Plasma table general disscusion

machinedude

machinedude
OK for starters I'm not even close to doing any thing like this but it has caught my interest for my next project once I get my mill build to the point where I can at least make some chips.

what I do have is sitting around is 3 geko G201x drives , 3- 1300 in/oz sure step motors and a 75v DC power supply for a controller. I was thinking a plasma table would add some material processing needs I don't have at the moment.

what I have seen looking into this is different torch heads, different table types and off course the cutter it's self can range quite a bit in price and if I were to do this the Plasma cutter would most likely not be a top end unit. table size would be no less than a 4' x 4' table and a clean cut on no less than 1/2 material.

i'm looking for some general insight on the process in general as far as costs go and what type of table would best suite my needs best. machine torch options. I have some experience with laser processing but the plasma is something new to me so go easy on me.
 

evermech

evermech
This is something that I have been seriously considering for a couple months now. It would be a smart addition to my business activities and support what I do well. I will be watching this post closely

Guy
 

machinedude

machinedude
I was already thinking a water table would be the way to go as far as a table goes. seems like they contain the mess the most to keep your work space cleaner. I would imagine they help with keeping the material you cut flatter than with out one.

with laser processing dross is something you never want to see much of. I think everyone would agree cleaning it off you parts sucks. I was wondering if anyone has used both and had any input as if a water table helps keep dross to a minimum?

only down side to a water table would possibly be case hardening around the cut if it would rapidly cool the work piece I would think? but if you had water lines plumbed into your table to adjust most likely a holding tank or reservoir with a pump you could adjust water levels to minimize this?

Hypertherm is probably the best of the best and out of my price range. especially since the machine torches are rather expensive. the only way i could go with that brand would be to find a cheaper solution for a machine torch? not every brand even offers them as a option.
 

segoman-designs

SegoMan DeSigns
$$ Over time will be well spent on Hypertherm as the consumable cost is the cheapest / cut. You will spend more money on consumables than on the machine itself over it's life.

America $ is about $3,300 for the unit w/ machine torch (not sure where you live). These tables are a good source of income once people know you and what they can do.


Water table is a must for both smoke and thin metal warpage, holes will harden from the nitrating action of the cut with or without water. If you need a precise hole cut it 1/2 to 2/3 of it's finished size then clean it out with a quality HSS drill bit. Dross is minimal once the travel & THC is dialed in. It can normally be scrapped or buffed off with a cup brush. Most holes can be slightly oversized to allow for plasma cut taper.

The rule of thumb on a plasma cut is a hole no smaller than the thickness of the metal. My (3-tool) 6x12 table under construction will have a machine torch / air scribe and drill. so I can do small holes as needed on parts. Here is a pic of my 2x2 Torch-Mate w/ Hypertherm 65 that I got a good deal on, TM wanted over $4,000 to upgrade everything to the newer accu-move system, I thought the money would be better spent on the bigger machine. It has cut tons of metal in my 4 years of ownership:



EDIT

Here is a link to the construction of the 2x2 table on a Side x Side Forum. If you have trouble viewing the pics you may need the "Photo Bucket Embed Fix" for your browser:

 

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machinedude

machinedude
I would think you might get more life out of your table slats with a water table as well? seems like water might slow the wear on them. over time they will need replaced i'm sure but if that style of table helped with the life on them that is something to consider too.

as for location I am on the east coast near Pittsburgh Pa so I am not sure what I can get as far as a price on a unit over on this side of the country ? will shop around no doubt.

it seems like a good air supply that is dry and in enough volume is a must , but are there times when you need a different kind of shield gas ? everything I seen so far looks to stem around compressed air so far. I seen somewhere some units can cut under water?

sorry in advance for being so full of questions :) total rookie in the world of plasma :)
 

segoman-designs

SegoMan DeSigns
Answers:

The link I put on the first post is some of the best prices I found and located your way.

Slat life and cut quality is improved by using the sharks tooth design (a bunch of points vs flat) curving the slat prevents a ripped slat on a straight cut. Slats are considered consumables and needs changed out ( I get 6 mo to a year on mine).

Hypertherm Powermax Series are air torch's so compressed air is all you need. 5hp 60 gal tank is plenty big , nitrogen my be used. Yes there is other torches than can use a mix of gases but they make the 65 look really really cheap LoL

Air needs to be dryer than a popcorn fart or consumables will fail sooner.

Yes the torch will cut underwater

What else Plasma Rookie?
 

machinedude

machinedude
Quote from SegoMan DeSigns on July 13, 2019, 11:51 pm

Answers:



What else Plasma Rookie?

I'm thinking :) maybe after I pick my kid up and think for a little bit on the ride over and back I might have a million and one more questions :)
 

machinedude

machinedude
Quote from SegoMan DeSigns on July 13, 2019, 11:51 pm

Answers:

The link I put on the first post is some of the best prices I found and located your way.

Slat life and cut quality is improved by using the sharks tooth design (a bunch of points vs flat) curving the slat prevents a ripped slat on a straight cut. Slats are considered consumables and needs changed out ( I get 6 mo to a year on mine).

Hypertherm Powermax Series are air torch's so compressed air is all you need. 5hp 60 gal tank is plenty big , nitrogen my be used. Yes there is other torches than can use a mix of gases but they make the 65 look really really cheap LoL

Air needs to be dryer than a popcorn fart or consumables will fail sooner.

Yes the torch will cut underwater

What else Plasma Rookie?

so I noticed some units have a remote on and off feature would I be correct in assuming that this is for powering the unit down with control software? I also seen with hypertherm they have a low amp making feature I have not seen with other brands. seems they make use of argon in this for better results as well. does Hypertherm only have this feature? I could see it being useful for a lot of stuff plus I already own a big tank.

also noticed the cut thickness is not reduced very much on different materials like the everlast machines which seems to be the only low end option with a machine torch. also noticed those cheaper machines run into issues with torch height control because of the voltage divider boards doing strange things when they interact with a THC component.

also seems like hypertherm has the fine cut detail sorted out on the consumables where others do not? I also seen they have a high definition line of plasma as well but I don't even what to know what the price point on those are. the 65 is at my max if not beyond what I would like to spend. not to mention probably at least another $500 for some sort of air dryer system on top of that. I was thinking 5K would be doable but it looks like to get into something decent I will have to find more funds than what I initially thought looks like about 7.5 k might be more realistic as far as cost goes. metal prices suck these days and not to mention all the little stuff that will nickel and dime you to death you never think about.
 

segoman-designs

SegoMan DeSigns
Looking good Ross!

Machinedude,

Remote on and off can be used to run a track torch, to interface the 65 with the plasma table you will need the CPC connector and cable that plugs into the back of the machine, you need both on/off and divider voltage out to run the THC (Torch height Control). This cable can be had from Hypertherm or you can buy a connector and make your own saving you about $65. The machine you buy needs to have the CPC port, they offer a field installation kit if needed.

Don't be misled by some machines specs, the duty cycle of the machine and operating cost is what its is about. The marker system in the 45 I am not familiar with, a lot of people will mount an air scribe to mark with or they make a easyscriber that attaches to the Hypertherm Duramax torch as well. The torch like you say has the optional fine cut consumables that allows you to cut up to 11ga.

High definition plasma with true hole technology is approaching water jet quality. The Hyperthem XPR High Def burn box will run you 40 - 50k and the table it attaches to another 125k . High Def requires a mixing valve console and up to 4-6 diff gasses depending on materials cut, if you want to drool over a few of those units check out Retro Plasma Tables made in Kansas.

The 65 is a great machine it can be run single or 3 ph power saving you money. depending on your humidity you might be able to build your own air dryer separator saving you some more bucks. I have the Motor Guard M-26 on all of my burn box's.

Start a file on all of your notes as over time you will get overloaded on info.

Back to my paint job watching Ross's vid got me fired up again..
 

machinedude

machinedude
Quote from SegoMan DeSigns on July 16, 2019, 4:17 pm

Looking good Ross!

Machinedude,

Remote on and off can be used to run a track torch, to interface the 65 with the plasma table you will need the CPC connector and cable that plugs into the back of the machine, you need both on/off and divider voltage out to run the THC (Torch height Control). This cable can be had from Hypertherm or you can buy a connector and make your own saving you about $65. The machine you buy needs to have the CPC port, they offer a field installation kit if needed.

Don't be misled by some machines specs, the duty cycle of the machine and operating cost is what its is about. The marker system in the 45 I am not familiar with, a lot of people will mount an air scribe to mark with or they make a easyscriber that attaches to the Hypertherm Duramax torch as well. The torch like you say has the optional fine cut consumables that allows you to cut up to 11ga.

High definition plasma with true hole technology is approaching water jet quality. The Hyperthem XPR High Def burn box will run you 40 - 50k and the table it attaches to another 125k . High Def requires a mixing valve console and up to 4-6 diff gasses depending on materials cut, if you want to drool over a few of those units check out Retro Plasma Tables made in Kansas.

The 65 is a great machine it can be run single or 3 ph power saving you money. depending on your humidity you might be able to build your own air dryer separator saving you some more bucks. I have the Motor Guard M-26 on all of my burn box's.

Start a file on all of your notes as over time you will get overloaded on info.

Back to my paint job watching Ross's vid got me fired up again..

yeah the more you look for info the more stuff you happen to come across is a under statement. I lost a day just getting curious about a torch height system done on Linux where the controller has control of everything in that respect meaning no g code to control the z axis. all started with a video and was enough to make my head spin looking at Linux stuff. Linux is pretty cool but you have to be a genius just to figure where to even start with that type of system.

as for humidity it's pretty bad over here in the summer so a refrigerated air drying system would probably end up being what would be needed. harbor freight has one for $400 but who know what the quality would be like from them. Ingersoll rand has one for around $800 I seen which is a good brand but only 1 year on a warranty even with them.

Hypertherm seems to be the way to go i'm just torn on a $3,300 price tag for the 65 and am not sure if a 45 would be big enough to not out grow?

seen some specs on factory built tables and my 1300 in/0z motors are overkill it seems so under powered motors and drives are not an issue at least :)
 

machinedude

machinedude
@ross

watched your video over in the show me what you got tread. looks like you moved up to a water table as well. I bet you are loving that compared to just an open table design.
 

segoman-designs

SegoMan DeSigns
@machinedude

How does the saying go? Wanna play - gotta pay!

My build cut some corners on rails & rack and pinion by using cold roll flat and sprockets - chain drive, the advantage to that is I have a rear driveshaft and don't have to worry about 2 motors fighting with each other . Just drive it with one big motor (#34 / 1800 oz clear path servo.)

Things I won't cut corners on is electronics / motors and plaz box. the rest can be upgraded in the future. Have you looked at the Price THC yet? Masso has one in the works with no release day. That is why I don't buy anything until a week after it needs mounted. Take a look at (Eaton Compressor) Polar Bear Air Compressors / Dryers. they upgrade to the next size pump and slow it down about 25% this drop receiver temps by about 200*.
 

machinedude

machinedude
Quote from SegoMan DeSigns on July 17, 2019, 1:42 am

@machinedude

How does the saying go? Wanna play - gotta pay!

My build cut some corners on rails & rack and pinion by using cold roll flat and sprockets - chain drive, the advantage to that is I have a rear driveshaft and don't have to worry about 2 motors fighting with each other . Just drive it with one big motor (#34 / 1800 oz clear path servo.)

Things I won't cut corners on is electronics / motors and plaz box. the rest can be upgraded in the future. Have you looked at the Price THC yet? Masso has one in the works with no release day. That is why I don't buy anything until a week after it needs mounted. Take a look at (Eaton Compressor) Polar Bear Air Compressors / Dryers. they upgrade to the next size pump and slow it down about 25% this drop receiver temps by about 200*.

yeah I was thinking about how to do a gantry with a single drive point as well. I figured slaving two motors would be a possible point for trouble. like I said I have some large sure step steppers so power to move things is not going to be an issue. I can't remember what they are rated for exactly but I know they are in the ball park of 1,300 in/oz and a NEMA 34 size.

I noticed just about every table is done with gear racks which are not something I have worked with in the past. it seems those come in 6' sections and have to be spliced together unless I just need to dig deeper to find longer sections? but i'm not sure if that would be the way I would go? I think a basic gear rack would have a decent about of backlash and when you get into anti-backlash gear racks you could get into some serious expense. I will probably just stick to what I know and stick with a linear rail and ballscrew drive and seal it up with bellows of some sort. those don't have to be huge to carry cutting loads like milling machines. I was thinking the main table with be a weldment but attach so 80/20 Tslot for rail and such so the machine can be squared up easily. the moving sections of the table I would like to avoid welding to keep the stress away from those areas to make life easy. having the gantry light is good on this kind of build but a nice thing about Tslot is the end holes can be tapped taking the need to weld stuff together out of the picture.

I checked out the pierce CNC THC it looks like a simple plug and play solution no doubt. I like the fact you can store 30 presets for different material types and thickness and have cutting conditions stored on the unit. i'm still up in the air on how to control every thing at this point. cost of the build will factor in I am sure since this build is going to be tight since I have a lot of money tied up in my mill build already because I like to play as you put it before :) I still have plans to do a Trunnion Table with a rotary table attachment at some point since the mill controller is a 5 axis unit. I might have an addiction problem and need some support group help at this rate:) AA( Automation Anonymous) could be a new trend some day :)
 

machinedude

machinedude
waiting on a price for a linear rail kit for a 4' x 8' table so I can get a more exact idea of what a project like this will set me back?

I blame ross for this :) but on the bright side I might kill two birds with one stone. the first rail kit was a general kit and the Z axis is too short for what i'm working on now but if this new kit is priced right I will swap the two around and get where I need to be since I went with what I need for the mill on the short set on the kit i'm looking into.

hoping I don't drop over when I find out how much :)
 

Ross

Ross
Thanks a lot! I get blamed for every thing, even as a kid.

OK, I have size 20mm linear rails sitting in a length of PVC pipe that I can't use!

All the plasma fumes have made them not run smooth, don't go that way cause I wasted a heap of money trying that!

When you look at my new gantry design I use precision U bearings now and they can handle the dirty environment.

Y axis is 1 inch bar not hardened, X axis is 20mm precision rod and it has to be cause it is compressed on the top and bottom of the X gantry by the bearings.

Have a look JD Squared and other plasma builders do it that way and it isn't a new thing it's been around for a long time.

The other thing not happy with the water table, steel is all rusty, water all over the Z axis and plasma nozzle just a total mess.

Plus I spent over 2 hours cleaning the tray out today! NOT HAPPY, will put up with it for a bit longer but I can see a fume extractor in the near future!

Plus the THC might be getting a bit confused with the water, it climbed to 6mm on the last cut today.

This is what I cut today, Time to start decorating the apartments. ill give it a sanded finish then hit it with a translucent colored finish I think. but if I am lazy just some flat black.
 

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machinedude

machinedude
@ross I see a lot of builds with the square linear rails on DYI builds and Commercial tables? not sure why you would have had such bad luck going that route. did you have the square style or did you have something like a open pillow block style that are cheaper?

on your water table you should have some kid of additive in you water. that would help with rusting and keep the funk from growing in the water try. I would think you would have to clean the water tray out on a regular basis just because all the junk is getting caught by the tray. I seen people have placed a splash guard around the torch to help contain the mess? not sure how effective that is but seen it being tried at least. might be worth looking into a screen of some sorts that can catch most of the junk on the bottom of the water table that you can pull out easily. this could very well be why I have seen tanks under the table. they might have filters to strain all the junk or most of it at least so the tray can be cleaned easily. plus when not in use it would probably keep your additives from evaporating. just looking into this for a week or so I have seen lots of things to consider in a build of this type.

I have no doubt you always find something you want to improve once your into it for a bit and start seeing stuff first hand. I no doubt have a lot of looking into to do as well i'm out of comfort zone of what I know on this subject.
 

Ross

Ross
The rails that are in storage are HGH20. all gummed up with grit. I was going to clean them and add bellows covers but it was over $1000 to go that way!

At the moment the drain pipe just dumps out the back of the shed and the amount of water I used to wash the tub out was running for over an hour.

At the moment not sure if I want to buy a water pump and a holding tank, where as the extraction fan set up is just a bit more it price!

Have to cut some metal today so I will make a high Tec splash cover for the plasma from cardboard and plunder that to do!

Ross.
 

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machinedude

machinedude
Quote from Ross on July 23, 2019, 1:46 am

The rails that are in storage are HGH20. all gummed up with grit. I was going to clean them and add bellows covers but it was over $1000 to go that way!

At the moment the drain pipe just dumps out the back of the shed and the amount of water I used to wash the tub out was running for over an hour.

At the moment not sure if I want to buy a water pump and a holding tank, where as the extraction fan set up is just a bit more it price!

Have to cut some metal today so I will make a high Tec splash cover for the plasma from cardboard and plunder that to do!

Ross.

was actually digging through the posts on this sight and seen some older pictures of the first table you built which looked like a very decent start on a nice table. I was thinking maybe the reason things got so dirty was from having just the open table with no down draft or water table to contain the mess?

right now I am looking at a 700/1500/2800mm package of this type of rail with ball screws. the 700mm set in this kit will get swapped with a 400mm set and I will use the longer on the mill build I have started . I just got a price and with shipping it's looking like $1050 for the entire kit with everything to drive it as well. and that's 2 trucks per rail too.

the only other thing I have to look into is duties or taxes on top of the price or if that is included? I think it depends on the shipping methods at times and sometimes they collect that in the shipping price. I was happy with the first kit I bought as far as quality goes and looking into the same vendor but since this is a custom kit this one is coming from china if I go this route? delivery time is not that bad on this venture. the last item I got from chia took 2 months to get i'm looking at about 2 weeks on this one. the first kit I got I was lucky and it was in stock here so it was an easy buy.
 
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