View Full Version :

Torchmate plasma table thoughts.

04-17-2014, 10:16 AM
Hey guys,

I see a few of you have torchmate tables. I'm about to pull the trigger on one, either a 4x2 or a 4x4 with the AVHC and router attachment. I believe I need full versions of both software too, one for the tor h and one for the router. Router software does 3D shaping.

Anyway I want your thoughts on that setup. I am doing lots of high end furniture and such and already have work for the router attachment. The plasma I will be using to cut out mounting brackets and do complex/artistic elements and designs.

I am fully aware there are cheaper options but I do not have time to fart around for months putting together my own machine. My machines are put to WORK the DAY I get them! I need them to work, work well and not break down or spend time fixing or adjusting them. It seems the torchmate is probably the cnc that best fits that criteria. Tell me your thoughts. Btw I will be mating it with my recently purchased forcecut 42i. Just need to get a machine torch ordered.


04-17-2014, 05:51 PM
My 2 cents...

As you learn more about CNC router tables and plasma tables a combo machine is usually not the best at either function. For a cnc plasma to work well, especially on thinner material, it's design criteria is quite different than a cnc router. The plasma needs to be able to ACCELERATE very quickly and the moving parts (gantry/ z axis) do not need to be overly beefy. Acceleration should not to be confused with the speed in inchs or mm/minute the machine can travel at. A CNC router on the other hand does not need to accelerate as fast but needs a stout gantry set-up to offset the cutting resistance from pushing the bit into the material.

The Torchmate machines seem OK to me but a bit expensive for what they are. A friend of mine has a certain "orange and purple" brand plasma table from Texas...and it is about the biggest turd I have ever seen. Immensely heavy and complex sheet metal gantry, absolutely awful acceleration, severely underpowered with 1 motor on the x axis and cuts thin material (<16g) really poorly. When I say "poorly" I mean smaller details are literally melted off during the pass.

"I am fully aware there are cheaper options but I do not have time to fart around for months putting together my own machine. My machines are put to WORK the DAY I get them! I need them to work, work well and not break down or spend time fixing or adjusting them"

It is a stretch to assume you will be up and running the same day - Not even close to the same set-up and learning curve as any other equipment you may have. If you have no previous CNC operating or programming experience it will take a bit of time to truly understand what you are doing...regardless of what someone tells you... From my own personal experience (I have built 3 so far...1 router and 2 plasmas...) The software side alone is fairly complex till you get up to speed and can be frustrating at times and there will always be "adjusting and trouble shooting" required.

As far as the 42i goes for the plasma - it is a good choice. It cuts very well on my table up to 3/8" - I haven't tried anything thicker yet.

They really do open a lot of doors creatively once you are on top of them! Good Luck.


04-17-2014, 08:05 PM
I just got the torchmate. Why did I get it? because of the price and the support. I could of bought a kit and built my own, but I'm pretty certain my table wouldn't be square after i was done and not something i wanted to deal with. I have the 2x2 table because it was in the budget. I wouldn't expect to be cutting the day it shows up. It takes a little while to get put together and squared up to be right. If you want to just blast it together and cut sure go for it, but I wanted to spend the time to make sure it was perfect. I moved so I have to start over again, but oh well.
I like the software, i hate the fact I'm tied to a stupid usb security dongle. I have the 42i and I love it. I just got the machine torch, but it doesn't have the track/gear on it so you have to manually move it up and down by hand.
You are limited by your creativity. I bought the software months before anything else to try and get into it. I'm still very new to it, but it's easy to learn and I love it.
If i had the know how, i would build one as the height control on one you build is only $600 where as the torchmate one is $3200! EEK that's a lot to swallow. I still rather burn up a piece of metal at $50 a sheet rather than spend $3200 on a height controller. My table didn't even cost me that much.

04-17-2014, 09:47 PM
65falcon, yep I am well aware of those orange tables you speak of. I have read MANY negative experiences. I have yet to hear of any real issues for the torchmate. Do you have a different suggestion for a turnkey system? Please don't suggest the cam machines, again far too many horror stories.

Lol I realize this takes time to set up, my point was that I read of quite few folks that buy some pretty nice tools and then they sit there for weeks or months before they get used...if ever. That is not me. I use my tools DAILY. I need them to work. I need them to be in square. I dont need them to break down on me. A broken tool costs me money and lost time and lost revenue. I better not lose a client over a @#$%@#$%@#$%@#$%ty tool.... I was nervous about buying the plasma cutter because I read too many reviews of folks that bought it and weeks later still hadn't turned it on. That gives me a good idea of the level of use they put on equipment and the relative worth of their opinion.

Gamble thanks for replying. I saw you had a torchmate and the 42I. I was hoping you would chime in. I am buying the torchmate for pretty much the same reasons you did. I am not a hobbyist. I am looking for ROI. It seems this machine will provide the greatest return on my investment. I am buying the AVHC. I wish it wasnt so dang expensive though...that really is the one big negative on this machine. It really adds a lot to the overall cost. I was quoted over 13k for the options I wanted. But like I said I am looking for ROI. The AVHC will allow the machine to work while I can do something else and that just makes me a better return. The software does seem easy in the videos plus there is a great thread for training on that 4x4 site that is full of pirates.

BTW I also realize this is not a 100k "professional" waternet or hi def plasma cnc. I'm not doing that kind of work. But lets face it in all my reading I havent heard of another so called consumer grade cnc plasma that can even touch the Torchmate. So is it really a consumer grade machine? And if so is it in the same league as so many other machines. Or can I put this thing to work for 20+ hours per week for the next 3 years and make enough to buy a 100k machine and still turn around an sell the torchmate!

Thanks for the input guys. I like to hear other opinions and hear from different viewpoints. Does anyone know of any torchmate machines being used in a medium duty production environment and how well they hold up? All it needs to last is about 2-3 trouble free years til I can replace with a pro machine.

04-17-2014, 11:13 PM
Justin - send me a PM if you like with your phone # and I will give you a call.


04-19-2014, 07:36 AM
I can tell you one thing make sure you have either a fume extraction system or a water table for you plasma work my choice was a water table.
The plasma produces large amounts of dust and smoke and I mean really fine dust that will get into your other tools of projects.

04-19-2014, 07:50 AM
Another thing you may think about is a drag knife for your furniture work cutting veneers and doing inlays. Do a Google search about the drag knife for info about them.

04-19-2014, 08:08 AM
To add to acourtjester's post about dust. This dust is metallic and can short out other electronic equipment if it accumulates enough. Can't be all that good for the lungs either.

04-19-2014, 10:35 AM
Yes two things were an absolute must. 1. Thc or AVHC in the case of the Torchmate
2. Water table.
I don't like to skimp on important tools. Lol my motto is buy the best when precision counts, otherwise buy stuff that gets the job done.

I will check out the drag knife. I don't actually do any wood work. Unless I had a CnC router... The woodworkers do all the wood stuff. The great thug about this furniture is the look. I flux core everything together cause that's the look we are going for. Yes I clean it up and take all the sharps off but otherwise even if the weld is a little gnarly it's all good!

04-19-2014, 07:37 PM
I think torchmate will be fine, but i have nothing to compare it to.
Here are my dislikes. The software can be buggy. Save often. Also the "driver" software is the cutting software, why they say it's a driver software is confusing and was throwing me off for a long time. If you hold the arrow key to move it, sometimes the machine gets stuck and doesn't stop moving and you have to flip the switch on the control box. Sometimes when you turn on the control box the plasma will fire. Again annoying.
What I like about looking at the plasma cam is the big box with all the controls to move the gantry and a big red stop button. The torchmate can't do this without the laptop hooked up, they sell a pendant that has these features, but it's a lot of money and no idea on how it hooks up.
Another dislike is on my 2x2 table I have to remove the entire table top to clean out and pull out the plates for the water table. That sucks. I do NOT look forward to doing this.

Also I bought my light software and learned, then sold it and bought it again with the whole package. Probably lost $25 in doing so at most but I got a 6 month + lead on learning the software.

I don't think you need the full version for AVHC. I thought the full version gets you nesting and one other feature, but I don't know for sure.

04-20-2014, 04:28 AM
...The AVHC will allow the machine to work while I can do something else and that just makes me a better return.

Hi Justin,

If it hasn't already been mentioned, you might want to add a magnetic torch mount or some other break-away mount if it's not part of the package. If you're not right there when a piece of metal tips up after it's cut and gets in the path of a rapid move, it can get interesting.


04-21-2014, 05:11 PM
T'was me I would check out www.fastcutcnc.com