Tormach PCNC 770
The 770 uses an R8 spindle with a 5/8-inch, three-slot setup—a common standard that means most people who have manual drill presses will be able to use a lot of their existing tooling. Made in china brings the price to about a third that of comparable American-made mills, but it’s still robust and easy to use. The controller, which comes preconfigured with industry-standard Artsoft Mach3 software, works right out of the box. The 770 is a three-axis machine, but it comes with simple directions for adding the optional fourth axis, which allows for keyways and undercuts for full 3-D milling. There are some limitations, though. The 1-horsepower motor will feel anemic to anyone accustomed to 7.5-horse industrial units. More troubling: The tolerances can vary as much as 0.002 inch from day to day. It’s a great hobbyist’s machine, but nothing to bet your livelihood on.
get-gadget: Much cheaper than comparable models. Modular for easy transport. Runs off 110-volt outlets. Great online and phone support.
Tired: Slightly underpowered. Doesn’t hold tolerances with pro-level precision. $6,400 and up