We finally got a chance to play with Tormach’s desktop learning system. this was a fun little piece of equipment and presented some interesting approaches to a desktop milling experience.
Tormach looks to be focusing mainly on education with this unit. It ships not only with the mill but with a computer loaded with Path Pilot, the control software to run this unit, and also all of their other much larger machines. Plop this machine in a classroom and while people learn to use the fairly unassuming small mill, they’re simultaneously learning exactly how to run the larger more capable units. Pretty clever approach if you ask me! On top of shipping with a fully functional path pilot controller (and a jog shuttle, which is soooo nice), you can also log into a virtual environment where you can run jobs on Path Pilot to learn how it works without the concern of breaking end mills or crashing the machine.
With a 125 watt spindle and belt driven x and y axis, this isn’t going to be a production power house. However it had plenty of oomph to cut some cool designs out of aluminum for me. Just watch your feeds and speeds to make sure you’re within the capabilities of the machine. Wood presented no problems whatsoever, as you’d expect.
At $3,495 you may find yourself debating whether to get this or one of the slightly more powerful machines out there. If there’s a chance that your path will take you upward along the Tormach product line (like in a school, makerspace, or even small machine shop), this makes perfect sense.