Best Mill for a Makerspace
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View Poll Results: Which mill should I get for a makerspace?

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  • Get the Haas Mini Mill EDU

    20 90.91%
  • Get the Tormach 1100MX

    2 9.09%
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  1. #1
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    Question Best Mill for a Makerspace

    Hi All,

    First time poster, so I apologize/feel free to give me a pointer if I am posting this in the wrong part of the forum.

    I wanted to get some advice on the best milling machine to buy for a makerspace.

    A makerspace is a like a community workshop (more information about what a makerspace is can be found online here What is a Makerspace? Is it a Hackerspace or a Makerspace?).

    I am trying to decide between a Tormach and a Haas. Specifically, I am trying to decide between two machines: the Haas Mini Mill EDU, which is listed at $21,995 (assuming that as a makerspace I can purchase the EDU version) and the Tormach 1100MX which is $22,234.0 with the options needed to make it equivalent to the Haas (so with an enclosure, Automatic Oiler Kit, Door Lock Switch Kit, FogBuster Coolant Kit and PathPilot Operator Console).

    Given that, it seems to me an easy decision to get the Haas, as my understanding is that it is a much better machine overall. The Haas has 7.5 HP vs 2 HP for the Tormach, though the Haas EDU only goes to 4,000 RPM vs the Tormach 10,000 RPM. The Haas also has a bunch of features that the Tormach doesn't have (such as Safe Run).

    But John Saunder's advice on buying a Tormach vs a Haas (Buying a CNC Mill: Tormach VS Haas - NYC CNC) gives me pause: he advises that if you are asking yourself the question, get a Tormach. Also, I am a little worried that inexperienced operators might damage the Haas machine and lead to the need repairs which would be more costly than if I got the Tormach.

    What do you think? For a makerspace, is it better to get a Haas Mini Mill EDU or a Tormach 1100 MX?
    Last edited by john.obrien; 04-13-2021 at 09:10 AM.

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    So you will have people paying for time on this machine with some guidance?

    Why the hell would you want some hobby piece of shit then?

    If someone wants to make something from metal don't you want them to make it in a reasonable amount of time using professional tooling and toolpaths so customers stay happy?

    I would recommend a cheap 4020 machine from the 90's. Something Fanuc with a 40 taper spindle that has both a reasonable top end RPM and a low cost to repair when it's crashed.

    I can't fathom not only having to deal with hobby projects, but also doing the machining on some pile of shit machine.

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    Go with the HAAS. Much more intuitive and very low maintnance

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garwood View Post
    I would recommend a cheap 4020 machine from the 90's. Something Fanuc with a 40 taper spindle that has both a reasonable top end RPM and a low cost to repair when it's crashed.
    Ok, thanks Garwood. Something like this Fadal: Fadal VMC-4020HT | Fabricating & Production Machinery ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ElCrasho View Post
    Go with the HAAS. Much more intuitive and very low maintnance
    Thank ElCrasho. Good to know.

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    I helped a makerspace install a tormach 1100, I would get a Haas

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    What concerns me is that you should have no problem picking a machine if you are capable enough to offer it's services to your members.

    If you're thinking it's easy and you'll just figure it out as it goes I don't think it's going to go so well for your endeavor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garwood View Post
    What concerns me is that you should have no problem picking a machine if you are capable enough to offer it's services to your members.

    If you're thinking it's easy and you'll just figure it out as it goes I don't think it's going to go so well for your endeavor.
    The whole point of these places is to learn, not to make a living getting parts out the door. The OP doesn't have to be a master machinist, just needs to be one step ahead of the guy paying for the opportunity to play with the machine.

    And buy the Haas, obviously. I like NYCCNC well enough, especially his tours, but you do realize he's sponsored by Tormach? That might color his views a little.

    I would not buy an older machine or anything Fanuc. The online video references alone are enough reason to go Haas. The only other machine you might consider is a Haas TM-1, just to give you more room. Slow rapids are going to be your friend.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garwood View Post
    What concerns me is that you should have no problem picking a machine if you are capable enough to offer it's services to your members.

    If you're thinking it's easy and you'll just figure it out as it goes I don't think it's going to go so well for your endeavor.
    Thanks Garwood for the feedback.

    While I am not a master machinist, I have been doing hobby machining with an LMS 3990 that I converted to servo CNCs for a few years, so as LOTT noted, my goal is to stay one step ahead of others who also are interested in learning more about machining.

    I would someday like to be a master machinist, but currently do not have access to the kinds of machines which would allow that. One of the reasons I am interested (and think others might be interested) in having a mill in a makerspace is to afford them the opportunity to get introduced to machining, and possibly someday become a master machinist (a guy can dream).

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    Quote Originally Posted by LOTT View Post
    I would not buy an older machine or anything Fanuc. The online video references alone are enough reason to go Haas. The only other machine you might consider is a Haas TM-1, just to give you more room. Slow rapids are going to be your friend.
    Ok, thanks Lott. I will take a look at the Haas TM-1.

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    Haas would be a much better choice................in a Makerspace scenario a machine will see a rough life. Not due to spindle hours, but neophyte operators............... the Haas should take a hit or crash better than the Tormach.

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    Quote Originally Posted by john.obrien View Post
    Hi All,

    First time poster, so I apologize/feel free to give me a pointer if I am posting this in the wrong part of the forum.

    I wanted to get some advice on the best milling machine to buy for a makerspace.

    A makerspace is a like a community workshop (more information about what a makerspace is can be found online here What is a Makerspace? Is it a Hackerspace or a Makerspace?).

    I am trying to decide between a Tormach and a Haas. Specifically, I am trying to decide between two machines: the Haas Mini Mill EDU, which is listed at $21,995 (assuming that as a makerspace I can purchase the EDU version) and the Tormach 1100MX which is $22,234.0 with the options needed to make it equivalent to the Haas (so with an enclosure, Automatic Oiler Kit, Door Lock Switch Kit, FogBuster Coolant Kit and PathPilot Operator Console).

    Given that, it seems to me an easy decision to get the Haas, as my understanding is that it is a much better machine overall. The Haas has 7.5 HP vs 2 HP for the Tormach, though the Haas EDU only goes to 4,000 RPM vs the Tormach 10,000 RPM. The Haas also has a bunch of features that the Tormach doesn't have (such as Safe Run).

    But John Saunder's advice on buying a Tormach vs a Haas (Buying a CNC Mill: Tormach VS Haas - NYC CNC) give me pause: he advises that if you are asking yourself the question, get a Tormach. Also, I am a little worried that inexperienced operators might damage the Haas machine and lead to the need repairs which would be more costly than if I got the Tormach.

    What do you think? For a makerspace, is it better to get a Haas Mini Mill EDU or a Tormach 1100 MX?
    Your first mistake is taking advise from Saunders...

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    Quote Originally Posted by metalmaster1 View Post
    I helped a makerspace install a tormach 1100, I would get a Haas
    Ok, thanks metalmaster1 for the advice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by plastikdreams View Post
    Your first mistake is taking advise from Saunders...
    Is Saunders not a good source of advice?

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    Quote Originally Posted by david n View Post
    Haas would be a much better choice................in a Makerspace scenario a machine will see a rough life. Not due to spindle hours, but neophyte operators............... the Haas should take a hit or crash better than the Tormach.
    Okay, thanks david n for the advice.

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    Tormach makes sense for entry level machine, delete all the options which in my opinion are not needed for your use. If I remember a tool changer is $5500 option. Do you really want inexperienced operators fooling with it? Their enclosure is not great save $2k or so, let the guys clean up their mess. They run on single phase might be an advantage depending on your power supply. PathPilot is a pretty easy controller to use, decent conversational and it includes a DXF program that will generate gcode from a dxf drawing. My final opinion scrap the whole ides of letting guys you don't know run any CNC machine.
    Bob

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    Quote Originally Posted by bob View Post
    Tormach makes sense for entry level machine, delete all the options which in my opinion are not needed for your use. If I remember a tool changer is $5500 option. Do you really want inexperienced operators fooling with it? Their enclosure is not great save $2k or so, let the guys clean up their mess. They run on single phase might be an advantage depending on your power supply. PathPilot is a pretty easy controller to use, decent conversational and it includes a DXF program that will generate gcode from a dxf drawing. My final opinion scrap the whole idea of letting guys you don't know run any CNC machine.
    Bob
    Ok, thanks Bob. I appreciate the feedback. I will provide training to them, and they will be paying me for the opportunity to use the CNC machine. I agree there is a risk. I'm hoping it all works out despite the risk.

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    If you can actually get the Edu pricing on the mini-mill that's the obvious choice. You're getting a $10k discount. I'd be surprised if a Makerspace qualifies for that though, unless you are attached to a University.

    If you don't its a harder choice as then you are comparing a $20k Tormach to a $35k Haas. I'd still go for the Haas though.

    As for Saunders just pay attention to who he is sponsored by. Also look at what machines he's got in his shop now vs what he had when he was pushing the Tormachs. Keep in mind where he came from starting out in a NY apartment with a TAIG mill, a Tormach looks amazing when compared with that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LOTT View Post
    The whole point of these places is to learn, not to make a living getting parts out the door. The OP doesn't have to be a master machinist, just needs to be one step ahead of the guy paying for the opportunity to play with the machine.
    I would not buy an older machine or anything Fanuc. The online video references alone are enough reason to go Haas. The only other machine you might consider is a Haas TM-1, just to give you more room. Slow rapids are going to be your friend.

    Why don't they call it a Learningspace then? Makerspace seems to imply people will be bringing in their DIY projects to make something no?

    If it is to teach people how to make stuff wouldn't it be better to do it with industrial hardware and processes?

    Kinda makes me think of my mega millionaire neighbor. His hobby shop is similar size as my for profit shop. He bought a Tormach and a bunch of harbor freight level machinery then he answered an ad for a machine I was selling and we met. He saw the difference and the increased capabilities you get buying quality used instead of new garbage. Now he's replaced most of his hobby shit with quality stuff and has something magnitudes more useful.

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    get a bridgeport, or a even better, a tree.

    i saw a guy w/ a masters degree in mechanical engineering running the tree once. As he was lowering the saddle we start hearing CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH. we're yelling STOP STOP he's just looking around wondering what's wrong, continuing to lower the saddle onto another guys laptop which was on a folding table, just underneath the mill.

    point is, this machine is bound to get hurt. you're better off hurting something cheap.


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