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IndustryArena Forum > MetalWorking Machines > Tormach Personal CNC Mill > Tormach 770 - Minimum Starter Setup
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  1. #1
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    Tormach 770 - Minimum Starter Setup

    I'd like to buy the minimum setup to start learning on the 770 machine, cutting foam, then wood and plastic. Of course, over time I'll buy other needed tools, but right now my budget is pretty limited.
    This is my short bucket list, do you think I forgot anything absolutely necessary?

    32084 PCNC 770 CNC milling machine Series 3
    31191 Stand for PCNC 770
    31446 Lifting Bar 93.21 93.21
    30188 Basic Tooling Set - Inch
    30616 Jog Shuttle Controller
    35286 PathPilot Controller
    32580 Clamp Kit for 5/8" T-Slots (58 Pcs.)
    35588 Cutting Tool Starter Set #1
    31386 Machine Oil
    31748 Machine Package for PCNC 770
    31373 Automatic Oiler 115 Volt (Assembly)

  2. #2
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    Re: Tormach 770 - Minimum Starter Setup

    The 31191 stand is not necessary unless you plan to get their backsplash too. The automatic oiler is nice, but I wouldn't say that it's absolutely necessary; the manual one would serve your purpose until you get very, very serious.
    I don't know what the 31748 machine package is.
    You need a vise.

  3. #3
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    Re: Tormach 770 - Minimum Starter Setup

    A few comments:
    What is a 31748? Searching on the Tormach site returns nothing.

    You don't appear to have included a monitor for the controller. A touch screen is *REALLY* nice. I use a Monoprice 106959 17-inch from Amazon.ca for cdn$229 with free shipping. I believe that this is identical to Tormach 35575.

    I don't believe that the Tormach controller includes a keyboard or mouse. Anything generic should work. You could save a few hundred by purchasing the interface card + software DVD and running on most any PC (I use a junque Dell tower machine).

    You'll need some way to measure tool length. At one time Tormach sold a small granite block with a hole for the TTS shank but I don't now see it. The granite block plus a height gauge works reasonably well. See 32284 for an overpriced picture of what I mean.

    You'll need some way to locate the edges of your stock. I mostly use a Haimer 33072 but there are much cheaper alternatives such as 32660.

    You'll need some way to determine the distance from spindle nose to top of your stock. A Haimer also does this function. A cheaper alternative is 31283 or to be really cheap you can use strips torn from an old telephone book.

    I'm not a particular fan of pre-packaged kits of items such as 30188 and 35588. I find that it is generally better to purchase just the items that I use. That said, kits provide a nice assortment for getting started when you are unsure what you'll actually need.

    You'll need an assortment of metric hex keys, screwdrivers, etc but you probably have that.

  4. #4
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    Re: Tormach 770 - Minimum Starter Setup

    If money is really tight you could ignore the vise and play with stuff clamped to the mill table with a piece of MDF under the stock. I got HomeDepot to cut a sheet of 16mm MDF into 7x20 inch pieces and largely use that underneath when cutting thin plastic. Of course that increases the probability of cutting into the mill table if you make a mistake in setup!

    What CAM software will you be using?

  5. #5
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    Re: Tormach 770 - Minimum Starter Setup

    what are you planning on making? do you have an end goal, or just a hobby?

    I started right in on aluminum. 6061 is pretty forgiving

  6. #6
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    Re: Tormach 770 - Minimum Starter Setup

    31748 Machine Package for PCNC 770 - Ooops, my fault, seems to be a shipping package, the price is 0 anyways.
    31373 Automatic Oiler 115 Volt (Assembly) - I wasn't sure about it, how often should I oil the machine? Tormach website says the automatic oiler does it every couple of hours.
    31191 Stand for PCNC 770 - I need some sturdy stand anyways, will add the backsplash later.
    XXXXX Uh-huh, I forgot the vise! Which one would you recommend?
    XXXXX The monitor - can't I just buy a $100 monitor in Costco? Should it be a 4:3 monitor, or a standard Full HD screen will work?
    35286 PathPilot Controller - Need an additional computer either way.
    XXXXX Edge finder - Not sure I fully understand what does it do. In the conventional machine shops they just use wigglers to find the edge.
    CAM software - I believe Autodesk Fusion 360 should works? Which one do you use?

  7. #7
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    Re: Tormach 770 - Minimum Starter Setup

    I will start playing with the machine as a hobby, but the final goal is making profit, if it's manufacturing parts for clients or running my own projects. Just a little personal background-recently I moved to Canada, but still working for the company in my home country remotely as a mechanical engineer (yep, it's possible when you have some talented technicians on the other side of the Skype), but I feel like this pleasure won't last forever, and I want to be prepared for that day, and I feel like for me it's enough working for other people, so the goal is definitely to be an independent entrepreneur with strong manufacturing abilities.
    I'll start from cutting foam and I feel like it will take a while, I have zero personal experience with cutting chips (except a very basic course in the university).

  8. #8
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    Re: Tormach 770 - Minimum Starter Setup

    For height measuring, this works well...

    Pro Touch Off Gage 04-000 - Edge Technology

    You can do both tool offsets and the Z offset on your work. I use this all the time. But you do need something other than a ruler for offsets.

    For edge finding, just a basic $20 edge finder does fine. I have a Haimer now, but when I started I used a $20 edge finder.

    I also got the manual pump to save money.

    A vise is almost a necessity. It will be hard to even get started without it. Clamping stuff down to the table and being able to machine it isn't as easy as it sounds, for someone just starting out. Still, if you can't get it now, then wait till you can get a decent one.

    https://www.tormach.com/store/index....ET&portrelay=1

    I have an 1100 and went back and forth on the stand. In the end I decided to order it with, and happy I did. But I have seen some nice setups without as well. If I had not gotten the stand, I was going to use a Little Giant table like this...

    https://www.amazon.com/Little-Giant-.../dp/B00LY19D34

    They have many sizes and capacities.

    The 770 stand doesn't come with coolant, but that isn't a necessity. In fact, I often just squirt WD-40 and leave the coolant switch off. It is only when I am cutting a lot do I use it.

    Your basic tooling looks fine, but I started without a tooling set and bought individually as I progressed. Use cheap HSS tools in the beginning. The must haves are TTS holders and collets. At a minimum, you only need a drill chuck, two ER20 TTS holders, and a couple collets (1/4" and 3/8" probably). And then a few cheap ($5) HSS end mills and some drill bits from Home Depot (if you plan on drilling). It takes time to understand what of what you will need, and that will get you started.

    Also, Tormach's drawbar wrench/hammer is inexpensive and works well (part # 32336).

    I got the Amazon touchscreen mentioned earlier, but if you have a monitor already, use that. I use the touchscreen, but still have to use the keyboard and mouse at times. The controller does come with a mouse, but I don't think a keyboard? I got the little keyboard (#37759). Maybe the controller came with a keyboard and I just forgot because I used the little keyboard.

    Some items that you don't list and that you will eventually need...

    Machinist level (https://www.amazon.com/Starrett-98-8.../dp/B07579XNJ9)
    Dial indicator(s) (0.0005" I think is the most useful and reasonably priced).
    Digital Caliper (You can get these at harbor freight)
    Micrometers (the digital caliper will work for now)

    And...

    123 Blocks
    Parallels

    The biggest item that you don't have listed initially is a vise. I would drop all of the basic tooling, start with two ER20 TTS Holders, 2 HHS End Mills each of 3/8" and 1/4", 2 ER20 collets for those (3/8 and 1/4), a keyed drill chuck, and add the $269 4" vise, $20 edge finder and $99 height offset gauge. However, and maybe a 770 owner can chime in, if the 770 can handle the 5" vise, then definitely get the bigger vise.

  9. #9
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    Re: Tormach 770 - Minimum Starter Setup

    Quote Originally Posted by Viroos View Post
    I'd like to buy the minimum setup to start learning on the 770 machine, cutting foam, then wood and plastic. Of course, over time I'll buy other needed tools, but right now my budget is pretty limited.
    This is my short bucket list, do you think I forgot anything absolutely necessary?

    32084 PCNC 770 CNC milling machine Series 3
    31191 Stand for PCNC 770
    31446 Lifting Bar 93.21 93.21
    30188 Basic Tooling Set - Inch
    30616 Jog Shuttle Controller
    35286 PathPilot Controller
    32580 Clamp Kit for 5/8" T-Slots (58 Pcs.)
    35588 Cutting Tool Starter Set #1
    31386 Machine Oil
    31748 Machine Package for PCNC 770
    31373 Automatic Oiler 115 Volt (Assembly)
    If you are just learning, why not just buy one of those Chinese gantry routers from E-bay- you can get simple ones from 500.00 up to heavier ones that cut aluminum for 2000.00. They will teach you all you need to know about cnc milling for very little investment. Once you have mastered G codes and can cut your foam, wood ,plastic and some aluminum with confidence, you will be better able to choose a real mill for your business.

  10. #10
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    Re: Tormach 770 - Minimum Starter Setup

    I agree with the thought of skipping the 30138 and using only ER16/ER20 holders. I'd also drop the drill chuck and use ER collets instead. Even super cheap ER collets such as those from Banggood (ER16 metric set for cdn$13.95 with free shipping) are more accurate than the Tormach drill chuck and drills won't slip in them. If you plan to machine plastic the Tormach cutter set is probably not appropriate; you want something like 34676. You'll probably initially break a few (!!) cutters. Consider learning with cheapies from places like Banggood -- 1/8-inch O-flute carbide ones for about $1 each!

  11. #11
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    Re: Tormach 770 - Minimum Starter Setup

    I wouldn’t get 35588 starter tool kit.

    Instead, I have would get 4 each 1/4, 5/16, 3/8 and 1/2 inch set screw tool holders, 6 each ER 16 and ER 20 collet holder’s and 2 sets each ER 16 and ER 20 collets, and the ER 16 tension/compression tapping head.

    When I bought my 1100 6 years ago, that’s the tool holders I bought and I haven’t regretted my choices for a second.

    I also bought the lifting bar, the deluxe stand, automatic oiler, power draw bar, foot pedal, 2 machine arms, control computer and monitor and the jog shuttle controller.

    I didn’t get the ATC because it wasn’t available when I bought my machine.
    You can buy GOOD PARTS or you can buy CHEAP PARTS, but you can't buy GOOD CHEAP PARTS.

  12. #12
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    Re: Tormach 770 - Minimum Starter Setup

    I think Steve is right on with the tool holders. Novakan has what appear to be identical tool holders for a little cost savings

    https://www.novakon.net/collections/...oling-1?page=1

    For endmills, dont buy anything just yet. Do your CAM and buy the endmills you need for your projects. I bought a kit when I first got into this, and I have yet to use 75% of them.

    For a vise, people seem to be happy with the one from tormach. You also cant go wrong with Kurt

    The Power drawbar is a huge time saver if you can swing it

    You'll also need the tools of the trade.. Calipers, 123 blocks, parallels, Dial indicator w/ mount, edge finders, squares, level, deburring tools, air compressor, shopvac, chip brushes...

    Fusion 360 is a great program to start in. There are TONS of great youtube videos from John Saunders (NYC CNC), Lars Christiansen, and Titans of CNC has some good courses.

  13. #13
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    Re: Tormach 770 - Minimum Starter Setup

    30188 Basic Tooling Set - Inch
    I agree with Steve. $175 for a set of dubious quality drills and a handful of endmills is outrageous. Buy what you need... not those.

    35286 PathPilot Controller
    If you are even the smallest bit saavy with computers and/or have a unused older desktop lying around, then don't buy this. PP/Linux is very forgiving; haven't heard of anyone NOT being able to make it work. You need to buy the $115 Mesa card. Installation of PP is simple; with a blank HDD in the computer, insert the CD, and turn it on. Everything (Linux and PP) installs with no real interaction required. Some people have needed help from the Mesa representative (who hangs out here) with DIP switch positions if the card came with the settings wrong (that problem can occur even if you buy the controller from Tormach).

    31748 Machine Package for PCNC 770
    What is that? I can't find it on the Tormach website.

    With the money you save from the above things, spend it on the Power Draw Bar. A must have, in my book.
    Tim
    Tormach 1100-3, Grizzly G0709 lathe, Clausing 8520 mill, SolidWorks, HSMWorks.

  14. #14
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    Tormach 770 - Minimum Starter Setup

    Some really good advice above here is my must have items to start out:

    I would not get any starter kits for tooling I would however get Tormach brand items since the quality is great and supporting the company is wise. We all want them to continue to grow and offer more great products not to mention continue to support them.

    I would get the Tormach controller with a touchscreen running pathpilot. Their controller is very stable and the screen will be clicked a million times in a project and touching it helps with the clicks.

    Keyboard and mouse. I don’t care for the shuttle and use the arrow keys on the KB. Realistically even with a touch screen you need the mouse and kb.

    I would get Tormach set screw holders for a 1/2 in mill, 3/8 and 1/8 and 6 drill chucks. Get a Tormach er20 compression tap head for tapping 1/4x20!holes.

    Use HSS cutting bits to learn on. Pick up a set of cheap drill bits to learn with too. Pick up a Tormach 1/4x20 tap. You will need 3-4 of each of these to start with. Once you understand the value of carbide give Carl a call at lakeshorecarbide

    A Tormach height gauge and granite block is a must TTS is a brilliant solution which works and is possible with these 2 items and TTS holders.

    A hamier probe is a must because it’s a joy to use and is used 2 million times per project. An extra tip should always be on hand. Having a wiggle edge finder can be used at very first until you get the concept of what you will end up doing with the hamier probe. For getting your z height a piece of paper is best to learn with.

    Tormach sells a brass tipped wrench for the manual draw bar which is a great tool. Save up because the 1st upgrade should be the power draw bar. I didn’t use one for over a year but wish I had gotten it a lot sooner. This item is not a must have but very close.

    If you plan on using the mill in aluminum get into it sooner rather then later. Start off with some wood but move quickly to aluminum If that is what you plan on milling most with the mill. You will break bits so again use cheap HSS to learn on.

    The manual oiler is easy and works well.

    Search in the zone to see if using a 6” vise in a 770 is common it is on an 1100. If yes get a used kurt 6” vise if no get the Tormach 5” vise. . I like to spend my money only once and this is an area to invest any extra funds you can save up. Kurts are bullet proof and you will use your vise a million times a project and a kurt vise helps with working holding which is a huge part of the cnc puzzle. Do not be afraid of getting a used kurt vise as long as it turns smoothly. You will need a set of parallels too. A vise is critical and not optional in my eyes it is a must.

    A Tormach working holding clamp set

    A HF Digital caliper.

    A shars work stop the one which cost $15 and a set of 123 blocks.

    Ironcad is incredible and easy for learning 3d cad and I use it with sprutcam which is affordable but challenging but lots of folks use fusuon360.

    Provide a $1 per month patreon to John Saunders of NYCcnc so he can continue to provide his great youtube videos.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  15. #15
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    Re: Tormach 770 - Minimum Starter Setup

    First of all, thank you very much for lots of extremely helpful advise!
    I've updated my "shopping list", started from the vise, tooling selection and added several inexpensive "luxury" items, like the wireless adapter.
    Also I think I'll buy the whole ER20 metric collet set (well, I work in metric system )) instead of buying them separately every time, plus a nice wooden box is included
    Touch screen-it seems like a very nice option so I take it too (BTW why is this 4:3 ratio?).
    Power drawbar-it's just too expensive for now.
    Measurement tools and mill bits I will buy separately from McMaster, Banggood etc.
    Edge finding - this one https://littlemachineshop.com/produc...ProductID=3793 or similar.
    Tool offset measurement-with the machine itself ("phone book page" method) as described here: https://www.tormach.com/blog/tool-of...ith-pathpilot/


    Do I need the 35356 - TTS Adapter Collet: R8 or it comes with the machine?

    The list:

    32084 - PCNC 770 Series 3
    31191 - 770 Machine Stand
    31373 - Automatic Oiler (120V) --- (want it anyways)
    31748 - PCNC 770 Owner's Kit
    31446 - Lifting Bar
    35286 - PathPilot Controller --- (don't have any spare computer)
    31386 - Machine Oil
    35575 - 17" Touch Screen Kit
    31759 - 5" CNC Vise
    32336 - Drawbar Wrench/Hammer
    31829 - TTS ER Collet Holder: ER20
    35356 - TTS Adapter Collet: R8 --- (do I need it?)
    30616 - Jog Shuttle
    32306 - Metric ER20 Collet Set (14 Pcs.)
    38207 - Wireless Network Adapter for PathPilot Controller --- (why not for $13.95?)
    32799 - 5" Parallel Set

    And not the question: the 31192 - PCNC 770 Coolant Kit is a heavy item shipped with a freight truck. Is it worth adding it now to save the shipping cost in the future, or the fog buster is a better option?

    What do you think?

  16. #16
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    Re: Tormach 770 - Minimum Starter Setup

    "Do I need the 35356 - TTS Adapter Collet: R8 or it comes with the machine?"

    It does not come with the machine (you only need it if you use TTS holders). So you need it.

    Personally, I wanted the fog buster, but the 1100 stand automatically comes with flood, so that is what I have. I thought I would eventually get the fog buster, but I have come to like the flood coolant. I added a shower curtain like enclosure using PVC pipe (it cost $30 total). I would say add it now (because of shipping). I am going to add flood to my (manual) lathe as well.

    You need a good air compressor as well, obviously if you go with the fog buster, but generally just to blow chips off the table and such. The California Air version that Tormach sells is amazingly quiet. Not having that noise makes a huge difference. I got mine on Amazon.

    Btw, their USB cable extensions are reasonably priced, and I needed them with my (1100) stand, because the PC is in the cabinet under the stand.

    Lastly, be prepared to have to buy many of the same size collets. For example, at 3/8" and below, many mill cutters come with the same sized shanks. I bought a collet set as well, and it is handy eventually, but I had to buy several 3/8" collets right away. It was the ER holders that added up though. I think I am up to 10 now, and that is not including all the tools with them built in (SuperFly, tapping head, slitting saw, etc.)

    The network adapter works well. I added the USB bulkhead cable so that it is outside. I don't think it would work inside the stand.

    I don't see the clamping kit. But if the vise comes with enough to mount it to the table, you won't need it (for awhile at least). That is all I use mine for.

  17. #17
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    Re: Tormach 770 - Minimum Starter Setup

    Even if you design in metric you may want to consider using imperial sized endmills. My experience has been that metric endmills are significantly more expensive than similar sized imperial ones. If you mostly purchase direct from China the opposite is true. If you want to use 1/8, 1/4 or 3/8 shank cutters you will find that metric collets must be collapsed too much to be convenient.

    Again, if money is tight I would use a junque computer and save $500 or more. Ask your friends/employer/recycling centre/whatever if they will give you an old machine. Failing that, Canada’s best deals on unlocked apple and android cell phones, TVs, tablets, android media players, air conditioners, fidget spinners, kitchen appliances, bathroom accessories, as seen on tv products, gazeebos, tents and more and similar places sell used machines. You can also get the identical monitor for considerably less from Amazon.ca.

    I ordered the coolant kit initially and, in retrospect, the purchase was a mistake. The coolant tank doesn't hold sufficient coolant (chips retain coolant and soon the tank runs dry until things drain), the pump isn't strong enough, the chip shield is useless and the surround isn't high enough to trap chips especially from the Superfly or Shear Hog. In my opinion you would be far better served by building your own enclosure following one of the many online designs.

  18. #18
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    Re: Tormach 770 - Minimum Starter Setup

    Quote Originally Posted by Viroos View Post
    Also I think I'll buy the whole ER20 metric collet set (well, I work in metric system )) instead of buying them separately every time, plus a nice wooden box is included
    Living in Europe I use metric exclusively but most of my end mills have unusual sizes like 6.35mm and 3.175mm - PathPilot doesn't care at all . I also bought an ER20 collet set from Maritool (maritool have closer tolerances) but 5 years and 80 tool holders later I still haven't used them all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Viroos View Post
    Tool offset measurement-with the machine itself ("phone book page" method) as described here: https://www.tormach.com/blog/tool-of...ith-pathpilot/
    I own a Tormach height gauge but I've stopped using it in favour of the block method. It's not as quick as using the height gauge but I don't change tools too often (invest in tool holders!). I prefer not to use the paper - just the method Daniel shows starting at about 10:00. I find it more accurate than using paper and I'm much less likely to damage a tool jogging upwards than I am by jogging down onto a piece of paper. One false move and the end mill is rammed into the block. I use a gauge block instead of a 1-2-3 block but the principle is the same.
    Step

  19. #19
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    Re: Tormach 770 - Minimum Starter Setup

    Yep, now I see: McMaster sells metric bits with imperial shanks. That's where the two systems meet
    Threw in:
    31820 - TTS Set Screw Holder: 3/8"
    31289 - USB Bulkhead Port Assembly

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    Re: Tormach 770 - Minimum Starter Setup

    Well, I'll take the fog buster as well. I already have a compressor (Makita Mac700).
    For a while I don't want the mess of the flood coolant system. On youtube videos it sprays out in all directions.
    Later I'll build my own enclosure or buy the original one and then add the flood system, but I feel that even when I have the flood coolant I will use the fog buster for lighter works, so it won't be wasted money... isn't it?

    32682 - Fog Buster Spray Coolant Kit
    31991 - Pneumatic Hose Kit for Power Drawbar/ATC/Fogbuster
    37289 - Mist Coolant- 1 Gal.

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