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Torchmate 2 FlashcutCNC Conversion

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amusick10
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Dec 24, 2017 6:08 pm

Torchmate 2 FlashcutCNC Conversion

Postby amusick10 » Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:19 pm

Hello all,

A little backstory, I bought this Torchmate 2 about six months ago as a 4x4 unit with the BlueBox AVHC and Plate marker. After set-up and working a few bugs out I had it running almost dependably but always knew the AVHC was going to screw me at any minute...it usually did.

Fast forward to about 3 weeks ago and I had finished blowing this table out to 4x8 including a new water table. After getting everything set back up and hooked up I have never had as many issues as I am having now. I can set up a cut, have the torch dive so hard it picks up the gantry, reset the g-code and slide over a few inches, hit go again and it will run right through the program with no issues other than bouncing up and down searching for voltage. I've been through every thread here, changed consumables, checked ground, confirmed power, put it on its own dedicated run of power, changed the o-ring in the torch, run it with cables all spread out hung from the ceiling hoping for inference issues, run it with and without "OK to Move" enabled, and still cant get the problem to be repeatable or have any obvious cause.

I started conversations with FlashcutCNC today after seeing a few success stories here and wanted to reach out for any advice some of you would have for someone looking to go that route. I am currently looking at going the Pro package route on the software, adding the THC, Laser Pointer and Workpiece Alignment options A La Carte. Hopefully I will have answers back from them tomorrow on whether or not we can work on the speed (or lack thereof) of my table as well with motor upgrades or adjustments in my current controller (Torchmate Pro Controller.

Have any of you that have made the switch had any issues or anything you would do different when making the switch?
Torchmate II 4x8 (Kind of...)
DIY Adjustable Height Water Table
FlashCut CNC Motors, Controller, THC, Laser Pointer, V7.0 Pro Software
Hypertherm 45

amusick10
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Dec 24, 2017 6:08 pm

Re: Torchmate 2 FlashcutCNC Conversion

Postby amusick10 » Tue Mar 20, 2018 8:08 pm

Well,

If anyone is interested let me know and I’ll post the results. I’ve got a $5,500 tab coming for all new motors, shielded motor cables, laser pointer, Pro version of the software, THC, Z Axis lifter, and the IO board expansion to run the THC.

Hoping this thing runs like it should after this. Very excited to see what the Powermax 45 is capable of with a decent THC behind it.
Torchmate II 4x8 (Kind of...)
DIY Adjustable Height Water Table
FlashCut CNC Motors, Controller, THC, Laser Pointer, V7.0 Pro Software
Hypertherm 45

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larrycameron44
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Location: Auckland New Zealand

Re: Torchmate 2 FlashcutCNC Conversion

Postby larrycameron44 » Mon Mar 26, 2018 4:44 am

Interested in knowing how it all goes with Flashcut gear. I think "Gamble" did the same thing as you with his 2x2 torchmate he was a happy fella.
Also if you have spare parts from the Torchmate setup you want to sell?
Lary Cameron
Rusticmetalart

amusick10
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Dec 24, 2017 6:08 pm

Re: Torchmate 2 FlashcutCNC Conversion

Postby amusick10 » Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:35 am

Larry,

I have been playing with the software while my parts are coming in (supposed to be here today) and have to say I like it a lot better than the Torchmate CAD so far. We'll see how it acts once we're in actual work mode but so far so good. As Gamble mentioned, Anne and Ron over there are top notch, they both know they're stuff backwards and forwards and will reply to an email at 10:00 PM if they can.

As far as the old equipment, yes sir, it's for sale! I'll have the two 380 Oz. In. stepper motors, Blue screen THC, Z-Axis lifter, and all the cables that go with it. Shoot me a PM if your interested. I've been trying to figure out what to price this stuff at but I'm having trouble finding what they would be worth.
Torchmate II 4x8 (Kind of...)
DIY Adjustable Height Water Table
FlashCut CNC Motors, Controller, THC, Laser Pointer, V7.0 Pro Software
Hypertherm 45

amusick10
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Dec 24, 2017 6:08 pm

Re: Torchmate 2 FlashcutCNC Conversion

Postby amusick10 » Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:12 am

Well, Saturday was D-Day and I started tearing everything down to get this thing rolling and ended up cutting by Sunday.

First off, the way they pack everything is better than I've seen plates shipped. Everything is nestled in with foam and double wrapped in bubble wrap. Not a scratch on anything and not one piece missing.

The motors all bolted up perfectly, gears slid right on them, and the new cables plug right in perfectly. I love the new style connectors as well, much better and much cleaner than the old Molex connectors. The new expansion board slipped right into my controller with no issues and it was great to get rid of all of the old Torchmate cabling and extra box for the THC. I now have a controller, computer, and torch...simple and I like it.

The Z-Axis lifter came put together and ready to rock with one small exception, there were no holes that lined up the mounting point on my table. After measuring, lining up, measuring again, and hoping for the best I drilled 4 new holes into the lifter and she bolted right up. Though this was a slight inconvenience, I also understand that I'm mating 2018 parts to a table sold in 2011 and this industry moves fast. No complaints about this extra step but wanted to up front.

After snaking all of the wires through the carrier and updating the controller driver I hit the jog button and about died. These new motors blow the old ones away! They flat out get up and go. I may play with the ramping a little later down the line but they seem to be fine right out of the box and no slippage even with the factory 2011 belt set-up.

I had an issue with setting up the Drive Parameters for the motors at first that ended up being a settings issue. After a quick follow up phone call with Flashcut we found that my default settings were set to the wrong step size. Once this was corrected everything was absolutely perfect! I double checked the pierce and cut height...dead nuts, I double checked the X and Y travel...dead nuts. Once I replaced the consumables and pressed play there was no turning back.

This table is flat out, no exaggeration, a brand new machine. The movement between cuts, during cuts, and after cuts is crisp and smooth at the same time. I threw a 5"x16" floral scroll design on the table that I never would have dared to try with the old set-up (several pieces under .125) and it blew right through it with no issues at all. When I picked the piece up the drop outs I thought weren't cut all the way through were just stuck on slats, absolutely perfect, it left them on the slats. I ran another couple of test cuts with 1/4" and I got the same results. Perfect cut settings with one selection of material thickness. Cut quality has improved ten-fold over the old system.

All in all, if you've got an older table that is giving you trouble or you just have an itch to bring it up to date, pick up the phone and talk with Anne, and get this stuff on the way! To say that I am impressed with the results of this new equipment would be the understatement of the century. It flat out kicks a$$! On top of the function of the table the service is outstanding. I haven't had one phone call that hasn't been answered and Ron returned and email to me on Easter Sunday within an hour of me sending it.
Torchmate II 4x8 (Kind of...)
DIY Adjustable Height Water Table
FlashCut CNC Motors, Controller, THC, Laser Pointer, V7.0 Pro Software
Hypertherm 45

User avatar
larrycameron44
Elite Contributing Member
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Posts: 562
Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2010 4:12 pm
Location: Auckland New Zealand

Re: Torchmate 2 FlashcutCNC Conversion

Postby larrycameron44 » Sat May 05, 2018 6:50 pm

WOW, that is great, glad you are super happy with your new setup.
Sounds like the machine is rockin!

Cheers for the info
Larry Cameron
Rusticmetalart

sandhillcnc
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2017 6:07 pm

Re: Torchmate 2 FlashcutCNC Conversion

Postby sandhillcnc » Mon May 07, 2018 12:00 pm

I’m considering doing this upgrade as my table is kinda driving my crazy with its inconsistencies in torch height.

I’m wandering if there in an advantage going this route over the candcnc package that is $2000 cheaper. I definitely want to get rid of the Torchmate control. So upgrading to accumove is out of the question.

Thanks,
Jason

sandhillcnc
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2017 6:07 pm

Re: Torchmate 2 FlashcutCNC Conversion

Postby sandhillcnc » Mon May 07, 2018 12:02 pm

By the way, I have a Growth series 4x4, so maybe the difference wouldn’t quite be 2k since the OP has a 4x8 table.

gamble
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Re: Torchmate 2 FlashcutCNC Conversion

Postby gamble » Mon May 07, 2018 3:38 pm

sandhillcnc wrote:I’m considering doing this upgrade as my table is kinda driving my crazy with its inconsistencies in torch height.

I’m wandering if there in an advantage going this route over the candcnc package that is $2000 cheaper. I definitely want to get rid of the Torchmate control. So upgrading to accumove is out of the question.

Thanks,
Jason

Probably the difference between working and not working..


BTW for anyone wondering I LOVE my flashcut setup. Best upgrade hands down.
Torchmate 2x2 - Flashcut
Powermax 45 - Machine torch
Taig CNC Mill - Flashcut
Razorweld Distributor

amusick10
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Dec 24, 2017 6:08 pm

Re: Torchmate 2 FlashcutCNC Conversion

Postby amusick10 » Mon May 07, 2018 5:12 pm

Jason,

Sorry about the delay in my response.

The reason I went with FlashCut is because they made (and still make) the controller I already had (Pro Series Controller) as well as the fact that everything is made by them 100%. There is no middle men or individual pieces that have to be made to work together. I have one phone number to call if something goes wrong and I haven't had a phone call to them yet that hasn't fixed a problem in 5 minutes.

The software was another reason I went with them, since it's all in one it kind of goes back to the same point above with everything being one piece. I can draw it, toolpath it, and cut it in one smooth program. I see question threads and problem threads about SheetCam and several other programs all the time, there's not any (or very very few) about FlashCut and I strongly believe that's due to the program being very good and the customer support being even better. They have a trial version of the software you can download as well to try it out, I would reccomend playing with it if your thinking about changing over. It takes some getting used to but I like it waaaaaay more than TM CAD now. While you're getting used to it, you can still use TM CAD to draw files and just open them in FlashCut.

There was also no modifications needed for the motors. I think theirs have different size shafts so Im guessing you'd have to blow out the pulleys a little for them to fit. Everything on my swap was bolt off and bolt on.

The last thing (probably very minor to some) is that there isnt any extra boxes needed. I have my plasma torch, controller, and laptop and that's it. No more extra box and wires running everywhere and it's a nice clean set-up.

I guess my bottom line is that when I got fed up with the TM AVHC I wanted a solution in one step and to do it all at one time. Since the swap, I haven't had an issue that wasn't solved with a phone call and I haven't lost any time on the machine due to anything other than me getting into a hurry.

sandhillcnc wrote:I’m considering doing this upgrade as my table is kinda driving my crazy with its inconsistencies in torch height.

I’m wandering if there in an advantage going this route over the candcnc package that is $2000 cheaper. I definitely want to get rid of the Torchmate control. So upgrading to accumove is out of the question.

Thanks,
Jason
Torchmate II 4x8 (Kind of...)
DIY Adjustable Height Water Table
FlashCut CNC Motors, Controller, THC, Laser Pointer, V7.0 Pro Software
Hypertherm 45

amusick10
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Dec 24, 2017 6:08 pm

Re: Torchmate 2 FlashcutCNC Conversion

Postby amusick10 » Mon May 07, 2018 5:14 pm

Sandhill,

Might save a little on the cables but I wouldn't think it would be much.

sandhillcnc wrote:By the way, I have a Growth series 4x4, so maybe the difference wouldn’t quite be 2k since the OP has a 4x8 table.
Torchmate II 4x8 (Kind of...)
DIY Adjustable Height Water Table
FlashCut CNC Motors, Controller, THC, Laser Pointer, V7.0 Pro Software
Hypertherm 45

sandhillcnc
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2017 6:07 pm

Re: Torchmate 2 FlashcutCNC Conversion

Postby sandhillcnc » Mon May 07, 2018 5:39 pm

amusick10 wrote:Jason,

Sorry about the delay in my response.

The reason I went with FlashCut is because they made (and still make) the controller I already had (Pro Series Controller) as well as the fact that everything is made by them 100%. There is no middle men or individual pieces that have to be made to work together. I have one phone number to call if something goes wrong and I haven't had a phone call to them yet that hasn't fixed a problem in 5 minutes.

The software was another reason I went with them, since it's all in one it kind of goes back to the same point above with everything being one piece. I can draw it, toolpath it, and cut it in one smooth program. I see question threads and problem threads about SheetCam and several other programs all the time, there's not any (or very very few) about FlashCut and I strongly believe that's due to the program being very good and the customer support being even better. They have a trial version of the software you can download as well to try it out, I would reccomend playing with it if your thinking about changing over. It takes some getting used to but I like it waaaaaay more than TM CAD now. While you're getting used to it, you can still use TM CAD to draw files and just open them in FlashCut.

There was also no modifications needed for the motors. I think theirs have different size shafts so Im guessing you'd have to blow out the pulleys a little for them to fit. Everything on my swap was bolt off and bolt on.

The last thing (probably very minor to some) is that there isnt any extra boxes needed. I have my plasma torch, controller, and laptop and that's it. No more extra box and wires running everywhere and it's a nice clean set-up.

I guess my bottom line is that when I got fed up with the TM AVHC I wanted a solution in one step and to do it all at one time. Since the swap, I haven't had an issue that wasn't solved with a phone call and I haven't lost any time on the machine due to anything other than me getting into a hurry.

sandhillcnc wrote:I’m considering doing this upgrade as my table is kinda driving my crazy with its inconsistencies in torch height.

I’m wandering if there in an advantage going this route over the candcnc package that is $2000 cheaper. I definitely want to get rid of the Torchmate control. So upgrading to accumove is out of the question.

Thanks,
Jason


Thanks for the reply. I’ll check out the Flashcut demo. I hate TM cad so I never use it. I do everything in Fusion 360 as that’s what I use for milling as well.


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