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Advise on first purchase cnc plasma cutter

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liermans
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Advise on first purchase cnc plasma cutter

Post by liermans » Sat Jan 15, 2022 1:26 pm

Hello everyone,

I have been fascinated by cnc technology for some time now, thinking one day ...
Well that day has come, i got the opportunity to get a chinese machine as my company is importing a container and there is some space left.

I have been researching suppliers and different cnc technologies, this forum has been a great help so far, here are some things I've learned:
- Pick a reputable supplier, their machines will be more expensive than many of those small suppliers on Alibaba
- A good stepper motor and driver are better than a cheap servo.
- THC is a must
- A waterbed is a must
- A power supply of around 100A would fit my needs
- Hypertherm power supply and torches are top of the line but unfortunatly outside my budget

One thing im really conflicted about is the controller, I would prefer a computer with software but most suppliers suggest chinese controllers (starfire etc.)
Some suppliers offer Mach3 and DSP alternatives.

My budget is around 7000$.
I have the option of building my own table (not from scratch, just the table), maybe i should spend my budget on higher quality rails, motors etc?

What would you guys do in my situation? Any tips or maybe even model/manufacturer suggestions are greatly appriciated!

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Re: Advise on first purchase cnc plasma cutter

Post by adbuch » Sat Jan 15, 2022 7:22 pm

I think the general consensus is to stay away from Chinese cnc plasma tables. For $7k - you can build one heck of a nice DIY table using quality components. I would suggest searching some of the threads on this forum for ideas about the diy approach, suggested motors, controllers, software, etc. David

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Re: Advise on first purchase cnc plasma cutter

Post by acourtjester » Sat Jan 15, 2022 7:47 pm

As David says stay away from a table made in China. Big time difference for tech support, if you need to return anything shipping is a bear, things get lost (I know about that, only one time, never again). Other complaints are the Docs can be confusing or non-existent. Many of the components may be made in China but you will be dealing with a US seller company. Building your own will free up some money and you may be able to buy a Hypertherm Plasma unit. I have built a few tables, just make sure you have all the bases covered before you start, much info can be had here with clear questioning. No volcanoes, virgins, or black magic needed. :Like :HaHa
DIY 4X4 Plasma/Router Table
Hypertherm PM65 Machine Torch
Drag Knife and Scribe
Miller Mig welder
13" metal lathe
Small Mill
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Re: Advise on first purchase cnc plasma cutter

Post by adbuch » Sat Jan 15, 2022 8:28 pm

acourtjester wrote:
Sat Jan 15, 2022 7:47 pm
As David says stay away from a table made in China. Big time difference for tech support, if you need to return anything shipping is a bear, things get lost (I know about that, only one time, never again). Other complaints are the Docs can be confusing or non-existent. Many of the components may be made in China but you will be dealing with a US seller company. Building your own will free up some money and you may be able to buy a Hypertherm Plasma unit. I have built a few tables, just make sure you have all the bases covered before you start, much info can be had here with clear questioning. No volcanoes, virgins, or black magic needed. :Like :HaHa
:Like :Like :Like :Like :Like

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tnbndr
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Re: Advise on first purchase cnc plasma cutter

Post by tnbndr » Fri Jan 21, 2022 12:15 pm

For your budget you could find a nice used table. Check out the classifieds. Most times they are set up and running so you can make a road trip and witness that everything is operational. Load on a trailer and road trip home.
Dennis
LDR 4x8, Scribe, DTHCIV
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DeVilbiss Air America 6.5HP, 80Gal., 175psi, Two Stage
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Re: Advise on first purchase cnc plasma cutter

Post by SRdesign » Sat Jan 22, 2022 8:34 am

I agree with everyone above. Stay away from the Chinese junk. We have a baleigh plasma table (made in China) at work and it is garbage compared to any of the diy ones that people have built on this site. Documentation and user manual are very hard to understand. Settings are a pain in the butt. THC works whenever it wants to, most of the time not at all. The classifieds are definitely a great place to look for a good used table.
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Re: Advise on first purchase cnc plasma cutter

Post by liermans » Tue Jan 25, 2022 7:46 am

Thank you guys for your suggestions!
I realised quickly after posting I should get a hypertherm plasma power supply that I can buy locally.

A build from scratch scared me (I already have a full time job haha) additionally, I have worked with chinese manufacturers before for different projects and was quite happy with the support etc. Offcourse this is a precision machine so still not convinced.

I started looking for a good quality chinese table upgrading my budget, for just the table allone to 9000$
After many hours of reasearching +- 10 suppliers i brought it down to 3.

Now I am starting to have doupts again as I am requesting more information about the parts, the information is not consistent and I'm starting to learn the prices of the parts they use.

So now I'm considering building from scratch like you guys suggest, maybe I could even get some parts milled to high precision.
Even contemplating on paying for help with the design because all the information out there, to someone without any experience in this domain, its making my head spin.

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Re: Advise on first purchase cnc plasma cutter

Post by acourtjester » Tue Jan 25, 2022 9:47 am

liermans PM sent from here, to your inbox.
DIY 4X4 Plasma/Router Table
Hypertherm PM65 Machine Torch
Drag Knife and Scribe
Miller Mig welder
13" metal lathe
Small Mill
Everlast PowerTig 255 EXT

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Re: Advise on first purchase cnc plasma cutter

Post by tnbndr » Tue Jan 25, 2022 11:08 am

So now I'm considering building from scratch like you guys suggest, maybe I could even get some parts milled to high precision.
Even contemplating on paying for help with the design because all the information out there, to someone without any experience in this domain, its making my head spin.
Not sure why you are stuck on Chinese? There are USA makers that build better tables and are priced reasonable. Look in the Manufacturer Forums for feedback on these. I have an LDR Motion Systems but ArcLight builds a nice table also. Acourtjester could build you table to your specs. He's a constant on this site so I am sure support would be readily available.
Dennis
LDR 4x8, Scribe, DTHCIV
PM45
DeVilbiss Air America 6.5HP, 80Gal., 175psi, Two Stage
16.9scfm@100psi, 16.0scfm@175psi
Miller 215
RW 390E Slip Roll
AutoCAD, SheetCAM, Mach 3
http://ikescreations.com

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SegoMan DeSigns
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Re: Advise on first purchase cnc plasma cutter

Post by SegoMan DeSigns » Tue Jan 25, 2022 12:35 pm

liermans,

To what you and others has posted servos are like steppers not all are cheap, you can buy in at all levels. I'm a big fan of Clearpath Servos.
Watch the adds for a used Hypertherm torch, I no sooner finished my build when a 105 popped up on P Spider for sale and got a great deal on it. Get both the machine and hand torch so you can use it to build your table and harvest the scrap off of it when your using it. Your shop voltage is a big factor on how big you can go (the Hyp 105 is a 3Ph only machine - hence the reason I got a good deal on it).

You said nothing about table size I recommend at least a 4x4 with a gantry that allows you to slide the metal in for an index cut but, a 4x8 is better and the 6x12 I made is chillin'. I chose to build my own so I would know how to fix it when it broke. Check with your local metal yard and see what your options are for having you water pan bent into shape.

You mentioned no cad software, what ever you go with start by designing your own table design on it. I get a lot of people in my shop saying I'm going to get "one of these", I tell them that until they understand how to make a clean DXF file "one of these" would be useless to you. Look at all the builds on this site and Y/T make notes on what you want in your design. The most important design feature is to always allow for upgrades in the future. My CNC Plasma folder has grown tremendously over the years.

Enjoy your build!

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Re: Advise on first purchase cnc plasma cutter

Post by djreiswig » Tue Jan 25, 2022 1:24 pm

I would try and find a used Hypertherm. They just released a new model called Sync, and discontinued the PowerMax. It uses a one piece consumable instead of the separate parts. It seems like the consensus here is that most of us like to be able to decide which parts to replace and when to replace them rather than replacing everything at once. So if you want the PowerMax you will most likely have to find a used one.
2014 Bulltear (StarLab) 4x8
C&CNC EtherCut
Mach3, SheetCam, Draftsight
Hypertherm PM65
Oxy/Acetylene Flame Torch
Pneumatic Plate Marker, Ohmic, 10 inch Rotary Chuck (in progress)

liermans
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Re: Advise on first purchase cnc plasma cutter

Post by liermans » Wed Jan 26, 2022 12:06 pm

tnbndr wrote:
Tue Jan 25, 2022 11:08 am
So now I'm considering building from scratch like you guys suggest, maybe I could even get some parts milled to high precision.
Even contemplating on paying for help with the design because all the information out there, to someone without any experience in this domain, its making my head spin.
Not sure why you are stuck on Chinese? There are USA makers that build better tables and are priced reasonable. Look in the Manufacturer Forums for feedback on these. I have an LDR Motion Systems but ArcLight builds a nice table also. Acourtjester could build you table to your specs. He's a constant on this site so I am sure support would be readily available.
I'm not really stuck on Chinese but sometimes you can get a very good value for your money there. From my experience you should not expect a lot of attention to detail and finish quality. So maybe not the best choice for a CNC.
I have ordered a chinese machine to use in an automated juice filling line for my main activity so I felt it was a good opportunity to order an additional machine and ship them together.
You guys on the other side of the ocean do have more options than I have (I'm from Beligum). Importing from the US is not an option because its very expensive right now. I have failed to find any good options in the EU, it feels like semi-professional CNC and especially Plasma is not so common here.
I am planning to order some electronics like the motion controller from the US.

liermans
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Re: Advise on first purchase cnc plasma cutter

Post by liermans » Wed Jan 26, 2022 12:42 pm

SegoMan DeSigns wrote:
Tue Jan 25, 2022 12:35 pm
liermans,

To what you and others has posted servos are like steppers not all are cheap, you can buy in at all levels. I'm a big fan of Clearpath Servos.
Watch the adds for a used Hypertherm torch, I no sooner finished my build when a 105 popped up on P Spider for sale and got a great deal on it. Get both the machine and hand torch so you can use it to build your table and harvest the scrap off of it when your using it. Your shop voltage is a big factor on how big you can go (the Hyp 105 is a 3Ph only machine - hence the reason I got a good deal on it).

You said nothing about table size I recommend at least a 4x4 with a gantry that allows you to slide the metal in for an index cut but, a 4x8 is better and the 6x12 I made is chillin'. I chose to build my own so I would know how to fix it when it broke. Check with your local metal yard and see what your options are for having you water pan bent into shape.

You mentioned no cad software, what ever you go with start by designing your own table design on it. I get a lot of people in my shop saying I'm going to get "one of these", I tell them that until they understand how to make a clean DXF file "one of these" would be useless to you. Look at all the builds on this site and Y/T make notes on what you want in your design. The most important design feature is to always allow for upgrades in the future. My CNC Plasma folder has grown tremendously over the years.

Enjoy your build!
I have not looked into the plasma source options too much but I have 3Ph so the 105 is a good suggestion, I will keep an eye on the second hand market.

I want to process 3000x1500 sheets so that would be 6x12 like you mention, space is not really a problem and I have a forklift to load sheets on the table. Bending a sheet for the bed was something I was thinking about but I also know a retired expert welder that had a metal shop all his life that can help me.

To be honest CAD design is something I have zero experience with, only have designed some things on sketchup before.
The designing aspect is something I'm planning to learn as I experiment with projects, I always have the option to have someone draw the file for me. But computers and software are something that I'm interested in and I'm motivated to learn more.
Leaving room for upgrades is a good tip and I will certainly consider this in the design.

liermans
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Re: Advise on first purchase cnc plasma cutter

Post by liermans » Wed Jan 26, 2022 12:49 pm

djreiswig wrote:
Tue Jan 25, 2022 1:24 pm
I would try and find a used Hypertherm. They just released a new model called Sync, and discontinued the PowerMax. It uses a one piece consumable instead of the separate parts. It seems like the consensus here is that most of us like to be able to decide which parts to replace and when to replace them rather than replacing everything at once. So if you want the PowerMax you will most likely have to find a used one.
I will look into second hand models like Segoman has also suggested. I indeed have also already learned from the forum about the new sync model.
But based on a quick google search it appears there are still some available from European sellers.

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Re: Advise on first purchase cnc plasma cutter

Post by tnbndr » Thu Jan 27, 2022 2:59 pm

You guys on the other side of the ocean do have more options than I have (I'm from Beligum).
Didn't realize where you were located.!!! Should be madatory information displayed as it would affect a lot of answers and issues if known ahead of time.
Good Luck
Dennis
LDR 4x8, Scribe, DTHCIV
PM45
DeVilbiss Air America 6.5HP, 80Gal., 175psi, Two Stage
16.9scfm@100psi, 16.0scfm@175psi
Miller 215
RW 390E Slip Roll
AutoCAD, SheetCAM, Mach 3
http://ikescreations.com

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Re: Advise on first purchase cnc plasma cutter

Post by adbuch » Thu Jan 27, 2022 4:36 pm

I agree with Dennis. Your location will dictate your available options for purchasing either new or used. Perhaps consider adding your location information to your post format so others can see where you are located.
David

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Re: Advise on first purchase cnc plasma cutter

Post by liermans » Fri Jan 28, 2022 9:41 am

adbuch wrote:
Thu Jan 27, 2022 4:36 pm
I agree with Dennis. Your location will dictate your available options for purchasing either new or used. Perhaps consider adding your location information to your post format so others can see where you are located.
David
I was not aware my location was not showing, Ive been looking in my profile settings but can't find any option for that, can you point me in the right direction?

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Re: Advise on first purchase cnc plasma cutter

Post by acourtjester » Fri Jan 28, 2022 12:37 pm

here you go, 2 clicks and fill in the info
info 1.JPG
info 2.JPG

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DIY 4X4 Plasma/Router Table
Hypertherm PM65 Machine Torch
Drag Knife and Scribe
Miller Mig welder
13" metal lathe
Small Mill
Everlast PowerTig 255 EXT

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Re: Advise on first purchase cnc plasma cutter

Post by Rodw » Sat Feb 05, 2022 3:44 pm

You guys should not immediately assume a user lives in the US.
The profile screen does not exist for me so I can't update my location.

Liermans, see if you can track down Grotius CNC Machines (Netherlands I think). I know the guy and he is very clever and makes a mean table
Image
Looks like that table is using Linuxcnc.

Also with the Chinese machines, be aware most of them use a geared 24v motor as the torch lifter so there is no ability to set the pierce height and cutting height precisely as you can with a stepper or servo controlled torch lifter.

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Re: Advise on first purchase cnc plasma cutter

Post by djreiswig » Sat Feb 05, 2022 8:26 pm

Is there an edit profile button next to your name on the initial profile screen?
2014 Bulltear (StarLab) 4x8
C&CNC EtherCut
Mach3, SheetCam, Draftsight
Hypertherm PM65
Oxy/Acetylene Flame Torch
Pneumatic Plate Marker, Ohmic, 10 inch Rotary Chuck (in progress)

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Re: Advise on first purchase cnc plasma cutter

Post by Rodw » Sat Feb 05, 2022 8:32 pm

djreiswig wrote:
Sat Feb 05, 2022 8:26 pm
Is there an edit profile button next to your name on the initial profile screen?
No

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djreiswig
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Re: Advise on first purchase cnc plasma cutter

Post by djreiswig » Sat Feb 05, 2022 9:20 pm

Strange. Wonder why you're special. Map dots are also helpful.
Screenshot_20220205-201821.png

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2014 Bulltear (StarLab) 4x8
C&CNC EtherCut
Mach3, SheetCam, Draftsight
Hypertherm PM65
Oxy/Acetylene Flame Torch
Pneumatic Plate Marker, Ohmic, 10 inch Rotary Chuck (in progress)

Rodw
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Re: Advise on first purchase cnc plasma cutter

Post by Rodw » Sat Feb 05, 2022 10:45 pm

Not a skerrick. I even logged in on my mobile just to be sure but it made no difference.

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Re: Advise on first purchase cnc plasma cutter

Post by WyoGreen » Sun Feb 06, 2022 10:57 am

I wonder if only elite contributing members are able to put in a location?
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Re: Advise on first purchase cnc plasma cutter

Post by adbuch » Sun Feb 06, 2022 5:18 pm

My guess is that if he pays the $20 to become a contributing member, he will have the option to add his location information.
David

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