Need Help! Buying an 1100 MX from Tormach & 15L Slant Lathe.


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Thread: Buying an 1100 MX from Tormach & 15L Slant Lathe.

  1. #1
    Member SequoyahTree's Avatar
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    Default Buying an 1100 MX from Tormach & 15L Slant Lathe.

    Hello, everyone I am looking into buying some Tormach brand equipment for a small garage workshop. I will mostly be making one-off components no aerospace parts or high production runs. At first, I was going to buy a Super 2 Mini Mill but I have access to one of them at work and I don't see that much benefit for that large price tag. If I was going to spend that much money I would much rather go with a VF3SS. I have had some time on that machine as well and its a pretty good machine and is very efficient. Also, we have a Haas LT-1, and I'm not a very big fan of it at all I find it to be a very awkward machine. But I am going to be just making parts in my garage with not very tight tolerances for friends. So I would like some help from some of the other members of this site that may have experience with both the 1100MX and the 15L Slant Lathe. I would like to know things such as how hard have you ran these machines and what have you noticed performance-wise. Also, I have added additional questions below.

    Questions:
    1: Has anyone added a coolant wand to their 1100MX or 15L Slant Lathe for easy cleanup?
    2: How does the chip containment work on the 1100MX and 15L Stant Lathe?
    3: Does anyone use an oil skimmer if so what kind?
    4: Has anyone opted for Tormach to assemble and install their machine if so how did that go?
    5: Does anyone have plans for the BT30 Tool Holder rack that goes on the left side of the 1100MX?
    6: How accurate and repeatable are the machines?
    7: What kinds of materials have you successfully machined on your Tormach?
    8: Is the Tormach brand Tooling any good?
    9: Do any of yall use any of the shear hogs by Tormach?
    10: Do you notice PathPilot on your controllers starting to get slower over time or is it consistent?

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    Last edited by SequoyahTree; 07-27-2020 at 08:17 PM.


  2. #2
    Member soofle616's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying an 1100 MX from Tormach & 15L Slant Lathe.

    Responding to what I can here. I have an 1100M which is the same base machine as the MX with the notable exclusion of servo motors and the bt30 spindle taper. My machine easily holds ±.005" without me having to do anything. I've gotten better and I know many people are routinely capable of ±.001" but that does take more knowledge and skill than I have. For reference, I've been machining running my machine since November of last year and come from 0 machining or CNC background so I am absolutely the limiting factor in my machine's performance.

    I have done a lot with aluminum with great success and have have excellent results with delrin as well. I've been struggling with steel but I've done very little with it and have just been using whatever random tools I can find so again, I'm the limiting factor, not the machine. Many here have posted good results with steel in various grades.

    Chip containment on the 1100 line is very good. I get the occasional fine chip falling out the back through the gap under the electrical enclosure but it's rare. Out of several hundred pounds of chips that I've made, I think I have a few grams that have escaped the enclosure. More come out when I'm blowing off the table with my air nozzle than escape during machining. I have not yet added a coolant wand but it is on my short list of upgrades. Clearing chips out of the enclosure is a bit of an annoyance. There simply isn't enough coolant flow to properly wash them down the tray and into the coolant tank catch pan. That said, whenever I top off the coolant, I pour it from the edges of the tray and everything washes down fine so a hose run off the coolant pump would definitely make cleanup easier. The other cleanup mod I am planning is a filter bag or similar to catch more of the fines before they make it into the tank. I have already added a canister filter to the coolant line on the back of the machine to catch fines before they make it back to the nozzles and that is working well but I suspect I'm building up a layer in the bottom of my tank that will have to be cleaned out at some point.

    I use the 3/4" shear hog and it's great for chewing large quantities of aluminum very quickly. The resulting surface finish sucks but it's a rougher so that's to be expected. I also use the superfly and have had excellent results in aluminum. I have also used the superfly on steel (different insert) and that worked well and gave me a nice surface finish.

    I haven't had my machine that long, nor do I tend to run it for more than a couple hours at a time but I've yet to notice any issues with pathpilot slowing down or becoming less responsive.



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    Default Re: Buying an 1100 MX from Tormach & 15L Slant Lathe.

    The Haas mini mills and tool room mills are half the price of the VF mills.
    The mini mill has limited work area (similar to the Tormachs) and the tool room mills have limited spindle speeds (again similar to the Tormachs :-) so decide whether spindle speed or work envelope is more important. (I'd go for the "toolroom.")
    The Haas spindles and tool changes are probably better than then Tormach ones. If you're looking at the 1100 MX with flood coolant and automatic tool changer, one of those two Haas options look good.
    If your needs are less, Tormach has treated me right. I've worked on a 1100 S3 and a 440, neither with ATC (but I recommend the power drawbar, and flood coolant.)
    The only reason to get the 440 is if space is at an absolute premium (which it is for me) -- else get the bigger machine (770 or 1100.)

    I clean up by using a shop vac and a brush. I don't "flush" the chips; in fact, I want fewer chips towards the catch net, because chips in the pump enclosure will slowly wear out the pump. (You may even want to set up a two-chamber sedimentation system after-market.)

    I have a tramp oil pillow but it doesn't catch much. I don't make enough parts, and I don't use oily materials. I do pull the way oiler regularly, though! (The automatic one may cause more tramp oil, IDK.)

    Accuracy and repeatability is great for my needs. I can slap things on the vise, automatically probe, and get 3 thou. I can chase that down to 1 thou with an adjustment pass and some manual measurements, although I seldom need that. I haven't chased tenths -- not patient enough, and no need for me. (I make prototype parts in my garage, so, maybe similar to you?)

    I cut 6061 aluminum, 1018 and A36 steel, 303 stainless, 6-4 and Grade 2 titanium. The titanium is for wearable gadgets, so surface finish matters.

    I never used Tormach brand tooling. Niagara, YG, Lakeshore, and Maritool, mostly.

    PathPilot does not get slower over time. It is a linux system and a Python program, so it's not impossible that there are bugs that slowly leak resources, but worst case, you'd just restart the controller every Monday at 4am in a cron script... I've never had that need. I come back to it sometimes weeks later and it's still fine.



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    Default Re: Buying an 1100 MX from Tormach & 15L Slant Lathe.

    Hi. I have a series 2 (with series 3 motors) that is about 9 yrs old and a SlantPRO that I believe is SN #0042. I've made all sorts of stuff including a lot of parts for vintage racing cars, startups in San Francisco, home projects, and pretty much anything I feel inspired to make, it's great to be able to go to the garage and just do it. I've used the typical range of materials for these projects: 6061, 7075, Ti Grade 5, annealed and pre-hardened alloy steels, etc. The mill easily hold +/-.001. With some trickery in CAM I can hold half that. I think the MX series has nicely solved some basic problems with the earlier models, namely more horsepower, higher spindle speed, and much better coolant drainage. I have an ATC which I highly recommend, its really nice to be able to just hit the start button and walk away.

    The lathe, once it gets warmed up and everything has thermally stabilized is freakishly accurate. I can hold +/- .0001 (yes, that's tenths), tho you need to zero the tool in the same approach direction as the cut and you need the turret for that kind of accuracy. The quick change tool post will hold +/-.00025 typically. For zeroing, I usually do a test cut on the tool in question using the conversational feature and make a small adjustment to the gcode to make the approach direction right. I did mod the lathe by replacing the coolant pump with a 100psi diaphragm pump and Dorian coolant through tooling (on the turret). The nice thing about this is the coolant comes on instantaneously once the M code executes and is doesn't need any adjustment as far as aiming goes. The other mod was adding Tormach's USB IO card which controls 4 solenoids to direct coolant to tool in play. One coolant line goes to the turret the other three feed tools on the gang plate. So if you are drilling, say with an ultra-dex drill which is through coolant mounted on the gang plate, once it gets called up in the gcode, the turret coolant shuts off and coolant is routed to only that tool. The only weak point on the SlantPRO is the tailstock which sits on the ways like a traditional lathe. Zeroing this is a pita and you need to be very careful about programming and testing the tool clearances. But if they had a tailstock on it's own set of ways, like higher end slant CNC lathes, the machine would have to cost a lot more. Most stuff is chucker style anyway so you deal with the tailstock when you have to.

    For the money, these are pretty great tools.



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    Default Re: Buying an 1100 MX from Tormach & 15L Slant Lathe.

    I have a 770M+ with flood coolant, & for less than $50 you can add a hose and nozzle to the coolant system, there is already aTee in the system to connect the hose and a simple garden sprayer for a wash down system. The stock pump doesn’t have a lot of pressure but it will rinse down the inside of the enclosure. It is better than not having one. I can show a video of it if you’d like.

    I think the chip drawer and stand is on the M/MX series is great it is much easier to dump the chip tray than what I had to do to scoop out chips from the 440 I had before this one.. repeatability is excellent with the servos, I find in the tenths.

    I have machined 1018 & 4140 steel, some titanium without problems. proper tooling makes LLC the difference, the Tormach TTS toolholders are good quality don’t know about BT30 but I’d bet as good, cutting tools are probably better bought from other suppliers though the YG1 tools are good.

    Pathpilot controller is consistent, I have not seen it slowing down at all over time, mine is 2 yrs old.



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    Default Re: Buying an 1100 MX from Tormach & 15L Slant Lathe.

    Quote Originally Posted by adamvs View Post
    I did mod the lathe by replacing the coolant pump with a 100psi diaphragm pump and Dorian coolant through tooling (on the turret).
    I'm interested in knowing which pump you went with.



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Buying an 1100 MX from Tormach & 15L Slant Lathe.

Buying an 1100 MX from Tormach & 15L Slant Lathe.

Buying an 1100 MX from Tormach & 15L Slant Lathe.