spindle start or stop, but applies the delays as a fixed dwell. If we programmed it for the necessary delay for a stop from 5000 RPM, we would incur unnecessary dwell time when stopping from 100 RPM since it can stop even quicker from low speeds. The excess delay was not terrible, but it would be frustrating if you were doing frequent reversals as is the case in certain kinds of tapping. We (John Prentice more precisely) have developed a dynamic delay system, where the dwell is only as long as it needs to be. This additional optimization is a nice improvement to the spindle speed management provided by the spindle upgrade kit
Our existing tapping heads are reversing style, where the tap head has a reversing gearbox and automatically backs out the tap as the spindle head pulls up and back. The spindle always runs forward even through the tap is reversed. Reversing tap heads make quick work from tapping since there is no time required for the spindle to reverse. Never the less, reversing tapping heads are large and relatively clumsy because of the necessary gearbox and torque arm. A tension/compression tap head, sometimes known as a floating tap head, is quieter and much smaller. A tension/compression tap head works fine on the PCNC 1100 but it has been slower to operate due to the time required for acceleration and deceleration of the spindle. Colin Fitzgerald has demonstrated this type of tap head with his video at "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIXe8dS67SI"]YouTube - Tapping operation on a Tormach PCNC1100. With the drive upgrade installed the spindle acceleration and deceleration rates have improved to such an extent that a reversing tap head is no longer a clearly superior choice. With the spindle upgrade kit, tension/compression tapping becomes a good alternative.
Standard floating tap heads can be used, but we will also be working on development of a Tormach® Tooling System tension/compression style tap head. It will probably be available sometime next year. Right now this type of tap head requires hand coding but we're also going to be working with the people at Mach3 to develop the G84 code for tapping. A single G code will make it much easier to use this type of head.
The Duality has been a great success. We're out of stock right now but we expect more to be available sometime in October. Initial user reports have been very positive, so hold tight, we'll have more soon.
Tormach on the Discovery Channel:
On October 15 the Discovery Channel will roll out a new show called Prototype This! The show is created by the same production company that brought you Mythbusters. Prototype This! is essentially a reality show, but with a solid basis in engineering, science, prototyping, and of course machining. The cast is a group of creative, if slightly eccentric, engineers, scientists, designers, and shop people. The scenario is that with each show they think up a totally new invention, design it, prototype it, and test it. Of course, like all eccentric inventors, engineers, and shop people, they needed a CNC mill and they selected the Tormach® PCNC 1100 as their tool of choice. Check out the show; it sounds like fun.
This is a great thing for Tormach. I am very happy that this is happening. I hope that they use the full machine with the lathe and fourth. Where is this being filmed?
In reality you will not see much of the machine- maybe a 1/2 second blip or so. Just hope Tormach didn't get suckered into " donating" the machine in exchange for the exposure. Smithy did that with some of those auto customizing shows and all you ever saw was the machine way in the backgound up against a wall. A few years back those robot wars shows were hot and they also got people to donate machines.
You have a good point but even just a glimps would be something but I do agree if tormach donates anything they should think more of the loaner and if they don't get any publicity then repo time.
BlueFin CNC LLC