How to level and square your Tormach 1100M/1100MX CNC Mill

An unlevel CNC mill is one of the fastest ways to ruin a great idea with poor surface finishes. The last thing you need when milling the perfect part is unexpected gouges instead of clean, crisp cuts.

Take the time to get it right.

Leveling and squaring your Tormach 1100M or 1100MX CNC mill is easy. It can be done at home with a basic toolset and is an essential stage of your machine setup to ensure both safety and quality assurance.

What You’ll Need to Get Started:

1 x Tormach 1100M/1100MX CNC mill (obviously)
1 in. block for the 1100M (or 1100MX)
10 mm or ⅜ in. diameter bar
Clean, lint-free cloth
10 mm hex wrench
Machinist stone
Mill Stand Leveling Shim Kit
Precision machinists level (0.0005/10 in. graduations or better)
Pry bar
Torque wrench and 10 mm hex wrench socket adapter
WD-40 (or similar water displacement oil)

Before Attempting to Adjust Your Tormach 1100M/1100MX CNC Mill

Before you begin, your CNC machine must be in its final stored location on a flat, stable surface suitable for the machine’s weight.

The machine must be roughly level in X & Y (a four-foot carpenter level is best) and it must be sitting on all four of its feet.

The machine must also be secured to the machine stand, the screws must be torqued to 10-foot pounds and both the machine and the PathPilot controller must be powered on.

Leveling Your Tormach 1100M/1100MX CNC Mill

To start the levelling process, remove any vices, rotary table or fixtures from the machine table. Also, make certain to remove any tools from the spindle to decrease the chance of result interference.

Now you have a clean, stable area to work with, stone the table using a lubricant or water displacement oil to detect any burs before wiping the surface clean with a lint-free cloth.

Using the MDI line (1100M - G20 G53 G1 X9 Y-5.5 Z0 F20) type in the command to center your machine and hit the enter key to execute.

Place the precision level onto the table along the x-axis and mark its location. Make a note of the bubble location before rotating 180 degrees. If the bubble maintains the same value for both, then you know it’s calibrated correctly.

We also recommend removing all your accessories such as your ATC and enclosure are installed before leveling to remove the chances of any outside result interference.

Put the level on the center of the CNC machine table and aligned to the x-axis. Read the bubble on the side of the level and note which side of your Tormach 1100M CNC mill is low.

Raise the feet on the low side of the CNC machine but make sure the footpads do not move.

Let the bubble settle and read it again. If the bubble is still not centered, repeat the previous steps to achieve the desired result. This could take you multiple attempts but it’s important to be patient.

When the bubble is finally centered, rotate the level 90 degrees to align with the y-axis.

Again, using the bubble, note which side of the machine is low. And just like before, adjust the feet on the lower side of the CNC machine while again taking care not to move the footpads.

Your machine should now be centered in both the x & y directions. But recheck the x-axis one more time to ensure it hasn’t slipped or changed during the y-axis adjustments.

If you’ve followed these instructions correctly, your machine should now be level.

Squaring your Tormach 1100M CNC machine

Place your level in the center of the CNC machine and align it with the x-axis.

Using the MDI line (G20 G53 G1 X9 Y-11 Z0 F20), type in the command to move the table to its Y- limit. Hit the enter key to execute.

Note the position of the bubble.

Using the MDI line (G20 G53 G1 X9 Y0 ZO F20), type in the command to move the table to its Y+ limit. Hit the enter key to execute.

Note the position of the bubble as this represents any twist you may have in the casting.

In the MDI line, type in the previous command to move the CNC machine to its Y-limits (G20 G53 G1 X9 Y-11 Z0 F20). Hit the enter key to execute and use the following calculation to work out the required shim stock to remove the twist from your machine.

0.002 (in. / 10 in.) X 4 (in.) = 0.008 (in.) - 0.2 mm
(in this case, use the 0.2 shim from ther shim pack provided)

Whatever your shortfall, locate the appropriate shim stock from the kit and loosen the two front bolts using a 10mm hex wrench.

Using a metal block on a clean cloth, place it on a flat surface of the stand and lift the front corner with a pry bar.

Slide the shim between the base and the stand (making sure it fits around the bolt and is secure. When completed, the last task is to remove both the pry and the block and retighten the front bolts again with a torque wrench to 10-foot pounds.

To validate the twist has been moved, jog to the Y negative and positive limits.

If you have followed our instructions correctly, your machine should now be level, squared, and ready to go.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s start making some chips!