Mill Selection help request

Hi all, I’m new here and learning a lot about Tormach. I have decided to get a CNC mill and I am now working through what to get. I do not have a definite set of jobs for it, mostly hobbyist type stuff. I have recently started into the flight simulator rabbit hole so for a while anyway I’ll be using it to support those kinds of projects.

I have looked at most/all of the videos listed on this site and have looked at a lot of youtube stuff as well. I have some manual machining experience (hobbyist) and have a CNC plasma table that I am proficient in. I am proficient in Fusion 360 for CAD/CAM.

Now to the Tormachs; I am leaning towards the 1100 family as I want to get as much work envelope and power as I can but still stay in a “budget”. That said a tricked out 1100MX with some tooling today appears to be about 40K± There’s also the lower versions of the 1100 but the savings don’t look that great for stepping down.

The other consideration is a used machine. There is a 7 year old PNCN 1100 series 3 near me for sale for around 12K. It has the work envelope (roughly) but not the power or the other bells and whistles of the newer M and MX series. It’s a lot less money and would allow me to learn CNC milling, I guess the question for me having never used any of them is; do the differences between the newer machines and that older machine make enough difference to invest the additional dollars?

Thanks in advance.


I bought a 1100mx last year. My cnc mill before that was a sherline and before that I used a myford lathe. The thing is I had so many problems with lead screws and accuracy that I wanted an accurate machine. But buying a new 1100mx didn’t solve those problems. Until I learned about the process of machining, proper work holding, mill setup even thermal expansion I continued to have problems. The old guys that used to run manual machines can probably still get better results from my old myford than I can from my new tormach. So it really becomes a question of do you know how to get the results from the tool. It bugs me when I see those guys in India making a new spindle out of an old rusted ship prop shaft and it has higher accuracy than I can get from my new computer driven mill. It’s because they know all the tricks that I never learned. In short I would say get the cheaper machine and take some classes. (If you can find any). I have been searching for retired machine operators to come tell me what I’m doing wrong, and right, to no avail.

Thanks for the thoughts! I have many of the same experiences and thoughts. I’m not sure that I need SUPER accuracy but of course the goal is to be as accurate as possible. I’m curious what your definition of accuracy is? most of the time I get to within 001 to 003 if I’m working at it on my manual machines which are by the way older and not super rigid themselves. If I can duplicate those results I’ll be very happy. The trouble I have with my older machines is I’m never sure if it’s me, the machine or the material. I suppose the same issue exists with a newer machine though you should be able reduce the variables. It’s a hobby for me so I’m not under any pressure except what I put myself under.

Thanks again!


The beauty of these machines is they’re modular and built to be user upgradable. I started with an 1100m with enclosure, flood coolant and nothing more. I’ve since made it an Mx and added a microarc and rapidturn. Eventually I’ll add a tool changer as well. Point is, you upgrade as funds allow which means you can buy the big machine now instead of sacrificing work envelope for other features.
As for accuracy, +/- .005 is nothing to hold all day long. Mine usually manages .006 total tolerance with nothing other than good machining practices but its absolutely capable of .002” total tolerance or less if I’m careful and walk it in.

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Thanks, I appreciate the perspective!