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What Table Do you Suggest?

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2015cmax
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What Table Do you Suggest?

Postby 2015cmax » Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:11 pm

I hope this is the right area for this question and thought I'd sort of piggy back on the "What Brand of Table Do You Have?" subject, but changing it "What Table do you Suggest?"

Looking to buy my first CNC Plasma Table, 4X4 table the accommodates my interests in both metal and wood working. I have never owned one but watched a friends table run for about two hours and knew I needed one for hobby and fun. I have been cruising the various forums for several months, visiting more web site than I can count and watched hundreds of YouTube videos, coming to the conclusion that I still don't know which manufacturer to go with. My friend has a Plasmacam and says he would not go that route if he had to buy a new system, says support is not that great. I had thought I narrowed down my choices to three, LDR, ArcLight and just recently looked at Bulltear- though for some reason I am not able to gain much info on it. In the picture I liked that the rails were below the table deck. My thinking was the rails were protected from accidental hits by the material. I did have a dialog going with ArcLight but I guess I asked one to many questions, as they have gone silent for nearly two weeks now. Really pretty sad as I was within days of pulling the trigger. So now before I spend several more weeks researching the LDR, I thought I would ask the advise of members of this forum. I have read a great many of the posts, but was hoping for insight that is more current. Also, does anyone know if there has was a chart or such that compare the different table features? Any insight or comments would be helpful and appreciated.

Thanks
Mike

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Re: What Table Do you Suggest?

Postby motoguy » Mon Apr 18, 2016 3:34 pm

I have a Bulltear 6x12. If I were to buy another manufactured table, it would also be a Bulltear. Here are some of the reasons:

1) Linear rails. Probably overkill for plasma applications, but I like it. I'm sure that bearing-on-plate/v-groove-on-channel guides work well...lots of people using Plasmacam and LDR tables and loving them. However, I just like the idea of the precision of linear rails, and that the guide mechanism is being used in a manner in which it was designed. This is a main reason I went with Bulltear over the LDR offering.

2) Size. My table is a 6x12. I do not believe Plasmacam offers a unit in that size. I believe LDR does, but as mentioned above, I'm not a fan of v-bearings on tubing edge (or channel).

3) Build quality. I've not seen an LDR or a Plasmacam in person....however, I have seen my Bulltear up close, as well as the place it's manufactured. Matt (owner of Bulltear) is an engineer at heart, and likes precision. When I picked up my table, I was surprised to the number of CNC machines he has. Multiple CNC mills, a REALLY BIG CNC gantry mill, etc. He's used to making precision engine components (blueprints of crankshafts on the wall, etc). I take some solace in knowing that my plasma table is probably the LEAST precise thing he needs to produce, yet it's done with such precision equipment. This also ties in with the linear rail stuff above.

4) As you mentioned, the guide rails are protected from material, physical impacts, water, etc. I like the idea that I can lay a sheet across the top of my water table, slide it into place, and not worry about affecting the guide ways/motion of the machine. Water splashes out of my machine when I have the water table very full, yet little of it ends up on the rails. It'll end op on the block enclosing the rails, or dripping off of that block, but little gets on the rails themselves. Even less now that I've made some splash guards. :)

5) ~7" of Z clearance. I'm not sure on the LDR, but the Plasmacam seems to have very limited Z height. With 7" of Z height (under the gantry), I have many options. I can cut on 7" square or round pipe, C channel, or even I-beam. With that much Z travel, I can mount a router on my Z, and do some 3D (or at least 2.5D) routing/light milling/engraving/etc.

6) Pre, during, and post-sale support. When I was deciding on a table manufacturer, Matt was extremely pleasant to talk with, answered all my questions, offered helpful suggestions, and just in general didn't make me feel like "I was wasting his time tire-kicking". I checked with another manufacturer I was considering (PlasmaRoute), and didn't get that vibe. It was quite disheartening when I didn't even receive the quotes I had asked for. My thought was, "if it's this much effort to get them to take my money, what will it be like trying to get help AFTER they have it?"

When I arrived to pick up my machine, Matt had budgeted a full day of his time to assist me in training/go over it's usage. This was not as beneficial as it could have been, due to my sleep deprived state upon arrival...but it doesn't change the fact that Matt offered it, and was extremely pleasant to deal with.

I ended up running into an issue with my machine when I started using it. I had a bit of gantry wobble I wasn't expecting. Matt worked with me on troubleshooting the issue, and within a week, had a fix. Turns out the new gantry design (mine was one of the first to get it) needed an additional support. Matt designed, formed, powdercoated, and sent these to me, free of charge. He even offered to send them faster, if I didn't need/want the powdercoat. In addition, Matt also made this a freebie for anyone who had purchased a machine with this style of gantry. He then integrated this update/upgrade into all new machines as well. That's far from what I'd call a "band-aid" fix. It's also a far cry from some of the horror stories I'd read about the BurnTable customers.

7) Items that are standard with the Bulltear: Ohmic sensing, magnetic torch mount, water table. When I was speaking with PlasmaRoute, it seemed that EVERYTHING was an additional-cost option. With Bulltear, everything I wanted was included. The ONLY thing the Bulltear didn't offer, which I wanted, was an adjustable water table. I liked LDR's water bladder option. I ended up putting some plastic 55gallon drums under my Bulltear, and plumbing some air to them...now I can fill/raise/adjust the water level in my table with my air hose. I also drain it completely when I'm done using it. This is done to keep the humidity level down in my work area (2 car residential garage). I've found added benefits, in that it's easy to clean the crap out of the table when it's dry, and I also use the table as a work surface when it's not full of water.

Those are some of the reasons (off the top of my head) that I went with the Bulltear table. _Ogre, another productive member of the forum, also runs Bulltear. There are several Bulltear tables on here. Jim Colt (Hypertherm Guru) uses a Plasmacam table. I know I've seen several LDR tables mentioned in other member's sig lines. I don't think you'd go WRONG with any of them...but I felt the Bulltear gave me the best value for my dollar.
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Re: What Table Do you Suggest?

Postby 2015cmax » Mon Apr 18, 2016 4:40 pm

motoguy,
Thank you very much for the detailed response. I do know it is time consuming to sit down and type it up in so much detail. I really appreciate it!

While I cannot point directly to your post on the instability of the gantry, I read and followed the complete conversation between you and Bulltear and the others. I was very impressed with the Matt's dedication to support his product. On Sunday I sent a list of questions, via Ebay, to Bulltear and they were answered on Sunday. They are a very responsive company. Your situation with PlasmaRoute sounds just like mine with ArcLight Dynamics. I was ready to put in my order, but decided I may be better off busting my budget and wanted to add the Plate Marker. After watching a YouTube Video it looked like I'd be much better off having it set up from the factory. So I asked about the add on. Absolutely nothing from them since, even after a second attempt on my part.

The only downside to the Bulltear, at least for me, is they are not offering the Plate Marker option- yet. Based on the message this morning, it sound as if they are considering it. They also pointed me towards a video for a beta version for a tracer being worked on for use with SheetCam. Since my need is at the hobby level I would not need a big table. 4X4 would be fine, but a 4X8 might likely mean no regrets in the future. With either the 4X4 or the 4X8, it will not fit through the door to the small room where I planned on putting it. But that will be a good use of my chain saw....

Thanks Again,
Mike

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Re: What Table Do you Suggest?

Postby little blue choo » Mon Apr 18, 2016 8:56 pm

I have had my Arclight 9600 for a year now and have been very pleased with it and the service. I don't understand them not getting back to you unless you're using email and maybe your message is going to spam or something. Every time I've had a question I just picked up the phone and called them and they solved my problem right away. They have always been very easy to deal with. Get you a list of questions and call them at (866) 222-2154. I purchased the 9600 with HP 65, router package, plate maker and tubing cutter. They also offer many, many training videos and even walked me through a problem I was having learning some of the software. I plan on purchasing a 4x4 table for my daughter in the near future and it will be a Arclight.

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Re: What Table Do you Suggest?

Postby tnbndr » Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:32 am

Well, I'll throw in that I have an LDR table and have not second guessed my decision one bit. Picked it up in July of 2014, had a day of training with Dan and trailered it home. Been running like a champ ever since. Priced right and support is great. I usually email Dan with my issues and he responds within a couple of hours with an email or phone call. You have to remember with any of these companies, these guys are getting bombarded with calls, inquiries etc and still trying to be productive and run a company. I have never heard anyone complain about Arclight being unresponsive, so I would assume there is something else going on there.
But anyway give Dan a call at LDR.
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Re: What Table Do you Suggest?

Postby flimmy » Thu Apr 21, 2016 1:38 pm


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Re: What Table Do you Suggest?

Postby dhelfter » Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:26 am

2015cmax,

I very seldom reply to any thread started by someone looking for info on what table to buy! But I see this come up a lot on plasma spider, so here is my two cents. First off there are so many good machines out there, I don't think you are going to find one that is hands down better than anyone else in a given price range. This is do to the fact everyone has different priorities, and needs. For example our machines are big and heavy, for many people this is great, for people that want a portable unit not so much and we usually advise them to go with another manufacturer. What I recommend is gathering as much info and opinions as you can (as you are doing now) and then make a list of YOUR priorities. Then compare that to the information you received from others that have gone before you. But above all remember there are so many good machines, that if you go one way or the other you will most likely be happy. :)

Dan
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Re: What Table Do you Suggest?

Postby 2015cmax » Wed Apr 27, 2016 5:43 pm

Dan , Rick, Dennis, Motoguy and Flimmy,

Thank you all very much for you insight. All the information was very helpful and I too hope others benefit from your wisdom. I actually made my decision and will be stopping by the bank on my way home from work today. It was a tough decision in that as Dan points out, not everyone has the same needs. I will be using the table for fun as a hobby. I have no prior experience with CNC, but do own a Miller Spectrum X-treme 375 plasma cutter. Where I plan to set up the table, space is limited and will be shared with my wood working equipment (yea I know, just takes one errant spark and poof), half is for my welding machines the other for wood. The biggest problem will be on the computer side. I am not the most computer proficient individual- as I am still waiting for them to bring back Windows 3.1 from those simpler days. What I did learn from nearly everyone I asked, was don’t be short sided in my vision. Try to think well beyond my perception for my current needs. Many told me they started out with the bare minimums and very quickly wished they had gone to system with greater capabilities. They did not say their initial investment was wasted money. They said had they made the bigger jump at first, it would have been money better spent. All of the manufacturers I was considering offered, what customers touted as absolutely outstanding customer support after purchase. I learned that for the most part, the computer operating systems and support software were very similar. So for me it came down to the options available. I had always planned on a multi-functional table, especially the ability to work with wood and metal. So the router option was a deal breaker. Then I learned a little about the ability to trace. It gave birth to greater possibilities and ideas running around in my head. The same thing happened several days after looking into a scribe or plate marker abilities. Then I was bouncing thoughts off a friend when the topic of table size came up. My initial plan was a 4X4 table. He pointed out the inherent limitations and the fact that some of my woodworking ideas would be difficult on a small table. So what started out as a simple modestly priced entry-level system grew full assault on the bank account (can’t wait til the wife sees that hit) with a 4X8 table, step up to the PM65 over the PM45, Router, Tracer, Plate Marker and software. Oh, added the pipe cutting option just cuz I felt like I’d be creating an orphan if the family was not kept together. Again, that to everyone for your help.

Mike

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Re: What Table Do you Suggest?

Postby 2015cmax » Wed Apr 27, 2016 5:44 pm

Dan , Rick, Dennis, Motoguy and Flimmy,

Thank you all very much for you insight. All the information was very helpful and I too hope others benefit from your wisdom. I actually made my decision and will be stopping by the bank on my way home from work today. It was a tough decision in that as Dan points out, not everyone has the same needs. I will be using the table for fun as a hobby. I have no prior experience with CNC, but do own a Miller Spectrum X-treme 375 plasma cutter. Where I plan to set up the table, space is limited and will be shared with my wood working equipment (yea I know, just takes one errant spark and poof), half is for my welding machines the other for wood. The biggest problem will be on the computer side. I am not the most computer proficient individual- as I am still waiting for them to bring back Windows 3.1 from those simpler days. What I did learn from nearly everyone I asked, was don’t be short sided in my vision. Try to think well beyond my perception for my current needs. Many told me they started out with the bare minimums and very quickly wished they had gone to system with greater capabilities. They did not say their initial investment was wasted money. They said had they made the bigger jump at first, it would have been money better spent. All of the manufacturers I was considering offered, what customers touted as absolutely outstanding customer support after purchase. I learned that for the most part, the computer operating systems and support software were very similar. So for me it came down to the options available. I had always planned on a multi-functional table, especially the ability to work with wood and metal. So the router option was a deal breaker. Then I learned a little about the ability to trace. It gave birth to greater possibilities and ideas running around in my head. The same thing happened several days after looking into a scribe or plate marker abilities. Then I was bouncing thoughts off a friend when the topic of table size came up. My initial plan was a 4X4 table. He pointed out the inherent limitations and the fact that some of my woodworking ideas would be difficult on a small table. So what started out as a simple modestly priced entry-level system grew full assault on the bank account (can’t wait til the wife sees that hit) with a 4X8 table, step up to the PM65 over the PM45, Router, Tracer, Plate Marker and software. Oh, added the pipe cutting option just cuz I felt like I’d be creating an orphan if the family was not kept together. Again, thanks to everyone for your help.

Mike

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Re: What Table Do you Suggest?

Postby little blue choo » Wed Apr 27, 2016 8:35 pm

Well Mike congratulations on taking the plunge. Which one did you decide to purchase? My Arclight 9600 has all the options you mentioned but others may also. Keep us posted on your progress and continue to READ READ READ this forum. I started out a year ago not knowing anything about plasma, or CNC tables and I'm doing very well with mine. I just did the Charlotte Spring and Garden show (largest in the state) and I'm opening booths in two artisan malls as of May 1st. I contribute my success so far to this forum and all it's GREAT members. Now I'm going to read and learn some more.

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Re: What Table Do you Suggest?

Postby 2015cmax » Wed Apr 27, 2016 10:08 pm

Thanks Rick,
I guess it would have been nice if I had included that small detail. I went with the Arclight 9600 with all the trimmings. I was starting to lean towards another table, but they had not developed all the options I wanted. Thats great to read about your progress and successes. Right now I still work full time, so my time with the table will be limited. I have 36 yrs with maybe 3 to go til I retire. That was when I was going to original make the purchase. After giving it a lot of thought I figured I be much happier if a few things were in place when I do pull the pin.

I have been consumed with this forum, to the point my day job gets in the way!!! It is so awesome the way all of the members seem to come out in force to help and offer their expertise.

I see you have the router package. How is it working for you? Have you cut on plywood yet?

Mike

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Re: What Table Do you Suggest?

Postby little blue choo » Thu Apr 28, 2016 8:03 pm

Glad to hear Mike. I love my 9600 and I'm sure you will also. I also work full time, I own and operate 5 businesses, six if you consider Rick's Custom Metal Works. I put in 60 to 70 hours per week and still find time to design and cut. It's my relaxation. Hope to down size to the Little Blue Choo and metal cutting in another year and let our Uncle Sam start sending me some money. I hate to tell you this but I have never installed the router on the table. I have got so tied up in the metal cutting that I haven't even thought about trying it. Someone should have warned you, this is a sickness that will consume your every spare minute. LOL Have plans to try the router during my vacation in July. LOL

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Re: What Table Do you Suggest?

Postby MAS » Sun Jul 03, 2016 1:39 pm

I know this is too late but JD2 new MAD line of plasma tables blows all of the small table manufacturers clean out of the water.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIWc-PS_k5I
Can't be their prices either!

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Re: What Table Do you Suggest?

Postby acourtjester » Sun Jul 03, 2016 5:46 pm

$$$$$$$$$
bump the table with a fork lift?? :o :(
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Re: What Table Do you Suggest?

Postby BTA Plasma » Sun Jul 03, 2016 7:58 pm

CandCNC electronics are very very good. Superior to everything in the market in their price range. Tables vary all over the place. Some machines are built cheaply using simple roller mechanisms that don't have any way to protect the rail and eventually give you problems. When it happens it is enough to ask yourself 'Would going with a linear rail with a scraper be that much better?'. A lot of machines that are out there use simple roller methods because linear rail is extremely difficult and expensive to both integrate and purchase. Others use bearings on steel behind a slot. Linear rail with scrapers are the best (in terms of smoothness, repeatability, longevity and maintainability) method of linear motion. Even some you cannot start mid program and have to start all the way back over at the beginning.

Every machine will have the sum of all the errors show up at the plasma tip. So the sloppier you build the more likely you are to have issues with your cuts. But because there is no actually cutting force (minus the force of the air coming out of the tip) the simple tables can yield a cut that can be acceptable. Motor and drive characteristics are also a factor. USA made Gecko drive will morph to full step at certain speeds so you can go from a high .0005 resolution and end up at .005 step at a high book speed. This is one of the reasons some mfgs but a recommended high speed limit. That can also be influenced by type of drive and the mfg. Servo motors have an advantage over stepper in that range. They maintain their resolution throughout the RPM range. Smart motors with integrated drives have a very bad history of overheating in automation. Teckniks motors like the kind used above may or may not have the same result.

Thermal Dynamics Iplasma uses the same motors with integrated drives. There has been more than a warning to builders from mfgs of drives and software that those motors will fail. But we have yet to fully integrate any of them until now. We have had an Iplasma controller at our facility for a while and will be putting this system on a machine and running it strait for 24hrs a day for 5 days and noting any failure as well as checking motor temps. But with CandCNCs control package, marriage with Sheetcam and integration with Mach or Linux they have earned a right through hard work, loading it up with every single option you could want and more than you need for simple cutting. It is hard to believe someone is going to parachute in with a simple design with no way of keeping the rails from contamination and with a new control, unproven technology and keep folks happy.

The more industrial tables will use linear rail with both wipers and scrapers. Under that you have the entry level machines. Depending on the solution you need the good thing is there are tons of levels of machines from garage built to battle hardened war ships. Looking into the CNC plasma market these days is like trying to buy a good egg roll in Shang Hai. Youll see everything from bugs in the egg roll to shark meat and everything in between..lol

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Re: What Table Do you Suggest?

Postby Brand X » Mon Jul 04, 2016 1:03 am

Gantry is a one stiff unit .Lots of good ideas on this one. Got to give them credit for bringing forth new ideas, and keeping the cost reasonable.. Just barely bump a small torchmate or Plasma cam with a forklift,and do you think it will fair better then this unit? Most smaller machines are not built this tough. (IMO) 2 inch plate capable is a good thing too.. It's got some mass to it.. It would be one heck of a Machine, even if you end up putting Sheetcam/etc on it down the road.. Do I think it will cut better them most decent home built tables,lower end factory tables..Probably not.. :mrgreen: Still like it...

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Re: What Table Do you Suggest?

Postby MAS » Tue Jul 05, 2016 7:50 am

The JD2 table is the only one I've seen that is fully machined! not just a load of square tubing welded together or aluminum extrusions screwed together like 99% of the tables out there are. This one is STRAIGHT!
Those guys put some engineering in theirs! Bob Hughes is coming out with more videos on the machine in the near future, he should have one on the electronics and software side of it. The price of those machine is really remarkable for what you get, brushless servos for one. He includes SigmaNest software with the table too. This is the machine to have!

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Re: What Table Do you Suggest?

Postby BTA Plasma » Tue Jul 05, 2016 9:43 am

Machined areas are a good start and they may not have problems using aluminum on the gantry with a torch. But the torch gives out a lot of heat so that may be a challenge down the road. We use a bridge mill and steel on the gantrys. We used to use aluminum and have used just about every rail configuration. There is alot of science used in these machines on the market today or virtually none at all. Even with machining they still use leveling bolts on the side rails to try to take up the inaccuracies in the frame. Now if you have a frame that is too far out your loading the gantry or your not giving your gears a proper mesh (tilting the gear rack to the drive gear). This is not the first of its design and leveling screws with true linear rails have been around since linear rails have been used for cnc plasma. Better effort than most.

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Re: What Table Do you Suggest?

Postby motoguy » Tue Jul 05, 2016 5:58 pm

That JD2 machine looks interesting. I look forward to user reports, once it's in circulation. A 300lb gantry? Wow. Lots of mass to get up/down to speed quickly.
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Re: What Table Do you Suggest?

Postby PlasmaMac » Tue Jul 05, 2016 10:19 pm

Luckily there are some good solid companies out there you can trust with your hard earned cash.

There are machines that have pluses and minus depending on the type of things that are important for you to accomplish. My entry-level machine is a plasmacam. It has served me extremely well. I know that there are some other really great options that are available as well. It is nice to have good options!


All that I can do is tell you what worked for me. My experience has been nothing short of excellent. But every one is different, so just because I have had nothing but good things to say about my machine, does not mean that my machine would work for your specific requirements. It may or it may not.

When I look back on it the best way to describe what I needed it may have started like this: I need a machine that a very small child could potentially operate with ease!

My time (spend well or spend poorly costs something. If I can spend money to optimize the amount of productivity that can get out of my time, then I’ll do it. Because at the end of the day, there is absolutely, no limit to the amount of money that I (or you) can make in a lifetime but there is a limit to the amount of time that we have before any given day ends.

I realized early on that I needed a machine that would allow me to materialize my wildly creative and custom ideas (before I forgot them!) quickly, effective and precisely without the complications that could stifle my overall output. I can be pretty ADHD by how I go about my typical work day and on any given day, I could have a ton of different projects that seem like they are all going on at once. So the fact of the mater is, like most people, I just don’t have a whole lot of spare time to deal with things that are more complicated than they need to be.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of the machines that I looked at seemed this way.
Just straight up, more complicated than things needed to be in order to be effective.

I really needed something that could be dropped off on my doorstep and ready to use within hours. My goal was to be able to start producing with the machine as quickly as possible…and boy did I ever!

One thing that I can’t stress enough, is that if you know exactly what you want (to accomplish) as the end result and you imagine it and live it out in your head for couple of moments, chances are is that you’ll find it exactly what you are looking for.

For me, the plasmacam was exactly what I was looking for. No other machine had anything close to what they offered for the price (totally my opinion). I was most impressed with the ability to be able to go from Design to finished product without having to spend a huge amount of time screwing around 4 or 5 different software programs. No other machine out there had what plasmacam had in terms of a software program that was as powerful as their designedge (Flawless).


A few of the other things that Plasmacam offered that were definitely favorable were:

1. Plasmacam’s warranty was 3 years (1 year seemed to be pretty common among the machines out there)

2. Uses Servo motors (I really hope that I don’t start a big pissing match over my love of servo motors over steppers. I apologize if I offend anyone, …lets just say that they give me the extra torque that I need, and corner acceleration …definitely way nicer on intricate parts, not to mention higher rates of cut speeds without missing a step!

3. Support is free (it has become pretty standard for most companies to offer free support and some machines probably require more intensive levels of support that others), And in all honesty, depending on how motivated folks are, after you get the machine going, there really hasn’t been a whole lot of reason’s to call George in tech. I imagine he must be like the Maytag repairman or something!

At the end of the day Here is why, I got a plasmacam:

I. One software program, The software was straight forward, simple to use

One of my acquaintance years before purchase a an Arclight that runs mach3, sheet cam and hole host of other programs that were required in order to cut anything out (he eventually actually asked me if I would trade him for my Plasmacam!). It could take him 2 hours to cut out a welcome sign that would take me literally a few minutes to cut out. This is due to the effectiveness and ease of use of plasmacam’s fully integrated cad/cam designedge program. Lines of G-code are really not the most inspiring things to have to deal with when something goes wrong because of it (all it take is ONE digit, in order to WASTE a perfectly sheet of material).

Lets face it… g-code is simple to understand… but a complete pain to have to deal with most would prefer to avoid it they had a choice. This was by far the biggest factor that I considered prior to pulling the trigger.

While researching, there were a ton of machines out there we constructed very well and very robust looking….and they were very admirable for the way that they were engineered, however one thing that they all had in common was that for a normal dude, the learning curve can be a problem. I am not saying that you have a genius to run some of these machines. But you definitely have to be motivated to deal with things that are that are not very intuitive to most.

All in all. I needed a machine that would be not only easy to use, but also would get my ideas on to metal as quickly as possible (rather…going from Design to finished product without having to spend a huge amount of time screwing around a gang of different software programs).

I still have not come across a store that I can walk into and actually BUY more time to add to my life. Time for me is extremely important and I imagine it is for most people.

Finding a system that had a proven history of success with other was also important to me. As much as I could, I really tried to find people that were successful with their systems (not matter which brand they had). I wanted to see success and not necessarily failure. I could care less about people’s negative opinions, because more often than not there is always more to the story that one person's version of it.

One person can use a hammer skillfully enough to frame a beautiful house, while another person can use that exact same hammer, less skillfully, and bust their thumb. Which one of these guys would be most likely to blame the hammer for their out come? If you where in the market for a hammer, whose advice would be more relevant? The successful guy or the unsuccessful one?

In addition, there are also a few simple things to cover that were import to find out when one any machine that I looked at. Having a long history of success with a lot of customers really made my decision fairly simple once I got the facts in order.

1. How long have they been in business (Since 1998)
2. Service and support (free, seems to be is the industry standard anything less…may be questionable).
Plasmacam’s service has been excellent for me infact.
3. Warranty (My machine: 3 years – this is about 3x better than any other machine that I came across. Parts and service for the machine and the SOFTWARE is directly from plasmacam. This was one of the only companies that was responsible for both the machine and Software. One source, one place that takes responsibility for it all! ).

Another machine that I looked at at the time had a 90 day, other warranties where usually one year but only though the people who made the parts an components, which often times would require you to deal with another company that was not the actual company who sold you the machine. Same with the software. The software programs where almost never developed by the company that was selling you the machine. When some thing happens that they are not able to solve, whether it is software related or with electronic components (like motors and controls), what do you think happens? Fingers get pointed in all different directions. This is never ideal especially when you need help. Unfortunately, this is extremely common on many products. )

4. Software and ease of use (DesignEDGE…flawless compared to anything else that I had ever experienced for similar applications).

After figuring out how important software was to any CNC operation, I decided that MACH3 and I were not going to be compatible partners. There are a lot of systems that interface Mach 3 with a Torch Height Control. I have never seen this set up work very well on any machine that I was able to actually put my hands on. On top of this I still have also never met anyone who is huge fan of Mach 3.

My pals system used Mach3, sheetcam, combined with a software program called gimp and then also used another one called inkscape. That is 5 different software programs! I only use one program with my machine that allows me to do everything from design work, covert any image to cut out, even trace directly over them on the screen, and cut all with one very simple to use software program (plasmacam’s designedge). One program that I have to deal with to the five that he had to import and export out of in order to cut anything out. For example, I was able to put his name on a sign and have it cut as if I were printing a MS Word document on a piece of paper all while he was sitting inform of me.


This is pretty good way of explaining what I'm talking about:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddfGIoyvSxo


There was really no way that My pal and his machine (arclight), could come close to being able to do something as simple as this in a time efficient way like you could on my machine (plasmacam). This is mainly due to the software that is involved on each system. Software is a pretty darn important factor on any machine and is something that is extremely important to consider on anything CNC related.

Again, I can't guarantee that what works for me is going to be ideal for you, however I will tell you that my decision to go with one outfit over another was pretty simple based on facts. I find it pretty important to actually find out for yourself. I know that if I would have listened to the opinion of one my friend and took his opinion as the gospel, I’d wouldn’t have even come close to being as happy as I am not with what I have. If you ask ten people their opinions, you’ll get 10 different answers most of the time. I can’t stress this enough: Do the leg work & if you stick to the facts, instead what other have decided for you, (you’re less likely to get something that you’ll regret later. So if you haven’t called every single company cnc that you can and if you haven't talked to more than one person about their machine, Do it. One of these machines is not chump change for most (it wasn't for me anyways) and the more you do to formulate your own opinions of things; you'll be less likely to make a huge financial disaster (been there and have done that before too). Better yet if you can get your hands on exactly what you’ll be getting in order to see for yourself…you’ll most certainly make the right move on the right machine.

I wish you luck, Brother!

JAG
:D

VSAWMike
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2015 7:27 pm

Re: What Table Do you Suggest?

Postby VSAWMike » Wed Sep 07, 2016 6:09 pm

I have a question to ad to this. Nobody is really speaking of what is being cut. I would think that makes a huge difference in what machine to invest lots of money in. I have absolutely no interest in cutting art from sheet metal. I am far more interested in cutting parts from steel that is from 1/8" to 1/2" thick. What machine will do that job the most reliably and with the nicest smoothest cuts? That's my question to add.

I would most likely be cutting 1/4" most of the time but sometimes I may need to cut some 3/8" or 1/2" and I would like the edges to be semi smooth. Or at least good enough that they can be easily cleaned up.

gamble
Elite Contributing Member
Elite Contributing Member
Posts: 915
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2014 6:33 pm

Re: What Table Do you Suggest?

Postby gamble » Wed Sep 07, 2016 8:02 pm

Hypertherm powermax 65
Torchmate 2x2
Powermax 45 - machine torch
Flashcut CNC Controls & Height control

VSAWMike
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2015 7:27 pm

Re: What Table Do you Suggest?

Postby VSAWMike » Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:27 pm

Table, not plasma cutter. I know I will need a very good machine. I spent years running an old machine with a Hypertherm machine on it.

I am in the market for a table that I will have no issues loading a 1/2" thick or 3/4" thick sheet on day after day in production.

Joe Jones
Posts: 218
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2014 2:33 pm
Location: Franklin, KY., USA
Contact:

Re: What Table Do you Suggest?

Postby Joe Jones » Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:28 pm

My vote goes to PlasmaCam. That being said, the software will cost you MORE than you expect, and their BASIC software cannot do the things you see in their DEMO videos. :roll:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLrkf_xegQ1_SHjj54-cMr5kQEAPS0RuHk

I own three CNC tables. One PlasmaCam DHC2 4'x4', and two Samson 510 tables (PlasmaCam's 5'x10' big brother)

One 510 is a dedicated router table, while the 4x4 goes either way, and it is on wheels so it is portable, for craft fairs and flea markets, etc. The other 510 is a plasma table. I also mount paint pens, and other accessories. I just bought their engraver attachment which is overpriced IMHO, but it DOES work well. I also have an 8 Watt laser accessory I have yet to mount.

I did buy the DesignEdge pipe cutting attachment, but like most people who buy it, I NEVER use it. Oh, it works quite well, but the work involved in setting it up is ridiculously labor intensive.

I really like the tables and the software. It is no secret that the company is difficult to deal with, but that is a very small part of owning these tables.

Above is a link to my PlasmaCam / Samson 510 CNC You Tube playlist of my videos.

Here is a link to some photos of things I have made with these tables, and either a router or a HyperTherm 45 plasma torch mounted to the carriage on the gantry.

http://flic.kr/s/aHskHT5FVE

Most people do not understand the wide capabilities of these tables.

What I like is their 'DesignEdge' software. It is very user friendly, and they s-l-o-w-l-y add features to it from time to time.

Full disclosure: I DID bite the bullet and buy all of PlasmaCam's a la carte software upgrades, except for the HVAC upgrade, which I would not use. I DO NOT WORK FOR PLASMACAM OR ANY OF IT'S AFFILIATES.

I am a retired man, 58, who lives in Kentucky. I have two hobby workshops with more tools than Tim Taylor could grunt about. :lol: At some point, I will turn my hobby shops into a small business to generate some motorcycle touring money ;)

Joe Jones
Franklin, KY., USA



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Last edited by Joe Jones on Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Joe Jones
Posts: 218
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2014 2:33 pm
Location: Franklin, KY., USA
Contact:

Re: What Table Do you Suggest?

Postby Joe Jones » Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:58 pm

PlasmaMac wrote:My entry-level machine is a plasmacam. ... For me, the plasmacam was exactly what I was looking for. ... No other machine out there had what plasmacam had in terms of a software program that was as powerful as their designedge (Flawless). ... A few of the other things that Plasmacam offered that were definitely favorable were: ... At the end of the day Here is why, I got a plasmacam: ...he eventually actually asked me if I would trade him for my Plasmacam! ... There was really no way that My pal and his machine (arclight), could come close to being able to do something as simple as this in a time efficient way like you could on my machine (plasmacam). ...


I wish you luck, Brother!

JAG
:D


Nothing pisses me off faster than an EMPLOYEE of a company coming into a public Internet message forum acting like he has absolutely no connection with the company he is endorsing.

"Hey, I don't know anything about the company, or even where it is located, but I'm going to do a text infomercial on PlasmaCam because I think I have everyone FOOLED!" Hint: You Don't

I own three of their tables and I am happy with my choice, but "PlasmaMac" WORKS for PLASMACAM! :lol:

Quit with the "you don't know me" B.S. Jasper, and just honestly tell people why YOU believe PlasmaCam is a superior table. Be HONEST, and they won't care about the FACT that you work for the company.

BTW, I agree with most everything you said about the tables and the DesignEdge software. ;)

Joe Jones
Franklin, KY., USA
NOT a PlasmaCam employee, investor, or affiliate



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