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IndustryArena Forum > MetalWorking Machines > Tormach Personal CNC Mill > 5 axis Tormach, would you get one?
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  1. #1

    5 axis Tormach, would you get one?

    Honestly I'm surprised there hasn't been a 5 axis version of the 770 or 1100 yet given how a new MX is now over $33,000 which is quickly approaching Haas territory. My guess is it would be a $30,000-50,000 machine and I think the next closest is a Haas UMC500 which starts over $129,000 so I'd think there's a gap in the market to support it but maybe $50k is just too much to ask for what would be a "Tormach"

    What do you guys think? Is there just not enough of a market to justify developing one? How many of you would be willing to drop that kind of money to get a 5 axis machine? Seems crazy to me they haven't yet but then again maybe I'm unique in wanting one since I've got experience running industrial 5x machines.

  2. #2

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    Re: 5 axis Tormach, would you get one?

    I'm honestly surprised there isn't already an addon for 5th axis capability. For that matter, I'm surprised the MX machines still rely on a stepper for their 4 axis functions. Granted I don't know a thing about the pinouts on the control board so maybe there's nothing left to plug in extra servos but I would think that adding two servos to the mix wouldn't be that huge of an undertaking. Then use something like the microarc to power a trunion table with a rotating platter and bob's your uncle. There's a guy in one of the facebook groups that has more or less done that. He has a manual selector that switches between his B and C axis so it's not a true 5 axis machine, more of a 3+2 but it does the job. A little integration into the source code and factory hardware would make it a complete solution.
    That said, given the price of the microarc, I would expect a setup like that to run pretty damn close to 10k which would certainly put it outside my budget for an addon. I see a lot of comments lately about the rising costs of tormach's which is certainly true but in my case, I bought a base machine with very few options and have been slowly adding to it over the past couple years. In the end I may have spent roughly what a Haas would have cost me but I did so in much more manageable chunks.
    I would like to see it happen though, if only because that would open up the possibility for homebrew 5th axis mechanics tied to the built in controller. I did this for my 4th axis and while it's no microarc, it does the job for the most part and only cost me a few hundred bucks and a couple days of fiddling. My machine isn't used to make money so that was a much better option than dropping 4-5k on the factory option.

  3. #3
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    Re: 5 axis Tormach, would you get one?

    Given that Tormach's market is largely made up of people who don't have experience with any machinery, having a 5 axis machine sounds like a very good way for a lot of people to get in over their head, crash the machine, and then call tormach and say "why did the machine crash itself?". Even outside of that scenario, how many people would call them and expect tormach to literally walk them through how to program a 5 axis simultaneous part in Fusion 360 (which tormach doesn't even sell)?

    Live tooling for the lathe would be a better area for them to expand to, imo.

  4. #4
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    Re: 5 axis Tormach, would you get one?

    As others have mentioned 5 axis programing would be a challenge. I'm guessing with 10k$ cam software it is a little more straight forward. Lower end cam products an experienced use would still struggle to get results. And support would also be a challenge. Recent thread here about a x,y, offset issue had dozens of responses for the reason and its 99% the user every time. I could not imagine a newer user trying to setup a 5 axis machine.
    Just to avoid tool, holder and spindle collisions with fixtures and machine axis would be time consuming with good cam products and experience, yet alone setup said project on the 5axis mill.
    As for machine I would think they could still sell a good medium size design like their mills, just to a more focused user.
    I come across one person that was building a small one on instagram. It had a ATC with a drawer for tool storage and some other cool stuff like enclosure.
    Hard to say by pictures but it looked cool. I was surprised it never showed up on cnc zone that I noticed anyway.

  5. #5
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    Re: 5 axis Tormach, would you get one?

    5 axis milling appeals to people that want to design parts in 3D and just hit 'print' without worrying about setups and workholding and order of operations. If Tormach wants to be the machine for hobby makers, a small one makes some sense if they can get the programming and setup simple and cheap, but that last part is a bit of a heavy lift.

    Personally for prototyping / R&D work, a 5 axis mill might be nice, but there's not many job shops around that I can have do production runs, so I'd rather have a live-tool lathe or mill-turn from Tormach instead.
    That makes for a product progression too-- design/source a lathe spindle that indexes. Launch it in the lathe with some simple add-on live tools. Then move it into the mill...

  6. #6

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    Re: 5 axis Tormach, would you get one?

    I watch so many videos on 5 axis....just amazing and I feel I'm missing out on an untapped axis or 2. It would open so many doors but I wouldn't even know how to approach in in say...Fusion360. I am assuming the personal/hobbyist version of F360 would even g there. Yean, it would be great if Tormach offered an affordable version, but you know they would have to skimp on a lot of other things, rigidity, work envelope etc. JUst like the 440 (what I have) is the most affordable of the line up, but real quickly I saw the limitations. Sometimes the limitation make some purchases not worth it. (I'm not saying for me and my 440, but you get what I'm saying?)

  7. #7
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    Re: 5 axis Tormach, would you get one?

    Yes, you need a paid subscription for Fusion to do the 5D stuff.
    But if you pay for a full trunnion, or other 5D articulation, you could set aside enough subscription fees for the next 10 years as part of the purchase. At least in your mind...

  8. #8
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    Re: 5 axis Tormach, would you get one?

    I'm surprised there hasn't been a 5 axis version of the 770 or 1100 yet
    I think the reason is physics. You cannot make a rigid 5 axis trunnion machine with any kind of actual working envelope for $30,000.

    Each axis in that linkage (X and Y table, then trunnion and rotary) add significant stackup error in the tolerance chain, AS WELL AS additional mechanical loads that need to be accounted for.

    Just look at an 1100. Now consider putting another 200 pounds of trunnion on it -- would that work? (Hint: no, it wouldn't.)

  9. #9
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    Re: 5 axis Tormach, would you get one?

    Steve Simpson was making an add-on 4th axis (the InTurn) for a while and an early prototype trunnion for that which provided for 5-axis milling. He seems to have deleted any reference to the product on his web site but his YouTube channel still has some videos. It may be out of production. If so, too bad as it was a nice product - servo-driven spindle with a locking brake and an encoder for indexing. He'd done some work to interface it to the Tormach 1100 via Mach3 and maybe PathPilot.

    In the Sherline or Taig sized world, there is the Pocket NC, which is a small 5-axis mill in 10k and 50k spindle versions.

    https://pocketnc.com/

    They are reportedly working on a larger mill, ~300 lbs with a tool changer that will probably be 5-10x the cost of the Pocket NC. That may be released next year, but they are still refining the design, so who knows when it will be out. I'd really like to get one but would probably have to drive it with SprutCAM, which could be "trying".

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