JD2 vs Arc Light ??

Arclight Hardware discussion forum.
Post Reply
ShopTeacher76
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2019 7:02 am

JD2 vs Arc Light ??

Post by ShopTeacher76 » Wed Nov 27, 2019 7:58 am

I am looking to buy a table. Has anyone compared the MAD series JD to the Arclight? My biggest concerns are the following:

Servos vs steppers... is the cost worth the reward
Control System.... reliability and customer service
Longevity of the company.... will they be around when I need service

Cost... I’m not really sure that I’m comparing apples to apples

What’s included... plasma? Compressor? Engraver? Trace feature?

Biggest concern is location... I’m in New York.. shipping cost and logistics... taxes??

I’m not looking to throw any one under the bus, I am just looking to make an informed decision.

If you respond, please keep it positive. As a business owner, I know the fallout of negative comments that don’t have to be backed up because they are on social media.

I should also mention that I built a precision plasma kit with CandCNC controls with my students at my day job. It served me well for the past 7 years with a few hiccups along the way. So I have some experience.

User avatar
Ironken
Posts: 321
Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:29 pm

Re: JD2 vs Arc Light ??

Post by Ironken » Wed Nov 27, 2019 9:48 am

ShopTeacher76 wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 7:58 am
I am looking to buy a table. Has anyone compared the MAD series JD to the Arclight? My biggest concerns are the following:

I have a JD2 MAD and I love it. Support is fantastic and it is heavy duty.

Servos vs steppers... is the cost worth the reward
Control System.... reliability and customer service
Longevity of the company.... will they be around when I need service

JD2 has been around quite a long time (1980's) and as said above, customer service is aces! Arclight has a good rep in the customer svce area as well.

Cost... I’m not really sure that I’m comparing apples to apples

Look at build quality and how beefy the two are. Look at maximum speeds. My JD2 is a tank. No extruded aluminum parts. I literally have run thousands of pounds of steel across this thing per month for the 1.5 yrs I have owned it.

What’s included... plasma? Compressor? Engraver? Trace feature?

None of these items are included. Some companies will add some or all if these items at an additional charge.

Biggest concern is location... I’m in New York.. shipping cost and logistics... taxes??

Taxes are something you will have answer. Does your state charge taxes on out of state purchases? Shipping answers are a phone call away.

I’m not looking to throw any one under the bus, I am just looking to make an informed decision.

????

If you respond, please keep it positive. As a business owner, I know the fallout of negative comments that don’t have to be backed up because they are on social media.

What??? You're asking for opinions on a product....not all will be positive. I am a business owner too.

I should also mention that I built a precision plasma kit with CandCNC controls with my students at my day job. It served me well for the past 7 years with a few hiccups along the way. So I have some experience.
Answers inserted above. Check out this video.

https://youtu.be/PymvEDIp_0s
JD2 MAD 4X4
Millermatic 252 (spray)
Millermatic 190 (short circuit)
Syncrowave 210
Powermax 65
Powermax 45xp
Grizzly Vertical Mill (junk)
Baileigh BS-210M
50t Press
Shitloads of DeWalt

User avatar
tnbndr
Elite Contributing Member
Elite Contributing Member
Posts: 1551
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 4:30 pm
Location: New Berlin, WI
Contact:

Re: JD2 vs Arc Light ??

Post by tnbndr » Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:12 pm

Biggest concern is location... I’m in New York.. shipping cost and logistics... taxes??
If you are in New York you owe it to yourself to check out LDR Motion Systems. Quality table, great to deal with, great support.
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
https://www.facebook.com/ikescreations?ref=hl
http://ikescreations.com

Plasmaguy365
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Dec 04, 2019 10:44 am

Re: JD2 vs Arc Light ??

Post by Plasmaguy365 » Wed Dec 04, 2019 7:26 pm

I would say both systems are similar but ArcLight Systems are known to be reliable as nails and the customer support is second to none. This time of year there are great savings involved with the purchase of a system too.

Arclight Dynamics Tech
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:51 am

Re: JD2 vs Arc Light ??

Post by Arclight Dynamics Tech » Mon Dec 09, 2019 12:33 pm

ShopTeacher76 wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 7:58 am
I am looking to buy a table. Has anyone compared the MAD series JD to the Arclight? My biggest concerns are the following:

Servos vs steppers... is the cost worth the reward
Control System.... reliability and customer service
Longevity of the company.... will they be around when I need service

Cost... I’m not really sure that I’m comparing apples to apples

What’s included... plasma? Compressor? Engraver? Trace feature?

Biggest concern is location... I’m in New York.. shipping cost and logistics... taxes??

I’m not looking to throw any one under the bus, I am just looking to make an informed decision.

If you respond, please keep it positive. As a business owner, I know the fallout of negative comments that don’t have to be backed up because they are on social media.

I should also mention that I built a precision plasma kit with CandCNC controls with my students at my day job. It served me well for the past 7 years with a few hiccups along the way. So I have some experience.
Shopteacher76,

I am a tech at Arclight and can provide some more information on this subject.

Servos vs steppers:

While servos are generally better suited for high speeds, they are much more complicated than stepper motors. They require an encoder along side each motor and generally will double the number of wires coming out of the motor (we currently have just 4 wires with steppers). This added complexity will mean more potential points of faliure, and added cost.

For CNC Plasma applications stepper motors are going to make the most sense because they are cheap, super reliable (we rarely see them break) and can meet all the requirements for cnc plasma cutting just fine.

Control System:

You said you used CandCNC software/hardware for a plasma table build before so you would already be familiar with the system. CandCNC has come a long way since their Bladerunner/Mach3 system which I assume you used for the build. The current P2/CommandCNC system is very reliable, and easy to use. The control system comes with a 3 year warranty, free lifetime phone technical support (by yours truly!) and a free 4 hour training with the table in Bend, OR if you are able to take a trip out here.

Longevity:

We have been around for about 10 years, and should be around for many more. However, in the very unlikely scenario we had to close our doors CandCNC would still be able to provide parts and some support for your control system.

Included in base price:

Our base price includes the CNC table, control system, and Linux computer. This gives people with compressors/ plasma cutters already the option to buy a bare bones table, send in their plasma cutter (we will fit the torch to the table) and get going from there.

Logistics:

Shipping to Syracuse is around 1600-1700 for a 4x8 table. For a table going to NY we would not charge sales tax. That would the buyers responsibility and there are most likely exemption certificates available in your state. Our machines arrive with only very minor assembly required and should be able to be up and running shortly after delivery.


I hope this is helpful, let me know if you need any more information. You can also call our office (866-222-2154), our sales guys are pretty easy to talk to and will provide you with any information you need to make an informed decision.

Kind regards,
Alex

CNC-Guru
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jul 23, 2019 6:19 pm

Re: JD2 vs Arc Light ??

Post by CNC-Guru » Wed Dec 11, 2019 8:47 am

I've owned a jd2 for 16 months now & at the start I hated it I wanted my Mach 3 on it as I was told I could do if i didn't like this software which i find it rather time consuming setting up cut settings after the fact of sheetcam doing it for you. I've been looking for what controller they use & was told it's made in house well it's a sbc beaglebone black controller. I have 2 other softwares source code examples called machineface & Cetus using the machinekit SDK in reality tears arclight apart. This table can be turned into a 3d printer, etc just the mindset to design and create your own attachments. Not to mention the largest community of programmers updates it if you know which steps to take me for example. So even if you decide do anything other then plasma cutting this jd2 table can be unlocked to do so much more.. I will be writing my own software very soon..

CNC-Guru
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jul 23, 2019 6:19 pm

Re: JD2 vs Arc Light ??

Post by CNC-Guru » Mon Oct 04, 2021 7:19 am

I am now in my 3rd year with my JD2, as I had to rebuild my controller after the time of writing this post above, the Jd2 controller consists of a Xilinx z-7010 SBC running Debian Linux using Machinekit, Mad GUI V3 was coded in QT cross-platform packages allowing a port over from linux to windows using WSL runs even better on version WSL v2 as I replaced my controllers SBC with the Z-7020 SBC and still using the same softwares that came with the table as the business got way to busy to pursue any mods until hopefully this winter of 2021.

PlasmaLV
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2020 8:29 am

Re: JD2 vs Arc Light ??

Post by PlasmaLV » Tue Oct 05, 2021 11:06 am

ShopTeacher76 wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 7:58 am
I am looking to buy a table. Has anyone compared the MAD series JD to the Arclight? My biggest concerns are the following:

Servos vs steppers... is the cost worth the reward
Control System.... reliability and customer service
Longevity of the company.... will they be around when I need service

Cost... I’m not really sure that I’m comparing apples to apples

What’s included... plasma? Compressor? Engraver? Trace feature?

Biggest concern is location... I’m in New York.. shipping cost and logistics... taxes??

I’m not looking to throw any one under the bus, I am just looking to make an informed decision.

If you respond, please keep it positive. As a business owner, I know the fallout of negative comments that don’t have to be backed up because they are on social media.

I should also mention that I built a precision plasma kit with CandCNC controls with my students at my day job. It served me well for the past 7 years with a few hiccups along the way. So I have some experience.
We have a MAD 5x10

No regrets on going with a servo machine, it is worth the cost.
We picked ours up, I cannot comment on shipping.
ProNest is worth it, it does need some tweaking with the scribber and marking heads, as you can only use one at a time. Some issues with overburn on holes and common line cutting.

For a plasma table, its great.

I know how they market it, and using it as a router you will be disappointed. I would not have gotten the larger servos (1200 ipm over 600) if i did it all over again, now knowing its a terrible router.

The wiring is top notch, as is the control box. Not sure why the other guy ripped into his - it is done very professionally.

tcaudle
Elite Contributing Member
Elite Contributing Member
Posts: 1216
Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2012 6:47 pm

Re: JD2 vs Arc Light ??

Post by tcaudle » Thu Oct 07, 2021 11:07 pm

The Arclight uses LINUX 18.04 and CommadnCNC Real time Kernel running on a high speed LINUX computer with plenty of RAM and a large SSD . Ethernet interface and multitasking. Loaded with Drawing, CAD, amd SheetCAM TNG you can run locally on the linux box or on a Windows machine in your climate controlled office! And yes, You can use router programs like Vcarve Pro or Cut3D fo routing . The hardware design is modular and field repair is easier and their tech support group (types there are several full time people that do tech support) They have been building and selling plasma tables for over 15 years. They stock spare parts and have multiple options. Using SheetCAm and custom POST the Plasma cut charts are preloaded and stored (just like they were in MACH) and just require you select the material and cut current in the CAM and its embedded in the G-code so no knobs to twist or settings to change . If you opt for the RS485 option on a Hypertherm your cut current and air pressure are also automated and you gain the advantage of doing things like the "soft pierce " (saves consumables) and center-point peck for non-penetrating drill points. If your interest is heavier routing then they will offer a unique "No_Stall" commercial spindle option in early 22. Coupled with a touch off tool setter for router and semi -auto tool change it will make for a viable heavy duty router.

While servos are great, the complexity and cost tend to put them at the higher end of the price range and the cost vs benefits as far as accuracy and production are minimal . If you want accuracy then anything based on LINUXCNC is going to be more accurate becasue of the advanced trajectory planner that lets you set the tracking tolerate down to less than .001" deviation. To do that you need an exceptional feedback response that senses corners and tight turns and turns off the THC instanlty then back on as fast . Arclight has those and other features.

If your heart is intent on a servo then you might want to contact the guys at Starlab and ask about their Linux/CommandCNC based Servo options.

You are wise to look at things like the user support, time in business and their backup support structure . Having spares and repair options for controllers up to 7 years old or older has value. Arclight has some good videos on their hardware and their software. Never buy a table unless you know what design and toolpath (CAM) software they use and a check box with "automatic torch height" with on details should be a warning flag. its what you DON"T get you should worry about when you pay good money .

User avatar
SegoMan DeSigns
Elite Contributing Member
Elite Contributing Member
Posts: 348
Joined: Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:45 pm

Re: JD2 vs Arc Light ??

Post by SegoMan DeSigns » Fri Oct 08, 2021 12:18 pm

Arclight Dynamics Tech wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 12:33 pm

Servos vs steppers:

While servos are generally better suited for high speeds, they are much more complicated than stepper motors. They require an encoder along side each motor and generally will double the number of wires coming out of the motor (we currently have just 4 wires with steppers). This added complexity will mean more potential points of faliure, and added cost.

For CNC Plasma applications stepper motors are going to make the most sense because they are cheap, super reliable (we rarely see them break) and can meet all the requirements for cnc plasma cutting just fine.
Just try to take the clearpath servos off my table, I dare ya :HaHa

tcaudle
Elite Contributing Member
Elite Contributing Member
Posts: 1216
Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2012 6:47 pm

Re: JD2 vs Arc Light ??

Post by tcaudle » Fri Oct 08, 2021 1:24 pm

I am quite familiar with Clearpath servos and how they operate. The manual is 130 pages of technical settings (in defence you should see the manuals for some of the commercial servo systems.) We have a plug an run controller that can control and power virtually any of the SK series Clearpath .

The combo of a processor based motor controller/drive inside the motor has been tried before with less that sterling results but the Engineers at Teniks have addressed moist of the short comings of earlier attempts ar a combo solution . You "tune" the motors via a Micro USB connection on each motor. Any replacement will have to be tuned up to work correctly. Each series of motor has specific RPM max settings and overload and waht the one ouput pin on the data cable does. One interesting fact is the "fault output " option for that pin which is the feedback to stop your controller motion is "active' (in fault) when the motor is not powered. that means when you fire them up and they go though their bootup time the faults is active and tell your control electronics to shut down. the boot time is not always the same. So a delay in the controller reading all of the faults on power up as to be implemented of it takes several tries to get them to power up.

The argument of Stepper VS servo has been going one for decades and ends up a lot like politics or religion. We have sold both types for many years and let the user choose but also look at the Pros and Cons of each. Do Servos run smoother and faster....sure. Do hey have higher resolution? Depends on the encoder counts . are they "better"....depends on the final usage and goals .

User avatar
SegoMan DeSigns
Elite Contributing Member
Elite Contributing Member
Posts: 348
Joined: Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:45 pm

Re: JD2 vs Arc Light ??

Post by SegoMan DeSigns » Fri Oct 08, 2021 3:12 pm

Tom,

Like you say tuning is via the usb plug to your laptop with an auto tune program they have, when I did mine my X axis I had a glitch to it. I contacted Teknics and we scheduled an auto tune session via the web. They were able to fine tune my system through the same USB / software, As it turns out the problem was with the chain tensioner's being to loose on my X axis, that has been remedied and the tune profile for each motor profile is saved on the programming laptop for a quick install in case I change out the motors down the road.

I have a single 34 on both X & Y axis, a 34 was "way"overkill for Y but I have the ability to swap them for trouble shooting purposes. This was done to simplify spare parts & repair time (if / when they arise) when you live in the sticks you have to think ahead. My system has been cutting over a year with no problems I have traverse speed set at 750 IPM and cut at speeds from 10-250 IPM (16ga to 1-1/4"). The gantry on my 6x12 table weighs 385 lbs and moves like a hummingbird on steroids.

Post Reply

Return to “Arclight Dynamics”

Industry Pros use FastCut CNC