Tormach, or Not Tormach. That is the Question

NO to any Tormach… just no.

Too late… …

Really? Fine… you own it.

There were no decisions as to get a particular machine. There were a few that were ok as to making a Tormach as an entry level machine. The reasoning was if you crash the spindle, its not 8K to replace it.

I looked up the current pricing of a Tormach spindle, the highest is about 1,100$ for just the cartridge.

1 Like this might be a good way to retrofit the HAAs with one of these or maybe CNC one of the Bridgeport clones instead of another full CNC?

I actually think this is a good idea; there are tons of CNC kits that have been made. Nice thing is you can sometimes make it still work for manual control.

Retrofitting the haas may be more trouble than it’s worth, but that looks like a nice system for any other conversions we do. Or maybe replace the Sherline CNC drivers with it seems far more user friendly / sustainable (assuming we decide to still not just swap to the official conversion kit)

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No. Just no.

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why so against tormach?

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Personally I’d be ok with a tormach as an intro cnc. I’m against spending a bunch of money on group projects that will take years to complete if ever. 2+ years on the sherline cnc (excluding the pandemic) and now it’s deemed inadequate is a good example. Anyone even remember the steam engine?

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BTW, the tormach is not only downloadable with G-code, it uses it own propriatery conversational programming which is good for quick jobs of such as making a profile a pocket or drilling holes. We call it programming for dummies in the industry, but it’s useful sometimes and gets you around having to learn a particular software.

I think a Tormach would be a great case for an entry level CNC that isn’t as intimidating as the Haas.


Part of the issue with that was we chose to scratch build rather than use one of the pre-made kits.

I’m not advocating for a scratch built; there are plenty of ready-kits available.

This is what I’d like to see for those needing to step their toes into the world of CNC with simpler jobs that just barely push or exceed the limits of manual work

Does the Tormach model being looked at able to handle coolant? One problem with all our knee mills is they aren’t easily converted to handle coolant. A machine that is not capable of handling coolant is limited is what it can cut: e.g. no steel. You can “brush oil” onto it, but it isn’t very effective if doing much cutting and you’ll end up slinging oil everywhere and have it build-up in the bottom of the table making clean-up a mess. Trying put oil on the cutter on a CNC is pretty much a no-go in my experience.

If cutting steel and hard metals isn’t an issue then, then coolant isn’t.

On Bridgeport conversions, the one I’ve seen (had in shop where a worked) is they really only did the X-Y axis very well.

Isn’t the big limitation on upgrading the Haas is the controller we have is very limited?

yes in fact the models from 3 years ago do too


Right now we’re not really looking at anything specific. We were having the “pie in the sky” discussion, and we thought (as the meeting) that a Tormach would be a good entry-level thing to have. But most of the knowledgeable folks at the meeting felt that a Tormach would be a good thing to choose for that need.

I remember when we were looking at the Tormachs a number of years ago, the model we looked at was a 4.5 axis machine (4th axis could tilt 45 deg, close to a 5th axis). Had just about everything and $25K, including software and some accessories.

If you want a Tormach, buy it. I researched them when I thought of buying one. Rigidity was a known problem with the Tormachs and in CNC machines, nothing is more important. If I had the space I would buy a used mini Haas. The economy was hit hard by covid and there are used Haas to be had. You may pay a bit more but a Haas will still be running in 50 years. JUST MY OPINION.

Oh hey,

we have a Tormach arriving this week. A Tormach 8L CNC lathe to be specific.

It’s scheduled to arrive by freight and we’ll likely need volunteers to help with that. I’m sure @TBJK will need some volunteers with us to help set it up.


I’ll help if I can, let me know the when and what.

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This week may need a couple people to help unload and do the dock inspection to sign off on the delivery. I’m hoping the logistics company actually gives us a window for that.

The next part will be setup but that should be scheduled by the committee at their leisure.