Real People. Real Stories. - In Conversation with Corbin Dunn

Our mission here at Tormach is to empower people who make things, and what better way to do that by sharing the stories of the Tormach Community - people just like you.

Precision, detail, and affordability are what make Corbin Dunn's Tormach PCNC 1100 his "favorite machine". He uses it for woodworking and producing functional items, and is able to create shapes he could never make otherwise.

Q: What Tormach Machine do you use?

A: PCNC 1100 Mill

Q: Tell us more about your craft and what it is that you make?
A: I think I've only had the machine for maybe a year and a half. I bought it from someone else, and before that, I was just doing general woodworking and a lot of it's a hobby, but I do sell some of the pieces. I'm also doing it to make YouTube videos for fun and to create things for myself and my family members.

The primary thing that I’m making with it are 3D designs that I create. They’re functional items so most of them were bowls or boxes, and they're just shapes you can't get with traditional woodworking. In addition, I’ll do a multi-step process. So, I'll do one machining operation, add some epoxy in, and then machine it again to get vibrant colors and unique shapes with epoxy combined with the wood. The simplest way to say it is art really - it's functional art.

Q: What has been your biggest success with your Tormach this year?
A: I’d say it was creating shapes that I could never create otherwise. The great thing about the Tormach is they're highly affordable whereas most CNC machines, especially ones that have the precision and details that you can get, are a lot more expensive. So, the price of the Tormach allows hobbyists or semi-professionals like me to actually create stuff and to create artistic things that I wouldn't otherwise be able to create.

Aside from the fact that I can create stuff that I couldn't do before, the machine is pretty much self-running. I just start my program that runs a particular operation I want to do, and I have a manual bit-changing so whenever it stops, I have to change the bit, but it's not very difficult to do. It's quite fast and not a lot of attention is needed the whole time.

Q: And with all the good there is some bad...what's been your biggest failure in your shop?
A: There's certainly a learning process - just like anything. Since I've been doing a lot of woodworking with it, I've been experimenting with different ways to hold the wood pieces down, and sometimes it hasn't been successful. One particular case dug into the woodblock that I was cutting, lifted up the blocks, spun around, and spit it out at the wall, poking a hole through my enclosure and I was standing a distance away.

I saw it all happen and luckily nothing hit me, and it was okay, but it was one of those things where you just have to stand back and watch. There was nothing I could do, and it was just a mistake. I didn't hold down the workpiece properly and experimented to see how aggressive I could go for my cuts to save time with the machine.

No major incidents though. The machine is really good and the PathPilot software for doing the control is really good - definitely some of the better software out there for CNC machines. It's easy to use. I'm fairly technical from a hardware and software side of things so it wasn't hard for me to figure anything out, no problems there.

Q: How would you describe your Tormach in 3 words?
A: My Favorite Machine.

Q: What would you say has been your best creation to date?
A: One of the things that I created was a three-dimensional Batman-style logo box and the lid fits perfectly on it. I made a secret latching mechanism with it and there's just no way I could create something like that with traditional woodworking - or at least no easy way. There are probably ways, because people are very clever, but it would be very difficult.

Q: What's one piece of advice you'd give to someone starting out with a Tormach machine?
A: One piece of advice I’d give is if you're thinking about getting one, just buy it. Learning to use and handle the machine is just about experimenting and watching videos on YouTube of people doing it.

If you want to do metal, you probably want one of the PCNCs or the 1100M/MX machines. If you want to do wood, Tormach has a newer 24R Router. If I was to start again right now as someone doing primarily wood, that might be a better machine for people who want to do dedicated woodworking, but it wasn’t available back when I started.

Q: How would you rate Tormach out of 5 stars?
A: 5 stars because I haven't had any issues. The Tormach community is really good, they're really responsive, and they're encouraging. Tormach shares people's artwork and creations on Instagram and Facebook and which makes me feel included, which is really nice. I think they're a good company and I'll definitely continue to buy their products.


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