"One Perfect Part at a Time"

micro machine

Tormach xsTECH Router

Tormach xsTECH RouterA 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

Taig 24K RPM Spindle Article Available

The full article on the Taig 24,000 RPM water cooled spindle conversion is now available on The Hobbyist Machine Shop website. Follow this URL: 


The new spindle performance exceeds all expectations. It is not a low cost option / addition to an already  adequate micro-machine tool system, but it does provide a very good way to achieve more than double the stock Taig spindle speeds.

Some applications using very small diameter tooling are performed much better when running adequate SFM and cut travel speeds. High speed spindles and especially water cooled ones like this example are a joy to use because of their extremely quite operation.

The Taig spindle is known for its quiet operation and the water cooled spindle here is in my opinion just as quite or perhaps more so, even running at full speed. Tool cutting sound is the same but the spindle motor has none of the sound of a high speed router.

Proxxon TBM 115 Micro Drill Press

DSC06356I ordered in a Proxxon TBM 115 for personal testing because a visitor asked my advise on small or micro size drilling.  Not ultra small drilling but in the number drill range, about 1/64 and larger. I immediately thought of the TBM but never used one.

My Proxxon dealer status is still viable so I ordered one in for my evaluation and perhaps passing it on to my new friend. The truth is I may keep this one for myself.

I have published a full, first look review in The Hobbyist Machine Shop. I was a bit undecided whether to publish it there or in Ramblin’ Dan’s Workshop. THMS got the post as I have another one there about the Proxxon MBS/E Micro Bandsaw. They belong together.

I think the TBM will be very useful in the A3 project as well as my silver work. I am always drilling small holes.

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!

Micro Machining

I am using my Taig CNC micro mill making 3D carvings in wax for my jewelry work. The very sharp pointy thing is my go-to end mill bit for doing the fine and highly detailed work. The squares are 5 x5 MM.  It is a TEB10-005 Tapered Ball End Mill 1/8 x 1-1/2 10° .005. Not cheap at $37.00 each. It does excellent carving with the Taig and the results show the Taig is up for running bits this small. There is actually a ball on the end.Follow the link to BitsBits.com where I get these tiny mill bits.

The other item is of course a common #2 pencil point just for comparison. I have a digital microscope I operate on my Linux box and it is great for inspecting the ends of these tools and taking pictures. I also find the scope useful for examining SMT components on today’s very small circuit boards.

Machine tools this small are rather fragile but wax is a wonderful medium for machining. Bits & Bits has a huge selection of these micro mill buts if you are in need of doing very tiny and precise milling.

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