3 Reasons You Need a 4th Axis

When buying a machine tool, it’s easy to get carried away. The excitement of purchasing a fancy new mill from Tormach makes you want to buy all the tools and accessories under the sun. Eventually, your budgeting conscience starts yelling, and you’ve got to draw a line somewhere. Often, when this line gets drawn, machine owners will skip buying a 4th axis, figuring they can do everything needed with some workholding ambition. While that might sometimes be true — though hardly worth the effort — here are three big reasons it’s valuable to consider a 4th axis.

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Building a BattleBots Champion

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Workholding of the Month: Tombstones

When you’re looking to do production work, or just looking to machine multiple parts at the same time, a CNC tombstone provides a way to fit several parts for many different operations into the same setup. When combined with an automatic tool changer (ATC), a tombstone can provide an easy solution to milling multiple parts that you can set and forget while your parts are machined. Tombstones, also sometimes known as pedestal fixturing, tooling tower, or fixture block, have two or more sides, typically four, that you can affix parts directly or attach various fixture plates. The Tormach Tombstone is designed to fit on our 6” or 8” rotary tables and the fixture surfaces are left as-cast, allowing users to fully customize their workholding by machining the tombstone to fit specific applications. There are two ways to really utilize tombstone manufacturing.

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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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Tormach’s BattleBots Champion

This season of BattleBots has been exciting and a little heartbreaking. We watched three Tormach Brand Ambassadors enter the competition and win. Mega Tento (Lisa Winter) won her initial match by a judge’s decision, but lost in the Sweet 16 round. Red Devil (Jerome Miles) did the same with an impressive, smoke-filled win that lead to a judge’s decision loss in the next round. Tombstone (Ray Billings), who was the runner-up last year and the number one seed this year, managed to work his way through the bracket and was crowned the champion! Tombstone took home the BattleBots Giant Nut through a knockout win. Stay tuned for more on Ray, his BattleBot, and his PCNC 1100 in an upcoming video and customer story.

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This Spring, Robots Are Everywhere at Tormach

There have been a fair number of articles lately touching on the increased use of robots and AI in various industries and what that future means for the job market. In the fabrication industry, we’ve long known about the value of robots in the workplace. CNC is a form of robotics, and it only exemplifies the value in automation. Beyond the workplace, though, robots serve an entirely different purpose.

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