A longtime ACU-RITE user shares the life-changing benefits of the MILLPWR control and his love for the brand.
Since 1996, Craig Guth has been using an ACU-RITE MILLPWR control in his home shop making custom motorcycle parts and more and is still using that same MILLPWR today! Not only that, but his love of machining secured him a full-time job in 2003 at The Toro Company headquarters in Bloomington, MN, where ACU-RITE controls are now used widely for prototyping.
Melding his love of art with the benefits that machining provides, Guth has created many unique and useful things over the last 25 years. Originally teaching himself to use an ACU-RITE MILLPWR CNC on a mill still used in his home shop, Guth has become a go-to source for his unique inspirations of all kinds. A personal project head-turner are his fully custom-made motorcycles to name only one!
Then when Guth was hired as an employee at The Toro Company to support its Product Development Lab (PDL), his love for machining helped him as he supported various R&D projects. Toro is a well-known provider of outdoor equipment including turf and landscape, snow and ice management, specialty construction and more.
ACU-RITE Control Supports Home-based Business
It all began for Guth in 1994 when working for a local machine distributor where they evaluated various equipment and settled on obtaining multiple easy-to-use and conversational ACU-RITE MILLPWR controls for mills for sale. From there, Guth purchased his own and went to making molds for a local rubber company as well as custom motorcycle parts for sale and himself.
Guth’s home-based business named CNC Metalcraft has produced many parts with truly unique designs since its inception. His fully custom motorcycles include specially designed parts using the MILLPWR that include those for the primary drivetrain (where clutch is housed and suspension parts), front end parts, triple trees and wheels. “I consider myself an artist and enjoy creating beautiful things,” said Guth. “And I love working in the shop.”
Another unusual project from Guth’s past is the development of a unique computer box after being contracted by computer-manufacturer AMD to design and make one to look like aircraft landing gear. Using his shop MILLPWR, Guth developed this unique casing where it was showcased at a trade show exhibit and featured on the cover of a 2008 Computer Power User magazine.
One of Guth’s most complex machining projects completed using his MILLPWR was the creation of his own large CNC wood router in 2015 that is now part of his home shop. It is 60” x 50” and consists of extremely complex and intricate patented machined parts. “The MILLPWR is so perfectly accurate that I can use a machine to make another machine!” said Guth. “I can whole heartedly say that the MILLPWR has changed my life. It really did.”
Guth shared that one of his most-used features on the MILLPWR from his very start was the Geo-Calc which is an incorporated design program right in the control. “Back in the 90s, I didn’t have access to Auto CAD or similar and the Geo-Calc helped me to design and create my parts right on the machine. I’d type in the lines and create right on the monitor, so the MILLPWR did everything from the design to controlling the actual build of it. I was really impressed with that.”
Guth continued “Also I find the Teach Position feature especially useful where I can map out an existing part on the MILLPWR and design myself a copy. For example, I can take a motorcycle part, map it out on the machine and make a similar. I’m basically reverse engineering. It’s fantastic!”
ACU-RITE Controls Support The Toro Company
When joining The Toro Company and its Product Development Lab in 2003, Guth explains that while he found the company’s machining capabilities able to get most of the product prototyping jobs done, the tools were somewhat cumbersome and outdated. Seeking opportunities to further improve on its processes and technologies, Toro’s PDL team now runs several ACU-RITE controls, mostly the new MILLPWRG2s as well as a recently added ACU-RITE TURNPWR for lathes. Local distributor C&C Machine Tool in Blaine, MN, has and is continuing to provide and support Toro as needed. “We have done a lot of good work with Brent and Brian at C&C Machine,” said Guth.
TURNPWR on Lathe at Toro
Responsible for building product models, the team of 32 employees in the PDL are now more efficient and productive than ever. Besides machining, they also must deal with forming, welding, tube bending, assembling and painting. “The repeatability and part design of any of our machining is so much easier and faster now, and the MILLPWRs are an important part of that change,” said Guth. “I am now in a position to help teach many of our newer staff how to use them, and they are finding the MILLPWRs easy to use as well. Besides harnessing their power doing quick circles, rectangles, lines, arcs and hole-making, our teams are using the Mirroring and Repeat options regularly.”
Guth added “Bringing these MILLPWRs into Toro has made it so we don’t have to farm any machining projects out, as had to be done in past. This is both a time- and money-saver. And who wants to rely on outside sources nowadays.”
While Guth still is actively using his 1996 MILLPWR at his home shop, he does enjoy the next generation versions housed at Toro with the bigger and colorful screens. “I LOVE the newer screen and do hope to upgrade myself someday from my small black-and white monitor. You know, the way you program these newer machines really hasn’t changed but the enhancements and added features make them better than ever,” said Guth. See newest TURNPWR screen.
“And while I’ve had to fix things on my home mill over the years, I’ve NEVER had a single problem with the ACU-RITE MILLPWR control even after all my thousands of hours of use. It just keeps working. The MILLPWR isn’t just to make a part, but you can make a functional piece of art! It really did change my life! My next personal project on it is to make an elaborate e-bike out of aluminum with a space-age design. It’s just great that this MILLPWR continues to help me bring my ideas to life.”