Tormach xsTECH Router
A first impression. My impression. NOT a user report.
Note well: It called a ROUTER not micro-mill. Or any type of mill. Routers and mills are cousins, but don’t live in the same family group.
I was extremely excited when I saw this tool for the first time. I like Tormach equipment and I especially like their Linux based PathPilot controller software. This little baby OH router, the Tormach xsTECH actually runs full strength PathPilot!
It’s also a complete, full house, tools and all, everything one needs to get up and running — 3-axis micro overhead router. WOW! Continue reading
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know I have an e-Commerce website where I sell Taig Tools. The URL is http://ramblindan.com Known as “Ramblin’ Dan’s Store” a.k.a. “The Hobbyist Machine Store”.
It should be obvious it is a spin off from here, The Hobbyist’s Machine Shop.
I quietly sell Taig equipment and parts, without much promotion. It was never intended to be a major source of income. Until a few years ago, I had a very stable “real” Energy Engineer occupation managing very large energy solutions (energy savings) construction projects.
I am now retired with more time. With one product line, the store probably never will be a large money maker. I enjoy running the business part time and selling a good product that I like to use myself.
So, sales are usually sporadic and don’t require a lot of my time to fulfill. However, in the last few weeks the top has blown off the slow simmering pot. I don’t know (yet) what has turned up the fire, but it is a very good sign. I hope it is an indication that people are getting back to making things in their workshops.
One reason may be that the Taig CNC Mill and a CNC lathe are now available with ball screws. I have just filled two orders for them.
I use my newest Taig CNC mill for wax carving for cast silver work. It gets a lot of run-time. I don’t have the ball screw mill in my own shop, but it has been a thought… The problem is I don’t really NEED ball screws for what I do.
What I am seeing is my customers are buying lathes and mills, and a lot of accessories, so there must be a new surge in… Continue reading
I was in grade school in the 1950’s. It was way back then at least as I can remember that there was a big deal made about using the metric system. It was as if the U.S. (English, S.A.,E, etc.) measuring system of feet and inches (and all the rest) was under attack by the Metric system used in Europe and/or the “rest” of the world. It was the world of science and some engineering that was promoting this new “cause”.
As a “kid” what did I know. But I did get the impression that the USA was not going to change without a fight. It was like a foreign invasion, The emphasis was how to CONVERT from one measurement to the other. Awful conversions factors are required and it really was a math test.
I always thought it was stupid and awkward to do the conversions. I think it just made teachers feel good to have something in a math application they could grade (measure) for accuracy. Hmmm… Are grades in metric or English? How do you convert? Ha!
So we grew up dealing with both systems in grade school and awkwardly converting. It was like we had to preserve our “native” language. In reality, the total metric system actually has a lot going for it, but don’t say that too loudly.
Later in my life many published papers and drawings, where measurement are used, would group both measurements together. Let’s see that’s about 2 inches (51mm). That’s still done today. Most everything in commerce has both systems used in marketing as we are in a world wide economy. A rather clumsy accommodation, not likely to change soon.
Measurements and math are a form of language. In the real world, a person fluent in several languages actually thinks in… Continue reading
The Machine or the Product?
I like to consider my interest in tools from a philosophical viewpoint. I am not making a decision as to an interest being right or wrong as that is not the purpose. I note and explore the difference I see and am aware there are many reasons for the things I enjoy.
What I find for me is there is seldom a single reason. An interest is like love, there are a number of shades from pale to intense. The colors are seldom just black and white. The spectrum is not static and does vary with the passage of time.
The subject here is tools and machine tools. Specifically, I have explored what I own and use in my own workshop. I use this thought process for all of my areas of interest, It helps me understand myself and why I do what I do Yeah, perhaps I am a little weird thinking about these things, but that’s OK.
I am a technical and analytical type. I am also a bit creative and like to explore how things work. I like mechanical machines and control systems. That’s an area I have worked all my life. I understand the reason; I am just made this way.
I have made an observation about my use of machines and the systems that make them operate. I admit to an early interest in electronics and my nearly 50 years in amateur radio. Computer hardware was an early outgrowth of the radio hobby. I had a working computer before the PC was born. When I got interested in machine tools, the use of computer numeric control (CNC) to operate some of the machines was a natural extension.
My career became involved with installing Building Management Systems (BMS). So it is… Continue reading
The Micro Mill
The micro mill is what it is, a micro mill. The micro mill should be considered and purchased for its size and not the price.
I occasionally read (like today) where someone has purchased a micro or a mini mill then reported it wasn’t up to the tasks they had in mind. I am not that kind of person who finds the micro mill design inadequate so I don’t know the full reason.
The first thought though is the mill was purchased because of the low price compared to larger machines. That means it is a good place to try out milling work for not too much money. Small projects and parts are the original consideration as well as the price. That is actually a good strategy starting out.
A bit of success with the micro mill leads to larger projects and more demands on the machine. The micro machine is soon determined to be “inadequate” which is certainly true. But that is not a fault of the machine. A tack hammer should not be used to drive railroad spikes.
What I seldom read is praise from the thousands of micro mills owners who use their machines comfortably within their machine’s designs limits. When not pushed far beyond their inherent limitations the machines will perform wonderfully for years of work and probably for a lifetime of hobby type use. The key to satisfaction is understanding limitations with a positive attitude. There is a term I like called finesse. It’s the art of getting something done in a subtle and delicate manner without exceeding limitations.
Many folks have it, some don’t. Other folks actually need the right tool, a bigger hammer.
Hey! While I have your attention, Have a Great and Happy New Year 2016!