Dope bottle opener!
Well after years of dreaming I finally pulled the trigger on a 4x4 CNC plasma table system with full torch height control. This really has put the capibilites in my small fab shop up there with the big boys. Shop is in Campbell CA with full CAD and Illustrator software (11x17 scanner to digitize too)
Thin Aluminum (.090 in):
1/2 thk Aluminum (yes .50 inch)
1/4" mild steel:
10 gauge Stainless:
So anyone need anything burned out or want to bounce some product ideas off me. email me at email@example.com
What kind of machine is it?? Pics please, also pros and cons when you get more use out of it
Thanks for your interest. I am sure you are ready for one in your shop too. There is a company who builds fuel cells on the Pirate 4x4 forum who goes straight from the plasma table to weld.
I bought a Plasma Cam. I went this route based on some others (namley a fellow by the name of Jim Colt who works for Hypertherm) and his near laser cut quality out of the box. I am using a Hypertherm Power max 45 torch for now and plan to upgrade to a PM85 soon.
Since I have been running the machine for a few months, I can honestly say the learning curve is less steep than others lead on. If you follow the recommendations of the manufacture the cut quality is ultra nice leaving your time where it is best spent on design and fab.
I went with Plasma Cam mainly due to the speed of servo drives and encoders which means the controller knows where it is at on the table at anytime. Others using steppers are relying on counting steps to tell the controller where they are at. In general servos are better that steppers and for the money I was going to spend I wanted to get the most bang for my buck. One or two missed steps on a 4x4 plate and your whole part could be scrap.
Plasma Cam has higher travel speeds than others (up to 300 in/min, cutting 1000 rapids) which is a must when cutting thin materials. You will never get there with a lead screw. You may not need to if you only cut 1/4" plate for example.
Other considerations is the dust control and machine support. I had to design a water tray for the Plasma Cam and even with that you still need a vent fan for some smoke (very little) I have yet to see any dust on my mill and lathe with this smoke. Other machines allow you to put the water closer to the torch but since PCam uses a closed loop type of torch height control with Ohmic sensing the water on top of the plate can throw it off. My water is about 4 inches below the plate. machine support is good on Pcam, but excellent on Torchmate. I have not needed as much support as I thought.
The machine decision was between a 4x4 plasma Cam DHC-2 (used) and a new Torchmate 2x4. The torchmate with height control would have been ~3k more. Both were suitable for hobby and light industrial use My Pcam was only used for a few hours (sucks to be that guy). I bought the Hypertherm PM 45 with a hand torch, but also a machine torch which I have yet to integrate, Motoguard filter, 60 Kobalt compressor, and a bunch of water seperators.
Last edited by 77dragrabbit; 09-28-2011 at 01:37 PM.
I saw a CNC plasma cutter in use the other day when I went to pick up a rool cage. It was cutting perfect notches in T45 tube - I couldn't believe how clean it could cut!
Throw an Audi engineer down a hole with a ladder and he will fashion a shovel from it and tunnel his way out
Man, perfect answer, thanks for the awesome reply. Ive been looking around, not quite ready to make the jump yet, at my DAY job, we have a giant, 15'x30' water table and all that other fancy stuff. Im lucky to get the luxury to use it.
Plasma Cam is the route i was really looking into actually so that is awesome thats what you ended up with!
Curious if you looked into just a plain down draft ventilation? Also if you have had to clean much mud/sludge from the water? Im guessing being 4" away there is gonna be less, On our big machine i try to get the water level to about 1/2" away, but i can also change that on the fly so it makes it real easy.
Plasma Cam users for hobby and light industrial seem to fly under the radar. This makes small time users like me feel very uneasy upon purchasing but now its running I am very happy. Like I said the cut quality from jimcolt (google if you like) sold me.
The down draft was my second choice because I was hoping to reduce ower consumption. I blower would be another 2HP electrical load which I am nearly tapped out on my 100 Amp home service. Now I crack the door and use a box fan to get air flow across the garage to clear the smoke.
Another consideration is software. I think Pcam has a pretty weak version that was on their machines up to this year. It does all of the controlls fine and art file clean up okay, but don't expect to design anything easily with it. Now they have a newer version but they want you to pay for it. The user forum consensus is its pretty good. I have heard the Torchmate software is good too, out of the box. I do all of my design offline with CAD (day job)
Water table folded up for me: cost $300, welding free fifty free (me)
integrated water table (painted OSH blue to match):
I used my mill. I'm not sure how stainless would react to a press. For 20 bucks you get a one of a kind-industrial bottle opener. As a pilot test there are a few bartenders using them here in Campbell. So far they like the weight and stoutness compared to the freebie chinese ones the beer vendors are giving them.
A little collaboration this week with a Vortex fabricator yielded a nice branding emblem. Nub had the graphics done up and I was able to digitize it to code make some branding emblems. .090 thk Aluminum (on left) and .025 thk SS (yes... twenty five thousandths) OA size is 1.5 x 2.5 inches
Im stoked dude
we might need to call on your services in the near future. We have been working up some ideas and would love to support a forum member.
Expenses in F1 have gone down since the 1960s because teams don't need an extra pit crew to help the driver carry around his balls when he is not in the car.
As you know being racers and fabricators who are allegiant to VW/Audi, we have always been innovators who "layed the first tracks"
I am always looking to add value to all types of projects-be it parts on your race car or business/club sign in your shop. Let me know.
Here's a for Eric with help on my project. I may have to get in touch with you about cutting a couple of brackets for me if I decide to move the headlights on my project further apart.
90 Corrado TDI, 84 Scirocco GTi, 75 Scirocco 1.8T, 09 Triumph Bonneville
Thanks again for the quick turn-around. I will be fabbing up a few manifolds next week if I get the rest of my stock in. I have a few guys chomping at the bit to get hold of these manifolds! They mate up to the head good as far as I had time to test fit. I will let you know if I run into any issues once I bolt up to the head. The alteration on the port size in the file i sent you came out exactly how I needed it to.
Last edited by Trickle X; 12-29-2011 at 08:23 PM.
Email sent..... need more logos