"the anti cliff" wrote
Thanks. If it is the Cliff I am familiar with, I will not be adding to his
I am considering buying a CNC plasma cutter. Some names that have come up
I have been looking at these, and some come with a table, and some come with
component parts, and you have to manufacture the table/chassis assembly.
Insights, caveats, and heads up appreciated. I want to buy the best value,
and not necessarily just the highest price model.
Thanks in advance
"Steve B" wrote in
Just from a machine building/purchasing standpoint, you should look at a
1. What is the cost addition of the table from the manufacturer?
2. What are your capabilities of fabrication of a table?
3. What are your capabilities of assembly, debug and checkout of the
equipment (including time required) that would need to be assembled, vs.
purchasing a turnkey, tested system?
4. If you do not have the capabilities to manufacture a suitable table,
what will be the cost to have this fabricated out of house?
5. What are the differences in the various software offered by each
6. What are the warranties from the various manufacturers?
a.) What are the service reputations of the various manufacturers?
b.) How far away is the nearest service technician and service
center from your location?
8. If you build your own table, and buy a component system, will the
manufacturer actually honor the warranty should you have problems, or
will they be blaming you for all problems in order to avoid warranty
At our college the weld shop got a plasmacam unit with the big
4X8 foot table. I helped install the software and got PC hooked
up. Seemed to work well. From an operational standpoint, a huge
amount of black dust is generated and blown everywhere. You
will most likely need to fabricate some sort of enclosure for the
PC. Several people have suggested what they termed a "water
table" which seems to be a large pan under the cutting table
that tramps [most of] the dust.
The cnc g/m code generation software that comes with plasma cam
is functional but the interface is kind of "klunky," and for some
reason I found it to have a steep learning curve. It is also slow
and takes considerable time to gen up a program. It will accept
dxf and hpgl plot files as input. Take a look at one of the
Autocad clones such as ICAD to create the plot files. You can
download a driver for a supersize HP printer from the HP website.
I would like to have that 6 foot by 100 foot plotter for
real..... A big benefit of this is the ability to use truetype
fonts for signs.
What kinds of stuff are you going to make? decorative/artsy,
sheet metal layout???
There is something to be said for government by a great aristocracy
which has furnished leaders to the nation in peace and war for generations;
even a democrat like myself must admit this.
But there is absolutely nothing to be said for government by a plutocracy,
for government by men very powerful in certain lines and gifted with the "money
but with ideals which in their essence are merely those of so many glorified
Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), U.S. Republican (later Progressive) politician,
president. Letter, 15 Nov. 1913.
| I am considering buying a CNC plasma cutter. Some names that have
| come up are:
| I have been looking at these, and some come with a table, and some
| come with component parts, and you have to manufacture the
| table/chassis assembly.
| Insights, caveats, and heads up appreciated. I want to buy the
| best value, and not necessarily just the highest price model.
The shop next door to mine has a CNC plasma cutter. I haven't paid
attention to the make or model; but did note that this one came with a
4x8 table fabricated using 80/20 struts. The table isn't solid (the
owner has a ratchet strap around one pair of legs to keep 'em from
From looking at his rig and watching it cut, I'd think that a
temporary table (a 2x4 short-legged frame) should serve to support the
tracks/racks while you cut the parts to weld up for a really good,
well-braced steel table.
I think I'd also put a canopy (plywood or tin) over the table with a
dust collector hose attached through the apex - this guy's machine
appears to produce a lot of black powder that wants to rise to the
ceiling and then drift all over his shop. The people working in the
shop say that it sometimes makes 'em feel unwell. A $150 Harbor
Freight dust collector should do a decent job of sucking this stuff up
and represent money well-spent.
DeSoto, Iowa USA
"F. George McDuffee" wrote
I want to do decorative gate accessories, custom pot racks, custom signs,
and whatever people will pay the going rate for. I will probably end up
getting a contractor's license again, keeping it simple this time (yeah,
right) and trying to stay with the high end custom work.
I deal with these machines everyday, with what your looking to do the
plasmacam seems to be right up your alley. Its pretty accurate, easy
to use and come with very good plasma cutters. Now if you want "the
absolute best" your looking at the multi-cam, MG systems, or AKS.
These are the systems where you get into the bucks, but unmatched in
quality cutting plus service after the sell. Remember your not just
buying a plasma system, your buying the expertise of that company that
you choose to go with. Things break, don't work out of the box, or
just dont make sense. You will need help, you will want to get decent
technical service as well. Also you can contact a company called
Centricut, they have helped me several times and I got through to tech
support very quickly. Unlike other support lines where they tell you
they will call you back later, somtime days later. Talk to those
guys, they're a big help to me.