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Tormach PCNC 1100 Review – UPDATED 2018 – Machining Aluminum At Home


The PCNC 1100 is a CNC milling machine with a 5100 RPM 1.5 HP spindle. It has a work envelope of 18inches x 9.5inches x 16.2inches. It has a 34inches x 9.5inches table and weighs about 1300 pounds. It includes a power draw bar, automatic tool; changer and a full enclosure, which is designed to deliver the maximum versatility of a CNC mill with a space saving footprint CNC router with proven performance for prototyping, short-term production, training and CNC machining. In addition to the powerful and affordable combination, Tormach’s range of accessories offers unbeatable value for money. Let’s get into some of the features of this machine.

Tormach PCNC 1100 Review – Updated 2018

Some of the Features of Tormach PCNC 1100 listed below

  • Iron and frame design- Each PCNC 1100 CNC Milling Machine has more than half a ton of precision placed cast iron and steel to achieve maximum rigidity on a footprint the size of a traditional hand milling machine.
  • The sliding dovetail grooves are hand scraped and designed to withstand high loads and dampen vibrations. The media have acetylene slip surfaces filled with PTFE which are scraped by qualified mechanical engineers by hand. Similar to brand compounds such as Turcite® or Rulon®, PTFE compounds offer low friction and a long service life.
  • spindle system- Each small CNC CUP 1100 has a R8 spindle nose with a diameter of 3 3/8 “- the same size as the Bridgeport manual mills can be used in combination with the innovative Tormach tool system or any generic R8 tooling.
  • The CNC milling spindle is powered by a rugged, 1.5-horsepower induction motor driven by Emerson Control Techniques, advanced sensor vector frequency inverter technology. The fast acceleration / deceleration of the drive provides a responsive pin that can respond to demanding processes such as compression and compression. Power is transmitted by a simple, maintenance-free belt-driven asynchronous motor with two belt ratios covering speeds of 100-5120 rpm.
  • The Tormach PCNC 1100 Personal CNC Grinders also feature unique counter spindle logic. Detects logical sensations when the spindle motor struggles to maintain the programmed speed due to excessive cutting loads, and temporarily reduces the motor speed, which may be controlled to maintain proper cutting torque. It is analogous to an automatic transmission that drives at low speed on a hill.
  • Movement system- These drive systems not only provide higher torque at cutting speeds, but also improved linearity, lower vibration, and quieter operation than other step-by-step systems available today. Each shaft uses a P4 precision ground double-nut ball screw for reproducible and accurate motion resolution.
  • For the PCNC 1100, it is equipped with a completely newly developed axis motion system that combines high-performance rotary field motors with the latest drive electronics.
  • Redesigned operator console: It comes with a transformed the buttons into functional groups to improve workflow and usability.
  • Tool tray made of cast iron: A popular feature that has appeared on the PCNC 770 CNC Milling Machines is now standard on all PCNC 1100 Personal CNC Grinders, providing a convenient place to assemble keys, pliers and other crafts.

tormach pcnc1100 review

The Tormach PCNC 1100 packages

These preconfigured PCNC 1100 milling machines are designed by members of Tormach’s professional technical team and are suitable for a variety of specialties. These suits are not only equipped with the machine and its key accessories for a variety of specialties and applications, but also provide tips for selecting the best cutting tools and the options for clamping and attaching tools.

The Tormach PCNC 1100 options

PCNC mills are highly customizable with a variety of user-installed options. Tormach offers a way to buy the perfect CNC milling machine so you can choose the support, accessories and references your business needs to succeed.

The Tormach PCNC 1100 installation tools

Prepare to safely place your machine on the stand or workbench using the PCNC 1100 installation tools to facilitate moving and assembling your mill.

Some of the Pros of Tormach PCNC 1100 listed below

  • Affordable precision – achieved through a combination of dynamic stiffness and motion resolution. An engineering framework which provides a maximum ratio between stiffness and weight. Direct drive anti-ball screw drives combined with a precision microstepping drive system provide optimal motion resolution.
  • Ability to cut any material – from plastic and aluminum to stainless steel and pre-tempered. A rugged 1.5-PS pin design with digital drive electronics provides both speed and torque capabilities to handle any task, regardless of material.
  • Expandable modular design – add accessories such as the 4th axis, automatic tool changer and electric drawbar as needed. PCNC 1100 CNC routers are designed to develop with your business and concerns.
  • Low cost of ownership – a well-engineered yet simple design means your PCNC 1100 CNC Milling Machine is easy to maintain and cost-effective to use. It is built to meet the rigors of everyday use, but also affordable as a simple, ready-to-use CNC milling function.

 

Tormach PCNC 1100 Accuracy & Precision

This machine holds tolerances well – easily within 0.005″ but as it is a little bit more of a light duty machine when compared to a Fadal or Haas machine.

This is more of a lightweight, very low production machine designed for more of home/hobbyist use than a production machining shop.

tormach pcnc1100 accuracy

 

Tormach PCNC 1100 For Sale

If you’re looking to buy a Tormach PCNC 1100 you can get it directly from the manufacturer’s website here.

For what you’re getting, it’s relatively inexpensive especially for someone looking to start out or get their first machine.

On the other hand, you might be able to get some great deals on a used machine or something a little more “production oriented” like a Haas.

But if you do go the used route, you’ll have to have it checked out to make sure you’re not buying someone else’s headache and that it works well.

And if you’re buying used and it’s not close to you then it becomes even more difficult where you’ve got to have the machine shipped, travel there or try and do everything remotely.

tormach pcnc1100 for sale

Machining Aluminum At Home – Getting Started

If you’re looking to start machining at home a great material to start with is aluminum as it will leave you with a nicely finished, lightweight and rigid part that is much easier to cut than something like mild steel – or heaven forbid – stainless steel.

This machine will work perfectly for machining aluminum.

It will take a little more setup and planning than if you were to try to mill out something more pliable like some form of plastic.

So you’ll have to really watch your feed speeds and your tool path or you’ll end up blowing through your tooling.

Remember – making more passes and cutting a little off in each pass rather than trying to hog out a huge amount of material on one pass is always the way to go.

You’ll be much less likely to break tooling and crash your machine.

Once you’ve got everything tested you can gradually increase the speed a little at a time.

If you’re going to be machining aluminum at home here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • make sure you’re using tooling that is specially designed. The industry standard to use are carbide endmills. Generally speaking you won’t want to use anything more than a 3 flute cutter. Machining aluminum will produce big chips so the more flutes you have on the cutter, the less area there is for machined chips to escape.
  • use a calculator for your feed and speed while machining.
  • use coolant while machining.If possible have the coolant both coming through the spindle itself and on the cutter tip & area being machined.
  • remove chips asap. Aluminum galls and sticks to itself quite easily, so it’s very important to ensure that you are removing as many chips as possible from the machined surface so it won’t clog the tooling and cause it to fail.
  • use smaller diameter tooling. If you use smaller diameter cutters (IE 0.25″ or less) you can crank up the RPM on the machine. Just make sure that your tooling can handle it. If you’re using carbide endmills you will be doing good. And make sure you use a feed & speed calculator.

machining aluminum at home

In all, the Tormach PCNC 1100 provides great value for the money if you’re looking to buy a brand new machine. It can hold fairly tight tolerances and the support offered by the company is great.

The downsides are that it isn’t really fast enough to be used as a production machine, and the software it uses has a fairly steep learning curve.

But if you’re looking to get started with a CNC mill this is a great machine.