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cutting table



sparkplug
06-30-2011, 08:22 PM
On a plasma water cut table, how far is the water from the cutting table surface?

SICFabrications
06-30-2011, 09:07 PM
it aint very far away at all, otherwise, they would call it a dry plasma table....lol..... nah, the water usually sits just under the stock enough to barely touch the metal, or just over.....

Bluesman
07-01-2011, 07:04 AM
Along the same lines of questioning, I want a cnc bad. I still enjoy freehand but it is taking too much time to turn pieces out. For someone like me that don't know crap from shinola about any xy or z axis stuff or sevro motors and all that other tech talk, would it be better to try to find a complete unit or try to build one from a price standpoint. Which would spend less money?

Gadget
07-01-2011, 08:09 AM
You'll spend less making your own if you do it right. As a bonus you will get a good working knowledge of the unit and how it functions. You can get a lot of information here CNCzone.com-Machinist Community Forums - Welcome Page (http://cnczone.com/) and can probably find some plans there as well.

Bluesman
07-01-2011, 08:30 AM
But someone like me that knows absolutely ZERO about electronics and stuff be able to pull it off? And how would I get it to respomd to software? Will I have to do any computer programing stuff?

Nick
07-01-2011, 12:38 PM
But someone like me that knows absolutely ZERO about electronics and stuff be able to pull it off?

It'll just take longer. You'd be looking for proven solutions - ie - a popular controller setup that a few people are using. Then it comes down to part numbers. You should be able to piece together a list of everything you're planning to use with basic schematics, and post it for scrutiny. (on the CNC board)

On the software end, you'll spend a ton of time staring at the same screen wondering what in the world you changed that screwed your tool path until you get comfortable with it..

Gadget
07-01-2011, 01:58 PM
I had some computer background but absolutely no CNC or CAD/CAM and I made it. There is enough help and information out there to get through it. Keith and I can help as well. I'm sure there are others on the forum who will be able to help as well.

KHK
07-01-2011, 04:53 PM
I think that a CNC would be a great class project for your students. As Gadget said we all will help.

Bluesman
07-01-2011, 10:10 PM
What would be the first step? Do you build the table first? I haven't even ever had the opportunity to see a small cnc cutting table around here only a HUGE one at a local construction company that is about 20 or 30 ft wide and about 40 or 50 ft long. That sucker will cut anything and runs a couple of oxy-acetylene torches that are the biggest dang oxy torches I've ever seen. I don't need but a 4x8 table at the most right now.

Nick
07-02-2011, 02:50 AM
What would be the first step? Do you build the table first? I haven't even ever had the opportunity to see a small cnc cutting table around here only a HUGE one at a local construction company that is about 20 or 30 ft wide and about 40 or 50 ft long. That sucker will cut anything and runs a couple of oxy-acetylene torches that are the biggest dang oxy torches I've ever seen. I don't need but a 4x8 table at the most right now.

Benefit of CNC... The same setup that will cut down to the .001 (typically) runs on the same software that cuts down to the .01. CNC scales incredibly well. It's honestly more dependent on the accuracy of the mechanicals than the software.

brucer
07-02-2011, 10:21 AM
first thing you do is price a 4X8 table....

you'll quickly think about building one... from what i've seen they want entirely too much for the tables, even the kits are entirely overpriced..

KHK
07-02-2011, 10:25 AM
I built mine back wards due to parts availability. If I had to do ti again I would start with the table. Decide on a table size, don't forget to add the torch overhang and torch offset to your dimensions. It is much easier to not do as I did make the torch offset zero off of center. Mine is offset about 2 in from center. Either way these things must be considered if you want a 4 x 8 table.

Torch overhang
3165

Torch offset
3166

SICFabrications
07-02-2011, 12:29 PM
i dunno, brucer... i have been pricing 5x10 (true 5 ft x 10 ft tables) from torchmate, koike, trucutcnc, and thermadyne to name a few.... the koike is wicked high, but i think its the best at 250 grand for the table... there are 2 schools of thought on this, service... if i build a table, can i get the parts and compatibility to run the machine for 10 hours a day 6 days a week without failing? when you buy a pre made machine you get warranty... when you buy a pre made, you get tech help, when you build your own, your tech help must come from research and hours on the forums...

if time is not the option, then buy a pre made, if money is not the option, then build yer own...

i am purchasing a 5x10 from torchmate with tip voltage THC and pneumatic plate marker and a water table (not a water jet table) their processor will recognize ALL files including pdf's jpegs, all dxf's and dwg's and even a digital photo imported straight into the processor... its that sort of ease and raliability that is most important to me and my crew...

people like dan (who have an obscene knowledge of computers and techy stuff) woudl more than likely be better off building their own table

Nick
07-02-2011, 10:10 PM
i am purchasing a 5x10 from torchmate with tip voltage THC and pneumatic plate marker and a water table (not a water jet table) their processor will recognize ALL files including pdf's jpegs, all dxf's and dwg's and even a digital photo imported straight into the processor... its that sort of ease and raliability that is most important to me and my crew...

Fun looking setup. :D

I'll say this much. DIY can work out very well for the little fish that are in the initial process of scaling up. The ones that can't afford / aren't yet willing to finance, etc.

JolietJames
11-21-2011, 10:53 AM
Popping this to the present. Can anyone ballpark a price on materials for a table about 4x4 size? I have a local guy selling a Torchmate 2x2 with the water table and all but I'm looking for a little bigger. I have no idea what I'll save building the stuff myself since I still need to buy the moving parts right? I'm looking to buy one in the spring if I don't make one over the winter. Thank you for any info from the experts!
-James

Gadget
11-21-2011, 11:21 AM
I spent around a grand on mine. Keep in mind you'll still have to get software to work with a home brew. Torchmate should come bundled with the programs needed to start cutting.

KHK
11-21-2011, 01:17 PM
This is the bill of material for my CNC table
CNC cost - FreeWeldingForum.com Welding Gallery (http://www.longevity-inc.com/forum/gallery/showimage.php?i=1509&c=15)

I went with high end used steppers/drivers and the table is only 24x18 in. Things like wire and limit switches I had in stock so they are not listed.

tigqk
11-22-2011, 12:44 AM
Was researching the price of a 4x8 kit here;
Camcutcnc Home Page (http://www.camcutcnc.com/)
and the price did not seem so bad looking at some of the costs out their for machines, I know torch mate is up around $15,000.00, anyone have an opinion about thses table at camcut?

brucer
11-22-2011, 10:53 PM
4x4 building yourself, depending on what all you can do as far as machining and fabrication.. if you can do all your machining and fabrication, have access to various materials such as 1 1/2" or 2" angle or 2x2 tubing, 1/2" aluminum plate and such to make the linear skates, it will depend how much access to machinery you have and how much you can do...

as for a bottom line i would say anywhere from $500- $1500 and up....

i have very little invested in my 53x40 at the point i have it in my post of my build log.. the reason of the odd size is you have to build it a little bigger to get your targeted cut capacity.. i wanted atlest 36x36, then i decided to make the table wide enough that i could feed a 4x8 sheet through the table.. i plan on making a fold out extension with some rollers on it so i can feed an entire sheet through the table...

if you look at my last update, at that point i have right around $100 in my build.. and that was buying 3 sticks on 1 1/2" angle, and i have about 8ft left over right now. i had the casters on the shelf, they were like $5.00 each at HF, so you can say i have total of right at $130 invested... the aluminum extrusion was donated from a friend, it was free, and i still have another 14ft of the 20x40 leftover, and about 60 ft of the 20x20 at my disposal (if i need it, its mine).
i'm projecting anouther $40 for bearings, i need 1/2" aluminum for the skates ( i have 4ft longx8"wide on the shelf so $0), electronics kit i'm planning on budgeting $300-$500 on the elctronics kit depending on how nice i decide to go.. if my table turns out nice i will spend more on the motors and driver board and breakout board, i plan on atleast 305oz, would like to go on up to 425oz steppers.

i already have a computer i pre-built total cost $0, i built it from a tub of salvage computers, and i have many many extra spare parts, i will run an external usb hard drive for server storage, that will be about $50... i have the linux ubuntu/emc2 build installed, and also have windows xp and another very popular controller software loaded as a dual boot system.. I have a spool of 4conductor sheilded cable..

alot depends on what all you have, what you can get and what you can do, and what you have time to do (such as stan)... if you are busy and have the money or credit available and can afford it, i would look at buying a completed table, if you want the experience of building but dont have access to mills and such you could go with a kit you build your self, i would look towards CNCRouterParts (http://www.cncrouterparts.com) they have a good basic design and they seem to be working well, add your own electronics package and wiring.

i have a machinist background, I own a bridgeport mill and various simple tooling, a close friend of mine has a nice enco gear head lathe (i have a key to his shop), my other friend is an industrial electrician and a salvage auction goer and a known hoarder of industrial stuff, he has helped me alot with the materials, i do his machine work when he needs something, i also design some stuff for his jeep (he likes 4-wheeling). he is also a long time friend of the family..

i want to build mine for the experience, and i dont feel like dropping $3000 or more on a 2x2, when i know good and well as soon as i make the first cut it will be too small.. I also do not want to be locked into having to buy replacement parts from one exclusive supplier, they will tend to want 4times the money for an item that is proprietary to their system...

I think for right now if i can hit a $600 -$750 budget, i'll be doing pretty good.. if i had more money to invest in a mchine build i would have used some nice linear rails and skates, it makes the machine more sturdy and precise for routing and milling but are expensive you you go to the larger rails and linear bearings..

---------- Post added at 11:53 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:50 PM ----------


Popping this to the present. Can anyone ballpark a price on materials for a table about 4x4 size? I have a local guy selling a Torchmate 2x2 with the water table and all but I'm looking for a little bigger. I have no idea what I'll save building the stuff myself since I still need to buy the moving parts right? I'm looking to buy one in the spring if I don't make one over the winter. Thank you for any info from the experts!
-James

while your at it, you might want to ask the guy that has the torchmate if you can take a bunch of pictures of it, and focus on the rails and skates, if you deside to build one they will come in handy..

samsberr
11-22-2011, 11:34 PM
Popping this to the present. Can anyone ballpark a price on materials for a table about 4x4 size? I have a local guy selling a Torchmate 2x2 with the water table and all but I'm looking for a little bigger. I have no idea what I'll save building the stuff myself since I still need to buy the moving parts right? I'm looking to buy one in the spring if I don't make one over the winter. Thank you for any info from the experts!
-James

If you have a 2x2 then you can upgrade to a 2x4 or 4x4 with the upgrade plans that Torchmate has developed over the past couple of years...you just trade the rails or the bridge in and they'll send ya the new upgrades...very trust worthy systems with great support.

tigqk
11-23-2011, 12:25 AM
I think the way I am going to go is likely a kit, going to look into it now and sometime in the new year make a purchase, this site has proven to be quite helpful with alot of things but one of the biggest drawback I find as a starting point is the drive system design, acme rod, belt, rack, cable, to me I am going to have to order stuff in because their is no local supplier of alot of parts and rack and pinion seems to be a good way to go(?).Had a look at camcutcnc and a smaller sized down image they placed on the web of a Llama and I was not impressed, I want to see more detail from their kit before making any purchases, but for most of us getting software, we now know can be free, computers can be found at recycling centers and I don't know anyone who doesn't have a spare.
To make it easy it would be nice if it could workout that us future builders could follow a particular design off this sight, and it could become the standard for all others to follow.One of the drawback about building a unit for yourself I don't care what it is, you loose some time and reliability because the design is unproven.A few years ago I built a power hacksaw(gingery style) in time off I had when it rained and it worked well cutting slivers .030 thin, and alot of people commented that no commercial machine could acheive that,but after awhile it would begin cutting askew, and it was because some of the mild steel components wear, wearing away with increased use, and it cost me in productivity on other projects, so I picked up another commercial machine which is going to be superceded with a bandsaw.And so do want to be making three cnc plasma cutter over the next five years to get it right.

brucer
11-27-2011, 09:35 AM
check out CNCRouterParts (http://www.cncrouterparts.com) and NoSleep Studio (http://www.needfulthings.net/host/nosleep/studio/index.php)


cncrouterparts has about the simplest cleanest design i've seen... for miscellaneous parts, gear racks and stuff check out msc, mcmaster carr, and carr lane..


first decision you'll have to make is if you want a machine that for only plasma cutting, or a machine for both plasma cutting and routing.. it makes a big difference.

JolietJames
11-29-2011, 05:36 PM
Yeah McMaster is a great place for most everything. Thanks for all the information guys, it's been very enlightening. I think I will look into the kits since I don't have ready access to all of the machines involved. I suppose it also depends on mow many other projects I'm going to have this winter. I definitely want to have a 4X? for the same reason stated above of feeding a 4X8 sheet into the machine. I've had that idea in my head for a while now which is another reason I didn't pull the trigger on the 2X2.

tigqk
11-30-2011, 11:31 PM
Thanks for info, will speak further.

JolietJames
12-01-2011, 08:04 AM
Wow. I see a used Plasmacam 4X4 table complete turnkey on Pirate for around $7000. That's without a water table. It looks like about the size I want though. I will say I can see why you guys are building your own! $7k for a USED 4x4 seems high to me. If I'm not mistaken that particular brand is on the spendy side of the tables to begin with however. I'll have to look for a site with reviews and comparisons between the different makers out there before I spend my money. I'll have many more questions for you do it yourselfers between now and this spring, please accept my apologies in advance.

Gadget
12-01-2011, 08:10 AM
Wow. I see a used Plasmacam 4X4 table complete turnkey on Pirate for around $7000. That's without a water table. It looks like about the size I want though. I will say I can see why you guys are building your own! $7k for a USED 4x4 seems high to me. If I'm not mistaken that particular brand is on the spendy side of the tables to begin with however. I'll have to look for a site with reviews and comparisons between the different makers out there before I spend my money. I'll have many more questions for you do it yourselfers between now and this spring, please accept my apologies in advance.
Keep in mind the commercial tables usually come complete with all software needed to manipulate images and create cut path's. You can drop a bundle in a hurry on software doing it piecemeal.

JolietJames
12-01-2011, 08:18 AM
Thanks Gadget. I figured the software would be cheap. Do you think that price is reasonable then? I posted in his thread that I will have the cash for one in the spring if his or any other like it is available at that time. I've already got the wife's approval!

Gadget
12-01-2011, 10:02 AM
Thanks Gadget. I figured the software would be cheap. Do you think that price is reasonable then? I posted in his thread that I will have the cash for one in the spring if his or any other like it is available at that time. I've already got the wife's approval!

I think you can build cheaper than that James, 7G's is a lot of money. Of course for that you will probably get good support and instructions. The biggest task in CNC plasma cutting is to get an image to a cut path. Most commercial tables have that software bundled with the table. If you have to do it on your own your results may not be as good. There is a trace function in Corel but that program is terribly expensive. You can do it with the free Inkscape but I've had problems getting the DXF it creates into Sheetcam to create the cut path.
Guess I didn't actually answer your question. 7 G's is expensive but I think for a 4X4 it's within the normal price range. Compare it to Torchmate, I'll bet they are close.
If you're going to use it for a business, I think the commercial table is probably the best way to go, more reliable that way. If it's hobby oriented building is probably the best way.
Dan

JolietJames
12-01-2011, 12:18 PM
Thanks and you made a great point. The fact that it will be for a business means tech support has tripled in value.
I'll have the money in March but can still shop around for a great deal since we're probably not moving there until summer of '12 or '13.

WookieWelding
12-01-2011, 01:32 PM
if i was going to get a table it would prolly be a plasmacam or a torchmate preferably used

brucer
12-01-2011, 03:57 PM
i know 2 guys that bought plasmacam tables but they are 2 1/2hrs away from me in two different direction,they spent like $5,000 to $10,000..

This is why i decided to build my own, I think places want entirely too much for the tables compared to what you can make one for, especially since they are mass producing them.
If you get on youtube and look around there are many clean designs on there, some rather simple and some are pretty elaborate..
as far as building a table, You could buy a vertical mill like I did then build your table as a hobby project and you would be a several thousand dollars ahead, with a mill and plasma table at your disposal when you got the table completed...

I bought my 1972 bridgeport with the intentions of building a plasma table as a first project somewhat, which i've already started on.. I've already used the mill to machine everything to length, squaring the aluminum extrusion for assembly and milled the rails to length and put the bolt holes and rollpin holes in the rails..
Next i will mill the rails for the skates and make the skates..

Its mainly going to boil down to how much table you want, how much money your willing to spend or how much time you have and are willing to spend making one..

---------- Post added at 04:53 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:23 PM ----------

adding this,
the design of my table didnt start using extrusion, I was actually going to use 1 1/2x1 1/2 tubing to start with (2x2 would work also) and drill and tap it to mount the rails and racks to it, then mount it to a 1 1/2" angle frame (or 2x2 angle if i used 2" tubing).. The trick to building a table yourself is constructing it square, this is why i went to a modular type design using a frame with a bolt on top...
when my buddy offered up the extrusion for me to use I changed the design to use the extrusion in place of the tubing..

The skates will be the most time consuming, but actually kind of simple when you break them down, again i'm going cheap on the skates, i have the material for them so all i have to invest for the skates is the bearings and they are going to run me $40 for all the bearings i'll need for the whole table. If my table turns out as well finished as it has so far, I might end up buying a bladerunner electronics package for it, I dont see any unforeseen expenditures so far, the way it stands i could probably buy an ebay import electronics kit and be around $600 total for my build including gear racks, but i will have quite a bit of time in it..

just some more insight.

---------- Post added at 04:57 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:53 PM ----------

oh, and I planned and studied different designed tables for 2 months before I moved on designing and building my own table..

Bluesman
12-01-2011, 03:59 PM
I would not know where to begin man.... I haven't been around any small CNC's enough to even know how they work.

brucer
12-01-2011, 04:19 PM
I would not know where to begin man.... I haven't been around any small CNC's enough to even know how they work.

The internet is great for research, check out cnczone they have a few sections of diy builds and kit builds that have some nice designs and build logs.. alot on youtube also.