Joined: 3:32 AM - Sep 12, 2014

11:15 PM - Jun 08, 2018 #11

Lord [Redacted] wrote:
8:11 PM - Jun 08, 2018
Bacon.

And sometimes cheese.   Way TOO MUCH cheese.
HERESY!  There's NO SUCH THING as too much cheese! 😀😺🧀
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Joined: 4:22 PM - Sep 27, 2015

11:52 PM - Jun 08, 2018 #12

The M series is also upgradeable to the MX series, so if the MX is out of budget you might be able to start with M and upgrade as finances and need allow/demand.

I definitely with either of them was in my budget, they look like really solid improvements over the series 3.
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Joined: 2:44 PM - Oct 26, 2015

5:13 AM - Jun 09, 2018 #13

I'm glad they're finally making some changes, but they really need to *completely* get rid of the stepper motors and R8 spindle. Those are the two biggest problems I have with my 770 (that and the dovetail gibbs). I know this new "X" model will help, and those are obviously VERY GOOD changes in my opinion, but the non-X machines are hobby toys in comparison. They teach you to work around ridiculously inaccurate and unreliable chinese CNC hardware, which I suppose is all for the greater good ultimately, but most Tormach customers don't realize it.

We're probably going to sell our 770 this year if I can find somebody local for it. It still gets used as a secondary operation machine on items where the freakishly slow speed isn't a dealbreaker, but it causes headaches that I don't want to keep maintaining :( 

If I had a gun to my head on buying a chinese CNC right now, I'd probably get a Syil with servos and BT30. A cheaper chinesezium alternative would a Skyfire, which still has servos and BT30, but seem to have be the cheaper knockoff.
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Joined: 12:00 AM - Jan 01, 1970

10:00 PM - Jun 09, 2018 #14

Ydna-zds wrote:We're probably going to sell our 770 this year if I can find somebody local for it. It still gets used as a secondary operation machine on items where the freakishly slow speed isn't a dealbreaker, but it causes headaches that I don't want to keep maintaining :( 

If I had a gun to my head on buying a chinese CNC right now, I'd probably get a Syil with servos and BT30. A cheaper chinesezium alternative would a Skyfire, which still has servos and BT30, but seem to have be the cheaper knockoff.
-See, this is the kind of thing that's been cheesing me off since I started seriously looking at buying a mill: The denigration of a budget machine because it's not as good as a "real, production-oriented" machine.

No, the Tormachs aren't as good as an Okuma, a HAAS or most any other true manufacturing-level mills. They're also a small fraction of the price, with a bottom-of-the-line HAAS MiniMill being three to four times the price of a fully-dressed PC1100.

And in my particular case- and those of many others- I don't need feed rates measured in the thousands of IPM, or to remove metal in rates measured by the tons per hour. I'm using manual, hand-crank machines and an old underpowered turret lathe as it is. Anything would be a significant improvement.

Yes, if you have a shopful of HAAS, Robodrills, Traks, Hardinges and/or Okumas, a Tormach is indeed going to seem like a toy- and comparatively, it is.

But if you have a shopful of manual machines and cheap desktop hobby mills, that same Tormach is a significant step up in power, speed, accuracy and what have you.

I, of course, am in that latter camp. Yes, I'd love to have a HAAS Minimill instead of any of the Tormachs. I had a chance years ago to buy one- locally!- for $17K. At the time I could scrape together maybe a quarter of that. Today, to get that same price I'd have to buy a well-used one- that likely has expensive problems- and pay about that same quarter just to get it shipped up here.

Then there's the space issue- as I've noted before, I'm basically entirely out of room. As noted in the first post, I was thinking about getting rid of the big Exacto mill, in part to raise cash for a Tormach, but also to make room for it. Heck, that's also about half the reason I was looking originally at the 440- the parts I need to make are fairly small, and it'll be a lot easier to find room for a smaller machine.

Bottom line, if anyone's still reading: One, being in Alaska, It's difficult and expensive to personally inspect a used machine. The cost of travel and all that wouldn't be bad if I was spending $50K on something, but spending $2000 in travel, hotel and car rental to look at a $5000 machine seems like kind of a waste. Therefore it's preferable to buy new, if I can.

Two, I can't afford the bottom-of-the-barrel "real professional" machine, which would be a HAAS Minimill, at about $30,000. I can, barely, afford a somewhat stripped-down middle-of-the-road Tormach package.

Three, even if I could afford the HAAS- or anything else- I have no room for it. I am, right now, tearing the shop apart and moving nearly everything I own, in a Tetris-like fashion in the hopes of opening ONE of the garage car bays back up. If I don't sell the Exacto- or another big machine- I honestly have no idea where I'd put even as comparatively small a machine as a 770.

And four, thousands of Tormach owners are doing excellent work on their "slow, substandard, inaccurate" machines. The Ferrari might be faster, look cooler and sound better, but thousands more still get where they're going in their Hondas and Chevies. 😁

Doc.
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Joined: 2:44 PM - Oct 26, 2015

12:16 AM - Jun 10, 2018 #15

whoa friend, slow down! Anybody that says a Tormach (or any other "non industrial") machine isn't the right machine for the right job is a quantifiable idiot. You don't have to justify it to me! I totally agree with everything you just said. I remember your justification from the last time I complained about Tormach here, and it makes perfect sense then and now. That's why I didn't suggest you buy anything "industrial" because of the cost and space reasons. No Haas, no large machine, I get it.

Just for your information, since I get the impression that I came off as thinking different, I have absolutely nothing against "tabletop" or hobbyist machines. Remember I own two of them for a reason!!! They can be extremely useful in the correct application, which is why I bought the 770 in the first place. If you're interested in actual numbers, my overhead cost when an operation is performed on my VF2 is nearly $22 per hour compared to my 770 (when it can actually complete the task) which is less than $5 per hour. So yes, cheapo chinese machines are very useful for certain things.

That said, I'll re-iterate my experience with these particular chinese machines being much less useful than I had hoped when I bought it 4 years ago. Their lack of axis feedback (fixed with MX), the slippery and unreliable straight-shank R8 TTS system (fixed with MX), and the dovetail gibbs...but that's less of a complaint and more of a cheapo design choice. So ultimately I think you would do very well with an MX mill, since it fixes the two biggest issues I have with the existing machines. Or if you don't want to wait for that, go with a Skyfire or Syil, both of which solve those issues already and come in between $5k-$10k for a comparatively-sized work envelope.

DocsMachine wrote: And four, thousands of Tormach owners are doing excellent work on their "slow, substandard, inaccurate" machines. 
That's possible (forgiving the obvious confirmation bias of inexperienced hobbyists that don't know any better), though I would put forth that some dude on the internet making wooden signs for the local boyscout group (or whatever) doesn't have much bearing on your goal of manufacturing precision items up in Kenai. Have you not read or watched any videos where people describe the complaints I share?

I just don't like to see people get sucked in through the flashy marketing. Tormach owns a warehouse in Wisconsin but that's pretty much where their involvement ends with their equipment. They don't even inspect the machines when they arrives off the boat, it's simply drop-shipped right to your door in the same un-opened crate that left Shenzhen province. Hey no problem so long as the asian quality control is up to the task, but it's pretty friggen disingenuous IMO. 
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Joined: 12:00 AM - Jan 01, 1970

7:17 AM - Jun 10, 2018 #16

Or if you don't want to wait for that, go with a Skyfire or Syil, both of which solve those issues already and come in between $5k-$10k for a comparatively-sized work envelope.
-I find it odd that you note that you weren't happy with the cheap Chinese machine, and then... recommend two other cheap Chinese machines. (Both manufacturers essentially selling rebranded Seig chassis installed into new enclosures.) 😁
That's possible (forgiving the obvious confirmation bias of inexperienced hobbyists that don't know any better), though I would put forth that some dude on the internet making wooden signs for the local boyscout group (or whatever) doesn't have much bearing on your goal of manufacturing precision items up in Kenai.
-On the contrary. A lot of Battlebot builders use Tormachs, for example, and not just for milling nameplates and such. About every third stock-removal knifemaker I run across these days has a Tormach for making blanks and roughing blade bevels, and the 4X4 boards have dozens of guys using them to make truck, buggy and engine parts- that is, steel brackets and tube-frame components, not just fluff like fire-extinguisher mounts and the like.

I've seen at least a dozen Kickstarters where they were making parts on a Tormach (or in one case, planned to- the KS was in order to, among other things, buy the machines to produce the parts) I know of two garage-shop paintball types using Tormachs, and just a few days ago I ran across a guy making some Olds engine parts, and one of the pics has a well-used 1100 in the background.

No, I don't imagine anyone's making +/-0.0002" jet engine parts on one, but again, I'm making small paintball parts, mostly in aluminum, to maybe as tight as 0.003" tolerances.

Yeah, I know we've gone over this before, and yes, I do understand your position. 😁 It's just that I hear something like that almost every time this class of machine is mentioned.

I'll be on a hotrod board, and somebody will ask about buying one to make this or that part- sometimes for short production, usually just to make fancy one-off parts for custom builds. Somebody always pipes up with something along the lines of "buy a REAL mill!" Often as not, suggesting the guy buy an older used machine, for cheap, and retrofit it, as has been suggested to me about a thousand times.

Then some big argument ensues, where the "real mill" guy throws out a bunch of fluff that does little more than confuse the guy asking the question. It's like some newbie who is thinking about playing his first game of paintball asking what kind of marker he should get, and having some pro player tell him he basically can't play unless he buys a custom-anodized team-branded  Eclipse CS2.

I'll see it again on a fab board, the musclecar board, the 4x4 board, the knifemaker board, ad nauseum.
Have you not read or watched any videos where people describe the complaints I share?
-I have. As well as those complaining about many other models too. Including one that included a guy complaining about having to spend $10K to have his HAAS spindle rebuilt after it ate itself just 2,000 hours in.

The thing about it is, while there are indeed some legit complaints in many of those videos (bad build quality, casting flaws, etc.) a lot of those are... I suppose "complaints out of context". Like the R8/TTS thing- yes, a straight-shank stub arbor in an R8 collet isn't going to have the same gripping power and rigidity as a 30 taper. On the other hand, it's inexpensive, accessible, retrofittable to non-Tormach machines, and was an easy way to get an actual automatic tool changer into a cheap hobby machine.

Ditto the steppers- no, there's no closed loop feedback, but like the TTS thing, if operated within it's capabilities, they work great, and are inexpensive and reliable.

I haven't seen any prices yet, but I'll bet money that just the servo upgrade alone is going to be between $2,000 and $4,000. That may break my particular bank, although if you're right and the MX won't be released 'til winter sometime, if my current sales rate keeps up and I can keep saving a bit longer, by that time I might still be able to afford it. 😁

In any case, contrary to my first post, I'm really not ready to buy right now anyway- funds notwithstanding, until I get some of this other crap sorted out, I still don't have anywhere to put it! Here's where it basically needs to go, and I'm not sure I could actually fit a frikkin' Sherline in there. 😆




(The shaper, by the way, has to go back in the far right corner- so there's even LESS room than shown here.😁 )

Doc.
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Joined: 2:44 PM - Oct 26, 2015

1:12 AM - Jun 11, 2018 #17

DocsMachine wrote: -I find it odd that you note that you weren't happy with the cheap Chinese machine, and then... recommend two other cheap Chinese machines. (Both manufacturers essentially selling rebranded Seig chassis installed into new enclosures.) 😁
Yes sir. Two other cheapo machines that, crucially, don't have those same problems due to their upgraded hardware. Hell, for the Skyfire mills, upgrading from R8 to 10krpm BT30 costs only $499 installed at the factory, and upgrade to 4.5 horse motor is $550...that's a friggen steal no matter who is selling it! All those other cheapo manufacturers also sell bottom-of-the-barrel machines with steppers and converted R8, and I would never touch those with a 10 foot pole....buuuuut the difference is that nearly all these cheapo companies already offer upgraded hardware that actively fixes those problems. Except Tormach. Well I'm glad they're finally doing it too, but will soon need to carefully market their drastic-improvement of hardware without making their existing lines look like trash in comparison.

So, if you can buy a stepper R8 tormach with the option to convert it peace-meal then I would fully and completely support buying that. However I don't understand your emotional attachment to chinese company X when presented with all the other chinese companies that have literally already fixed the problems; I think you should shoot for better quality. Setting yourself a goal of 0.003" will be difficult for some operations with a Tormach, but if your machine has encoders then hitting half a thou would be no issue! Example - one of the primary things I wanted to use my 770 to cut was a simple 0.010" chamfer on the backside of pre-machined items. But I run into constant consistency issues even though there's next to zero tool pressure and I wasn't even using the power drawbar. After a while I gave up on that and started using the mill for steel cutting, because it's IMO one of the best uses for limited-speed machines due to the fact that they don't have enough power to supercharge through aluminum (ironically this is one thing all the internet knifemakers don't need to worry about, though they probably don't realize it). That's when I started having issues with the gibs and loosing steps all over the place. Like you said, +-0.003 was in the cards but I'm trying to make simple ass parts that needed better consistency; the true problem was that the machine would jump all over the tolerance window so I couldn't just program out of it, and would end up with some good and some bad. That's when I started thinking of dumping the mill.

At the end of the day, even if you do buy the worst machine under the sun, as I said it'll train you to problem-solve in ways you can't imagine, and build hystersis into every process you develop for whatever it is you're making. But there's a metric shitload of headaches and wasted resources that go along with that learning process. I would prefer you not beat your head against the wall in that way, if I can help it. The number of people you find online that are making paintball parts AND have a Tormach AND have other equipment to compare AND are posting on your forum is pretty slim. The only guy I know off the top of my head is Tom Deltka but he's running a lathe rather than a mill.
DocsMachine wrote:-I have. As well as those complaining about many other models too. Including one that included a guy complaining about having to spend $10K to have his HAAS spindle rebuilt after it ate itself just 2,000 hours in.
Not to be one to nitpick, but that ain't true for a second. The actual price is $6k plus 500 for labor, which is chump change and evidence that whomever said it has never dealt with any other machine tool supplier. The Haas spindles are modular and are swapped out in mere hours (I've done it twice so far, we actually keep one of the 12krpm spindle cartridges in stock just in case this happens). So either it wasn't a Haas or whomever you're quoting was just bs'ing to save face. I've seen some EXTREMELY bad crashes on these lightweight machines and they keep on trucking. The actual thing that is significantly more likely to damage them is misinterpretations of the duty cycle.
Don't get me wrong, Haas equipment is far from perfect in many ways, and I'd be more than happy to discuss their disadvantages until the cows come home with anybody (I already do that with everybody that walks through the door), but I give credit where credit is due!
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Joined: 2:44 PM - Oct 26, 2015

1:14 AM - Jun 11, 2018 #18

Yeah you got space problems fo-sho. Time to convert your dining room to a toolroom. (seriously!)
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Joined: 4:09 AM - May 11, 2004

1:55 AM - Jun 11, 2018 #19

I'll see it again on a fab board, the musclecar board, the 4x4 board, the knifemaker board, ad nauseum.
Ditto.  Add in the PWC forums/FB groups.  I own a sea doo spark.  A pretty badass little entry level 90hp 900cc ski I bought brand new with trailer for around $7k out the door.  it does 50mph, is modular so you can replace individual parts if you crack/break them (as opposed to breaking out the fiberglass cloth, resin and gel coat) and with an ecm flash will jump to 110hp.  But ANY time you talk about them or check out youtube videos about them, there's always some jackass saying "best way to do ____ is to throw that Spark in the dumpster!"

These are the guys with the $15k (and up) 3 seater "couches" who like to compare top speeds rather than fun factor.  But if you don't have an RXP 300 or a CRT Nightmare, you bought junk.
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Joined: 12:00 AM - Jan 01, 1970

2:53 AM - Jun 11, 2018 #20

However I don't understand your emotional attachment to chinese company X when presented with all the other chinese companies that have literally already fixed the problems[.]
-A couple of things: One, the only reason it's an "emotional" attachment is that I'm getting ready to lay out in the neighborhood of ten thousand frigging dollars. Maybe as much as fifteen, depending on the jump in cost for the MX, options, and so forth. When I finally pull the trigger, that'll be over three years' savings, and the second biggest check I've ever written in my life. It's not a decision I'm taking lightly.

Two, why Tomach instead of one of the others? Here's an illustration: I go to YouTube, and search "Tormach CNC"- I get over 55,000 results. I search "Syil CNC" and I get a little over 2,700. "Skyfire CNC" gets me just over 2,000.  Tormach has been around longer, they're a bigger company, and has an arguably better support, warranty and customer service. Syil is, last I looked, still using a version of Mach 3, which hasn't been updated in what, eight years now? Tormach has some supposedly pretty darn good "conversational" programming- a significant boon to a neophyte like me.

And three, most of the "problems" you cite aren't really 'problems', per se`, they're just features you dislike. They may be open-loop, but like 'em or not, steppers work, they're reliable, and they're inexpensive. Yes, push 'em too hard and you'll lose steps. That's a given. Feed 'em a rate they're happy with, and they'll run all day. Ditto the R8/TTS, and the dovetails.

Everything's a tradeoff. I was looking at CNC lathes, and I think it was Charter Oak had a nice one. About the same price as the Tormach, but had a few other features I liked- I believe a higher top speed for one. But that machine had a spindle bore of just over 3/4"- that was a deal breaker for a lathe. I gotta be able to run 5C.

It's also worth noting that Charter Oak quietly went out of business after a flurry of significant advertising- an example of why I'm leaning toward a company with a more solid track record than the others.

Yes, I wanted something-other-than-R8 if I could get it, and servos rather than steppers would have been a bonus. But for the price, factory support, better software and a larger user base were also very high on the list.

Thankfully, it seems I can now get those options, it just remains to be seen how much they're going to cost me. 😁

Doc.
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