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needing some advice

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needing some advice

Postby cbailey » Sun Jun 18, 2017 1:16 pm

im at a crossroads in my side business and not sure which direction to turn. i have a marine design business on the side and want to do more aluminum work than im doing now, which is table saw, jig saw etc. im getting to the point to where time is what i dont have alot of anymore. 12-16 hrs everyday on my 14 days off every month so its time to cut these pieces out alittle differently. i mostly work with 1/8" aluminum but do use 3/16" as well. im concerned with the cut quality of a plasma. i do tig alot of the pieces i cut so im looking for feedback. my initial thought was to buy a hand held plasma and use straight edges to cut my parts out but thought, wouldnt it be nice to push a button and have cnc plasma work for me. any advise will be greatly appreciated. plasma, laser or waterjet i thought about but the price tag of the last 2 is gonna hurt my feelings. lol. i really dont have any experience with which brand is better, tables, etc etc. thanks guy, Chris Bailey

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Re: needing some advice

Postby cbailey » Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:46 pm

will a hypertherm 45 and 65 cut 1/8" to 1/4" clean?

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Re: needing some advice

Postby tcaudle » Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:22 pm

Air plasma is not a precision cutting process . The flame is "floppy" and can bend . There is some taper to the cut . The cut edge will not be a finished edge . Accuracy (on a good day with all the planets aligned and new consumables) is only about + or - .015. Kerf width varies with the age of the consumables and even the quality of air. Its a great process to make parts that need to be welded together where there is tolerance for fit. Its no a good process for cutting accurate holes , finished edges or tight tolerances.

All that being said: if you are happy with what you can get with a hand torch then CNC will do a getter job.

One thing you might consider is to build a combo router / plasma and consider buying an import Spindle with VFD. Rig your Z mounting so you can swap tools quickly. You can get very good edges and accuracy with a router on Aluminum up to 1/8" with a single pass but you will need to have it setup to do either mist or flood coolant . We have separate tables for plasma and routing but they uses the same basic mechanics and controls.

You can then pick the process to get the end results. Still cheaper than water jet or laser!

The Hypertherm 45Xp will cut 1/4" as good as a 65 (both use the same torch and 45A consumables)

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Re: needing some advice

Postby Largemouthlou » Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:21 pm

All I can say is it won't be as nice as what your laser guy was cutting for ya.. But your cutting and trying to make most of the same boat parts I did before for the same groups, so that should tell you something about the way plasma cuts aluminum..
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