13.6 miles. That?s how far I made it down the road after picking up my brand new 4x2 Burntables CNC table. I stopped to check my trailer to make sure my cargo was properly secured and was greeted by a handful of washers, nuts, bolts and bearings laying on my trailer. I promptly snapped the following picture and emailed it to Matt Kool, the salesman I dealt with at BurnTables. His reply: ?Yes, a little tighter would have been preferred.?
It?s also worth noting that I removed (by hand) other hand-tight bolts and bearings at this point so as not to lose them on the rest of the way home. Makes me wonder how such a table was tested at the factory prior to shipment/pick-up? This should have been my first red flag about the quality issues I was soon to experience with BurnTables, but those were actually raised before my purchase as several other victims of BurnTables? sales pitch had advised me to stay far far away from this product. Failing to heed their advice, I did indeed end up taking the leap and making this purchase, which I have regretted literally since day one.
It took a couple of weeks before I was able to complete the installation of the table in my shop and actually begin trying to use it. Immediately, I was greeted with the following examples of the table?s work:
I was assured, however, that the problems I was experiencing were due to the fact that I was using a Hypertherm PowerMax 45 plasma cutter and their table?s Torch Height Control had a very small window of compatibility with this particular plasma cutter, but to keep adjusting their THC knob and eventually I would find the ?sweet spot.? I finally was indeed able to eventually make what I thought were acceptable cuts. As it turns out, I would have been happy with ANY completed cut, regardless of quality. Starve a man long enough and he?ll eat anything, right? This small time frame of ?success? was short lived, however, as simply changing the consumables of my machine torch threw the machine so far out of whack that I once again could not even come close to completing a cut, often not even moving the torch once the initial pierce was made. More knob turning. More knob turning. Calls to ?tech support.? Instructions to keep turning the knob. Literally hours of knob turning. It was at this point I realized I was fighting an uphill battle. If this was standard operating procedure for recalibrating the machine after a simple consumables change, I was dealing with an unacceptable piece of equipment that at its best, wasn?t good enough. This is when I first asked for a refund for the table, a request which was ignored, and instead was offered the chance to send in my computer, controller, and plasma cutter for inspection and testing. Instead I packed it all up and drove it back to BurnTables myself. After a few hours onsite with Kyle Riggens (owner) and CJ Ortiz (tech support), they swapped not only my control box (because of an unknown internal issue), but also my Hypertherm unit for brand new ones. Before my experience with BurnTables, my Hypertherm was a perfectly functioning cutting unit. After they made their requisite internal modification to my torch, however, it threw an internal breaker multiple times every time I turned it on. As soon as Kyle was made aware of this, he immediately swapped my unit for a new one. (This one also didn?t work, so they then swapped that one for another new one). So, with minimal actual usage on the table and less than two months of ownership, I?ve already made a six hour roundtrip to Hutto and come home with a new BurnTables controller and a new Hypertherm unit, which worked perfectly prior to interfacing with their equipment and prior to their internal modification of the plasma cutter, which they assured me was a modification made based on Hypertherm?s own publication. However, according to an engineer at Hypertherm, ?From Hypertherm?s perspective it is a modification that we would not authorize?.as it would cause us to lose our CSA certification.?
Also worth noting from my little trip to BurnTables was that immediately upon setting up my equipment to test, their ?tech support,? CJ, broke the limit switch on the Z axis of their test machine by running it down into the table. It didn?t take long before he also shattered one of their cheaply made plastic torch mounts (Below is a picture, also of their bungee cord spring for material sensing). Not very inspiring actions by the supposed expert on this table.