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  1. #1

    pcnc440's after near 3 yrs

    I don't see enough posted regarding the pro's of these little machines , so I'm posting a bit of a review which is something I rarely do , and it can be taken for whatever you see worth . If I based my purchase on a lot of what I've read at the time then I may not have bought these , but I knew what I needed and I based my purchase on those needs . Like many other guys , over the years I've worked with so many different brands of industrial cnc's , and my opinion of hobby grade machines is reasonably based on my experience from jobbing shops to production shops

    I've own 3 440's for nearly 3 yrs now which I use as production machines . Thinking back I wouldn't have done things differently and I just got a quote for another one . What has really got me to thinking is the fact that they have been so reliable and consistent .

    The other day I had the angular contact bearings go in one of the z stepper motors which was in a sense a pita but no biggie . Especially since these mills have seen an exceptional amount of use .
    I don't do any hogging but I have put countless hours on these mills almost every day since setting them up and the z is almost always in constant motion . I've seen it questioned in the past in regards to the motors having the contact bearings built into them and I wondered their durability as well . I'm impressed considering this is the first one I've blown after all that machining without a single adjustment , and a $195 expense after thousands of hours and parts is nothing . I wouldn't want that setup on a big mill but it's proven to be solid on these small mills

    The only other parts I had to change on another mill was the spindle driver , and all 3 needed new oilers . 2 x axis steppers needed wires soldered back together after breaks because the conduit is a bit of a turd which eventually breaks and cuts through a wire . The conduit is plastic wrapped metal which doesn't have a lot of give to it , it should be full plastic in my opinion . That and the tight way covers pretty much cover it for complaints . More thought into limit switch placement would help to though .

    I've seen a number of complaints about the mx3660 drivers blowing and I haven't had that happen . From what I've gathered is they blow when e stopped , so I never press that button , even when powering down . I honestly don't know if that is the actual cause of the problem , but why risk it , the esc key is just as quick to hit if things go south

    A ballscrew swap pushes the x axis to a little over 11" and the y axis can be pushed to 6.5" which is a bit of gain . I see a lot of bigger is better , and to each his own . If a bigger work envelope is needed for the parts then bigger is better , but most home hobby shops aren't making big parts and bigger isn't going to make a better part unless a guy goes to the next step and buys a hass . I have a torus in the corner that takes up the working space of the other 3 , does the same parts and has had far more repairs done to it than the others combined .

    The draw on my power is nothing considering the fact that all 3 mills are on the same breaker , which means a guy can stuff a garage with these things . I rarely power them down so that I can wake from my morning coffee and load stock and go . They do not lose position .

    Anyhow , these mills have been nearly bullet proof with all things considered . There will always be little hiccups here or there but nothing different than anything I've experienced while working with industrial cnc's or whatnot . For anyone considering one of these mills with the understanding of it's limitations then I doubt you'd be disappointed

  2. #2

    Re: pcnc440's after near 3 yrs

    Thank you
    My new 440 just showed up and I'm working on getting it set up while I wait on the back ordered controller .

    I do have to say it quite a bit bigger in person then I expected there was some internal back and forth over the 440 or 770 but if I had gone with the 770 I wouldn't have had any start up tooling budget.
    Once I seen it in person I wasn't at all disappointed in going with the 440

  3. #3
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    Re: pcnc440's after near 3 yrs

    It's good to hear you are happy with your 440's metalmayhem. What size parts are you making with your 440? Do they have ATCs? I've been shopping for a Haas Mini Mill 2 for the larger table size and 20 Tool ATC. I bet I can buy 5 loaded 440's for the price of one Mini Mill 2. Something I have to think about.

    I hope to load it up in the morning with more parts than I can on my Pulsar and let it run unattended for 3-4 hours. I also don't want to babysit my new mill waiting around for manual tool changes, something that I must do now with the Pulsar. Most parts I machine are aluminum approx 4in x 8in x 3/4in or smaller ran in batches of 4-12 so loading up a fixture I think makes sense with the Mini Mill and maybe a couple of 440s.

    Steve

  4. #4

    Re: pcnc440's after near 3 yrs

    my parts range in size but some are as big as 4x10 flat bar or smaller on the 440's , . I don't need much bigger and when I do then they go on the torus . I've got some parts that I throw up a rotary . Support sucked when I wanted to add my rotary . When I asked a simple question to verify the driver pinout I was informed that the mod would void my warranty , I hardly consider that a mod . So I got a y connector for the db cable and connected the 4th cable on the exterior of the mill , no mod and I like it better than being hardwired !!

    I look at it as the more spindles I am running the more money I'm making vs having all the toys
    I bought the base mills with the control and chip pans . When I weighed out my options I looked at 2 tool changer costing me more than another mill . The bells and whistles seem nice but if dollar for dollar gains me more running spindles then thats more manual tool changes that I am willing to do , and I do a lot of tool changes in a day . Fortunately 6-8 tools/ part run from 5-40 minutes/tool which gives me a lot of time to chill depending how I schedule things , otherwise it can keep me pretty busy . After yrs of working hard to make others rich I really don't mind the hard days for myself when I do have them

    The last company I worked for had a bunch of mini mills and I think you'll appreciate what those mills can do for the size and price range . The high speed option costs a few extra bux but I will say that is a must have . Macro is nice to have to especially if your going to run multi part fixtures with g52 shifts

  5. #5

    Re: pcnc440's after near 3 yrs

    Quote Originally Posted by Yabbadabbadoo View Post
    Thank you

    Once I seen it in person I wasn't at all disappointed in going with the 440
    I was a bit surprised to once they were in front of my face .

    I don't know if they send extra fuses now but if they don't then get some , nothing like blowing a spindle fuse to find that it's going to be a week before having the mill up and running again . I learned that the hard way . Spare limit switches are also a must have . The x switch is in a bad spot and if chips get built up under the cover then the way cover with the chips will snap the switch . I bought mine from ebay vs what tormach charges for the switch

  6. #6

    Re: pcnc440's after near 3 yrs

    this may look ugly to some it's absolutely beautiful to me lol
    I'll admit I need to improve my house keeping
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 440.jpg  

  7. #7

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    Re: pcnc440's after near 3 yrs

    Looks like you need a washdown hose

    I feel the same about my 1100 as you do about your 440. I bought it based on my needs and I had reasonable expectations about it's capabilities. So far, the only thing I'm disappointed with is the lack of some additional accessories that I would have liked to have the budget for up front. I think my biggest gripe is the PDB. Granted, my spindle is due for a bit of regular maintenance but I've always disliked the sensitivity to shop air pressure which results in tools being tough to remove in the few PSI before my compressor kicks on. I've been hesitant to loosen the preload on the drawbar washers because of past issues with tool pullout when working with steel but I've learned a lot since then and have found recipes that work well and probably won't cause the same issues I had in my earlier days. Even so, a BT30 spindle is pretty much the top of my list for upgrades. Otherwise, the repeatability and performance is everything I need. Sure more would be better, but coming from decades of having NO machine tools, to having this, I'm content.

    What continues to get to me is the people out there who insist these machines aren't worth the metal they're made of. I get that there are bigger, faster, more precise, more capable machines in the world. None that match the price of the tormach's without buying old and used and even then there are power requirements to run them that add more to the start up cost. If that's what a person is after and they have the money for it, then kudos to them. I just want to make parts and so far, I've not had any reason to complain about any of my machines base capabilities.

  8. #8
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    Re: pcnc440's after near 3 yrs

    Quote Originally Posted by metalmayhem View Post
    this may look ugly to some it's absolutely beautiful to me lol
    I'll admit I need to improve my house keeping
    Looks like money to me!! I did make table shields and backsplash to keep the mess contained.
    mike sr

  9. #9

    Re: pcnc440's after near 3 yrs

    Quote Originally Posted by soofle616 View Post
    Looks like you need a washdown hose



    What continues to get to me is the people out there who insist these machines aren't worth the metal they're made of. I get that there are bigger, faster, more precise, more capable machines in the world. None that match the price of the tormach's without buying old and used and even then there are power requirements to run them that add more to the start up cost. If that's what a person is after and they have the money for it, then kudos to them. I just want to make parts and so far, I've not had any reason to complain about any of my machines base capabilities.



    I've questioned guys over the years who have bought massive 4x4's which I knew would never see the box loaded or barely see dust let alone any real dirt , and their answer has always been " it will be great for when I have to come to work on a snowy day" . The just in case cost far exceeds the cost of a possible missed day of work . We have many years where we won't see any snow , when we do it's maybe for a week . I never had a problem getting to work on a snowy day and my commuter was usually a front wheel drive turd car . So , is the 4x4 really necessary just in case it snows , or , is it just a mindset

    for the most part the machine depends on what a guy needs . Tormachs would barely pass for tool room mills if pass at all for the heavy industrial work I used to do .

    If I was doing 100's or thousands of the same part at a time then I'd probably have gone towards bigger machines so that I can fixture for multiple parts , but I don't and all the parts are made to order

    I still consider them toy machines and I don't need extreme high precision . I need parts that match up within a couple thou and parts with a nice surface finish , and thats what these mills provide . I'd love to have a shop filled with mori's , hass are ok but far over rated , If I had all that then I'd have to rent a shop space which is running 3-6k/month around here now , and I wouldn't be working from home and would probably never see my family .
    The key thing with these mills is they are cheap and easily replaced . I will have zero issue to send them to the scrapper when the day comes that they become plagued with problems , because by that point their cost will be a tiny fraction of a bigger picture .

    One problem that I find are so many hobby guys seem hell bent on having parts made to .0005-.001" for no real reason . On bores or tight fits ya sure , but most drawing that a machinist gets have general machine tolerances of +/- .005

  10. #10

    Re: pcnc440's after near 3 yrs

    Quote Originally Posted by popspipes View Post
    Looks like money to me!! I did make table shields and backsplash to keep the mess contained.
    I'm bad , I just keep loading parts and let them build up with too much chip . I need to make some guards for mine but never get around to it . I blew out the way covers on one mill and I put a big chunk of 3/32 aluminum sheet across the front which helps control the chips better and prevents the cover from getting jammed

  11. #11

    Re: pcnc440's after near 3 yrs

    The front wheel drive car is probably better in the snow than the 4X4 anyways. Literally every aspect of 4x4's with exception of ground clearance is against the 4X4 in slick conditions. Weight distribution is terrible, extra mass is terrible, solid axles are terrible, the list goes on an on. The point of course is that there's a pretty big case of Dunning Kruger effect with many things, mills and 4X4's are certainly not exceptions. People should just be happy for other people when they achieve success. It's pretty simple really.

    Sometimes I wish I had just bought a Tormach and started machining. I'd probably do a lot less tinkering with the machine. Of course there was no chance of my affording one at the time, so I ended up with the G0704.

  12. #12

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    Re: pcnc440's after near 3 yrs

    If not tinkering was the goal, I probably would have been happier with a Haas/Mori/Okuma/etc. since all their control systems are locked down and proprietary. The tormach's source code being so easy to access has allowed me to dive in and see how and why things work which has led to no end of ideas and projects. I can say with absolute certainty that my machine has made more chips cutting parts for itself than anything else. But that's part of what I've been enjoying about it.

    As for these things being "toys", all the big shiny things in my garage are exactly that. Most of them take up more space than my tormach, cost at least as much, and are really only good for getting me in trouble. The tormach also gets me into plenty of trouble, but mostly just with my wife when I spend too much time in my cave and not enough with her

  13. #13

    Re: pcnc440's after near 3 yrs

    Quote Originally Posted by CL_MotoTech View Post
    Sometimes I wish I had just bought a Tormach and started machining. I'd probably do a lot less tinkering with the machine. Of course there was no chance of my affording one at the time, so I ended up with the G0704.
    The tinkering is why I bought turnkey . I got tired of fudging with the retrofits .
    It's pretty cool what you've done to your g704 , as well are the parts you get done on it .

  14. #14

    Re: pcnc440's after near 3 yrs

    [QUOTE=soofle616;2442278
    As for these things being "toys", all the big shiny things in my garage are exactly that. Most of them take up more space than my tormach, cost at least as much, and are really only good for getting me in trouble. [/QUOTE]

    I like my toys to except I pretty much done away with the ones that can cause broken bones , I still love the scream of a 2 stroke but I don't heal as fast as I used to

  15. #15

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    Aug 2020
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    83

    Re: pcnc440's after near 3 yrs

    I'm glad to hear that there are other 440 folks here and also glad to hear that years of non stop work really has been little to no failures. Would I have liked the 770..sure, but I wanted a lot of tooling so... I am interested to hear about the ball screw swap for a larger work envelope!

  16. #16

    Re: pcnc440's after near 3 yrs

    I have an RD350 and it's my main bike. Wheelie machine. There aren't too many 2t's on the street these days.

    I figure the torture that is my G0704 will just make be that much more appreciative when I get a professionally built machine. I don't quite have the sales volume to justify one yet, but it's likely within reach given some luck.

  17. #17

    Re: pcnc440's after near 3 yrs

    [QUOTE=Tigster;2442346.. I am interested to hear about the ball screw swap for a larger work envelope![/QUOTE]

    The ballscrew swap is dead simple and takes 15-20 minutes . The screws are chopped without any machining done to them . I think that the motor mount can be played with to gain a bit to but I haven't bothered to try

    Quote Originally Posted by CL_MotoTech View Post
    I have an RD350 and it's my main bike. Wheelie machine. There aren't too many 2t's on the street these days.
    .
    I've always kept my playing to the back roads . I miss my old cr and I've always loved trikes , but if I had to chose a street toy then it would be an old rd or rz350

  18. #18
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    Re: pcnc440's after near 3 yrs

    Quote Originally Posted by soofle616 View Post
    Looks like you need a washdown hose

    I feel the same about my 1100 as you do about your 440. I bought it based on my needs and I had reasonable expectations about it's capabilities. So far, the only thing I'm disappointed with is the lack of some additional accessories that I would have liked to have the budget for up front. I think my biggest gripe is the PDB. Granted, my spindle is due for a bit of regular maintenance but I've always disliked the sensitivity to shop air pressure which results in tools being tough to remove in the few PSI before my compressor kicks on. I've been hesitant to loosen the preload on the drawbar washers because of past issues with tool pullout when working with steel but I've learned a lot since then and have found recipes that work well and probably won't cause the same issues I had in my earlier days. Even so, a BT30 spindle is pretty much the top of my list for upgrades. Otherwise, the repeatability and performance is everything I need. Sure more would be better, but coming from decades of having NO machine tools, to having this, I'm content.

    What continues to get to me is the people out there who insist these machines aren't worth the metal they're made of. I get that there are bigger, faster, more precise, more capable machines in the world. None that match the price of the tormach's without buying old and used and even then there are power requirements to run them that add more to the start up cost. If that's what a person is after and they have the money for it, then kudos to them. I just want to make parts and so far, I've not had any reason to complain about any of my machines base capabilities.

    Tormach tools are hated over on PM forum almost as much as fusion cad/cam.
    I find many on that forum think unless it has 10hp its a toy. But they also have a very active forum for south bend lathes. That explains most of the it to me.
    I always wonder when people say it needs 10hp, or it needs 4th axis or it needs uber interpolated accuracy , or 25 atc .... whatever and I wont buy one.
    Then with a super high dollar high performance cnc machine with all that ability, they will complain about paying 300$ a year cad/ cam software that wont even use all the machines ability anyway.
    Or better yet they cant figure out how to use it

    As mentioned above get one set it up and making chips. Then build your cad/cam and machinist skills over time "it will take time"! It can be a real eye opener, if not scary what these machines can do in the hands of a creative skilled person! Makes you wonder what people do in their garages !
    in short
    If you can and want bigger and faster go for it. It wont make you a better machinist! But you will get faster results good or bad

    btw: many new air compressors I see are 155 psi now with a 120 psi cycle low. I replaced my old one with a new 155 psi unit and I have pdb set to just release tool at the max psi setting of 120 psi advised by tormach.

  19. #19

    Re: pcnc440's after near 3 yrs

    The internet is full of machinists that haven't spent a cent of their own money to run/own a machine. They are probably competent machinists/operators/programmers, but just because you run your company's DMG it doesn't make you an expert on owning and operating a machine yourself. Never mind owning the machine, creating models, doing the CAM, pushing the buttons, and doing the seemingly never ending other BS associated with running a machining operation top to bottom. It's a steep hill to climb and there are at least dozens of us that make it work.

  20. #20

    Re: pcnc440's after near 3 yrs

    Quote Originally Posted by mountaindew View Post
    Tormach tools are hated over on PM forum almost as much as fusion cad/cam.
    I find many on that forum think unless it has 10hp its a toy. But they also have a very active forum for south bend lathes. That explains most of the it to me.
    I always wonder when people say it needs 10hp, or it needs 4th axis or it needs uber interpolated accuracy , or 25 atc .... whatever and I wont buy one.
    Then with a super high dollar high performance cnc machine with all that ability, they will complain about paying 300$ a year cad/ cam software that wont even use all the machines ability anyway.
    .
    A lot of guys build their self worth on what they own , it's like that with all sorts of things , When the bills are paid and the smoke clears then I'm sure that I'm raking in more cash than most of the guys running 2-3 hass doing contract work , and thats not to brag by any means but it's stating a fact . And , I'm sure that I could run circles around most of those guys in their own shop .

    I own what I have not because it's all I can afford but because it's all I need . For the cost of their spindle replacement I can toss in at least one machine . A newbie who thinks that they can just by a tormach and start a business doing contract work will probably find they bought a pipe dream . I've got a lot of experience and I'm skilled at making things work and my shop and my products are built around making it work .

    Ultimately they are hobby machines with many limitations , but they can definitely get the job done , I'm a bit unique in how I use mine but at the same time I'm not the only one

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