First of all I would like to start by saying "AWESOME FORUM". Seems like a great bunch of folks! About 2 weeks ago I started thinking that I should have a cnc plasma table for my home based fab shop. After a very short time realized that the price for a machine the size that I wanted was going to be prohibitive so I dove into building my own. For the past several years I have operated a C&G systems table at my real job so I am robbing some ideas from it. I am building a 5'x10' table with a single side drive. The X & Y will be driven with conventional spur gear and rack and I am thinking about a screw drive for the Z. I dont anticipate any problems with the fabrication part of it but I am a bit intimidated by the electronics! Has anyonr delt with a website by the name of www.lowcostcncretrofits.com? He seems to be quite helpful and quick to respond and I am wondering if anyone has any feedback on him. I am looking at his 014 plasma package which consists of 2 ea 1070 oz steppers and 1 ea 260 oz stepper, a 48 volt power supply, a 3 axis 7 amp 2 relay motion controller and a remote pendant. He offers this package for $2099.00 US. Is this a good price? I currently have a Gateway laptop that I plan to use for my computer and I am planning on using an ESAB ESP50 plasma as I am a distributor for ESAB. If I use this package what else will I need? I will be mainly doing sillouhetts and geometric shapes and I will want to have voltage sensing THC. Any reccomendations for cad software or operating software? Any suggestions or criticizems would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Much, Chris
First of all good luck with your build, I had fun building my table, though much smaller at 2'X4', and I am sure that your much larger table will be very impressive. Many of us who have built our own plasma tables use Mach 2 or Mach 3. This software is very low cost (about 150.00) and it is very well suited to controlling a plasma cutter, and it will run on MOST laptops, you could download the demo and install it on your laptop to make sure before you purchase it. Also keep in mind that you will need to have an aviliable parallel port on your laptop to interface with the machine controller. I do all of my CAM work in Sheetcam which is also low cost and well suited for plasma cutting. Not to say anything bad about Esab equipment, especially since you sell it, but I have read several negative things about their plasma machines being used for machine cutting. The complaints have not been about the cutter itself, but rather about the difficulty converting it to automatic controll, and having it "get along" with the electronics in a machine controller. I will be the first to admit that I am partial to Hypertherm, but they are widely considered the easiest to convert to automatic control. It may also be that a brand new Esab machine will work just fine, but you should do some more internet research on the topic before you decide. I think that the Torchmate website may have some usefull information in this area. I am sure that you will recieve several helpfull answers to your question as you have come to the right place. Best of luck.
Thanks for the reply, I appreciate your info a bunch. Do you happen to have a link or a website for the 2 programs that you listed? Just a quick word of defense on ESAB's behalf, they actually make basically 2 different series of plasma, their powercut machines are widely used for manual operations where the ESP (ESAB smart plasma) series is set up more for mechanized use. They do not use hi-frequency to fire the torch and they are cnc interface ready. Just want to make sure they get a fair shake. I sell several other plasma lines and they all make good machines. Thanks again!!
Hi I have a package from lowcostcncretrofits.com although I havenít used it yet (still building table) so I can only comment on there service witch in my opinion is good even after they had my money they were still eager to help
I see that Weld Tutor allready posted the addresses for the websites you needed. I am also glad to hear that you have your home work as far as plasma cutter compatibility is concerned. Good luck with your project.
Thank you for your opinions, they are much appreciated. My frame is coming along quite nicely, I plan on finishing it and starting on the gantry this weekend. My next question is has anyone had any experience with the Bob Campbell voltage sensing torch height control. I am quite certain that I will be going with Sheetcam and either Mach2 or Mach3 and a stepper motor package from lowcostcncretrofits. Is this THC compatible with this equipment? After purchasing this equipment and this THC what else would I need to purchase (I already have the computer)? Is this equipment fairly "plug in simple" or will I have to go back to college figure it out? Does anyone have any suggestions on Mach2 vs. Mach3. This is a very interesting project and once again I certainly appreciate your suggestions and opinions.
Kind Regards, Chris
Aghobby, your all in one controll unit sounds convient, but the price seems a little bit out of the range of all but the most serious members here. I would be interested to see pictures of it though, could you post them here so that we could all see what you have aviliable? Thanks