Upcoming CNC plasma purchase

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Pressure_welder
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Upcoming CNC plasma purchase

Post by Pressure_welder » Wed Nov 27, 2019 9:17 pm

Good evening everyone hope all is well. After viewing the boards for some time I finally registered. Little back story I own a custom fabrication/mobile welding business, I specialize and cater to the heavy equipment industry excavators/dozers/rock trucks/crushers/loaders you name it, deal with a lot of gouging, AR plate welding etc. But also will take on any sort of custom fabrication needs that come through the door... for example custom truck hauler truck beds, and current working on a 22 foot jet boat. Anyway I have had my eye on CNC plasma tables for quite some time however just have had difficulty with the justification. However on a recent project that required me to cut 600, 4.5" x 2" x 3/8" sacrificial ice breakers that attach to the auger tips on those large airport snowblower tines, cutting those by hand with my plasma was mind numbing. I am to a point of simply streamlining some of these fabrication items and saving on time. Right now I lay everything out by hand, use straight edges, cut with plasma, center punch and drill holes, sure it works fine but I feel like I could realllly be saving myself some hours with investing in a CNC table. I want the ability to be able to cut some thicker parts 1" - 1-1/4" plate for heavy equipment work. I will be entirely honest I do have extensive experience with plasma cutting/gouging, but almost zero experience with a CNC plasma table. So I was hoping for some guidance if possible.

From my research I believe I have narrowed down my search to Tracker CNC, I have heard nothing but good reviews and especially in relation to there customer service. I have in mind the 4' x 8' pro table, I feel the added cost for the down draft table, and additional software would be well worth it. How effective is the down draft on these tables? Any opinions on tracker? I know it will be a learning curve as far as the software goes however something I am certainly willing to learn. how difficult is it to draw out your own parts with the software? for example a square or circular mounting plate with holes? Anyway, really looking forward to pulling the trigger on this just thought I would do a last bit of research/learning before doing so.

weldguy
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Re: Upcoming CNC plasma purchase

Post by weldguy » Thu Nov 28, 2019 10:01 am

I've had a tracker for a few years now and have had really good success with it, it is what they say it is. Very easy to operate in comparison to many others I have used and for that reason its fantastic. It's simplicity may be a downfall if your the kinda guy that likes to tweak fine settings or add on some kind of homegrown attachment and integrate it with the controller because that is not going to work. If you just wanna keep it simple and painless and cut parts go for it and you will do great. Corel draw is what came with mine so download the free trial from Corels website here viewforum.php?f=161, watch some tutorial vids and try your hand at it. Drawing the simple stuff your talking about is easy.
Last edited by weldguy on Thu Nov 28, 2019 10:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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acourtjester
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Re: Upcoming CNC plasma purchase

Post by acourtjester » Thu Nov 28, 2019 10:06 am

The software you are looking for the produce drawings would be a CAD software package. It will enable you to make very precise drawings and modify then if needed due to changes or reshaping. There is a good number of CAD software packages out there so free and some expensive. They all do the basic things required to draw and save DXF files, the more expensive one offer more optional functions. I would suggest trying one of the free CAD programs for a test drive. The thing that help me learn is to realize the positioning portion and the coordination locations. Any line, circle, and box has a start position and then a dimension. Lines and boxes all start at a corner point, circles (center punches) start from the center and the dimension is the radius. To reposition you change the start or center point by changing the its coordinates, resizing is similar. there are menus at the bottom with all the info showing the size and position of any highlighted object, you just change what ever setting you want. It is more involved but that is a start.
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TJS
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Re: Upcoming CNC plasma purchase

Post by TJS » Fri Nov 29, 2019 7:51 am

Yup 600 parts does not sound fun. I made backhoe bucket ears a while back. I think I have a post on here. It was one of my first real project and drawing I did in inkscape. Came out great. Saved tons of time. Cut them out of 5/8" plate with Hypertherm85 running PPLC DIY table and CandCNC Command CNC. I did machine the holes for the pins on my Bridgeport for precision but I think I had the whole project done in like 3 hours.

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Re: Upcoming CNC plasma purchase

Post by ctgolfer1 » Fri Nov 29, 2019 8:24 am

It sounds like table will be a great asset to your business, don't be afraid of the software, you will get the hang of it, it will be a little daunting at first but you will be making parts in no time. I bought my table in April with absolutely no experience in can/cam and I can now design simple parts like tie downs and lifting tabs and have them cut in minutes. More complicated parts might take a hour or so but I get them cut. A year from now you will wonder what the heck you did without the table. Good luck man!

Pressure_welder
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Re: Upcoming CNC plasma purchase

Post by Pressure_welder » Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:02 pm

Sorry for late reply, thank you for all the information! Well today we basically made the decision we’re going to go with the tracker pro 4x8 table and mate it with a hypertherm 85. Would’ve preferred to get the 105 however I learned today that it’s only a 3 phase machine. Quite excited to say the least while also being quite nervous as the software i find rather intimidating, being 32 I do have computer skills to an extent but iam no whizz but iam sure I will get the hang of it with time. The down draft feature will be nice as well.

One question I do have is “leveling” the table. The plasma table will be in a 24’x24’ extension of our shop although the floor is ashphalt in that wing rather than concrete. Things do tend to sink into the ashphalt over time if they don’t have a decent foot print, and I would say the ashphalt isn’t as level as concrete or course. It looks as though the 2” tubing base should suffice although I was also debating laying down a 4x8 sheet of 1/4” material to distribute the weight. Was also debating making a 2” square tube frame with leveling feet. Or should I be totally concerned with 100% level?

More than happy to accept any and all information/tips !

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