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My first cuts...what do these photos tell you?

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motoguy
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My first cuts...what do these photos tell you?

Postby motoguy » Tue Feb 02, 2016 2:08 pm

So, I cut my first parts the other day. 6x12 Bulltear/Starlab water table, CandCNC Ethercut DTHCIV, PM85 w/ machine torch. I have the HyT setup, but have not been messing with it yet. 11 gauge, using Finecut components, water level 1/2" below sheet. I used the book specs for Finecut:

Kerf of .050 (lists .051 for 10ga, .049 for 14ga).
45A, .4 pierce delay, 107 ipm (95 for 10ga, 120 for 12 ga), 84 volts.

My first part, I was not happy with. Corners were serrated and rough, lots of tough dross, and I had to beat/pry the part out of the sheet. It didn't appear to have cut completely through. I am using a water table, and had the water about 1/2" below the part, so that my be the issue with the bottom dross/lack of cut. I understand the volts may need to be upped when using a water table. I need to grab some feeler gauges, so I can see where the tip is actually at for 84v.

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I think I had the holes rule in place (as created by Matt at Bulltear, I assume), but I don't remember for sure.

For the next several cuts, I played with rules, but kept the kerf, amps, pierce delay, ipm, voltage etc the same. This is the last piece I cut. It was running holes, small parts, inside corner, outside corner, small circles, and arcs rules. All rules killed DTHC just before the feature (I think it was .10, but I don't remember for sure). I can verify the rules were working, as I saw the different colors in Sheetcam (as well as start/stop 'x' marks), and I also watched the screen during the cut. I could watch the feedrate drop down to 60% (my rule value), as well as the DTHC light turn on/off, and voltage climb above 84 when light was off. So, it seemed to be putting the rules into play.

I can't really say I noticed a difference in cut quality, though. This is the last part I cut.

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Image[/url] (notice pierce hole, but no movement at slot)

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Parts were grounded through slats. Table assembly is not grounded to earth (working on that, see my other thread).

To you experienced guys, I'm just wondering if these photos "scream" anything out to you. In the meantime, I'm going to put in the regular 45A components, and try the part with the 45A stuff. I cut a couple of small brackets using 45A, and the edge quality and cut geometry looked much better to me than the fine cut stuff.
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Re: My first cuts...what do these photos tell you?

Postby _Ogre » Tue Feb 02, 2016 2:21 pm

not that i'm an expert by anymeans, but your table is screaming loose set screws or belts in the drives

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Re: My first cuts...what do these photos tell you?

Postby motoguy » Tue Feb 02, 2016 2:43 pm

Thanks _Ogre. All three pinions (on track) appear to have both set screws tight. I only have a small area to access one side of the X/A belt. X belt appears to be saggy loose. A belt seems to be...not floppy loose, anyway. Not sure how tight is "tight". Same with the Y axis. I may have to remove the drives to check the small belt pulleys on the drives.

Thanks for the info! This the type of feedback I was hoping to get! I may have driven myself insane dinking around with rules and such, only to be chasing a hardware issue!
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Re: My first cuts...what do these photos tell you?

Postby BTA Plasma » Tue Feb 02, 2016 2:43 pm

If it was a set screw you would see ovality. That looks like a combination of swirl ring moisture damage (strait line dimpling) and loose torch mount. There are set screws to tighten and zero the torch. If they get loose cut quality will suffer. See if you have wiggle in your torch.

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Re: My first cuts...what do these photos tell you?

Postby motoguy » Tue Feb 02, 2016 2:57 pm

Torch was rigid, as I'd adjusted the mount to remove some slack. Speaking of which, would it hurt if I put some blue lok-tite on those set screws?

Swirl ring appears ok upon visual inspection, but I can check it. Shouldn't have any moisture. Incoming air passes the "mirror" test. It's running through about 60' of 3/4" copper pipe, then a Hayden 1290 cooler, and a Master Pneumatic BFD100 1" filter before entering the tank. Runs through another BFD100 when it exits the tank. Plasma drop has another BFD100, regulator/filter, Motorguard M60, then a Wilkerson X25 desiccant dryer (new desiccant), before going through another M60, then it hits the plasma. Pressure seems to be fine when running.

Now that you mention it, I was getting an intermittent 0-50 "consumable retaining cap off" error with that Fine cut setup. Went away when I used a regular 45A setup. Eventually went away on the Finecut after removing/reassembling the consumables a couple times.
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Re: My first cuts...what do these photos tell you?

Postby BTA Plasma » Tue Feb 02, 2016 3:59 pm

What are your THC settings? Get out of Mach and open your hub admin and lets see your max up and max down. Chances are you have debris in the line. If you look at the strait line moves youll see where the torch gouges the material. That can be a THC move (doubtful) but is most likely linked to the actual plasma beam strength. You trained at our facility on this machine? If so then the THC should have been set up for general material speed so that should not be an issue. Try another cut.

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Re: My first cuts...what do these photos tell you?

Postby motoguy » Wed Feb 03, 2016 1:37 pm

In Hub DTHC settings, Max up is 80, max down is 10, accel is 25. I'll be trying another cut with the 45A (non-Finecut) setup.
In Mach, Velocity is 124.98, Accel 30, both have 10000 steps per inch.
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Re: My first cuts...what do these photos tell you?

Postby Capstone » Wed Feb 03, 2016 2:51 pm

I see a few things.
I would attack these issues in order:
Air quality
tip angle and possible "Z" looseness
Then a height/speed issue which account for the excess dross.

I'm sure Tom Caudle (CandCNC) has said this a thousand times... "make sure the machine cuts cleanly before you turn on all of the software wizardry".

simply make a cut using book specs but without sheetcam adjustments or DTHC, by taking out the software controls for the movement and voltage, you will have a much easier time addressing the dross and cut issues.

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Re: My first cuts...what do these photos tell you?

Postby motoguy » Wed Feb 03, 2016 3:17 pm

Here is the same part I just cut with the 45A tip. Same file, changed tool to 45A shielded vs Finecut. Changed pierce delay to .4 (per book) vs .7 (pre-existing setting). Everything at book specs. Same swirl ring and electrode as used on the Finecut stuff above. Checked torch, nice and solid...no wiggle.

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Much cleaner curves and cuts. THIS is more what I was expecting from the Finecut, after reading about them being "laser like" (a bit of an exaggeration, I'm sure). Part fell right out of the plate...no having to beat it out (and actually prying the plate) like the original one.

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Next to no dross. Water table, water was about 3/8" below bottom of plate.

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Edges look very good to me.

I picked the table up at Bulltear, Matt went over it with me, and we cut some parts. Matt did his best at training, but I was running on 2-3 hours sleep at the time and...it just wasn't sinking in. I have NO DOUBT about the capability of the table. Matt had it cutting great at his place, and...well...it's a Bulltear. :) I'm just trying to figure it out from my side now.

So...are the differences in these parts just a consumable thing? Again, both were cut at book specs for respective tip (Finecut vs 45A).
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Re: My first cuts...what do these photos tell you?

Postby acourtjester » Wed Feb 03, 2016 3:53 pm

Looking at the top picture in the lower right slot there is some wiggle there still may be a mechanical issue. In the small slots the start pierce lead in may need to be relocated to remove the divot this can be done in SheetCam. Keep going you will work the bugs out. Some say the fine nozzle needs to be broke in with a few cuts before production you may go back and find the fine cut will work better.
On the lok-tight if you have a deep enough threaded hole for the setscrew using 2 short ones (one on top of the other) works better like a jam nut much easier to remove latter.
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Re: My first cuts...what do these photos tell you?

Postby motoguy » Wed Feb 03, 2016 5:12 pm

Yeah, I saw that slight scallop spot in the lower right slit (top photo). That should be a straight cut. See notes / photos below on re-cut part.

I'll try some more cuts with the Finecut, and see if it gets better. The pierce point/lead in, yeah, I need to work on that one. This was the first time cutting that small slot with the 45A, and I didn't know exactly what it would do/look like.

I think I'll try the setscrew-jamb-nut idea. I like it.

I'm doing some short line cuts on 11ga now. Stopping during the cut (after pierce), and measuring the cut height. Looks like the actual cut height was .077", when set for the book 133v. Having never messed with voltages before, I went down 5 to 128...wow! Down in the .04x range! Looks like 131 puts me at .061 or so...lesson learned is, "only a volt or two will make a big difference!" Is this a good rule of thumb? Volt or two is all that you'll adjust off of book number, regardless of thickness?

Here are photos of the part cut again. Volts dropped from 133 to 131, otherwise identical IPM, 45A shielded tip, etc. Only difference is that this one has NO cut rules. You'll see there's still a hint of that scallop in the slots. It actually improved when the cut rules were removed. That anomaly is repeated in the same spot, in every slot. Looks like it is doing it when exiting that small interior cut (exterior profile was cut clockwise). Torch was solidly mounted. Watched air pressure (gauge at PM85 inlet), and it stayed steady at 100+ (when I noticed that, I adjusted my regulator up closer to 120). With the rest of the geometry looking ok, and that same defect in the same spot in each of the slots...seems like it should be fixable (if I can find out what it is).

With it being repeated nearly identically in every spot, that would seem to be a mechanical issue. I checked my drawing (as I just drew 1/4, then mirrored to have the whole drawing), but there are no additional nodes.

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Re: My first cuts...what do these photos tell you?

Postby BTA Plasma » Wed Feb 03, 2016 5:50 pm

Believe it or not sometimes THC will cause ripples in the material. When your doing small intricate cuts you should have your THC off depending on the amount and what gets cut next. Lets say your cutting a hundred inches a minute and you hit a small radius and then back to a strait line. When you come into the radius you have changed the dynamic of the cut. Anti-dive tries to account for speed changes by ignoring the signals from the THC but when your coming out of a pocket and accelerating you can get a wave from the 40% acceleration that the anti dive is not active (if anti dive is set to 60%) and the Z is responding to THC commands. So your ramping up and THC is responding to those changes in speed in real time. The actual ramp might be like cutting a angle that has an ever changing slope moving upwards. Having THC turn on while cutting is different than having THC turn on while your actually ramping up from a directional change with Anti-Dive.

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Re: My first cuts...what do these photos tell you?

Postby Shane Warnick » Wed Feb 03, 2016 6:13 pm

Fine cut consumables..... It's a love / hate relationship. There are several things that make them sort of quirky if you will. They have to "wear" in to get the best and most consistent cut quality. There are several threads on here regarding some of the issues.

As far as the parts that are cut with 45A shielded consumables, the only thing I see real bad is divots in the corners of the small slots, from the lead in. Move it to the middle of the slot instead of the corner, should fix that.

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Re: My first cuts...what do these photos tell you?

Postby Madammetal » Wed Feb 03, 2016 8:57 pm

i was having the same problem. i think my thread is two ro three below yours. from what i have found so far is im having a grounding problem with the torch. if you look mine up u will be able to read it. hope it helps you as i did me

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Re: My first cuts...what do these photos tell you?

Postby motoguy » Wed Feb 03, 2016 8:58 pm

I'm just cutting the fingers now. :)

I re-adjusted my torch mount, making sure there was no play. The Y had a tiny bit of play. Just enough to "click" when I pulled/rocked on it. I think the pinion gear tooth wasn't fully engaged in the rack. Tightened up the mesh, no more click. Tightened up the Y belt a bit. Tightened up the X belt (didn't change A belt for now).

The "long" axis is a Y axis cut. "Short" axis is X axis cut. In both places that a rapid transition from straight X cut to straight Y cut (upper left coming into the notch, lower right exiting the small square cut on the notch, before the hole) is where the waviness occurs.

Not worried about the divot right now.

Finger marked "N" is by the book 45A shielded cut. .25 overcut, arc lead in, arc lead out. No rules.
Finger marked "Y2" has the following rules applied:

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Re: My first cuts...what do these photos tell you?

Postby BTA Plasma » Wed Feb 03, 2016 10:03 pm

Look at the wave and look at your finger in the picture and note the thickness of a human fingerprint. The wave looks like it is about .015" in height maybe at its maximum. Try with the THC off next.

It looks like the wiggle in the cut does not get better at all until it changes direction. That looks more like the torch moving while the lead is getting pulled in the cable carrier. You can take out all wiggle but take your hand on either side of the Mag-lok and see if it is sitting OFF the plate by pushing on it with your thumbs. We went to a 4 post rigid mount on our proton Z axis for this reason....BUT, You can take the top set screw forward or back to get the plate to sit flat with no space between plate and magnetic back plate.

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Re: My first cuts...what do these photos tell you?

Postby motoguy » Wed Feb 03, 2016 10:07 pm

Thanks Matt. I'll cut one tomorrow with THC completely off, for reference if nothing else. The gap in the finger is only 1/8".

I think I've got the mag mount as solid as it'll get. It seems to be a bit finicky to get it locked into place (all 4 set screws located/secured), without tightening TOO much (mount plate starts to lift off the mag plate). I've got the screws tightened until I -just- start to feel some resistance, and the movement goes away. If I see the torch plate start to lift off the mag plate, I reverse, and start over. Right now, it seems to be locked in place with the set screws, and flush against the mag plate. I even made sure to clean the back side of the torch plate and the mag plate, to make sure there was no debris/grit trapped between them.

My unit has a the Proton Z axis. It's my understanding that it was one of the first tables with the new Z (Late Sept, early Oct). Are you referring to the 4 set screws on this magnetic setup, or have you gone away from a magnetic mount altogether?

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Re: My first cuts...what do these photos tell you?

Postby BTA Plasma » Wed Feb 03, 2016 11:11 pm

Looks good except the amount of lead you have draping over to the left. You should have enough lead to bring the torch all the way down without hitting the Z axis motor. The little screws are good at finger tight. That mount is standard and enough to hold a 2" 400amp torch.

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Re: My first cuts...what do these photos tell you?

Postby acourtjester » Thu Feb 04, 2016 10:32 am

Something that has been talked about here before is using an ink pen to mark on paper to find problems. I would remove the torch from the holder and support it on the cable carrier so it cannot effect the movement of the mount and put a pen on the mount and draw on paper. Paper is cheaper then metal and will show a finer line to see how stable the table is.
As BTA says the cable may be flopping enough with direction changes to cause the wiggle in the cut.
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Re: My first cuts...what do these photos tell you?

Postby exapprentice » Thu Feb 04, 2016 1:03 pm

Its that dreaded inertia thing again :roll:

If there is any chance of anything not being quite secure enough, then that thing called inertia is going to make things wobble
Trust me I am struggling with the same sort of effects but I am cutting 0.9mm (20Ga) @ 7100mm/min (280"/min) using 30amp consumables on shapes like saw teeth.
(I did start out at the max book spec of 8900mm/min :o )
Wow my machine really does struggle to keep it all together during the rapid change in directions at that speed :(

I only hope I can start using thicker materials for at least some of my projects, tell me it gets better :lol:
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Re: My first cuts...what do these photos tell you?

Postby motoguy » Thu Feb 04, 2016 2:06 pm

Part labeled "ON" had THC active while being cut. Part labeled "OFF" had THC shut off. Results are nearly identical. I'll whip up a pen holder and do a pen and paper test, see how that looks. If pen/paper test is jagged, it's a gantry shudder issue, correct? If pen/paper test looks good, we're looking at a torch flex issue (now that THC has been ruled out), correct?

And yea, I know the divots are ugly...I haven't changed the lead in/lead out yet. :)

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Re: My first cuts...what do these photos tell you?

Postby exapprentice » Thu Feb 04, 2016 2:19 pm

Just out of curiosity what cut direction have you set? can you show that in your next set of pic's??
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Re: My first cuts...what do these photos tell you?

Postby jimcolt » Fri Feb 05, 2016 9:29 am

Make sure you are using the 220948 shield with the Finecut consumables. Set the torch height at slightly higher than book (I have best results at .075" with (Finecut only), and make sure that once the cut starts, when the arc voltage control takes over...that the torch is maintaining that height. Put your hand on the torch when cutting.....see if you can feel z axis (up and down) oscilation. That is what it looks like to me. Z axis oscillation is even possible when the height control is off......could be electrical noise affecting the z drive electronics.

When your machine motion and height control are operating correctly....you will get a much better cut with the Finecut consumables (on thinner than 10 gauge) than you will with the 45 amp shielded process. Not sure where you got the "Laser" comparison....but this will cut like a Hypertherm air plasma with Finecut consumables! A laser cnc machine setup to cut 11 gauge would cost you about $350 k, it will cut better than any plasma on thin material.

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Re: My first cuts...what do these photos tell you?

Postby motoguy » Fri Feb 05, 2016 11:32 am

The laser comment was tongue in cheek. Though that is how it was stated, I understood it to mean "a really nice plasma cut". :)

I'll retry with the Finecut, making sure height is at .075, and holding it correctly. I was using the correct Finecut shield. My table does not have an earth ground, so I'm concerned about your RF noise comment. I'll be earth grounding the table this weekend.

I cut some 16 gauge yesterday, at chart speeds (something like 300+ IPM, if I recall). That torch was hauling ass! Lol. Squareness looked OK, no wiggle, etc. That 300+ IPM cut looked better than the 100IPM cuts above! Granted, the 16ga cuts were 90’s with long straights before and after...no quick directional changes like on the tabbed parts above.
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Re: My first cuts...what do these photos tell you?

Postby motoguy » Sat Feb 06, 2016 8:06 pm

Haven't cut anything today, but I did drive a ground rod about 6" from the table. Had to stop about 15" from the end, as I hit a rock or something and stopped cold.

Pretty much duplicated _Ogre's setup. Welded a strap to the table frame. Bolted a ground block to this. 6ga from block to ground rod. 6ga from ground block to water table. Ran black wire from Ohmic/Feathertouch box (previously bolted to water table) to block. Left a tab for the work clamp, but haven't ran cable to it. Still using the mag clamp directly to the work piece.

I'm curious to see if anything changes.
Last edited by motoguy on Sun Feb 07, 2016 2:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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