February 16, 2011
R8 taper means you buy tooling (in this case collets) that have an R8 taper. The end mills are held in the collets. Typically, the smaller hobby end mills are either 3/8" or 1/2" shank. That means you need a 3/8" collet and a 1/2" collet. Smaller mills (less than 1/16") have smaller shanks, but I find that they break so easily as to be impractical. Flycutters may have a 1/2" shank, or larger. You'd need another appropriate size collet for that, or turn down the shank to fit a collet you already have.
Also, the drill chuck must have an R8 shank. Usually, drill chucks have their own taper, and there is an arbor you get to fit the R8. Drill chucks are used to hold various sized drills (imagine that!), typically from 3/8" on down. Check out littlemachineshop.com for arbors, collets and the like. Yes, prices can be high for the hobby machinist. The secret is to get a couple of the most common sizes, and only buy what you need as you go.
I believe Tormach quick change tooling is usually for larger machines. Think CNC production sized units. As far as I know, it's not very common in hobby sized machinery.
Where are you located? Post some introductions on the various hobby machining forums. If you're local, plenty of more experienced members will help you out, including shop visits. This kind of hands-on assistance can mean the difference between getting just what you need and spending a fortune.
November 2, 2013
I am very new to the world of machining. So, I'm a retired engineer who always wanted to learn to use a lathe and milling machine. I have a 9x20, "Asian", lathe and soon a milling machine, probably a Bf20 style. I am confused about how the milling tools, end mills, fly cutters, etc are held in place. The mill I intend to buy has a spindle with an R8 taper, but from what I see the tools come in various sixe shafts. I think this means that R8 collets would fit. So, my question, when I buy end mills, do I buy them specifically for an R8? Or, does each "tool" require a dedicated collet? Also, many hobbist talk about the Tormach tooling system. What is this and how does it work? Is this a good thing and do I need it? From what I have seen, this stuff is pricey!
Thanks in advance, Frank