You can read the full thread here https://forum.linuxcnc.org/plasma-laser ... rs?start=0
Some minor edits made for clarity (and to obscure some trade names).
Original Poster (OP)
dvn4life1972 Response:I’ve asked this question but never really get an answer.
What THCs are there in the market? I only really hear of Price THC, the Mesa THCAd-10 I believe it’s called, and the Promas.
I keep hearing that Proma 150 compact THC (which is what I have) is a cheap option. But all the ones I’ve heard of are about the same price. So there must be others. What are they and what are their advantages?
OP:Using the THCAD-x allows use of THC native to the Plasmac interface. The Price and Promas are standalone if I'm not mistaken. In terms of cost, using the Mesa THCAD card and Plasmac for THC is quite less expensive than, say, the Price. I would argue it works much better as well.
thefabricator03 Response:Yes I haven’t heard many complaints about the THCAD. And I figured it’s quality was good, but when I was buying my hardware I wasn’t knowledgeable enough to realize that. I was too worried it was worse bc of its price. I don’t care for the price thc for some reason. I’ve never used it but I don’t like it.
What other THCs are there though? You also mentioned only the several I talked about
and thefabricator03 again:Hypertherm do THC;'s but they are not for amateurs. I got a quote for a system and it started at $40,000AUD.
xxxxxxxxx do THC's as well but in my experience they are junk compared to the THCAD. I spent over $10,000 AUD on a xxxxxxxxx system and I scrapped it for a Mesa 7i76e and a THCAD10.
Really nothing even comes close to the features and reliability that the THCAD offers.
Sometimes the most simple solutions are the best and most cost effective.
RodW Response:I have over a years worth of heavy duty cutting experience with a Mesa 7i76e and and THCAD10 and they have never let me down. Day in day out they just work!
thefabricator03 again:I think its important to understand a few things here:
1. The traditional THC's like Proma exist becasue few CNC controllers can manage torch height control internally so must depend on external hardware. But its not possible to get full control over the process as its hard for the two systems to communicate in real time (1000 times a second).
2. The very best plasma controllers (like the AUD $40k Hypertherm system thefabricator03 mentioned ) manage torch height control internally so they can get superior results and full integration between voltage sensing and all seeing all knowing CNC motion controller. They don't need external THC's becasue they can do it all themselves.
3. If the Linuxcnc motion controller knows the torch voltage, it can control the torch height like the very best high end controllers costing AUD $40k. Its just that companies like Hypertherm have a bit of a head start in this area. We are learning what they already know and applying it to Linuxcnc.
4. Neither Linuxcnc or the THCAD are THC's. The THCAD provides a nice, neat, accurate and robust method of telling the linuxcnc motion controller what the torch voltage is. This allows the motion controller to manage the plasma cutting process.
5. With a THCAD in conjunction with Linuxcnc, the concept of a THC becomes obsolete. LinuxCNC becomes a full plasma aware motion controller.
So in answer to your question, the best upgrade you can do is to toss out your Proma THC and buy a THCAD. If you can afford to, also throw out any parallel port BOBS in use and replace with Mesa hardware. That way you are upgrading to a tightly integrated plasma controller.
The OP:Rods correct, the THCAD is not a Torch Height Controller. I had Tom from CandCNC mention that to me and I pointed out that its actually a non proprietary way to measure arc voltage in real time, which is a whole lot more useful than a THC.
RodW:Wow. I must not have put notifications on this topic. I wasn't aware of all the replies. I haven't read everything but from what I read I gather this: the THCs mentioned in the initial post are about the only THCs that are accepted in the realm of "cheaper" builds. And out of all of them the THCAD is the best. My next build will be a THCAD (and I'm currently using and will continue to use the mesa 7I96 board). Its very strange to me that the cheapest option is the best though.
PCW owner of Mesa Electronics the THCAD Manufacturer:Its more that the THCAD is the enabler for Linuxcnc to be the best!
thefabricator03 again:Its not the THCAD that's the enabler. Its LinuxCNCs HAL
and all the THC work that people have done in the open and
collaborative real time structure that LinuxCNC and HAL provide.
A functional THC A-D could be made for $2.00 with a
555 Timer VCO and an optoisolater.
The OP again:Thats what I love about the open source movement. In a industrial environment most thing are very expensive. Using your THCAD or something similar and some very clever coding we can make a plasma cutting system for very minimal cost.
It really is pretty awesome. I was skeptical of the reliability at first but with over 1500 hours of cutting on my machine it still has not failed and continues to work everyday.
Full disclosure. Posts from RodW above were written by me.Yes, I’m definitely switch for my next build. Now just to make this one as perfect as possible and sell it.