Looking for advice on a Plasmacam

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Looking for advice on a Plasmacam

Post by whammo77 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 7:06 pm

Hello everyone. I'm new to the board and am a fairly recent purchaser of a used Plasmacam.

I bought this off of a company going out of business. They had already started breaking stuff down and had it unhooked. They did have some very recent pictures of it cutting duct tho, so I took a chance.

I finally got it all set up, and it does work. There are 2 problems though; 1) The plasmacam software that is on there is old. It's not the Design2fab software. 2) the Hypertherm software is missing the key code, so I can't use it. It was my understanding that both were up to date, which clearly isn't so. And of course, the original owner no longer knows where the key code is for the hypertherm software. So now I have no way to program in the duct.

So, first I called Plasmacam. They want basically $2k for their program. Then, I have to buy the Hypertherm program as well. So basically, $4k. PLUS, if I understood them correctly, I have to pay extra yet for their nesting software. WTH???

Dropping back for a second, I had a fairly big duct shop 10 years ago, with over 50 employees. There was also family involved which made it a mess so I just got sick of it and closed it. I've now built my own shop (with NO family involved) and plan to keep it more simple and just keep it as me and another person. So anyway, back then I had a Vicon. I loved that machine. I loved their software. I loved their customer service. And their all-in-one software did it all. I didn't have to buy software from them, and then from some other company too. And I didn't have to pay al a carte for all the things (such as nesting) that I needed to make duct.

Okay, so back to the present. I'm trying to decide what to do with this thing. Compared to my old Vicon, this thing is a toy. How much on software do I really want to spend? And then, what if Plasmacam and Hypertherm both change out software again, do I have to re-buy both of them again? I actually asked that question, and they ducked and dodged it and never answered me.

All I am doing is ductwork. So all the Plasmacam software is going to do for me is import the duct patterns from Hypertherm and cut them. $2k seems expensive to spend when that's all the Plasmacam software will be doing for me.

So, has anyone used any kind of different software to do do duct and run the plasmacam? If so, how did it work out and what was it? I'm looking for possible alternatives, so if anyone knows of one, I'd much appreciate your input.

I'm just trying to decide what to do with this thing. I don't see where the resale value would be too high for it, so I don't want to get upside-down in it buying a bunch of software. Just wondering if I should cut my losses now and buy something better (like a used Vicon), or spend a bunch of money on this thing. I just don't know too much about Plasmacam thus far, but what I do know isn't impressing me much. Maybe I'm wrong, but it just feels like they are tying to sell plasma tables cheap, and then nickle and dime the heck out of their customers on software and software add-ons and "updates".

I would appreciate hearing from people who have experience with this, and especially from people who have duct fabricating shops and have a plasmacam.


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Re: Looking for advice on a Plasmacam

Post by Borntofabricate » Fri Feb 23, 2018 7:55 pm

Yes, that's what Plasmacam does. You may get some replies if you accurately list what machine and software and height control you have. DHC? 3.11? Design2fab is Hypertherm not Plasmacam. 3.11 will import dxf which allows you to use any duct program that produces dxf. Did you ask Hypertherm if they can generate key codes if the previous owner can come up with the paid invoice?

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Re: Looking for advice on a Plasmacam

Post by rdj357 » Fri Feb 23, 2018 8:56 pm

That list is very short - like as far as I know, I'm it! :lol:

My table started off life in my duct shop and when I retired from HVAC I just bought it out of the business and do artwork with it.

I don't know what version of Plasmacam Software you have but the Design2Fab should be something that you can get licensed. I owned Design2Fab when the creators still had it, then sold to MTC, and finally Hypertherm bought it. It has an annual subscription based support. If you want to give me a call through the week I'd be happy to help answer any questions you have so that you can determine what direction to go. 918 four five seven 0289.

I love the Plasmacam but it is no Vicon. Vicon is specifically built for ductwork so it will always outperform a generic table. That said, we got some great use out of the PC for ductwork and once you have the workflow down it's not bad to run.
Robert Johnson
----- PlasmaCam 5x10 Table -----
FourNinety Creations & Learn PC, LLC

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