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Cnc mill

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jsnschmidt121

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#1
I am new to machining and am looking to buy either a tormach 1100 or a automate talon mx200. I will be doing mostly hobby stuff not really looking to make any money. Any help would be appreciated!
 

shooter123456

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#2
Welcome to the community! Buying a machine is a lot like buying a car. It would help a lot to know more about what you need, what you can afford to spend, what sort of experience you have, etc.

Few questions that might help the more experienced guys here give you a good answer:

What's your budget?
What do you want to use the machine for?
What sort of experience do you have with machining?
Have you budgeted for tooling?
Do you have CAM software picked out already?

Those are both pretty serious machines, looks like you are jumping right in. Best of luck in your search, getting my first milling machine was one of the most exciting things I have ever done.
 

jsnschmidt121

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#3
My budget I am trying to keep around 20k, maybe alittle over with tooling. I have no experience in machining at all so I am really new to all this but have done a lot of research. Basically just milling doodads to get a little experience and would like to pick up a little custom work to keep the machine busy part time. I eventually want to add a lathe as well. I have a full time job that pays the bills so not looking to really make much money on it. For CAM software probably sprutcam for the tormach and autocam fusion for the mx200. Maybe for what I am doing I should should go with a tormach 440 or 770 or maybe an older used machine. I would just like to hear some opinion from some of you experienced guys.
 

shooter123456

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#4
My budget I am trying to keep around 20k, maybe alittle over with tooling. I have no experience in machining at all so I am really new to all this but have done a lot of research. Basically just milling doodads to get a little experience and would like to pick up a little custom work to keep the machine busy part time. I eventually want to add a lathe as well. I have a full time job that pays the bills so not looking to really make much money on it. For CAM software probably sprutcam for the tormach and autocam fusion for the mx200. Maybe for what I am doing I should should go with a tormach 440 or 770 or maybe an older used machine. I would just like to hear some opinion from some of you experienced guys.
I have never bought a CNC, just converted a manual machine, but I will see if I can help at all.

For hobby work, I think the MX200 is a little bit overkill. I think that same money could be better spent on other things at first to get you started and help better equip your shop.

I would think very carefully about exactly what you want to make with the machine to make sure you don't end up with a machine that can't handle it, or spend too much on a machine you don't need. One of the things the 440 and 770 have going for it is the 10,000 RPM spindle. If you want to do a lot of work in aluminum, the higher spindle RPM will come in handy. If you want to work on small things with a lot of detail, the higher speed will be good for getting very small cutters to cut well.

For production work, the discussion would be very different. Tormach machines have relatively slow rapids (110 IPM on each axis, my little X2 can do 300) and relatively small spindle motors. But I think they offer great value for hobbiests and job shop work. Maybe you can see some of these machines in person to see what feels right to you. I see you are in Kentucky, if you are nearish to Saunders Machine Works (Youtube channel NYCCNC) you might be able to go to his shop for one of the intro classes he does. You would get to play with all of them a little and see if any feels better than the others.

When I got started, I had only a little X2 mill. Within a few weeks, I found that the shop is seriously lacking without a lathe. There was a lot I couldn't do that I wanted to with just a mill. It might be worth it to plan for getting a lathe sooner than later. You should also consider that there is a bit of a learning curve with machining. There is a ton you have to learn up front before everything will start to work well. Its more than just designing a part and saying "go".

I would have a look at Fusion360 for CAD/CAM. Its free if you are a hobbiest or professional that makes less than $100,000 a year with it. Its fairly easy to use, but its not without its shortcomings.

Maybe thats just rambling, maybe it helped a little. I am sure others will chime in soon with more insight.
 

Karl_T

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#5
I am new to machining and am looking to buy either a tormach 1100 or a automate talon mx200. I will be doing mostly hobby stuff not really looking to make any money. Any help would be appreciated!
I have not run either machine, but that MX200 looks to be twice the machine. servos over steppers, BT30 over R8 tool holding.

Fusion 360 is free and seems to be the favorite for software
 

Jonathans

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#6
Just remember that no matter what size projects you plan to do, once you have the machine, in short order you will want to do something bigger, on harder material!
 

Metal

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#7
For me, 20k is high for a cnc machine, but I've done all self builds and retrofits.

First figure out the kind of stuff you want to make, you can make small parts on a bigger machine, but big parts on a smaller machine can be tough.
I like the tormach, I don't have one but some of my friends do, they seem nice, expandable, and their support is excellent.
If you have an hour or so, I'd shoot them an email and ask to talk to a sales person to really understand what you are trying to do and suggest a product and why, just shooting the **** with them can really point you in a better direction than just "I want to do hobby stuff" and this thread will be really really long before we zero in on what you are trying to do :)
 

RJSakowski

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#8
I have a Tormach 770 and although I've had some issues with it, overall, it has been a good machine. I opted for the 770 because of the higher spindle speed and the smaller size allowed me to get it into my basement shop. The 1100 would have only been around $1K more at the time so price wasn't an issue. By the time I added all the bells and whistles, my cost was around $14K. I included the full TTS tooling system, 6" 4th axis, stand, manual lube, coolant package, and the Tormach controller with Mach 3. I later added additional ER collet chucks, a full set of ER20 collets and multiples of 1/8", 1/4", 5/16", 3/8" and 1/2" ER20 collets, and the upgrade to PathPilot.

I made my own swing out monitor bracket using a CESA mount for a TV. I didn't opt for the power drawbar or the ATC. They're a nice to have but don't add any machining capability. The full enclosure was not an option when I bought my machine but even now, I wouldn't lay out for one. I have had some projects that extend past the table which wouldn't be possible with an enclosure. ( (I have had to pull one side of the backsplash to get the part in)

The 1100 is a more substantial machine with larger table and a 50% larger spindle motor. If you don't need a high speed spindle, it would be a good choice considering the modest increase in cost.
 

jsnschmidt121

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#9
Thanks for the response! Anymore info would be great! Mostly what I will use the machine for is prototyping or r and d work on coffee roasters. I roast coffee as a hobby and would like to eventually build and sell roasters if I develop a plan and design I really like. Gears and pulleys and the like which some would probably need to be done on a lathe and as much custom work that I can do. Thanks a gain for the help!
 

frugalguido

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#10
IMHO, the MX200 has two big pluses, servo's and BT30 spindle. I always thought was interesting the Tormach went with an R8 spindle and then had to come up with TTS for their quick change, when it would have been easier to use BT30 from the start.
 

Doubleeboy

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#11
You can't beat the customer service from the guys in Ann Arbor. Great company, if the MX200 fits your needs I think you will be happy. Having seen both the Tormach and Automate run there is not much comparison, the Automate is twice as heavy, has much faster rapids and cutting speeds, its in another league than the Tormach, not to beat up on the Tormach but its light duty by comparison with a toolholding system that leaves a bit to be desired. Tormach seems to build all their gear with the idea that no one can handle 3 phase power or a fork lift so everything they make is rather underpowered and small. If you have room to operate a forklift and can wire up a 3 phase converter the need for a Tormach quickly evaporates. Even without a forklift , with some thoughtful preparation for the rigging an Automate could slip into about any garage, its just a lot easier if you have 8' doors and can get a 5000 lb fork lift inside it. Talk to the guys at Smithy, they are pretty straight shooters, I don't think they would steer you wrong.
 

Bob La Londe

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#12
There are so many ways to go, and at the point you are at few of them are wrong. If you have the room and the money and you are sure you will continue to want to do this go big. You can make small parts on a big mill, but its a lot more work to make big parts on a small mill.
 

Cadillac STS

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#13
What you are looking at are the top of the line for Hobby machines.

You also could look at a used HAAS mini mill. That is a Professional machine.

One difference is asking for help on your tool you would either have Hobby folk helping you with questions or have the Professional HAAS folk helping you.

Also if you happen to find yourself out of work being able to program and use a HAAS mill could get you a nice job at a machine shop.
 

Karl_T

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#14
A HAAS mini mill is on my bucket list. One nice machine for small parts.
 
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