Hello everyone... This is my first post on the forum. I live in the US, more specifically in Pennsylvania. I am an electrical engineer by schooling (Penn State), but rarely get to use it in my current job as a manager of engineering and maintenance.
I have been researching for a while on building some sort of CNC machine (mini-mill, 3d-printer, plasma table, etc). I decided definitely that a plasma table would be a great project as well as a useful tool in my 40x64 home shop.
I originally started down the path of buying a Precision Plasma gantry, building my own frame, and outfitting the table with controls from CandCNC, and using Mach 3/SheetCAM as the software.
Luck would have it that I stumbled upon what I thought would make a great platform for a CNC plasma table. I picked it up at an auction for $200. It is a 5'x10' table that was used to measure hole locations in large wood panels. The gantry was manually moved and a tapered probe was placed in each hole and a location was sent to a computer where it compared the results to a blueprint. Each axis runs on linear bearings and each axis is also outfitted with DRO scales.
I would need to add some sort of hardware to move the gantry automatically: rack/pinion, ballscrews, etc.
Now that I have read more and I am starting to understand the process a little better, I am questioning if I will be able to use the table in it's current state due to the weight of the gantry. The side plates are 1/2" steel and the crossmember is structural steel tubing of an unknown thickness (just need to take out a bolt and make a measurement). Even with how heavy the gantry looks, it slides incredibly easy on the linear bearings with fingertip pressure.
Is it worth going down the path to get this machine going as is or will I have issues with accel/decel of the gantry when making fast cuts in thin material. Even though it moves easily, I am worried that it won't change directions quickly due to the gantry weight.
Any insight would be appreciated as well as links to information on calculating motor size, rack/pinion size, etc in relation to gantry weight.
Thanks and I look forward to posting more on the forum.