Tormach Website Remodeled to Make Finding What You Need Easier

02/ 11/ 2020

news machine CNC system customer

One thing that we are always focused on here at Tormach is continuous improvement. That’s why the majority of our staff are engineers and machinists, why we make our machines upgradeable, and why we are always looking for new ways to make manufacturing more approachable.

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Tormach’s Star-Studded Tour of L.A.

Los Angeles is full of stars, but what’s more, are the number of innovative and uncommon customers that Tormach has in the area. We spent last week touring around the L.A. metropolitan area talking to some of those customers and learning just how they use their Tormach machinery. Ilan Dei operates a studio in Venice, CA – in California, shops are more like hybridized art studios. His company works to create branding through experience by designing and creating everything from custom furniture and art displays to vending machines and trade show booths. Razor is a company that blew up in the mainstream when they created the Razor Scooter back in the late 90’s. Now, the company creates an array of human- and battery-powered vehicles, including hoverboards, carts, and scooters. We talked to former pro BMXer Billy Griggs about the product development he does for Razor on their PCNC 1100. Ray Billings is one of Tormach’s brand ambassadors and the champion of this year’s BattleBots competition on ABC. While he lives up near Sacramento, we still had to make the trip to visit him while traveling out west. Two Bit Circus is famous for inventing physical amusement and high-tech experiences that incorporate an array of design, engineering, creative problem solving, and software. Their shop is housed in an old brewery, and they have been on the razors edge of innovation, creating new uses and concepts for VR technology. A former Mythbuster and current host on Netflix’s White Rabbit Project, Grant Imahara picked up a PCNC 770 and is using it in his L.A. shop. We don't know what he is going to be making just yet, but stay tuned for a full customer story. Subscribe to the blog  to catch the full customer stories when they’re available!

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Tantalum: My New Favorite Metal?

We recently had a customer ask about the PCNC 770 and its cutting capabilities. After some conversation about the machine’s ability to cut anything that you can put under the spindle – it all just depends on feeds, speeds, and how long it takes to cut – the customer cut to the chase: “Can it mill Tantalum?” Never heard of Tantalum? It raised a few eyebrows around here as well. This metal is found on the periodic table under transition metals and is just a few columns away from platinum. Tantalum is renowned for its ability to resist corrosion by acids and an extremely high melting point of 3017° C, as well as being highly conductive of both electricity and heat. Tantalum finds itself in many of the electronics we use every day, being used to make capacitors and high-power resistors. But, what’s more interesting, we also see this hard metal being used in alloys for making everything from superalloys for jet engines and nuclear reactors to making carbide tools for metalworking. So, this stuff is used to make the tools used to make things. Tantalum is also bioinert, which means it does not initiate a response or interact when introduced to biological tissue. Because of this bioinertness, combined with a high stiffness, Tantalum is used in a number of surgical instruments and implants. It’s also non-magnetic, which means that implants made out of tantalum are safe in MRI machines and the like.

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The Biggest Misconception About CNC Machining

Whether you’re a CNC veteran or you just discovered this amazing tool, everybody has had to start somewhere. I’ve talked to a number of Tormach customers, and the stories vary widely. One customer got into CNC because he was going into production of his widget and needed to manufacture faster to scale things properly. Another customer was an old-school manual shop guy that wanted to make some complex curves with precision. Yet another customer had an incredibly engineered design, with 3D printed prototypes and a well-planned CAD setup, but no means to create a real part. The community of individuals like that last customer is growing rapidly – individuals or businesses that barely know what CNC is, but need to take the next step in their design/prototyping/manufacturing process. This is where one of the biggest misconceptions about CNC machining emerges. CAD and other digital fabrication techniques, like 3D printing, have become abundantly known throughout the general public. Elementary-aged kids are designing everything from toys to new characters for Minecraft, but there is an inherent lack of mechanical knowledge that comes with such an emphasis on the digital side of digital fabrication. We have to answer one question on a regular basis, whether it’s on tech support calls or at Maker Faire: “So, a PCNC mill is kind of like a 3D printer?” The expanse of 3D printing has introduced many fabricators/designers/at-home engineers to a drag-and-drop mentality that doesn’t yet exist in the world of machining. Here at Tormach, we’re quite proud of the fact that our machines are so approachable, so now the challenge lies in the software. From the side of those who have used CNC machines before, another misconception precipitates from this idea: “CNC controls have to be complicated.” This is all part of the reason why we created PathPilot – to make controlling CNC machines as approachable as CAD and the machine itself. If you’re new to machining or just haven’t upgraded to PathPilot yet, check out all the benefits here: http://www.tormach.com/pathpilot.html What do you think is the biggest misconception about CNC? Email marketing@tormach.com and let me know what you think!

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Knifemaking the Tormach Way

After an injury while serving time in the military, Phil Rose found himself delving into the world of knifemaking. His business, Phil Rose Knives, operates as a partnership between Phil and his father, and they use a Tormach PCNC 1100 to produce their custom knives.

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CNC Machined Rotisserie Attachment Improves the BBQ Grilling Experience

Before joining Tormach as a Machinist and CNC Workshop Instructor, Eric Andersen was injured on the job as a structural Iron Worker. While recovering and attending Madison Area Technical College to receive his machining certification, Andersen spent a lot of time grilling out in his backyard. “One of my favorite meals is a shish kabob,” said Andersen. “One thing I noticed was the meat always sticks to the grill, the veggies always finish cooking before the meat, and when you try to flip or turn the skewer, pieces always fall off.” Describing the moment as a “mind blowing” idea, Andersen decided to build an attachment for the rotisserie on his grill that constantly kept the shish kabobs rotating off the surface of the grill and in the process cooking the contents of the skewer intact.

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