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Bets Bet

CNC Plasma Cutters are amazing and there is always plenty of knowledge to share and discuss. Use the CNC plasma cutters general forum for this purpose.
jlames
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Bets Bet

Postby jlames » Sun Dec 08, 2013 11:10 am

I've searched and read many of the older posts relative to preference. But in the last year, it seems things have changed so much. I'm retired, running our ranch with all the metal- and wood-working toys and now want to do some metal cutting just for the art of it. Plasma Cam, EZ-Go, Victory, Go-Torch? I just want dependability, ease of use and above all, customer service. Just because I can fiddle with setups and such doesn't mean I want to. I'm thinking solenoid instead of stepped and a 4X4 or a 5X10 and I don't want to be nickle and dimed for added performance. I want to convert Illustrator files to cut files and just cut. I want features that should be standard t be included. Everyone says they do what I want but then I find in postings they really don't.

abmagrum
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Re: Bets Bet

Postby abmagrum » Sun Dec 08, 2013 12:07 pm

here is a link to Archlight
http://arclightcnc.com/training.html
sent you a private message
Arclight 4x4
hypertherm 65
corel x6
mach 3, sheet cam
miller 211 auto set

MountainGoat
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Re: Bets Bet

Postby MountainGoat » Sun Dec 08, 2013 2:13 pm

Click on that TruCut banner above. I'm 100 percent satisfied with my table. I run a Hypertherm 65 on it.

beefy
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Re: Bets Bet

Postby beefy » Sun Dec 08, 2013 3:25 pm

Hi Jlames,

correct me if I'm wrong but it sounds like you're looking for a fully featured turn key solution with good customer service at a cheap price. My experience has been that things become more turn key as my knowledge increases.

You may not want to fiddle with settings but in my experience that's what it's all about. I think most experienced users would agree there's quite a bit of learning even with a "turn key" table and software.

I wonder if Plasmacam could be close to what you are after. Unlike Mach for instance, Plasmacams software is dedicated to plasma cutting. Jim Colt reckons the actual motion capabilities are much better than whatever his other table uses. He reckons holes for instance come out much more round than his other table. Saying that I think Plasmacam have some rather unfair business practises from what I've read in various threads.
8 x 5 water table
Powermax 1250 with Duramax torch
UCCNC controller, UC400-ETH & UC300-ETH motion controllers.
Sheetcam
Geomagic Design 3D solid modelling
Coreldraw X5

Metriccar
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Re: Bets Bet

Postby Metriccar » Sun Dec 08, 2013 6:20 pm

What unfair business practices?


Also plasmacam and dynatorch are the only manufacturers that cone standard with servo motors ( I think you meant servos not solenoids) in this price range. Others can add them on at a cost. I'm not too worried about companies charging extra for add ons. Car dealers do add ons all the time.

jlames
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Re: Bets Bet

Postby jlames » Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:32 pm

Yeah, all of you are correct. What I'm looking for is better described as a complete machine, perhaps not a "turn-key" where you just drop some metal on the top and dial in some pre-programed settings and let it do it's thing. I agree; half the fun in this is dialing in things for a specific project. I just don't want a DIY where you buy this part here and that part there and then cobble a system together. There has to be a company that crates a system and sends it out with technical support to help you not only put it together physically, but understand why you're doing what you're doing. I just started welding early this year and thanks to Welding Web and few others, I can finally lay in a fairly decent bead for the corrals and what not on our ranch. I started out with thinking "Hey, a tapped machine makes things alot easier" so I bought one ...until I had progressed enough to begin understanding the importance of dialing in the exact numbers for the material I was welding. Now, I love a continuous machine over a cheap, Big Box tapped one and I figure CNC will probably go the same way. Jim Colt at Hypertherm's being an incredible good guy in helping me along in plasma so I rather have a head start but I always what to hear what other educated, experienced people have to say.

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Re: Bets Bet

Postby jimcolt » Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:18 am

I, of course, will have to pipe in here!
If you were looking for (what I call) an entry level cnc plasma machine 12 to 15 years ago you would find a few machines of 4 x 4 or larger proportions that would have a purchase price of at least $35k. These would come from major manufacturers of Industrial CNC machines...and basically would be lightweight, stripped down versions of their higher priced industrial quality machines. Fast forward to 2013:

Today there are about 2 dozen manufacturers of "entry level" cnc plasma machines of 2'x2' (and larger) that sell in the price ranges from $3k to $20k. There are many different levels of performance and installed equipment options, as well as different levels and understandings of what "turnkey" actually means on these machines.

Why did the price drop from the (15 year ago) $35k level to under $20k? Technology improvements in the form of the low cost personal computer and laptops, CAD/CAM software developments, as well as drive, height control and lower cost precision drive motor technology have really combined to lower the equipment costs. Further, to use this less sophisticated (and lighter duty) equipment, a few clever designers have developed relatively low cost, lightweight citting machine frame designs that work very well under small shop, low duty conditions to provide adequate motion control for lower tolerance plasma cutting needs.

To further improve this new motion control capability, the major plasma manufacturers have continuously improved the air plasma cutting process with smaller, more powerful plasma cutters that provide dramatically better cut quality as compared to the air plasma systems from 15 or more years ago.

Keep in mind that there is another whole world of Industrial CNC plasma machines that are more expensive, can be as large as a football field (many shipyard applications), and are designed with heavy duty contstruction to last for 25 or more years of 3 shift, 365 day a year high productivity use. These are the systems that build our ships, our buildings, our bridges and earth moving equipment. They use industrial plasma's, industrial cnc controls and electronics, and can cost between $100k (small machine) to well over a million dollars (shipyard machine).

Entry level Machines. I keep seeing the phrase "turnkey" machines....this to me means that everything is ready to run when it comes out of the crate. Essentials like a slat bed, a height control, CAD and CAM software, Fume Control system, etc., are pre-engineered for your needs and only require a few hook ups (power, air, ducting or water for fume control) and a thorough review of the instruction manual or perhaps some factory training. You cannot buy all of this at the lower end of the entry level price scale, which I set at $3,000 to $20,000. Typically a turnkey entry level machine with all of the above features will be right at, or slightly above $20k.

Low cost entry level machines: For $3k expect a 2 x 2 or 4 x 4 machine, minimal software (accepts a .dxf part file, which is an already drawn file from another CAD drawing package), no slats to set the metal on (you have to fabricate or procure), no fume control system, no height control system, no computer, no plasma cutter. Many of these machines have options for advanced software (necessary) height control systems (I wouldn't buy without this).

I will not attampt to list all of the manufacturers of these entry levels cnc machines, but will point out a few:

-PlasmaCam and Torchmate are the two largest, each with over 15,000 (estimated) machines in the field. Each has low cost ($3k) stripped machines, each offers a variety of options for sizing and upgrades.

-There are a few companies that make "Do It Yourself" electronics (motors, drives, cables, drive and height control electronics, CAD and CAM software), of honorable mention are http://www.candcnc.com (electronics, drives, software) and http://www.precisionplasmaLLC.com (mechanical parts of the cutting machine that bolt up to candcnc's kits)

-There are a few that make "turnkey" machines as I have listed above. Look at Tracker, EZCut, TrueCutcnc, Burntables, ArcLightDynamics, and more. Expect higher prices, and I apologize for the 15 or so that I did not list by name.

I'll be happy to discuss various machines and their offered technologies. I, as most know, work for Hypertherm. We produce the plasma systems that end up on 80% of these entry level machines, but we do not make the cnc machines themselves. To me, a better designed, better equipped cnc machine makes my plasma cutter perform better, and that is my primary interested in keeping up to speed on the growing market of entry level cnc plasma cutting.

I have attached a .pdf file of a presentation I did almost two years ago, this presentation outlines the cnc plasma machine capabilities and attempts to distinguish the differences between the machines that I class as industrial, and entry level. Hope it helps with understanding of these machines.

I see way to0 many buyers that are simply shopping for the best price on an entry level machine, and I caution you to do some research, ask some questions and buy a properly equipped machine. The $3k machines that are offered have very few users that are 100% satisfied.....adding a few options may bring the price closer to $5k or even $6k, with the result being better performance and a satisfied buyer!

Jim Colt Hypertherm

PRES_EntryLevelCNC_Final.pdf

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Re: Bets Bet

Postby CNCCAJUN » Mon Dec 09, 2013 12:44 pm

I have spent the last two years on the fence reading every post I can find in several different forums about the strengths and weaknesses of all the machines in my price range. I have also driven well over 3000 miles total going to various fab shops looking at plasma tables in operation. I have visited several manufacteurers shops. Some of the machines I saw were priced more than my house will ever be worth. The majority of what I did see were machines I could afford.

The one manufacteurer that kept surfacing as a winner was DYNATORCH. I found a SuperB doing well in an university Engineering Department. Found (2) XL gantry kit systems in large fab shops. I spoke to a guy in Austrailia via phone for over an hour & watched his SuperB run on camera.The one that impressed me the most was the shop I visited on the Mississippi River that built tug boats. He was running a Hypertherm HD Plasma on a 6X12 Dynatorch Table. During the day they were cutting pieces parts that appeared to be over 2" in thickness for tug boats. In the evenings and weekends the owner's son and wife were cutting spinners out of very thin material for her craft hobby. She makes and sells them for charity.

I have yet to find one "credible" unhappy Dynatorch owner. Yes there are a few, but after a little communication with them you realize that the problems they are experiencing is due to lack of knowledge about what they are doing or an attempt to shoestring it. One had actually taken a torch to his precision rails because he felt they weren't straight enough. Another, after spending hours trying to teach him how to draw simple shapes in AutoCAD, said to me he never knew he would have to be able to draw in CAD for this to work.

So, my impression from my research very simple:

If the thought of learning three or more different software packages & making them work together seamlessly scares the hell out of you, then you need PlasmaCAM . Otherwise, just about everyone will work just fine.

P.S. After I have my DYNATORCH here and up and running you can look for my comments . . . good or bad, but unlike many, I'll take any problems I come across to DYNATORCH FIRST!!! Not here or CNCZONE . . . .

Steve :D
Smiling Gator Metal Works, LLC
Dynatorch 4X4 XLS
PowerMAX 85
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

abmagrum
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Re: Bets Bet

Postby abmagrum » Mon Dec 09, 2013 1:21 pm

The dyno torch is a very nice machine. but pricey
the next best thing for the money is the arclight . the programs are easy to learn. and if you don't have the money to get to the shop for training . Scott/archlight has training videos free go to http://arclightcnc.com/training.html
it seems overwhelming at first but playing around a little . you get it in no time
Scott is always there to help. even for the dumb questions . I am hearing impaired so I prefer email . scott will take the time to email when he has a break . works for me. if you need quick help just call which he would rather do . he will talk you through any problems. trust me there are no problems with the equipment. just learning errors
this is a top notch company with top support.
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Re: Bets Bet

Postby CNCCAJUN » Mon Dec 09, 2013 2:03 pm

What was explained to me by Representatives of a few of the big high big iron guys was simple. As one put it.

"We will NOT sell a CNC Plasma Table unless WE set it up AND you agree to either in-house training or on your site training."

Further explained that this easily accounts for a minimum of $10.000.00 to $15,000.00 cost to the buyer. It also ensures that the table will perform for the buyer.

Now lets look at most of the more affordable systems . . . . ArcLight, Dynatorch, TrueCUT, Tracker, etc . . they all offer FREE or very cheap IN HOUSE TRAINING . . . But no one seems to take advantage of it.

I can assure you, before and after I receive my Dynatorch, the crew at Dynatorch will think I'm family. You hit the nail on the head . . . training training training . . . . .

I had a coach in High School that used to say to us . . . "IGNORANCE WILL KILL US ALL" . . . .

Steve
Smiling Gator Metal Works, LLC
Dynatorch 4X4 XLS
PowerMAX 85
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

abmagrum
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Re: Bets Bet

Postby abmagrum » Mon Dec 09, 2013 2:30 pm

YOU GOT IT.
Training is the most important part.
Lack of it is most people problems including mine. that's why you need someone who takes the time and has the patients to help. and the good thing about Arclight . they have videos you can watch over and over until you get it. then if you still need help you just call for help.

you picked a excellent machine . you wont have any worries . its just that machine is at the top .
just out of reach for some.

ARCLIGHT AND Dynotorch were the only 2 companies that didn't turn me off,
you will be happy with youre purchase. As am I .
Arclight 4x4
hypertherm 65
corel x6
mach 3, sheet cam
miller 211 auto set

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Re: Bets Bet

Postby jimcolt » Mon Dec 09, 2013 5:44 pm

I have visited thousands of cnc plasma sites since 1978....the biggest issue was always learning curve. Back then, even 15 years ago the machines were much more expensive, and factory training was required.....or you paid to have the machine installed with training on site. This is still the norm with industrial machines.

With the many thousands of entry level machines infiltrating the market....training is by far the biggest issue. Most of the machines come with little or no training materials. Some of the software is downright difficult, and at the other end of the spectrum is amazingly intuitive and easy. They all cut metal...the most popular machines are the easiest to learn and operate. Almost every entry level site I have been to that had cut quality issues...could be chaulked up as learning curve issues.

Jim Colt

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Re: Bets Bet

Postby Metriccar » Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:56 pm

How much did the original PlasmaCAM cost?
So just how quickly is this market growing?

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Re: Bets Bet

Postby KeeYaw » Mon Dec 09, 2013 8:19 pm

I would give Brandon at Shop Sabre a call or email. I also looked at many tables from turnkey to custom builds. I narrowed mine down to Shops Sabre and Dynotorch. I picked Shop Sabre because of the knowledge on the router side of the table. I will be using table for both applications. I've been fabing metal for 25+ yrs and not worried about standard cuts on metal. My issue was with 3D applications that I've never messed with. Their tables were very well built and they use EnRoute software which after watching some videos is just as simple to learn as any of the others. Their first table ever built 15+ yrs ago is still
operating today doing commercial cutting. If ur not doing commercial work, pretty much any entry level table will suit ur needs. If u have any question just Pm me.

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Re: Bets Bet

Postby CNCCAJUN » Mon Dec 09, 2013 8:50 pm

KeeYaw wrote:I would give Brandon at Shop Sabre a call or email. I also looked at many tables from turnkey to custom builds. I narrowed mine down to Shops Sabre and Dynotorch. I picked Shop Sabre because of the knowledge on the router side of the table. I will be using table for both applications. I've been fabing metal for 25+ yrs and not worried about standard cuts on metal. My issue was with 3D applications that I've never messed with. Their tables were very well built and they use EnRoute software which after watching some videos is just as simple to learn as any of the others. Their first table ever built 15+ yrs ago is still
operating today doing commercial cutting. If ur not doing commercial work, pretty much any entry level table will suit ur needs. If u have any question just Pm me.


A Shop Sabre Router is on my Christmas list for 2015 . . . .

Steve
Smiling Gator Metal Works, LLC
Dynatorch 4X4 XLS
PowerMAX 85
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

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KeeYaw
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Re: Bets Bet

Postby KeeYaw » Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:33 pm

CNCCAJUN wrote:
KeeYaw wrote:I would give Brandon at Shop Sabre a call or email. I also looked at many tables from turnkey to custom builds. I narrowed mine down to Shops Sabre and Dynotorch. I picked Shop Sabre because of the knowledge on the router side of the table. I will be using table for both applications. I've been fabing metal for 25+ yrs and not worried about standard cuts on metal. My issue was with 3D applications that I've never messed with. Their tables were very well built and they use EnRoute software which after watching some videos is just as simple to learn as any of the others. Their first table ever built 15+ yrs ago is still
operating today doing commercial cutting. If ur not doing commercial work, pretty much any entry level table will suit ur needs. If u have any question just Pm me.


A Shop Sabre Router is on my Christmas list for 2015 . . . .

Steve



SWEET!!! When mine comes in come check it out!

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Re: Bets Bet

Postby dhelfter » Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:35 pm

First off let me say Jim that was a great post. We are all very lucky to have you so active on these forums. I do disagree (respectfully) with this :


Entry level Machines. I keep seeing the phrase "turnkey" machines....this to me means that everything is ready to run when it comes out of the crate. Essentials like a slat bed, a height control, CAD and CAM software, Fume Control system, etc., are pre-engineered for your needs and only require a few hook ups (power, air, ducting or water for fume control) and a thorough review of the instruction manual or perhaps some factory training. You cannot buy all of this at the lower end of the entry level price scale, which I set at $3,000 to $20,000. Typically a turnkey entry level machine with all of the above features will be right at, or slightly above $20k.


We at LDR Motion systems do in fact build turnkey systems much less than 20,000$ Take our best seller, a 4x8 water table system. It includes: computer with licensed cam, cad , and control software. Digital torch height control, fully assembled welded structure, completely wired, slats, air bladder water table, all cables/boards to interface to hypertherm or thermal dynamics cutter,free training at our facility for as long as customer needs, 2 year warranty. All for 8900$ We also sell hypertherm plasma cutters at our cost. So even adding a powermax 45 to this system, you are less than 11500$. Our 4x4 with same specs is 6700$
Thanks
Dan
http://www.ldrmotionsystems.com

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Re: Bets Bet

Postby CNCCAJUN » Tue Dec 10, 2013 5:29 pm

dhelfter wrote:First off let me say Jim that was a great post. We are all very lucky to have you so active on these forums. I do disagree (respectfully) with this :


Entry level Machines. I keep seeing the phrase "turnkey" machines....this to me means that everything is ready to run when it comes out of the crate. Essentials like a slat bed, a height control, CAD and CAM software, Fume Control system, etc., are pre-engineered for your needs and only require a few hook ups (power, air, ducting or water for fume control) and a thorough review of the instruction manual or perhaps some factory training. You cannot buy all of this at the lower end of the entry level price scale, which I set at $3,000 to $20,000. Typically a turnkey entry level machine with all of the above features will be right at, or slightly above $20k.


We at LDR Motion systems do in fact build turnkey systems much less than 20,000$ Take our best seller, a 4x8 water table system. It includes: computer with licensed cam, cad , and control software. Digital torch height control, fully assembled welded structure, completely wired, slats, air bladder water table, all cables/boards to interface to hypertherm or thermal dynamics cutter,free training at our facility for as long as customer needs, 2 year warranty. All for 8900$ We also sell hypertherm plasma cutters at our cost. So even adding a powermax 45 to this system, you are less than 11500$. Our 4x4 with same specs is 6700$
Thanks
Dan
http://www.ldrmotionsystems.com


4 X 4 water table system including:
computer with licensed cam, cad
control software.
Digital torch height control
fully assembled welded structure
completely wired
slats
air bladder water table
all cables/boards to interface to plasma cutter
free training at our facility for as long as customer needs
PowerMAX 45
2 year warranty
Total Price 6700$

That is an impressive price . . . .headed to your site now . . .
Smiling Gator Metal Works, LLC
Dynatorch 4X4 XLS
PowerMAX 85
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

dhelfter
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Re: Bets Bet

Postby dhelfter » Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:14 pm

Here is a link directly to our prices page, as our website can be a little hard to navigate.
http://ldrmotionsystems.com/products_main/pricing/
Thanks
Dan

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Re: Bets Bet

Postby 762frmafr » Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:57 pm

I have a 5x10 LDR Motion Systems plasma table with the water table the scribe and a Powermax 65. I have been using it for a little over 6 months and cannot say enough about the system and Dan Helfter. I can call him any time and I always talk to him, the owner of the company. I try and recommend them to everyone I talk to about my table as well as in threads like these.

jlames
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Re: Bets Bet

Postby jlames » Mon Dec 16, 2013 2:07 am

My apologies for not responding as quickly as you answered but I've spent the last few days looking at the various websites. This week I get to spend calling the companies to investigate things further. I wanted to thank you all for the honest, intelligent answers that you provided that are pointing me in the right direction.

Greg_R
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Re: Bets Bet

Postby Greg_R » Mon Jan 15, 2018 5:06 pm


4 X 4 water table system including:
computer with licensed cam, cad
control software.
Digital torch height control
fully assembled welded structure
completely wired
slats
air bladder water table
all cables/boards to interface to plasma cutter
free training at our facility for as long as customer needs
PowerMAX 45
2 year warranty
Total Price 6700$

That is an impressive price . . . .headed to your site now . . .


That setup looks like it is $10,200 now. Ouch

Othog
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Re: Bets Bet

Postby Othog » Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:49 pm

I purchased a LDR unit with a Hypertherm 65, might could have got a cheaper table, very satisfied even though I am a bit challenged when it comes to cnc, Dan gave me plenty of advice and you should look at videos, if I can learn anybody can


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