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  1. #1
    Hi, Good evening everyone I'm Ian, I aa freelance IT consultant working mostly for the NHS.

    I am new to CNC and have come to it because I want to be able to make something. I have been researching for a while lots of hours on you tube and an interesting few days at MACH22. My big frustration is that if you are employed and over 18 there is basically no training courses available to learn CNC machining. My local colleges only cater for school leavers and teh unemployed. Any suggestions welcome. I am looking at a machine I could get into my single garage workshop with 240v. Looking at SYIL and TORMACH any other suggestions from members?

    My aim is to machine castings that I already have to make hand tools for woodworkers.

  2. Hi Lockwodi and welcome.

    I was at Mach 22 as well and was surprised that Tormach wasn't there, the choice for small Mills was quite limited with only 2 people I could see, and both, in my opinion, were too expensive for what you got. For instance, the Ajax machines at 28k and 30k for what were essentially just small manual mills turned to CNC and ATC then put in a cabinet.!
    I didn't get time to see George and the SYIL machines as he was always busy when I passed but again I suspect those will be well over 30K and nearer 50k.

    Regards training then it really boils down to what kind of training.? If you want training on how to use the machine then whoever you buy from will or should give you training on the control and how all its functions work and provide handholding support. Because there are so many different controllers available you will always struggle to find one company or college etc that offers training, usually the machine supplier provides the controller training.

    If you want general training on Milling then usually colleges offer night courses but obviously not in your area, so my best suggestion and to be honest the one I prefer myself is the university of Youtube and just get on and try, learning as you go along.
    Really after you learn the control all you need to learn is how to create the part and G-code and these days this is mostly done in CAD/CAM software like Fusion 360 and Youtube is brilliant for this with loads of tutorials. Things like speeds n feeds can be learned as you go along and the tool manufacturer will supply cutting data to help with this.

    Now if you are in the market for a machine I have a friend with a very very very nice Tormach 1100 series 3 with ATC, 4th axis, and loads of tooling, the machine has done very few hours and is lightly used, it's very much like new.
    The ATC is a home-built unit, I made the bracket and disc, etc for it and helped with the installation and in my opinion, it's better and much stronger than Tormach's own unit and offers more tools at 12, all controlled from the Tormachs Pathpilot software.

    If you are seriously interested get in touch and I'll put you in touch with him. My email address is below or PM me.
    -use common sense, if you lack it, there is no software to help that.

    Email: dean@jazzcnc.co.uk

    Web site: www.jazzcnc.co.uk

  3. #3
    Thanks Dean,

    I do want a machine but not yet, location being a key issue and my day job taking up too much of my time. I have also had quotes from HAAS for mini mill and their TM1 P and TM0 P, The TM0P with the 240v option looks like a great machine for a starter and well supported controller on You Tube.

    Thanks again.

    Ian

  4. #4
    Hi Ian, welcome to the forum and the wonderful world of CNC. Looking at what you are planning to do I suggest that diving in with a rather expensive CNC mill is perhaps not advisable. You may be much better off starting with a cheaper manual mill to start machining your castings, to learn about things like workholding, feeds and speeds etc. Depending on what you are making a lathe may be useful too or even essential. Also, by starting with manual machining you avoid at least one layer of learning until you know better what you are trying to achieve.

    Could I suggest that you look at the Model Engineer forum https://www.model-engineer.co.uk/forums/ ? You'll see a lot of useful information (and some dross) and it's a great place to ask questions. One member who posts as JasonB (Ballamy) uses CNC a lot in making model engines, including the manufacture of "castings" which are designed in 3D CAD - that's another angle that you could find interesting for the future. You will also see a couple of books advertised, one by Jason on milling technique another on turning (if you're interested). There are some useful suppliers there too - one I can recommend for machines is Arc EuroTrade who are based in Leicester, who sell and give good support to a range of Chinese mills and lathes. At one time they sold two CNC machines, the SX1 and SX3, which are reasonably good - worth looking on the s/h market. JasonB uses an SX3 to very good effect.

    I have a Denford CNC mill - a Novamill. This is rather tiny but very nicely made. You could look out for a Denford Triac which is a bit bigger, used ones come up on eBay from time to time. If you are lucky it might be without the electronics - they are rather old and the mechanics is worthy of fitting modern electronics (from the likes of JazzCNC for example) - which would make it cheaper and better than the original. My Novamill was about 600 and I built the electronics for less than 200 (but that's my trade).

  5. #5
    Thanks John,

    I have a manual lathe Myford ML7B, and a little bit of knowledge ( Always a dangerous thing ) Manually making the products I am working on won't be cost effective but its a balance between learning myself or hiring a machinist which in the current climate where they are like Hen's teeth will be an issue. There is not enough margin in the product to outsource the machining plus I want to do it myself and have other products in mind. The model engineering is a good idea, there is a club near me that build steam engines and run a small railway in the local park.

  6. Quote Originally Posted by Lockwodi View Post
    Thanks Dean,

    I do want a machine but not yet, location being a key issue and my day job taking up too much of my time. I have also had quotes from HAAS for mini mill and their TM1 P and TM0 P, The TM0P with the 240v option looks like a great machine for a starter and well supported controller on You Tube.

    Thanks again.

    Ian
    Hi Ian,

    Well, a TM0 P or any of those would make a fantastic first machine but we are talking about a completely different level of a machine with a price tag to match. If you have the money and the work for it then I'd certainly say go for it but if you wanted to test the waters for a 3rd of the price then something like this Tormach is worth a look.

    The Tormachs get slated for being expensive toys, often by those who don't own them, and when compared to the Big boy's toys like what you have seen at Mach 22 then they are to some degree, but it would be like comparing apples with oranges. When In reality, they are still very capable machines and will do everything the TM0 P will do just at a lot slower pace but at the same time a lot lower price.

    Now without wanting to sound like I'm trying to push this Tormach, what I will say is that in UK Tormachs are few and far between as you will find if you try to buy one, but even rarer with ATC, 4th axis and tooled up but rarer still in absolute mint condition with low running hours. Now this machine isn't actually up for sale yet officially, so if you are serious and want a machine for a lot less than the Haas then get in touch because when it goes up for sale for real it won't be around long I'm sure.

    Good luck in whatever you are planning and jump onboard the CNC ship as it's a great ride, bumpy at times but good fun.
    -use common sense, if you lack it, there is no software to help that.

    Email: dean@jazzcnc.co.uk

    Web site: www.jazzcnc.co.uk

  7. #7
    Hi there,

    I live in Marske so not far from you at all. Ive got a CNC off Dean ( JazzCNC ) a year ago. Having had no experience in using one before and the only experience of CAD being 2D AutoCAD.

    If you are wanting to learn both the design of items and also the machining of them I think you have a few more options than you may realise...

    Last year I attended Middlesbrough College and did a Level 1 Course in Parametric modelling using Autodesk Inventor. This year I am doing the same course but Level 2 Parametric Modelling , this time at Redcar College. There are courses out there. Yes, the course teaches the modelling side and not the running of the machines, but I think alot of this you can teach yourself, especially if you are techincally minded ( I see you work in IT, similar to me so doubt you will have many problems.

    I use Fusion 360 ( good thing about doing a college course if you get an educational email adddress which you can then use to get a 1 year educational license for all Autodesk products ) . The toolpath simulation on Fusion is really good. I Just mucked around in the toolpath section of Fusion before I even got my machine. I'm not trying to say I'm the worlds greatest machinist because I'm not, but its not the most difficult thing Ive ever had to learn and between just trying it out and Youtube I think you can very much get yourself to a position where you are making things without having to go on specialised courses.

    regards

    Ben

  8. #8
    Thanks Ben, I'll take a look. I cant believe that the Tees Valley does not have the night schools it needs to help everyone get into jobs where there is a shortage of staff.

  9. #9
    The parametric courses I did were both evening classes.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Lockwodi View Post
    Thanks Ben, I'll take a look. I cant believe that the Tees Valley does not have the night schools it needs to help everyone get into jobs where there is a shortage of staff.
    Nowhere does.
    GB is going to the dogs!

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