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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. #21

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

    the most important thing to have at this moment in time is a well thought out business plan and not just a dream .
    Do you have a specific product to make and sell , or , is it banking on the chance of taking on local contract work at which you probably up against well established shops . A large percentage of business's fail and thats because they either couldn't get the work , or the business wasn't very well thought out . You can buy the best or the worst of equipment but it means nothing if it's sitting .

  2. #22

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

    Don't buy a machine unless you have a product to make. That's just basic business sense.

    Unless of course you are bursting at the seams and just want to buy cool stuff. Then by all means, indulge.

  3. #23
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    Re: 1100M vs. used Haas Mini Mill or TM-0

    Quote Originally Posted by crispy View Post
    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.
    Don't forget to toss in your riggers the extra fees to have a reputable service tech inspect the minimill and then the extra fees on rigging... I priced out a new minimill with shipping, rigging and it was nearly 46k. A fully optioned 1100MX is 32k shipped to the house.

  4. #24
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    Re: 1100M vs. used Haas Mini Mill or TM-0

    I don't know about other areas, but where I am right now in the Pacific Northwest there appears to be a lack of machine availability out there, and machinists as well. Some shops can't man their existing machines. The company I work at (I'm an engineer) is getting 3-6 months lead times on small aluminum parts where we have always relied on around 1 month. All of our projects are short timeline as well, so when the next project comes along things are really going to get sticky. My intention here was to get a "decent" machine that can hold +/-.001 or .002 to make some money on the side (nights and weekends and the occasional day off as needed), pay for at least the financed portion of the machine within a year (I'm putting a good chunk down), learn CNC, and also have a machine for myself for my projects. Three of the shops we work with currently (that I know personally) didn't start out with a product or a fully defined business plan; they knew there was a need out there and all three are very successful. Did they all start out with a $40k machine? No; I know at least one of them did not and that is not what I'm planning on doing. Does everyone start with a huge debt or something?

    This thread started with the fact that a $17,000 Tormach WITHOUT an ATC or full enclosure (not to mention the lower hp spindle, the lesser accuracy, slower rapids, etc ...) is not much cheaper than a used better quality mill. (This isn't even comparing a fully decked out Tormach with a new TM-0P or Mini Mill - a Tormach just doesn't make sense to me in that scenario.) The additional costs of used mills (having someone inspect it and the freight) needs to be accounted for, I know, not to mention other factors like older mills have less memory, antiquated interfaces like floppy drives (no body has bothered to bring up details like this by the way), and who knows what else. That's the point of this thread. I appreciate the intent in pointing out "you better have a business plan", but it almost feels like I shouldn't bothering asking any questions then. How do I write that business plan if I'm missing information? I know for a fact that not every shop out there started out with a nice machine and big debt, relying on a business plan to pull them through...

    Again, a lot of these comments are well intentioned, I know, and thank you. But can we stick to the issue of a new Tormach vs. used small single phase mills? (Actually, I suppose small 3 phase mills utilizing phase converters aren't entirely out of the question either.)

  5. #25

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

    There have been numerous great recommendations and insights here. Go buy the machine you want. Nobody here is going to influence you at this point.

  6. #26
    Community Moderator Jim Dawson's Avatar
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    Re: 1100M vs. used Haas Mini Mill or TM-0

    Lead times in the PNW are crazy right now, and I think this is true across the world right now. Just getting materials has been hit & miss. We can't even keep up with the backorders right now, but are starting to get caught up.

    I personally have a theory about a business plans, it's simple really. Make stuff, get paid. Always worked for me anyway. I originally bought machine tools for building a R&D project, and it just kind of expanded from there. Long story. But for the last 50 years or so I have either owned or had free access to machine tools for whatever I needed to do, really nice to have around, even if just to keep my lawnmower running. Ya gotta start somewhere.

    I never worry about old controls on machine tools, it's really easy and relatively inexpensive to upgrade to modern controls, even going to industrial class controls. I've done it several times. In fact, I personally would rather buy a mechanically good machine tool with dead controls, you can buy them for scrap prices.

    In general you want a 3 phase spindle motor, they can be run with an inexpensive VFD on single phase (up to about 5 HP), or worst case a rotary phase converter for higher HP motors. (Yes I know the Haas 7.5 HP spindles will run on 240V single phase power) You only need to be mindful of your available power. If you missed it, take a look at my previous post https://www.cnczone.com/forums/torma...ml#post2470818

    From my personal experience, I guess the bottom line is: Buy more machine than you think you need right now, but don't pay a lot for it.
    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA

  7. #27

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

    I live in the pacific north west as well and I'm well aware of the demands . This area has always been high demand for accomplished machinists and right now the wages seriously reflect that .
    You said you wanted to start a side business without much info of what you are trying to accomplish . The largest point of suggesting a business plan was the fact that it would help you to determine what machine would be best suited to your needs , but you obviously have a plan .

    If you can rule out a tormach then ruling out a tm-0 won't follow too far behind since they are best suited as support machines (tool room mills) . Which leads to the mini mill being the best option as to what could be considered a production machine .
    There are ways to work around the floppy drives and the flop sized memories on pretty much any mill

  8. #28
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    Re: 1100M vs. used Haas Mini Mill or TM-0

    @ crispy. Sounds like you have a reasonable plan to me. You have a specific market with part size, material and tolerance required. You have money to put down and if you can afford the rest of a machine without the work coming in, sounds reasonable to me. If you don't need the work coming in to afford the machine, you will at least have more potential to make money that with a bike or boat. That being said, financing used iron might get more tricky. The TM-0 is certainly enticing for the money. if you are running aluminum I think you will want the 10k spindle and highspeed machining options. Rigid tapping, I don't know. You can buy a lot of pitch specific thread mills for the added cost (which can always be done later) dunno on that one. Features wise, TM-0 lacks way covers and auto lube system which a production machine would want. Rapids are just a little quicker than a MX but more than double a M, but slower than mini mill and a lot slower than super mini mill. Mini mill has a very short Z and 2" less X, Mini Mill2 solves those issues. Do you feel like you want to have service come work on your machine? Tormach doesn't do that yet. Another cost is you must have compressed air with any Haas that I know of. I think it was around 4cfm@90psi. Machine won't run without air.

    Sorry, that isn't an answer but just some of the points I thought (think) about researching similar size machines.
    -Jon

  9. #29
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    Re: 1100M vs. used Haas Mini Mill or TM-0

    If you're starting a shop from scratch, you should also consider everything that goes around the mill from bar stock to finished product in your plan-- Material-- sawing, delivery, storage, Tools, Air, Finishing-- deburr, sanding, tumbling, anodize, Coolant and Chip disposal and so on. If you have a supplier that will provide pre-cut bar stock and take as-machined parts that's a great thing, but you don't want to be standing there when the metal delivery driver says "where's your forklift?" if you don't have one.

    Most of this stuff isn't mill-expensive (although Al bar is hitting $4/lb these days), but a plan it will help. I've seen local shops go from garages to "real" shops over the years so it's definitely doable,

    A used Sharp or Brother might also be within your price range. Kind of depends how much work you want or need to do to pay for them.

  10. #30

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

    Quote Originally Posted by crispy View Post
    My intention here was to get a "decent" machine that can hold +/-.001 or .002 to make some money on the side (nights and weekends and the occasional day off as needed), pay for at least the financed portion of the machine within a year (I'm putting a good chunk down), learn CNC, and also have a machine for myself for my projects. )
    I refer back to my previous statement. If you still need to learn CNC, you are going to make mistakes. The bigger and more powerful the machine, the more expensive those mistakes will be. Add the (relative) complexity of the control on a Haas to that of the Tormach and you increase your chances of mistakes. In my mind this is the best reason to go with the Tormach over a used anything else. Mistakes with even an MX will cost you some tooling, maybe some fixturing, and some time. Worst case you have to buy a replacement part and install it yourself. Crash a machine with a 15hp spindle and 1200ipm rapids and you're going to do some real damage.

    You are actually in the same position I was about 2 years ago when I bought my Tormach, though somewhat flipped. I bought mine to do my own projects then quickly realized my employer was having a hell of a time getting parts and fixtures in from outside vendors. My learning curve was accelerated thanks to the past two years swamping me with more work for my machine that I could handle. Nothing to do with the machine's limitations, I have only occasionally run into that as an issue. All of the excess demand has been due to my lack of knowledge and the fact that I'm doing this on the side on top of my regular day job. That said, my employer has since realized the value of what I'm doing beyond just getting the parts in so I'm now being sent home for a day or more every few weeks to either make a small run of critical parts or work on a fixture to bring those parts in house. At this stage in my self run education in CNC I am starting to learn how to operate the Haas's we have in the shop but those things still intimidate me. The Tormach was friendly from the first time I fired it up.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by crispy View Post

    This

    Again, a lot of can we stick to the issue of a new Tormach vs. used small single phase mills? (Actually, I suppose small 3 phase mills utilizing phase converters aren't entirely out of the question either.)
    All other things aside, There's no question an industrial machine will out perform a Hobby machine. So as far as what you can get for the same price, you'll have to do your own research and decide what's right for you. I searched long and hard for a used minimill, with zero luck a few years ago. There was just nothing within 1500 miles that didn't look completely clapped out at a high price. I did not want to spend $$$ on a new machine, but really had to make the move as the parts got larger and material got harder (stainless steel). It all turned out great, but...
    Since then I've seen some smokin deals that would have loved to have if my timing was better. I've seen some robodrill and Brother units go in the 30-35k range. The controls are solid and new enough to load from usb,ethernet upload. And they'll run HSM code just fine. Might take a lot of looking and a bit of luck though.

    One major consideration IMO, is the maximum part size you would like to machine, and out of what material. As the parts get larger, making money gets harder. There's no getting around MRR/Horsepower/rigidity/mass.

    There is absolutley nothing wrong with getting a hobby grade machine as long as you manage expectations. But when prices get above 16k new. I'd be looking elsewhere.
    JMO. Best of luck

  12. #32
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    Re: 1100M vs. used Haas Mini Mill or TM-0

    I learned to drive in a jeep. It took all my attention to keep it out of ditch and on its wheels. That said if I went into ditch I could always drive it out and go on.
    If I learned to drive in a hemi Cuda, It also would have taken all my attention to keep it in one piece and on the road but one mistake and its junk and would never be the same.

    As others mentioned above. to learn on, I would go the tormach way. Crash it and you do little damage other then scare the shop dog. Crash a vmc with axis drives that have enough power to push my jeep right thru the garage wall is going to damage the machine in a number of possible ways.

    But if you have the skill and some good cad cam experience then buy as big and as powerful and as accurate as you can find and afford.

    Years ago I tried to buy a minimill new and haase rep told me they would not warrantee it in any way if it was in a home shop and to buy used tools.
    Next day I orderd a tormach and been learning and making stuff for many years now. Again as noted above you need to lower your expectations of what you can do and how hard you can push it. Neither machine is going to make you a better machinist.

  13. #33

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

    You can always feed override the Mini Mill which might provide time to hit the estop (if you are lucky), but yes the crashes are going to be a good bit harder to deal with. When the intern crashed the VF-4 in a shop I worked at, the repair bill was like $3500, and we had to wait a few day to even get a tech on site. The owner was not happy, especially because he only paid $24k for the machine. The intern of course had a fair amount of machining experience too, he just flubbed a key press and boom.

  14. #34
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    Re: 1100M vs. used Haas Mini Mill or TM-0

    Quote Originally Posted by mountaindew View Post
    Neither machine is going to make you a better machinist.
    On the day of arrival, I think that's true.

    I prefer to think of it this way, though: Both machines can make you a better machinist, if you use them, practice, and, most importantly, pay attention to what happens, and how things change when you change parameters!

  15. #35
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    Re: 1100M vs. used Haas Mini Mill or TM-0

    Quote Originally Posted by jwatte View Post
    On the day of arrival, I think that's true.

    I prefer to think of it this way, though: Both machines can make you a better machinist, if you use them, practice, and, most importantly, pay attention to what happens, and how things change when you change parameters!
    True, I should have said out of the box.
    Its all about learning, understanding, experience and doing things one step at a time.
    I learned to fly airplanes long ago and thus learned a habit of performing specific detailed steps in a specific order.
    This habit applies to a number of things including machine tool operation and programming. Avoid joy riding and have a flight plan ??

  16. #36

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

    Quote Originally Posted by mountaindew View Post
    True, I should have said out of the box.
    Its all about learning, understanding, experience and doing things one step at a time.
    I learned to fly airplanes long ago and thus learned a habit of performing specific detailed steps in a specific order.
    This habit applies to a number of things including machine tool operation and programming. Avoid joy riding and have a flight plan ??
    There is something to be said for every now and then closing your eyes and sending it though. I've done that a few times and have learned a lot about what my machine and my tools will and won't do. I imagine that's less of a great idea in the world of aviation.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by soofle616 View Post
    There is something to be said for every now and then closing your eyes and sending it though. I've done that a few times and have learned a lot about what my machine and my tools will and won't do. I imagine that's less of a great idea in the world of aviation.
    agreed!
    I did mention avoid
    Build skills and before you know it aerobatics are exciting, fun and pretty safe.

  18. #38
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    Re: 1100M vs. used Haas Mini Mill or TM-0

    I have a 1100 in my home shop. Maybe 12K all tooled up. It has been a good home machine and some ways I wish I had it at work, especially hole pattern work.
    That said, my disappointment has be the lack of development in PathPilot other than debugging. Tormach seems to be putting everything in new machines.
    If you are using cad/cam for everything it doesn't matter. PathPilot big jump up from Mach3 with most the macros that didn't work for me, that was supplied with my machine, but the conversational could use updating.
    No way to start a keyway from the end of a shaft.
    No way to mill a radius other than a pocket or boss with 4 radii.
    Compared to my friends Acers, options on PP are meager.

    If you are going to use conversational a lot check out tormachs virtual machine first;.

    Dave

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