View Full Version : atc for IH Mill

07-26-2006, 03:32 PM
has anyone added an automatic tool changer to their IH mill? I ordered a plan set for one but it could not be adapted to the Ih due to the weight of the tooling. I don't really know that that particular design would work either...when asking about modifying it to work with the mill the group said to change to a taig ER16 spindle. Would this be advisable? I use the cnc mill mostly for cutting aluminum, copper, brass, stainless steel and steel.

07-26-2006, 04:07 PM
For awile on the Industrial Hobbies Site he shwed a picture of light ind version.
It used cat 30 intead of R8 and said it might lend itself to an ATC. You Might want to ask him about it.

07-26-2006, 10:40 PM
A toolchanger sounds interesting, but may not be the best choice for the IH. It will be a lot of trouble to build or adapt one.

I would consider instead a power drawbar. They're actually very easy to build, or you can readily buy one that's ready out of the box. You're talking a few hundred bucks at most and it will dramatically speed up your manual tool changes. A lot of the older CNC's had no toolchangers. Consider machines like the Tree Journeyman 325. They did have power drawbars and other quick change systems, however.

If you are really interested in building a toolchanger, have a look at this Yahoo group:


Incidentally, the guy that designed that toolchanger sells a nice set of plans for a power drawbar that's pretty cheap. I'll probably tackle it after I get a few of my other projects out of the way.



07-26-2006, 10:56 PM
thanks for the replies. I do have the plans that joe vicars sells, the afore mentioned one. They are for the sheirline and taig spindle. It will not work seeing as the weight of the tool would not allow it(or something). How does a power drawbar work and how would i be able to speed up the process for tool changes using that? I still don't understand the setup and the repeatability for the tool height.

As much info i can get i will read. Thank you and i hope more can contribute.

07-27-2006, 05:37 PM
The power drawbar is generally powered by air and has 2 buttons or a 2 position lever. It let's you operate the drawbar completely automatically. So, you press the "Release" button and the R8 collet/mill holder/tool drops out into your hand. Insert a new one and press the other button and it grabs it.

When you compare it to how long it would take you to make the swap with a wrench, it is much faster.

In terms of repeatability for tool height, there are a variety of approaches you could take there. You could purchase a system like the Tormach, which is basically a quick change system optimized for tool height presetting. You could spend the time with your mill holders to line up your tool heights with a surface plate and gage so they're all set to the same height. You could purchase a toolsetter sensor, and build the tool offset checking into your programs. You can do this with Mach 3 and others so that your toolchange cycle involves letting the machine automatically touch off a sensor and determine the tool's dimensions.

There are lots of options there, all simpler than trying to build a toolchanger, all a little less effective (depending on how well your tool changer works), but all way better than a pure manual approach on the box stock mill. I would try to get your CNC basics working well before tackling any of them though.



08-30-2006, 11:23 AM
Has anyone used the Royal Quick Change tool holder system with this mill? It is a bit expensive but very well made.

08-30-2006, 08:28 PM
Thomas (TPPJR) has both a powered drawbar and the Tormach quick change system. I would be curious to hear his thoughts on the quick change system. If I had a powered drawbar, I'm not sure how critical it would be. Since he has both, I'd love to hear what he sees their relative benefits as being.

In terms of standardizing tool heights, I wonder if something like Tormach is even required? I've got a surface plate and height gage. It doesn't seem that hard for example to set standardized heights that go into your tool table in mach. Take a look at Thomas' rack for the holders, which makes a nice way to be organized.

In any event, if he could weigh in with comments, we'd all learn a lot I'm sure.

Take a look here for his web info on this stuff: