New in Texas

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Birdiemc
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New in Texas

Post by Birdiemc » Fri Jul 17, 2020 10:10 pm

Recently decided to get a light duty plasma table, but stuck on who to trust. Never used one before, no cnc experience, my lathes and milling machine are manual. All machining is just a hobby mostly, I tinker around with projects for myself and friends and family, nothing ever for pay yet. I got a plasma cutter a few years ago with a welding cart I found on craigslist, and just now got around to hooking it up and using it about a month ago and I'm in love. After seeing what a cheapo plasma cutter can do, then realizing how much better it is in the hands of a robot, I just gotta have one. So far I've looked at all I can find in the under 15k range (only got 6k budgeted, not including plasma cutter) and looked at diy route, but cant figure out the best route so I figured I would join up here and see if you kind folks cant help steer me in the right direction.

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acourtjester
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Re: New in Texas

Post by acourtjester » Fri Jul 17, 2020 11:53 pm

Welcome aboard
many DIY types here, so info is here to be had, or info about commercial tables too. Much fun to be had many projects posted, you can use the search function in the upper right if you want to look around.
DIY 4X4 Plasma/Router Table
Hypertherm PM65 Machine Torch
Drag Knife and Scribe
Miller Mig welder
13" metal lathe
Small Mill
Everlast PowerTig 255 EXT

robertspark
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Re: New in Texas

Post by robertspark » Sat Jul 18, 2020 8:06 am

DIY as that is a lot of money to part with especially if the company you are dealing with decide to shut up shop and you are left to figure out things later.... or they upgrade their model and no longer support the one you've got and you cannot buy consumables (like stepper motors.... / servos) from anyone but them because they have removed all part numbers and don't give them out.....

Seriously, before parting with that kind of money I'd ask for a copy of their build manual or at least to see extracts of it as well as an extract of their parts list so you can verify that you know what you are buying.

Also ask for the situation on updates to the software, bug fixes etc, is there an ongoing cost or are they free....

for DIY, I bought a kit of carriages and some 2x2 and built a table a little over 4"x4" of travel (just short of 5.... got my 2x2 as offcuts....)
I'd suggest buying some qualify DIGITAL stepper motor drives.
A power supply for your stepper motors and a separate power supply for the 24V logic.
An ethernet motion controller (2 ways to go)

Cheapest (and if you are OK to have a go at Linux) is LinuxCNC + Plasmac with Mesa hardware
If you are better with windows and like to be up and going fast.... then UCCNC and cncDrive motion controller and a seperate THC (miniTHC or Price AVHC)

the key element with DIY is TIME..... how do you value your time..... what does your time cost you..... at £50/hr (yes I'm in the uk), or $63/hr how many hours would it take you to build a table against buying it.... maybe your time is cheaper or more expensive.

on a $6K table with say a 40/60 split on materials (i.e. materials = $2,400 (40%)), you have $3,600 on labour, at $60 per hour say that is 60 hours to build the table.... if you are doing this as a hobby, maybe you are on apprentice rates $20/hr..... so you now have 180 hours to build the table and controller as a turnkey solution (providing your purchased table arrives as a turn key solution) or up to that same standard the table arrives in on a pallet.

I have a wife and kids and it is easier to be inside the house when I'm not at paying work and be seen even though I may be on here, or coding or designing something than it is to be physically wiring something up for 8 hours out of sight (ear ache factor)..... hence having cnc machines allows me to design something in sight, set it up with a piece of material in a chuck or vice or throw a bit of material on the table compressor and plasma on and be back inside the house in only a few minutes, press run and check up on things or stop things via cctv.
UCCNC,
Sheetcam
Hypertherm Powermax 45 (nonXP)
Neuron Lite THC
Hobby user (4x4 home table)

Birdiemc
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Re: New in Texas

Post by Birdiemc » Sat Jul 18, 2020 9:46 am

Both of you guys sure seem to know what you're doing on the diy side of things...i have read lots from both. The diy route definitely has my attention, I have no problem fabricating the table, it's all the CNC part that has me a scared right now. A few yes ago I built an automatic door for my chicken coop with photocell to open at first light and close at dark, with arduino. It was a steep learning curve...I got it working but I never fully learned to the point of being able to troubleshoot my code effectively, my solar charger couldn't keep up with the drain on the battery so it eventually just became a permanently open door.
I see theres a gantry by precision plasma, and then it looks like cutting edge plasma has taken that and slapped some electronics onto it. That seems like a viable option, but what I'm struggling to understand is what's so hard about building the gantry that it makes it worth $3k. It seems like buying a kit from candcnc comes with all the electronics side covered, so then it's a matter of fabrication and assembly. So what did I get right? What should I be reading to gain a better understanding of what it takes to diy one of these?

robertspark
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Re: New in Texas

Post by robertspark » Sat Jul 18, 2020 10:06 am

the z axis in my opinion has always been the pia

but there are now very cheap options on Amazon



it depends how heavy you want it.

I have 3d printed a floating head, and breakaway assembly for one of those cheap Amazon z axis and am changing a few other things at present for my air scribe.

I also have a pen holder and a camera tracing adapter that replaces the breakaway torch so I can do other things too
UCCNC,
Sheetcam
Hypertherm Powermax 45 (nonXP)
Neuron Lite THC
Hobby user (4x4 home table)

Birdiemc
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Re: New in Texas

Post by Birdiemc » Sat Jul 18, 2020 10:36 am

Honestly at this stage I'm so ignorant I have no idea how heavy I want anything.

robertspark
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Re: New in Texas

Post by robertspark » Sat Jul 18, 2020 11:40 am

plasma is all about acceleration and being able to turn things on and off in sync with motion (without motion slowing down / stopping to implement an m-code..... most m codes do require motion to stop before they are implemented)

above 400 ipm velocity on most tables is not required (makes very little difference)

0.3G acceleration is the design target... more Great, less can be an issue with tightness (roundness) of inside corners.

weight (mass) is the enemy of acceleration.... more weight (mass)..... more force required to achieve same acceleration (linear relationship.... twice weight, twice force required for same acceleration)
UCCNC,
Sheetcam
Hypertherm Powermax 45 (nonXP)
Neuron Lite THC
Hobby user (4x4 home table)

EverydayDiesel
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Re: New in Texas

Post by EverydayDiesel » Sun Jul 19, 2020 10:59 pm

Birdiemc wrote:
Sat Jul 18, 2020 9:46 am
I see theres a gantry by precision plasma, and then it looks like cutting edge plasma has taken that and slapped some electronics onto it. That seems like a viable option, but what I'm struggling to understand is what's so hard about building the gantry that it makes it worth $3k. It seems like buying a kit from candcnc comes with all the electronics side covered, so then it's a matter of fabrication and assembly. So what did I get right? What should I be reading to gain a better understanding of what it takes to diy one of these?
Did you ever find an answer to this question?

adbuch
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Re: New in Texas

Post by adbuch » Mon Jul 20, 2020 12:12 am

Birdiemc wrote:
Fri Jul 17, 2020 10:10 pm
So far I've looked at all I can find in the under 15k range (only got 6k budgeted, not including plasma cutter) and looked at diy route, but cant figure out the best route so I figured I would join up here and see if you kind folks cant help steer me in the right direction.
Which turn-key tables have you looked at, and which ones (in your price range) have you considered? What sort of work do you expect to do with your plasma table in terms of size and thickness? Will a 4x4 or smaller be sufficient for your needs, or are you looking for something larger? I would agree that "on the surface" it would seem that one could build a gantry for less than $3500, and I'm sure that some of the smaller diy cnc plasma tables have been built for much less for the entire machine (less plasma cutter).
David

adbuch
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Re: New in Texas

Post by adbuch » Mon Jul 20, 2020 12:34 am

EverydayDiesel wrote:
Sun Jul 19, 2020 10:59 pm
Birdiemc wrote:
Sat Jul 18, 2020 9:46 am
So what did I get right? What should I be reading to gain a better understanding of what it takes to diy one of these?
Did you ever find an answer to this question?
It would be nice if there was a set of plans with construction manual that listed all the specifications, parts, prices, etc. and had a step-by-step construction process documented with photos and drawings so the builder could just follow along from start to finish. Maybe even a book with plans for a variety of sizes/designs/costs. Does such a thing exist for these larger plasma tables? If so - I would be very interested to see it.

I did this for a small cnc router/plasma table that I designed and built several years ago, but we're talking nema 23 stepper motors with GRBL/Arduino controls - more of a "hobby machine" for smaller parts. But I did manage to build the entire machine including electronics/controller/software for around $900 total. Of course not including the plasma cutter of computer/monitor.
David

https://www.desert-hybrids.com/id57.html
http://deserthybridscom.ipage.com/deser ... index.html
r-max cnc.jpg

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adbuch
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Re: New in Texas

Post by adbuch » Mon Jul 20, 2020 12:47 am

Birdiemc,
Here's a build in progress that looks nice. He says his goal to build it for around $3500. I didn't look thru the entire post, but perhaps you might want to take a look - if you haven't already.
David

viewtopic.php?f=103&t=30432

Birdiemc
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Re: New in Texas

Post by Birdiemc » Mon Jul 20, 2020 8:58 am

EverydayDiesel wrote:
Sun Jul 19, 2020 10:59 pm


Did you ever find an answer to this question?
Not yet

Birdiemc
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Re: New in Texas

Post by Birdiemc » Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:10 am

adbuch wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 12:12 am
Birdiemc wrote:
Fri Jul 17, 2020 10:10 pm
So far I've looked at all I can find in the under 15k range (only got 6k budgeted, not including plasma cutter) and looked at diy route, but cant figure out the best route so I figured I would join up here and see if you kind folks cant help steer me in the right direction.
Which turn-key tables have you looked at, and which ones (in your price range) have you considered? What sort of work do you expect to do with your plasma table in terms of size and thickness? Will a 4x4 or smaller be sufficient for your needs, or are you looking for something larger? I would agree that "on the surface" it would seem that one could build a gantry for less than $3500, and I'm sure that some of the smaller diy cnc plasma tables have been built for much less for the entire machine (less plasma cutter).
David
ive looked at SVT, premier plasma, wright, cutting edge, and a host of others. Most look pretty similar down at this price range, so i don't imagine there is a huge quality difference one to the next, but from what i've read on here there's a huge difference in customer service and which one is going to be around still 5 minutes from now.

My hope is to be able to cut out nifty little things in the up to 1/2" range to be able to make a little money over time. I don't want a full time cnc plasma business, but it would be really cool if over the span of a year i could sell stuff to earn enough to build or buy a quality machine. there's something wrong with my brain, I want it because i want it, so hopefully it can generate income to pay for itself....lol. that's what i've been telling my wife anyway for the past 10 years when i bought my first lathe.
The appeal of a turnkey machine would be immediate gratification....see if its really something i would be interested in before dropping the big bucks on a real machine, and before pouring hours into a diy build that may or may not work as desired.

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acourtjester
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Re: New in Texas

Post by acourtjester » Mon Jul 20, 2020 10:21 am

You are in a good place now, doing the research before jumping in. If you look back in some post here you will find some people who have had big problems with one or two of the tables you looked at. Many DIY type have problems with electronics and software, and you can have similar problems with a commercial table to. The latter requires a good customer care related and there are good and bad there too. There are many successful DIY build posted here and many different theories on software, they all do the job the builder wants. It seems to come down to how much money you want to spend and how involved you want to get with the software. Do some more research into the software as that also affects the electronics you use. As to package deal CandCNC seems to have a complete package (electronics, drive components, and software), and good customer care. One last thing buy a Hypertherm PM 65 and be done with it, it will cut 1/2" steel.
DIY 4X4 Plasma/Router Table
Hypertherm PM65 Machine Torch
Drag Knife and Scribe
Miller Mig welder
13" metal lathe
Small Mill
Everlast PowerTig 255 EXT

Burnart
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Re: New in Texas

Post by Burnart » Tue Jul 21, 2020 1:46 pm

Where in Texas? Near Houston by chance?

EverydayDiesel
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Re: New in Texas

Post by EverydayDiesel » Thu Jul 23, 2020 5:21 pm

I was about to buy the precision plasma / candcnc combo until i came across this guys video


I am leaning towards building my own from scratch (without any kits)

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acourtjester
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Re: New in Texas

Post by acourtjester » Fri Jul 24, 2020 5:02 pm

Good choice that is what I did, for 9 tables
DIY 4X4 Plasma/Router Table
Hypertherm PM65 Machine Torch
Drag Knife and Scribe
Miller Mig welder
13" metal lathe
Small Mill
Everlast PowerTig 255 EXT

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Re: New in Texas

Post by SeanP » Sat Jul 25, 2020 11:12 am

I was lucky and spent maybe 6 months converting the workshop, starting to learn solidworks, designing a table & learning (well trying) all the workings of getting it cutting.
At that time, I had time but not the money to be buying a manufactured table.
Luckily everything worked out great with my build, I used Cancnc for the motors and controls, ideal for me as I'm not that great with the electrics.
Little bit of a worry if I had problems the table is running every day near enough.

You don't see many tables with higher sides that the slats, very glad I went that way now, I did that to protect side rails initially but it's great for lifting sheets up as well, I can lift a full sheet of 16mm by using a length of 25mm box as the pry bar and a 4' piece of 2'' tube running across the slats, ok 12mm is a bit easier! :HaHa
Then I can get forks under the sheet to take off again, placing the sheet on I lower the far side and leave round tube under and lower down in reverse,
I used to load a full sheet of 12mm easy enough this way using a special cart I made up, great with fork lift now I must admit.

Few pics of my build here:
https://goo.gl/photos/KX4EChnngmNtH4e18
Powermax XP45
Home built table, Candcnc DTHC 2, Dragoncut 620-4
R-Tech 210 Tig, Jasic 250 mig
Sheetcam, Scanything, Coreldraw X8, Solidworks
Table build gallery

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Re: New in Texas

Post by adbuch » Sat Jul 25, 2020 7:59 pm

Nice work Sean! Very impressive build. And I like the idea of having the slats recessed down below the side rails. Is there a thread here documenting your entire build?
David

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SeanP
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Re: New in Texas

Post by SeanP » Sun Jul 26, 2020 3:31 am

Sorry David, the gallery was as much as I did.
Powermax XP45
Home built table, Candcnc DTHC 2, Dragoncut 620-4
R-Tech 210 Tig, Jasic 250 mig
Sheetcam, Scanything, Coreldraw X8, Solidworks
Table build gallery

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Re: New in Texas

Post by adbuch » Sun Jul 26, 2020 4:45 am

OK. Thanks.
David

dodom
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Re: New in Texas

Post by dodom » Wed Jul 29, 2020 10:13 am

Candcnc sales about 500 of those units a year he is the only one complaining

Dfabltd
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Re: New in Texas

Post by Dfabltd » Fri Jul 31, 2020 2:56 am

Sean as a fellow Irish man hats off to you very tidy work on building that table, had you much fun lining the rails?

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SeanP
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Re: New in Texas

Post by SeanP » Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:01 pm

Dfabltd wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 2:56 am
Sean as a fellow Irish man hats off to you very tidy work on building that table, had you much fun lining the rails?
Thanks, no they were easy enough really, the box section where the rails mount is adjustable which helped a lot, I didn't dare weld them :Like
Powermax XP45
Home built table, Candcnc DTHC 2, Dragoncut 620-4
R-Tech 210 Tig, Jasic 250 mig
Sheetcam, Scanything, Coreldraw X8, Solidworks
Table build gallery

Birdiemc
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Re: New in Texas

Post by Birdiemc » Sun Aug 02, 2020 11:03 pm

Last week was a crazy week so I haven't been online much, but just figured i would update. Burnart, I'm down by San Antonio, but just passed through Houston this morning on my way back from picking up a table out in pensacola. Got it all set up this evening and was able to make a cut so very pleased. Now to learn how to use sheetcam....

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