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Thread: Intro and 1st post on forum

  1. #1

    Default Intro and 1st post on forum

    Hi everyone,

    After having finally bought an Everlast PowerPlasma 60S in April 2016, registering for a forum account then and "lurking" about the forum to get information and read what others have done and discovered, I decided it's time for me to introduce myself. I'm originally from Oklahoma and moved my family to Colorado in 1984. While my income earning career has been in the fields of electronics (first part of my career) and IT (for the past 15+ years), I've long had a desire and somewhat frequent opportunities to stretch my skills, knowledge and capabilities in the area of metal work and fab. The fact that my father was a steam fitter for 30+ years and seeing what he could do with a welder and related equipment always impressed me, so I think this imprinted this interest in working with metal in me. Me, my wife and kids were also very involved in a 4-wheel drive club for several years here in Colorado and that also expanded my interest and knowledge in fabrication, as everyone was, without really knowing it, in a friendly competition to make their off-road vehicle better than before and better than others at the same time (swapping out and rebuilding engines, transfer cases, suspension and axles and building many other things such as roll cages, nerf bars and such). Fun stuff and we got a much better understanding of what makes a vehicle tick and work better. I'm the kind of person who generally isn't afraid to tackle most any new project or problem, whether it be home repairs/upgrades, vehicle repairs/upgrades and of course computers and networks and other stuff - what many call a JOAT (jack of all trades).

    Anyway, now that I have a plasma cutter (along with a Lincoln PowerMig 200 welder and 80-gallon 2-stage air compressor among other tools) I'm now getting serious about building a CNC table to incorporate the plasma cutter and possibly a router with. This will be somewhat of a hobby project initially, but my hope and intent is this will become more than that and will be an additional source of income shortly and continue after I retire in a few years. I plan to spend time getting very familiar with all aspects of this project - gantry and table build, integration of plasma cutter with motion control and torch height control, software used to run and coordinate the whole system, etc. I'm sure I'll be chiming in to threads on the site to ask questions and hopefully pass on any knowledge that can help others in areas that I can.

    Steve

  2. Default

    Sounds good, Steve. Welcome!

    Photos of the project stages would be cool too!
    Everlast 210 EXT (2015)

    www.youtube.com/newjerusalemtimes

  3. #3

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    Thanks Christian. I could upload some pics of the welder, plasma cutter and air compressor but most, if not all, pics would show what a cluttered mess my garage is now, which is why I built a DIY 12x16 storage shed this summer to help remove some of the garage clutter as well as stuff in the house. My plans are to build a 4x8 plasma CNC table after I clear space in the garage then work on some ideas for material handling (sheets of steel, etc). I've been researching on other sites that have some innovative ideas that I might use. In the meantime I can provide some links to sites that I've narrowed down for some of the parts to build the CNC table, such as gantry, motion control electronics and such. I'll try to get to this as time allows but hopefully soon. Once the garage space is available is when I'll order the gantry so I hope to start on that fairly soon. Still figuring out what I want and can use for software.

  4. Default

    Yeah, no.

    When you're ready. I mean, CNC anything is really out of my league, but I still like to see the stuff getting set up. Although, I did consider some years ago getting a vinyl cutter that works in much the manner. I think vector graphics and nodes done in software from Corel was common back then, but the cutter/printers also had their own proprietary software too. Tricky stuff, but cool too!
    Everlast 210 EXT (2015)

    www.youtube.com/newjerusalemtimes

  5. #5
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    Default

    If you are planning to mix a router with the plasma, that will add a few things to the mix. While the basic motion control is pretty much the same, there are a few aspects that don't get along as well. (think lots of cleanup) You might make a few design changes to help that as well. For DIY the control software is usually between LinuxCNC and Mach3/4, depending on what floats your OS boat. For non PC platforms, there is GRBL and the like, if you really want to get down to the nuts and volts. A lot depends on servos vs steppers. As for CAD/CAM the list is huge, but be sure to at least look at Autodesk Fusion 360, and SheetCAM. If you are looking for a more turnkey solution, check out PlasmaCAM.
    I'm looking forward to your build. That has been a back burrner project of mine for a while, as well.
    Long arc, short arc, heliarc and in-the-dark!

  6. #6

    Default

    Rambozo must be tele-pathetically (intentional misspelling) connecting with my thought processes. :>) I know, I know it's telepathic. I love to tweak some words just to get a rise from people now and then. Anyway, I intend to get the plasma process working properly first then determine what I might want to expand into, like an air scribe for engraving and possibly a router, knowing the router would involve dealing with wood dust and such and require a vacuum attachment near the work area. Even then it would still not be a "clean" process, but could enhance and expand the artistic side of plasma cut products.

    As for the CNC table I am narrowing the candidates down to a short list. I had been leaning toward a Precision Plasma Magnum II HD gantry kit until I discovered a fairly new gantry a company named Wolf Metal Fabrications located in Nebraska. This is a small business that's spent quite a lot of time in the metal fab industry and has come up with what I think is the most complete and heavy duty gantry kit that is still affordable (as gantry kits go). The 2 URLs below have a lot of good info about his products with the first being a longer read with more detail about what's been designed in and its capabilities and the second being shorter with more photos, videos and order links. It's a little more expensive that the Precision Plasma gantry but not by much and what the buyer gets, I think, makes for a better deal and a more complete and capable gantry.

    http://www.wolfesmetalfabrication.co...antrylong.html
    http://www.wolfesmetalfabrication.co...awolfcncgantry

    For motion control of a DIY solution I'm pretty impressed with the complete package from CNC Routers .com. The package I've selected is very comparable to the PlazPak 1A from CandCNC and isn't as expensive, having NEMA 34 960 oz-in low inductance motors, Ethernet Smooth Stepper and come completely wired in a NEMA steel cabinet. Even with a 5th axis upgrade and cables to accommodate a 4x8 or even 5x10 table the price would be $2840 verses the close to $3500 for the comparable PlazPak. Yes, the PlazPak includes their torch height control but I can get as good or possibly better THC from Neuron.THC and still be less than CandCNC.

    http://www.cncrouterparts.com/4-axis...tem-p-132.html
    http://neuroncnc.com/products/lite

    I've haven't completely decided against a turnkey solution, especially since receiving a new brochure from PlasmaCAM announcing a sale price of $7980 for a ready to use 4x4 PlasmaCAM table. I had discounted them before as being too expensive for what the buyer gets compared to a DIY solution like the Wolf Alpha, however, with the lower price being much closer to the build cost of comparable DIY builds it piqued my interest enough to contact them about this to see what you get and don't get.

    Anyway, that's where I'm at now. I hope to finalize what I'm going to do very soon so I can start getting familiar with whatever system I get and start producing parts for myself and other stuff (metal art and possibly parts for others), eventually getting this to the point of becoming another source of income later on while having fun with it at the same time. I'll be back with more as this develops.

  7. #7
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    Yeah, molten metal, sparks, wood, and sawdust, what could possibly go wrong.
    Long arc, short arc, heliarc and in-the-dark!

  8. #8

    Default

    I like how you put it. I too like things that go BOOM, but hopefully in a controlled manner.

  9. #9
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    If you have the space, one feature you might want is to extend the 8 foot axis so that you can have some area past the table for bulkier workpieces. More a router feature, but you could also use that area for a large tube cutting setup for the plasma. A lot depends on how much Z travel you have, over the table.
    Long arc, short arc, heliarc and in-the-dark!

  10. #10

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    Thanks for the suggestion, but I think the 4x8 work area size will have to do, at least to start with. I am strongly considering the CNC Router Parts motion control system and the 5th axis upgrade as that only costs $195 for the extra driver and all of the internal wiring for a 5th axis and I can get a 420 oz-in motor for $52.50, which I would use for the Z-axis and use the "leftover" 960 oz-in motor for a rotary setup.

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