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Tormach style tool holders

hunting for ME or MEW article

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Simon036221/10/2020 10:41:36
219 forum posts
77 photos

Hi All,

I recall an article on making Tormach style toolholders for a CNC mill, possibly to fit a 'real' holder, possibly to fit a bespoke version. However, I am unable to find it and searches using key word like toolholder tend to produce a flood of responses.

Can anyone recall the article that I am looking for?



John Haine21/10/2020 10:44:19
4092 forum posts
241 photos

There was an entry for the John Stevenson trophy describing something similar?

geoff adams21/10/2020 12:49:42
210 forum posts
201 photos

hi Simon

I have a tormach pc1100 and have made my own toolholders in the past to fit the standard collet what info do you need only to happy to help


Nigel K09/04/2021 17:00:38
15 forum posts

Is this any use?

Simon036210/04/2021 22:52:20
219 forum posts
77 photos
Posted by Nigel K on 09/04/2021 17:00:38:

Is this any use?

Hi Nigel, yes it is !

Many thanks,


Nigel K27/04/2021 11:59:34
15 forum posts

I love this idea of using the mill as a lathe. It will make up for all the hassles I've had over the years using the lathe as a mill (with a vertical slide).

Murphy's Law has a strong grip on my workshop. Every time I want to use the lathe for a turning operation the vertical slide is mounted and visa versa.

I look forward to getting my new mill!

Zan27/04/2021 14:50:49
280 forum posts
19 photos

For my cnc mill I use a 3/4” silver steel slug very carefully centred in a collet, then drilled and reamed fir the cutter

the cutter is locked in place, then put into the R8 collet in the mill and tested to find the best position for minimal eccentricity tested on the Miller shank. Usually, there is less than 0.5 thou error. The holder at the very front is marked and removed from the machine for fitting a 7/32” silver steel pin pressed into a part reamed holedrilled at the front position . This controls the tool extension for adding into Mach 3 and thus the cutter orientation is always in the same position.

 The pin locates onto a collar machined in situ on the spindle, used as the R8 collet does not have a flat face  the drilling seen indicate where to locate the pin  on the spindle collar 

the height is set using the dti device which is set to exactly 115 mm  using a setting jig   I’ll add a photo later of this in action  

my sx2+ Miller runs at 3400 max speed  due to changing things in the conversion, al detailed in a long series in ME about 4 years back  I haven’t noticed any vibration problems 



Edited By Zan on 27/04/2021 14:58:07

Zan27/04/2021 15:31:05
280 forum posts
19 photos


Grrrrr.  my photos are always upside down. After uploading No good. Deleted it from album, I rotated this upside down in my library and re uploaded it .... still upside down! How do I solve this?

Back to the subject.

The setting jig is a cheap calliper cut down and bolted onto a secured packing block to bring it to centre height. The tool is fitted (after zero in the caliper against the block) into an accurately machine 3/4 inch diameter hole in the cast-iron block. The offset is those directly shown on the calliper. In Mach 3 the setting tool is listed as being 115 long and is designated as Tool number one in the listing. To use insert the setting tool and jog down until the dial reads zero then simply the z axis. The tool shown in the photo is simply put into the appropriate position in the Mach 3 tool table and set up as being a length of 55.21mm as seen in the photo this enables it to be permanently set to a length and does not need checking again it is a very simple and robust system and is based on the Tormach method

The   top photo shows my full tool drawer I did make it for 1/2} and 12 mm tools, but experience has shown these are very rarely used, and I intend to experiment with converting these to 6 mm and smaller, which is the range most often used, and at the moment my spare holder is getting too much use!

In  the tool table, a 6 mm carbide cutter is found as tool no. 60  listed as  “6 slot cab 6A “  The 6 a refers to the tool position in the drawer   Drills start at tool 100 so a 2 ba tapping drill [4.1 mm) is tool no 141    While  a 10 mm is listed from tool 10 , 8 mm from tool 80 etc  the 70’ s are used for special use   A printout in a grid enables values to be recorded in pencil to allow changes and be used in the office

this system makes it easy to switch between the desktop in the office where Fusion 360 sits and the off line  workshop 


Edited By Zan on 27/04/2021 15:42:58

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