I have updated this "blog" post so there will be a single place where you can go to find most of the details (or at least links to other posts in the series).
I've had a Taig CNC mill for over 10 years. This has been a really great machine and has worked well for making small injection molds. About a year ago, I upgraded to ball screws, which has given it new life (the backlash with the lead screws was getting pretty bad). I documented that upgrade here:
- Boring, "Taigmach" Part 3
- New Frame, "Taigmach" Part 4
- Boring Again, "Taigmach" Part 5
- Taig Column Alignment, "Taigmach" Part 6
- R8 Spindle Install, "Taigmach" Part 7
- Boring Again Solved, "Taigmach" Part 8
- Taig Power Drawbar, "Taigmach" Part 9
- Taigmach First Chips, "Taigmach" Part 10
Tormach EnvyHowever, recently I've been having a serious case of Tormach envy. I've had my eye on a PCNC 770, and now 770M mill. This provides a little larger work area than my Taig, as well as other features. But there is a huge price difference. I purchased my Taig for about $2,000 (would be about $3,000 today). Whereas the 770M is about $15,000 for what I would want. That's a huge difference.
So let's take a look at what I found so compelling about the Tormach that I don't have today with my Taig.
- More powerful spindle
- Spindle on/off and speed control
- A little more Y movement
- TTS tool holding
- Power draw bar
- Haimer or ITTP probe
So after a bunch of research, I learned that there are other upgrades for the Taig for the spindle motor, the frame, and the spindle. Once I'm done with these upgrades, I'll have most of what I wanted in a Tormach, but for a lower price (less than $2,200 for the upgrades). Sounds compelling, right? Let's take a closer look.
Note: I can add a .75" extension for Y on the Taig, providing a total of 6.25" travel.
- PCNC 440 Base Machine: $5,995
- PathPilot Controller: $795
- Power Drawbar: $695
- Standard LCD monitor: $195.50
- Keyboard, jog shuttle, etc.: $169.40
- Taig 5019CNC: $2,995
- Consew motor, pulleys and belt: $150
- Frame upgrade: $500
- TTS spindle & power drawbar: $1,500
Spindle Motor Upgrade
- CSM1000 Servo Sewing Machine Motor 3/4HP
- 20XL037-3FA7 Imperial Pitch Pulley -- 20 teeth, 5/8" bore
- 40XL037-6A6 Imperial Pitch Pulley -- 40 teeth, 1/2" bore
- 142XL037G Imperial Pitch Belt -- I ordered a few extra
The first motor was defective, so I sent it back and got a replacement that works. For the price, the hassle was OK.
Frame UpgradeStuart Andrews has created a very nice upgrade to the stock from. For $500, you get a stronger frame, plus some much needed room in the Y and Z directions. You can find more information here:
The frame is a huge improvement for several reasons:
- It's more rigid, which allows more aggressive cuts
- It doesn't have the ability to rotate, which allows getting it precisely aligned without worry that it will shift
- It's taller, and therefore provides more clearance in Z
- It allows moving the X/Y assembly further from the column
The R8 spindle requires a different set of pulleys from the stock spindle. The spindle itself has a 30-tooth pulley already attached. Here are the pulley and belt you'll need for the Consew motor: