As the title implies, I am wanting to purchase a New plasma table.
I do not currently have time to try and build one from the ground up, I am new to the CNC world, and I want something that can be up and running in a few days after delivery.
What I need from you guys is a list of who all sells these and maybe some feedback on them if you've got any.
I am open to complete units, add my own plasma units, and also kits where I build my own base Table.
I am looking for 4x4 (4x8 or 5x10 would be great. but I think it may be out of my budget)
I would prefer oxy/fuel as well as plasma ability as a later addon.
I need a little help on THC. Is it really worth the money if all I cut is flat plate? is it hard to add later on?
My budget is around $7K, Of course I would like to stay well under this, but i am willing to go over it by a bit if that is the only way to get a quality machine that will last
I have searched and i only seem to come up with two manufacturers
If the table you choose does not support open control options (aka MACH3, EMC) then your options for add-ons like low cost THC become limited. Dynatorch builds a nice machine and has "kits" but be aware they use a proprietary smart motor (combined motor and drive) that uses only their control software.
Oxy cutting is done at much lower speeds than plasma. It's like buying a 150 MPH tractor. It has to be designed for two extremes (overdesigned for one of the other) and that will impact price.
THC is not essential if you plan on cutting material thicker than 1/4" and have a very flat table. Typical cut gaps are in the .063 gap range moving at 200 IPM + You will find the biggest cost of plasma cutting is the cost of consummables. At $10.00 + per set anything that can increase the life of those items moves to your bottom line. To get max consummable life you need to pierce at a precise height and cut at a (different) precise height while moving at high speed.
There is a thread here on the Zone the offers opinions on Plasmacam which I recommend you read. And, I recommend not to purchase the Plasmacam unit. Yup, it's an opinion. We had one at a local vocational school that they could not get to work and the lack of support from Plasmascam resulted in it going to storage.
Thanks for all the leads, so far I am leaning towards the Dynatorch 5x10. i just wish I lived closer so I could go pick it up. the $600 crate fee and $767 freight could be a deal killer. I can see the freight, but I feel to charge me $600.00 to box it up seems high. what do you guys think.
We are also purchasing a Dynatorch 5X10. We are picking it up though when I go up to get a day of training on the machine for free. Im not sure where you are, but our shop is in Florida. Did you also purchase a plasma cutter from them as well? We ordered ours with the Powermax 1000. Even though they are "smart" motors and proprietary to them, after all I have read going with servo's VS stepper is the better choice. And also the fact that the ATHC is included was a bonus. We dont have time to build a machine and do hours and hours of set-up and trial and error. Granted can save money, but time is money.
Bad thing is I already purchased (3) 3:1 reduction plates with gears and 6 6ft gear racks from EZ-Router. Guess Ill have to try and sell those on Ebay.
Thanks for the input Ed, i havn't commited to dynatorch yet, but may do so soon. I didn't include the cutter in the quote request, did they give you a good deal on it?
I am in Arizona, it would cost me more i gas than i'll pay in shipping, not to mention the time to drive there. The THC is a selling point for me as well.
If ther are any other opionions, please keep them comming.
Come on guys. The THC is not "included". They get $2495.00 for that piece separately and that gets rolled into the combo price. You can buy most of the mid range machines with the THC "included" and integrated and everything setup. The reason most mfg's sell the THC separately is that there are some customers that don't want it (they usually end up buying one later).
The servo approach may have validity but once again other vendors offer a servo upgrade. It's just not that hard to use either one. The design approach (gearing in the drive train) is different but the control electronics at the PC end are the same. In fact you can even have a Hybrid machine with mixed servo's and steppers! A properly designed stepper system does not lose position unless there is a mechanical problem (jam, etc) . In that circumstance a servo will just "adjust" until something breaks (or the drive faults out and stops and you have the same results as an open loop system)
EZ-Router would have "included" a THC with their plasma and had it all setup and running and it is an open system with the THC integrated to the control software.
The problem with a closed [proprietary] solution is that you have to rely on one source for all of your support, upgrades, bug fixes, replacement parts etc. That may be attractive to you but for a small shop where time and costs are critical it certainly narrows your options.....especially if they close their doors or decide to go in a different direction.
What you find is that the dirty secret none of them tell you, is that the development of the artwork and setting up the cut files is the real challenge. It takes time and experience with the software to get productive output. If you think you are going to get a table in, load some material and punch the 'easy" button and get perfect output you are being nieve.
I have talked with owners of many different brands of tables. The one complaint I hear the most is from owners of closed systems and the software they have to live with. In many circumstances the control software can be replaced if the table mfg uses the general Step & Dir motor driver approach. In a design with a custom software/hardware motion system you have one option....live with it.
My two cents on the "open systems" that is being discussed here is that the support varies from average to poor.
This forum has a large following of MACH users and the posts that fill my box daily on questions and compliants from users of this system amazes me. MACH is a fine system but my point is that there is software out there has been refined to perform one objective and that is operate a plasma or oxy-fuel table. Period.
Once the learning curve has been mastered in any program the sailing is much smoother.
Tech support is in my opinion is worth A LOT and there are several companies mentioned on this forum that seem to not read the posts.
As mentioned above time is money. You'll need to decide as to how you manage your time. Profitably cutting parts on your table or sitting in front of your computor pecking away another question as to how this or that is done.
MACH3 is the only affordable solution that has integrated THC logic that incorporates THC into the toolpath. Show me any system that has anti-dive, dynamic pierce delay (based on Arc Good) anti-pierce dive, and constant velocity cutting and awareness of the Z height at all times for less than $5000 addtional.
The process of specific cutting is primarily a CAM operation. MACH3 is the controller that takes g-code and spins the motors. By chosing a CAM program like SheetCAM that has plasma specific features (auto lead-in's/out's of four different types, separate pierce height and cut height,etc) you can optimize how the process operates.
Some of the vendors play to the target plasma group knowing that many are not "CNC guys" and are not as sophisticated/technical as other CNC users. Some would have you believe you just import a picture of what you want, press a couple of buttons and the machine will cut it out.
The whole point of common systems (open) is that you are free to choose any Drawing-CAM-Control system combination you want and change any piece without bringing in the forklift. Since these are systems being used by a lot of other users you open up different sources of support.
If you monitor the MACH support (actually done on yahoo and through their www.machsupport.com site) with the 5000+ members you would notice that questions get answered quickly and correctly and bug reports and feature requests are taken seriously. As for complaints......huh? Biggest complaints I hear are form the vendors of other high priced packages that wish MACH and it's users would just go away!
For our products we answer questions about not only our equipment but for MACH and SheetCAM and other pieces as well. Our interest is in seeing the user be able to use their machine and to move from idea to finished piece in the most efficient way.
Just worked with Sheetcam and Dynatorch to provide a post proccessor file so I can use sheetcam for nesting, cut paths etc. I have to say Dynatorch and Sheetcam had me the file emailed within 24 hours. Now I can use sheetcam and the Dynatorch will cut my nested tap files without problem.
Even Les at Sheetcam was impressed. So now if anyone has or is buying a Dynatorch the post processor file is available.
Alot is said that these systems dont use "less expensive" ATHC, but come on, does everyone have time to search the forums and posts to have problems addressed? I figure if we buy a machine that is a complete package all the parts and software will work very well. Just my 2 cents, I am sure there will be a response.