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IndustryArena Forum > MetalWorking Machines > Tormach Personal CNC Mill > 1100M vs. used Haas Mini Mill or TM-0
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  1. #1
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    1100M vs. used Haas Mini Mill or TM-0

    After configuring an 1100M without ATC and full enclosure, I'm still getting up close to the price of a used Mini Mill which has WAY more capability. Yes, these machines are 20 years old, but they start out with far better accuracy and repeatability. Please don't read this as bashing, I'm not because I am still seriously considering a Tormach, but I can't understand why someone would pay for a fully optioned 1100M or even an 1100MX when they can get a 10 year old Mini Mill for the same price. Actually, I believe a brand new Mini Mill costs about the same as the fully optioned 1100MX and still has way more capability.

    So, I guess my question is, for those of you who have purchased Tormachs for $15,000 or more, what is your post purchase experience and feeling? Mini Mills have 7.5hp, big ball screws, linear rails instead of dovetails, the same Haas electronics and controls as the bigger mills, better accuracy, much faster rapids, etc...

    I feel like I'm missing something about the Tormachs.

  2. #2
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    Re: 1100M vs. used Haas Mini Mill or TM-0

    Quote Originally Posted by crispy View Post
    After configuring an 1100M without ATC and full enclosure, I'm still getting up close to the price of a used Mini Mill which has WAY more capability. Yes, these machines are 20 years old, but they start out with far better accuracy and repeatability. Please don't read this as bashing, I'm not because I am still seriously considering a Tormach, but I can't understand why someone would pay for a fully optioned 1100M or even an 1100MX when they can get a 10 year old Mini Mill for the same price. Actually, I believe a brand new Mini Mill costs about the same as the fully optioned 1100MX and still has way more capability.

    So, I guess my question is, for those of you who have purchased Tormachs for $15,000 or more, what is your post purchase experience and feeling? Mini Mills have 7.5hp, big ball screws, linear rails instead of dovetails, the same Haas electronics and controls as the bigger mills, better accuracy, much faster rapids, etc...

    I feel like I'm missing something about the Tormachs.
    Fits in a standard garage, works off common residential power, doesn't need a service tech if something breaks, moveable with an engine hoist, currently supported control, parts and upgrades are cheap.

    Those are the usual reasons. If you are in it to make money by making parts, a lot of those aren't as important, but price out the replacement if an older HAAS control goes out.

  3. #3
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    Re: 1100M vs. used Haas Mini Mill or TM-0

    Quote Originally Posted by crispy View Post
    After configuring an 1100M without ATC and full enclosure, I'm still getting up close to the price of a used Mini Mill which has WAY more capability. Yes, these machines are 20 years old, but they start out with far better accuracy and repeatability. Please don't read this as bashing, I'm not because I am still seriously considering a Tormach, but I can't understand why someone would pay for a fully optioned 1100M or even an 1100MX when they can get a 10 year old Mini Mill for the same price. Actually, I believe a brand new Mini Mill costs about the same as the fully optioned 1100MX and still has way more capability.

    So, I guess my question is, for those of you who have purchased Tormachs for $15,000 or more, what is your post purchase experience and feeling? Mini Mills have 7.5hp, big ball screws, linear rails instead of dovetails, the same Haas electronics and controls as the bigger mills, better accuracy, much faster rapids, etc...

    I feel like I'm missing something about the Tormachs.
    Lower total cost after the nickel-and-diming, fits in a standard garage or basement, works off common residential power, easily worked on by the owner, moveable with an engine hoist, currently supported control, parts and upgrades are cheap.

    Those are the usual reasons. Used Ford F250 vs new Ranger. Same kind of thing.

    If you are in it to make money making parts and have a commercial stop, a lot of those aren't as important, but price out the replacement if an older HAAS control goes out.

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    Re: 1100M vs. used Haas Mini Mill or TM-0

    Thanks for quick response. Actually the Mini Mill and the TM-0 are both powered off the same 240V single phase as the 1100M, they just require a 40A circuit instead of 20A.

    Yes, the fact that the Tormachs are typically delivered in pieces (and smaller castings) make them much more suitable to a basement environment. Unless you have a low ceiling garage though, the Mini Mill fits from what I've seen.

    I suppose my inquiry was geared more towards those who are actually trying to start a shop and make money. Every time I get closer to pulling the trigger on an 1100M I get cold feet when I see how much more I can get in a used Mini Mill or TM-0 for a small increase in price.

  5. #5

    Re: 1100M vs. used Haas Mini Mill or TM-0

    Who is running a professional production shop on 240v exclusively?

    Running a machine for short run and R&D type work on single phase, okay, but attempting production on single phase is silly.

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    Re: 1100M vs. used Haas Mini Mill or TM-0

    I don't know, I'm not implying people are running high volume production shops on exclusively 240V, never said that. This is taking things way off topic here. Unless you're wealthy and can sling money around to buy a Tormach just for fun, I think it's safe to say most people out there buying these are trying to make a little money with them, or STARTING a shop, maybe even while still holding their full time job.

    Point is plenty of people out there are making money (starting out small) with Tormachs and I'm just curious why spend $20k or more when you can get a 240V single phase Haas that has almost 4X the spindle power, more accuracy, faster rapids, better tool holding, among other things for the same price or not much more. I know that the machines are used, and maybe that's the sole reason.

    Again, not bashing Tormach at all, they certainly make sense if you just want a bare bones machine with no enclosure or ATC, which I myself may end up doing. I am simply trying to get some feedbacl from others who have gone down this road to see if there indeed was any feeling of "Shoot, if I only payed a little more ..."

  7. #7

    Re: 1100M vs. used Haas Mini Mill or TM-0

    You'll have less spindle torque with single phase vs 3 phase , but you'd still have more machine than you would with a tormach
    a 10-20yr old mini mill isn't necessarily an old machine since they haven't changed much on them other than the control interface , and personally I like the older controls better that the new . They can easily be moved around with a pallet jack .

    Both tormach and the haas have their benefits and both work for a start up looking to make money . I ran a bunch of the mini mills in the past and I love them . But, I'd only be able to run one in my residential shop vs the 4 pcnc440's and torus pro , 5 spindles running production is an exceptional difference in an hourly take . This works for me and it's not going to work for everyone .

    I honestly think that the wisest way to go about starting a business with tormachs is to buy a bare bones mill (which is cheap) . That means hand bombing tools but a bit of physical labor that pulls in far more money than a day job is worth it in my opinion . This way there is minimal investment or the investment can be put into more . A fully dress 1100 is pretty much the equivalent in cost of 3 bare bones 1100's , 3 spindles running vs 1

    [QUOTE=CL_MotoTech;

    Running a machine for short run and R&D type work on single phase, okay, but attempting production on single phase is silly.[/QUOTE]

    I do production every day . I could easily rent a large shop and drop in a bunch of industrial mills but I don't see a need for it

  8. #8
    Community Moderator Jim Dawson's Avatar
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    Re: 1100M vs. used Haas Mini Mill or TM-0

    I guess it depends on what you want to do with the machine. The Tormach is a high end hobby class machine, where the Haas machines are more industrial class. More important is to fit the machine to the job. At the end of the day, both brands will make the same part, but the Haas machines will do it faster. Time is money.

    To compare apples to oranges, we started out with a 10x50 table BP clone, manual/CNC. To run a pallet of one particular part, 9 hours. That was unacceptable, so we bought a used (2016) Haas TM-2P with approximately the same travels, same pallet of parts, 1.5 hours. A pretty dramatic difference. Would the Tormach run those parts faster than my BP clone? I can't answer that question, but I suspect it would be much slower than the Haas machines.

    I never worry about maintenance and parts, we do all of our maintenance in-house, and most parts are off-the-shelf items. And if our Haas control goes south, I'll just retrofit the machine with new controls, not a big deal. If the machine has a major mechanical failure, I'll just toss the machine and get another one. But so far the Haas has been a good machine with only a couple of minor issues in 3 years of hard running. To put that in perspective, we hauled 1000 lbs of chips to the scrap yard yesterday, that was about a month of running.
    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA

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    Re: 1100M vs. used Haas Mini Mill or TM-0

    Quote Originally Posted by metalmayhem View Post
    You'll have less spindle torque with single phase vs 3 phase , but you'd still have more machine than you would with a tormach
    a 10-20yr old mini mill isn't necessarily an old machine since they haven't changed much on them other than the control interface , and personally I like the older controls better that the new . They can easily be moved around with a pallet jack .

    Both tormach and the haas have their benefits and both work for a start up looking to make money . I ran a bunch of the mini mills in the past and I love them . But, I'd only be able to run one in my residential shop vs the 4 pcnc440's and torus pro , 5 spindles running production is an exceptional difference in an hourly take . This works for me and it's not going to work for everyone .

    I honestly think that the wisest way to go about starting a business with tormachs is to buy a bare bones mill (which is cheap) . That means hand bombing tools but a bit of physical labor that pulls in far more money than a day job is worth it in my opinion . This way there is minimal investment or the investment can be put into more . A fully dress 1100 is pretty much the equivalent in cost of 3 bare bones 1100's , 3 spindles running vs 1



    I do production every day . I could easily rent a large shop and drop in a bunch of industrial mills but I don't see a need for it
    Thank you - this is an extremely helpful response. Regarding the 440's - how do you deal with the limitations in tapping? Is everything hand tapped post-op?

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    Re: 1100M vs. used Haas Mini Mill or TM-0

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Dawson View Post
    I guess it depends on what you want to do with the machine. The Tormach is a high end hobby class machine, where the Haas machines are more industrial class. More important is to fit the machine to the job. At the end of the day, both brands will make the same part, but the Haas machines will do it faster. Time is money.

    To compare apples to oranges, we started out with a 10x50 table BP clone, manual/CNC. To run a pallet of one particular part, 9 hours. That was unacceptable, so we bought a used (2016) Haas TM-2P with approximately the same travels, same pallet of parts, 1.5 hours. A pretty dramatic difference. Would the Tormach run those parts faster than my BP clone? I can't answer that question, but I suspect it would be much slower than the Haas machines.

    I never worry about maintenance and parts, we do all of our maintenance in-house, and most parts are off-the-shelf items. And if our Haas control goes south, I'll just retrofit the machine with new controls, not a big deal. If the machine has a major mechanical failure, I'll just toss the machine and get another one. But so far the Haas has been a good machine with only a couple of minor issues in 3 years of hard running. To put that in perspective, we hauled 1000 lbs of chips to the scrap yard yesterday, that was about a month of running.
    Thank you. You're close to me, probably just over an hour away. Yeah, I completely agree you pick the machine for the job, but again, for someone starting out and planning on spending $17k for a new 1100M tormach without ATC and enclosure, and then seeing Mini Mills available for <$20k, it really makes me wonder why people are spending >$20k on a Tormach and what I'm missing. New is certainly a big plus, and that may be 100% of the deciding factor.

    Thanks.

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    I'd consider the new haas tm-0 starts at 28k. Less than most people spend on their trucks. With financing it's affordable. I would not get a Tormach mill for the prices they want these days. After you spend money on tooling, work holding, inspection tools etc, you may as well get the haas. For me the tormach value was keeping it fairly bare bones. Stand and power draw bar. If you start added atc and all the other stuff you may as well get a haas.

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    Re: 1100M vs. used Haas Mini Mill or TM-0

    Quote Originally Posted by crispy View Post
    I don't know, I'm not implying people are running high volume production shops on exclusively 240V, never said that. This is taking things way off topic here. Unless you're wealthy and can sling money around to buy a Tormach just for fun, I think it's safe to say most people out there buying these are trying to make a little money with them, or STARTING a shop, maybe even while still holding their full time job.
    Know anyone with a Harley? Lots of people have $20K+ toys in the garage. I'd guess no better than 50-50...

    If you want to make parts time-is-money-style get an industrial machine. HAAS will finance nearly anyone with a pulse. It sounds like that's what you want.

    Tormachs can run production; the ATCs were made for years on an 1100MX and SL15, Cliff does production on his, but I see them more often as prototype machines, 2nd op machines, making test parts and fixtures or short part runs and such. I know of several doing that kind of thing commercially and it's what mine do.

  13. #13

    Re: 1100M vs. used Haas Mini Mill or TM-0

    Quote Originally Posted by crispy View Post
    Thank you - this is an extremely helpful response. Regarding the 440's - how do you deal with the limitations in tapping? Is everything hand tapped post-op?
    drill presses and tapping heads . I've got various thread mills but it's easy and faster to tap the parts off the machine

  14. #14

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    Re: 1100M vs. used Haas Mini Mill or TM-0

    Cliff notes: If you know what you're doing and you have a chunk of money to spend all at once, buy the Haas. If you're new to the game, Tormach ftw

    Biggest reason in my mind to buy a Tormach over a Haas is the massively reduced barrier to entry with respect to knowledge. I applaud all you guys that have years of experience running, programming, and otherwise being around CNC machines. For a guy like me who essentially jumped into machining, programming, and CNC operating all at once with essentially zero knowledge base, having to figure all that stuff out while trying to wrap my head around the basic functions of a Haas or similar control panel AND knowing that every oops moment I had could potentially lead to a crash that I couldn't afford the repairs for was beyond overwhelming. Low horsepower, slower speeds, weaker axis motors, an intuitive UI that anyone with basic computer abilities can figure out, cheap parts, and (sorta) open source software meant I could focus on learning how to program and run the machine. Worked too. I've had mine less than two years now and I develop most of the new programs and fixtures that are being used by my employer to make our parts. I've figured out everything from basic toolpaths to thread milling and 3d surfacing, built my own 4th axis and used it to produce a nearly perfect 34 tooth spline on the first attempt, built my own smartcool clone that interfaces directly to the machine, added a DIY coolant mist collector, and am (slowly) working on an ATC and I/O module which will both integrate seamlessly to the existing controller. All of that while crashing the machine, breaking tools, flinging material around the enclosure, burning and cutting myself more times than I can count, ruining countless chunks of raw material, but never doing any damage to the machine itself. Other than some scratches in the paint and a cracked window that is.

  15. #15
    Community Moderator Jim Dawson's Avatar
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    Re: 1100M vs. used Haas Mini Mill or TM-0

    Quote Originally Posted by crispy View Post
    Thank you. ..... You're close to me, probably just over an hour away. ..... New is certainly a big plus, and that may be 100% of the deciding factor.

    Thanks.
    You're welcome.

    Where are you located?

    New is not a plus in my book, I'll let someone else take the hit on the deprecation. I only buy used, but mechanically good equipment, and never finance a machine. My BP clone is 30 years old, but mechanically like new, same with my CNC lathe. A good machine will last 100 years if it's maintained and not beat to death, the controls not so much. But the controls are the cheap part. I've done a retrofit on both of those machines. I have a very low tolerance for antique controls. Our Haas was a heck of a find, the unicorn machine, loaded with every option available, except a 4th axis, and only 128 spindle hours. Wasn't even broken in yet.

    If I were a job shop and had enough volume to justify buying new equipment every 5 years or so it would be a different story. We manufacture some RV oriented retail products and do most of the work in-house, only farm out finishing, laser cutting, and some fabrication. I would never run a job shop again, too much hassle.

    Anyway, don't discount the possibility of buying used equipment, you can get a lot more machine for the money.
    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA

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    Re: 1100M vs. used Haas Mini Mill or TM-0

    Thanks Jim. I'm over near Newberg/McMinnville. I'm not discounting used equipment, I'm actually currently weighing more capability used vs. new Tormach. I am certainly not averse at all to maintaining myself. One of the other used issues though is general wear, and for someone starting out, part of me doesn't want that added headache on top of everything else (although worn linear guides probably end up being still at least as good as a Tormach dovetail setup and I bet the ballscrews are better quality.). The other issue with used is paying someone else to inspect and then the moving cost, depending on where the machine is. I imagine with most used things, count on at least one thing that pops up not long after getting it and that adds even more. What I'm getting at is that lure of buying a used Mini Mill for $19,000 (compared to $17,000 for a Tormach that doesn't even have an ATC or enclosure) actually becomes well over $20,000 after it's moved and bundling in CAM software which that Tormach price includes. Maybe I need to look for a older knee mill set up for CNC...

  17. #17

    Re: 1100M vs. used Haas Mini Mill or TM-0

    I highly doubt you'd need to worry about worn guides or ballscrews on a used industrial mill , unless the thing has been under extreme use . Ballscrew support bearings on the other hand can go after a while and the noise is fairly noticeable when jogging .

    When I buy a used car privately for example , I always look to see what other vehicles are sitting in the driveway . If they are turds then chances are that the one they are selling is a turd . Also why are they selling ?
    Aside from the obvious mechanic checks , the paint on a mill and the state of it's table can say a lot about it's use , same goes for the slide covers . If a lot of steel has been run on a mill then the slides with show a lot of markings . Also check the spindle taper for chip damage or other damage , and visually check it to see abrasives have been used on it . You can also check the on time and the run time in the control .
    There are a lot of old machines out there with light usage . Old isn't necessarily going to be bad , I've worked on 25+yr mori's that could put a new haas to shame within the same class , and they spent most of those years machining various steels . Now on those machines we eventually changed the ballscrews since they were apart to have the bearings replaced , and the newparts were well deserved . Of all the mills I've run over the years those were the only ballscrews I've ever seen replaced . It's not to say that those were the only parts to be changed in all those years , but a mill can be kept running for many years

  18. #18
    Community Moderator Jim Dawson's Avatar
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    Re: 1100M vs. used Haas Mini Mill or TM-0

    It is really a tough decision to make. I've been at this long enough (around 50 years) that I know what I'm looking at, what I want, and can inspect a machine pretty quickly so for me the decision is easy. With little to no experience things are more difficult.

    If I had only one mill in my shop, I would want a manual/CNC knee mill. That is about the most versatile machine available. But, not a good production machine. It really depends on the end use. A knee mill is great for general maintenance, prototyping, tool & die work, and limited production, but if you need to do real production then a bed mill with a ATC is really required. You need to decide on the end use.

    If you are interested in a knee mill then I have a deal for you, at about 1/3 the cost of a used Mini. I have a mechanically excellent Shizuoka AN-S CNC knee mill sitting in my shop gathering dust and really needs to go away, even has a 24 tool ATC (that is totally useless IMHO) Does not have manual capability, but that would not be difficult to add. This thing is a BP on steroids, about 5000 lbs of machine, and it's on wheels. 10x50 table, 4 HP spindle motor, #40 spindle. Runs on 240V single phase. A fresh controls retrofit and software. And I'll even deliver it for free.

    As far as CAD/CAM software, Fusion 360 would be my first choice. Free to hobbyists, although somewhat broken in the free version. But a good starting point. CamBam is another CAM software that I started out with, about $150 for a forever license. It works, but is really 2.5D and won't do full 3 axis motion.
    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA

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    Quote Originally Posted by crispy View Post
    After configuring an 1100M without ATC and full enclosure, I'm still getting up close to the price of a used Mini Mill which has WAY more capability. Yes, these machines are 20 years old, but they start out with far better accuracy and repeatability. Please don't read this as bashing, I'm not because I am still seriously considering a Tormach, but I can't understand why someone would pay for a fully optioned 1100M or even an 1100MX when they can get a 10 year old Mini Mill for the same price. Actually, I believe a brand new Mini Mill costs about the same as the fully optioned 1100MX and still has way more capability.

    So, I guess my question is, for those of you who have purchased Tormachs for $15,000 or more, what is your post purchase experience and feeling? Mini Mills have 7.5hp, big ball screws, linear rails instead of dovetails, the same Haas electronics and controls as the bigger mills, better accuracy, much faster rapids, etc...

    I feel like I'm missing something about the Tormachs.

    If your starting a business, get a business class machine (industrial). I started with A Novakon as a hobby, and it was fine and I made a ton of stuff. Problem came when it turned into a business, and I only had the horsepower and accuracy of a hobby machine. I was losing opportunity to make money. Got an industrial machine, and move 42 cubes/minute instead of 3" is a space just a tad bigger than the Novakon. Don't let 3 phase power scare you off. I run my brother on 30 amp breaker/phase converter.

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    Re: 1100M vs. used Haas Mini Mill or TM-0

    If you are looking to buy a mill, and by that I mean you don't know what you are going to make, but you want to try something, I think Adam Savage gave sound advice (not word for word quote)" when you don't know about a tool, buy the one you can afford. Once you know how to use the tool, then you will know what you actually need."

    Truly the only person that has a very good idea of what mill would suit you best, is you in 10 years. Good luck getting an answer out of that guy/gal now though. You can buy a used semi tractor for what a new civic cost, but do you need to haul one big load or lost of small loads.
    -Jon

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