Tormach 440 or 770 for a low ceiling height garage?


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Thread: Tormach 440 or 770 for a low ceiling height garage?

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    Default Tormach 440 or 770 for a low ceiling height garage?

    I am gearing up to set up a small mill in my garage for hobbyist type work and progressing to making a few dollars here and there as a side job. I have been looking for a while and I want to get a Tormach. I have considered getting a manual benchtop machine and upgrading to CNC in the future, but I would rather get a fully integrated machine out of the box that has technical support if an issue arises.

    Here is my issue - My garage only has an 84 inch ceiling height

    I want as much machine as I can get, but I don't want to wedge a machine in to my space if it will cause other problems like harder to maintain. The Tormach 440 has a listed overall height of 72 inches, so I assume that will fit no problem. The Tormach 770 has a listed overall height of 88 inches. Does anyone know if the 88 inches is to the top of the enclosure/spindle or to the top of the electrical cable track that comes out of the top of the spindle (which means the machine would need much more than 88 inches)? Is there a way to trim a few inches off the height of the 770 (i.e. shorten the base or use thinner feet) so that it would fit with an 84 inch ceiling height? Also, if I can trim some height off of the base, would I regret it because then I wouldn't be able to service the top of the machine?

    Thanks in advance for any help!

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    Default Re: Tormach 440 or 770 for a low ceiling height garage?

    can't speak for the 770 but I went with different bases than tormach offers and my 440's are under 6ft . my torus on the other hand is crammed into position and is a pita to work around



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    Default Re: Tormach 440 or 770 for a low ceiling height garage?

    You can build your own base, if you have fabrication skills. Note that the sturdiness of the base impacts the sturdiness of the machine, so the more metal you weld on there in the more rigidly cross-braced fashion, the better.
    Note, however, that a lower base means a lower work area on the machine. If you're a five-foot person, that might be great. If you're a six-footer, then that will make you lean over a lot more, which might not be as great.



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    Default Re: Tormach 440 or 770 for a low ceiling height garage?

    I have an early 770-S3 and the top of the cable track is about 89-inches from the floor and is perhaps 8 inches higher than the top of the spindle assembly. By fully raising the leveling screws and substituting thinner pads you could reduce the maximum height by an inch or so. The Tormach base design may have changed in the last five years but I don't think that reducing the height of my base would be practical. It would probably be both easier and cheaper to make your own base. A friend cut a small hole in the drywall, between rafters, to provide clearance for his Bridgeport; a 3x6 inch ceiling cutout would be adequate for a 770.



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    Default Re: Tormach 440 or 770 for a low ceiling height garage?

    reducing the height of the stock base in the M and newer would indeed be a problem, the chip tray/coolant tank rolls under the base so you can't practically lower it the base or the tank won't fit. There are full models and dimensioned prints on Tormach's website: The spindle door on M and newer flip up which isn't shown but need to be thought about. https://www.tormach.com/support/mill...-and-drawings/

    FWIW I was able to slide my 1100m assembled to the base in through my garage door (Z stepper is the tallest non movable part) with almost 1/2" to spare. I have to position it between ceiling joists in order to open the spindle cover when z is all the way up (also low ceiling). I think I figured a 770 mx would fit under the opened garage door as long as z wasn't up, cable chain would interfere otherwise.

    -Jon


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    Default Re: Tormach 440 or 770 for a low ceiling height garage?

    If you are really going to try to make money with it, you need to do everything you can to fit a 770 in there. If it's for personal hobby use? A 440 can just be set up on a work bench if nothing else and you're done.

    You can buy a "base model" 770-S3 and entirely skip the chip tray and base and just bolt it to your own metal stand... or a really really stout work bench if you aren't going to be ultra concerned about long term precision leveling. Then you can mount it 10" lower if you want.

    Craig's Machine Shop installed his in a small work shop/shed a few years ago and still uses it right there:




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    Default Re: Tormach 440 or 770 for a low ceiling height garage?

    Quote Originally Posted by Advil View Post
    If you are really going to try to make money with it, you need to do everything you can to fit a 770 in there. If it's for personal hobby use? A 440 can just be set up on a work bench if nothing else and you're done.

    l]
    Are you saying a 770 will make money and a 440 won't ?



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    Default Re: Tormach 440 or 770 for a low ceiling height garage?

    "Make money" means different things to different people.

    "Make money as a job shop" means that you have more options to win a bid with a 770 than a 440, because there will be parts that fit in fewer operations and run faster on the 770 than the 440, and there is constant overhead for anything from rent to health insurance. Those overhead costs dramatically outweigh the additional leasing/loan/opportunity costs of the 770 over the 440.

    "Make money by turning out parts I choose" is a different thing -- the money is in the part (product) not the ability to bid a job at a cost. At this point, any mill that can make the part can get the job done, and the equation is different.



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    Default Re: Tormach 440 or 770 for a low ceiling height garage?

    A guy won't find a 770 or an 1100 in any real jobbing shop either , none of the hobby machines will fit that bill . Honestly I've never worked in a jobbing shop that had haas because they couldn't handle the work , though I've worked with many of them in one of the production shops .
    I can agree that making money means different things to different people . I've multiplied my hourly wages from the trade many times over , where thats piss in the bucket for any decent sized outfit , so I still have reason to be humble in how I look at business .

    I just find it a theme within the forums that bigger is always better . Have to have all the options including tool changers , probes etc . Many times all these options add up to another mill . I'd prefer to hand bomb 2 mills vs 1 with all the bells and whistles , it takes 20 seconds to do a tool change by hand if a guy is on top of it

    I see it this way , my neighbor bought himself a massive pickup , got the lift , mud tires and stacked it with piles of options . He doesn't hunt , doesn't fish , doesn't even go in the bush , it's his commuter vehicle . I asked him why he went with such a big truck , his answer was "it'll be great when it snows and i won't miss a day of work " . It didn't snow last years , it's looking like we won't see snow this yr , and I didn't have the heart to tell him that those big mudders are going to be super slick on any kind of ice . The day will come that I will be driving up our hill in my subaru and he will likely be stuck on the hill , if that time comes I will do circles around him before I get out and help him , mostly because he has a bit of a sense of humor to .
    Will he save/earn money by not losing a day or two of work ? It's doubtful , the payments for a 60-70k truck will eat that up pretty fast , plus he has to park that beast within the congestion .

    There are obvious benefits to bigger industrial machines , multiple pallets etc , there is also a lot of overhead , and what works for some won't necessarily work for others . If a guy starts small and within his means then it's pretty easy to expand as needed , and if the demand is there then the expansion money has likely been made . Resale value of these machines is pretty good , unlike a car

    Last edited by metalmayhem; 01-07-2020 at 04:01 PM.


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    Default Re: Tormach 440 or 770 for a low ceiling height garage?

    Quote Originally Posted by metalmayhem View Post
    Are you saying a 770 will make money and a 440 won't ?
    Absolutely not! I've seen videos of the 440 making people money. I knew I'd get in a bit of trouble for that comment.

    It's just that, if you aren't SURE what you are doing can be managed by a 440, the 770 is a more complete jack of all trades. It has more power, a more proven design that seems to be less failure prone, more rigidity, a LOT more WORK ENVELOPE and it supports more of the add-on options from Tormach if you ever need them.

    I (just barely) finesse my 770 into making the titanium parts that make me money. I've got the method down, but I really wouldn't want to be doing this with the 1/4 less HP of the 440, or ANY less rigidity/mass than the 770.

    I wouldn't even be able to run some of my more generic drills and tooling with any less Z travel than I have with the 770. The 440 has 3.25" less Z travel. That's going to limit you to short drill chucks, screw length bits and 4" and smaller vises most of the time if you need to get drilling done. Either that or you have to get real good at mounting your work right down on the table. It'll also limit the height of the piece of stock you can work on quite a lot. I'd say for someone who hasn't done this much underestimating your Z limits is where you can really get screwed up. Creative work holding can solve a lot of problems in X and Y. You can't fudge more room than exists between the table and spindle nose in Z.

    But you know, you CAN just toss a 440 on a work bench. I really like that concept.



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    Default Re: Tormach 440 or 770 for a low ceiling height garage?

    A guy is definitely screwed if the z reach isn't enough , theres no way to gain that space .
    Within reason x&y are easy enough to resolve as you said . I'd be using a few fixture plates if I didn't already have a torus to take on the bigger stuff , but for the most part I rely on the 440's .

    I find that with the right tooling the 440's can haul ass on aluminum . I don't picture any of the small mills as being ideal for the tough materials but with the right tooling and the right know how a guy can get the job done .

    Being able to toss them on a workbench is great , what I like about them is that when the time comes I can toss them to a scrapper and replace them or upgrade . So far they've proven to be pretty good , so it'll be a while before they go



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Tormach 440 or 770 for a low ceiling height garage?

Tormach 440 or 770 for a low ceiling height garage?

Tormach 440 or 770 for a low ceiling height garage?