I took delivery of my Tormach 770MX in April 2021, as a complete newbie to the world of CNC machining. I enjoyed the experience of assembling it, learning how it worked, and making some interesting first parts so much, I decided to try to write a book about it. The result was published a year later and is called BLURRING THE EDGES.
I have had the pleasure to meet a few of the great people at Tormach in Wisconsin and see their operation up close and I am delighted to say their reaction to my book has exceeded all my expectations. In fact, they permitted me to use some of their brand images in high resolution, which has certainly brought the book vividly to life.
My 770MX is working brilliantly, but like in all large technical projects there were some snags along the way in getting to where I am, and I want to give a big ‘shout out’ to the engineers behind the scenes at Tormach who work tirelessly to solve these issues. Along the way, you can’t help the feeling you have gained a camaraderie with these people, and that’s an unusual thing when dealing with modern companies.
I know it is normally ‘poor show’ pushing your own products on a forum so, before I get shot down in flames, so to speak, I just wanted to say my book is very much a positive message hoping to reach out to those who are not sure whether or not to enter into this wonderful hobby, and the CEO, Daniel Rogge, has said he’s OK with it! (Just this time)
So here is a bit of a PRESS RELEASE
A new paperback was published in April this year, entitled ‘BLURRING THE EDGES’, and sub-titled ‘Buying, assembling, and teaching myself to use a Tormach® 770MX CNC milling machine: my journey from distinctly novice to relative competence’.
Nearly three hundred pages of practical advice, with all photographs and diagrams in full colour, this book literally records the steps taken by the author, as a complete ‘newbie’ to the world of CNC, in getting to grips with his shiny new toy.
The author is a somewhat frustrated ‘weekend engineer’ with a small lathe and an old manual milling machine in his garage, whose day job doesn’t reflect his passion for making mechanical things. A chance discussion with a colleague culminated in him ordering a brand-new CNC (Computerised Numerical Control) mill from the USA. The machine is a Tormach® 770MX, a model aimed unashamedly at the high end of the hobbyist market, and certainly attracting the attention of small independent manufacturing ‘start-ups’, particularly in the United States.
This book records his journey of getting to grips with assembling all the components and learning how to operate the machine. It is purposely not an instruction manual – the manufacturer has already seen to that need. It is more a chronological log of all processes from choosing the right machine through to getting it to make parts. Taking the not insignificant leap from manual machining to CNC manufacturing, in the domestic environment, is a steep learning curve and this book is intended to assist, with many top tips gleaned from ‘learning the hard way’, shared throughout.
The book was written by Steve Dunthorne, who lives with his wife in a small village in Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom and has worked in the airline industry for over thirty years. His interests, when not at work, are for all things engineering. He acknowledges how lucky he was to have gone to high school in the seventies when they permitted ‘playing around’ with Colchester lathes in the lunch break, and he is passionate that modern-day schoolchildren should have access to real machines, not just the theory. He is an enthusiastic fan of Titan Gilroy in the United States, whose message is unequivocally that the Western world should be training its young people to manufacture the stuff we currently choose to purchase from the East. He hopes his book will encourage more people to ‘learn’ CNC, and bear witness to many more installations of machines, such as the Tormach CNC mills, particularly in educational establishments.
The first half of the book concentrates on assembling and learning about the Tormach 770MX simply because that was the machine Steve chose. However, later chapters are more generic and talk about CAD/CAM, G-code, and ‘feeds and speeds’, with some practical tips for newcomers to this hobby. The book is purposely written with the metric system in mind, predominantly aimed at the UK and European end-user, although much of the content remains valid advice for all readers and will prove extremely useful to anyone involved in setting up a CNC machine for the first time, whichever side of the Atlantic Ocean.
Steve has sought to make this a “chatty” and readable path down which you, the reader, and he, the writer, amble together. Hopefully, in this way, this feels like a “good read” rather than a stiff technical instructional tome. In effect, you end up building the machine together as a team, and then learning how to take the first tentative steps to cutting metal on it, side by side. Steve has been told by a good number of people who have read the book, they liked this style.
There are other excellent books out there, some mainly theoretical references, some siding with historical interest. The author envisaged a need for something more practical and hands-on. When he began his project, he couldn’t find a book like this.
For more information, please take a look at www.blurringtheedges.co.uk where you can also contact Steve if you wish.
Buy in USA and North America