Bought a Turn-Key plasma: What should I accept for quality?
So I ordered a full turn-key table from one of the larger CNC Plasma Cutting companies. For the moment I'd like to keep which company out of it as I'm still trying to have existing issues resolved.
Issue number one: The X axis (or the long axis) uses V-roller bearings running down the table and, like most, has a gear rack. After spending half an hour trying to figure out why I couldn't get the thing to track straight I found out that the V-rail and gear rack aren't stright. I guess I never looked at it (or for it) before but I finally looked down the length of the rack and the deviation is visible.
Issue number two: The system I ordered has a vacume table which has a series of holes cut in it to dispurse the vacume over the entire table. Clearly the holes were cut with a plasma and many of them aren't straight. In some cases you can see where the holes were actually mis-cuts (maybe the torch crashed) and the holes never even got cut out. After the baffles are installed I can't see that they're screwed up but I know they're there.
I paid nearly $15k for this sytem. I know issue #1 isn't acceptable but should I give them the opportunity to try to get it right again or should I just take it in the shorts and fix it myself (because I know I can make it square). On issue #2 - as far as I can tell the holes (or lack of) won't decrease the abilities of the vacume table. Is it unreasonable for me to ask that they replace those pieces with ones that are closer to the way they should be?
I own a business that produces "parts" made out of metal. We believe very strongly in quality and sometimes I push my ethics on other companies when they don't believe as I do. Go ahead, give me your $.02.
I am sorry to hear about this. To sort of answer your question about if you should complain or not. Most defenantly yes! Why well you paid money and were expecting a certain level of quality. If they stated that it was accurate a parrallel to say 0.5mm and it is not. Then I would kick up a stink.
But the thing is, if they don't want to help, they will make life hard for you. And as I have found out that sometimes it is better for you to just do it yourself. Otherwise it will never get done.
$15,000 is not a lot of money for a CNC machine, in my opinion. Some peoples thoughts might be different. But you have got to ask yourself why is it only $15,000 compared to a heavy duty industrial machine. I have made my own CNC plasma table, and it is not that flash but it will do the job. I am from Australia and had the chance to go to the USA a few months ago to have a look at a factory where they make CNC cutting machines from 5'x10' single torch plasma's, all the way up to multi plasma and oxy torchs, marking systems etc. These bigger machines have cutting widths of up to 288 inches (7315.2mm), and virtually any cutting lenths that you might need for you aplication. They also have the option for 3d contour bevel cutting heads. These industrial are build to such a high standard of quality, they are check here there and everywhere before the customer gets it.
They are designed for 3 shifts a day as "plate processing" machines.
The thing is, there is a difference in the the hobby/light fabrication and pure hardcore machines.
I have here in front of me an installation manual for a small/medium CNC plasma/oxy cutting machine. This is about the rail installation. Note that these rails are the I beam type that bolt to the floor then the rails go ontop of the beam. Straight from the manual it states:
"Level the mail rail assembly to within +/- 1/32" (0.8mm) over the entire length." This particular machine is 6meters long.
I mean far out!
Then, regarding the straigtness of your vee ways.
In the manual again is states:
"The guide rails must be straight within 0.1mm (0.004") over the entire length. It must be level within +-1mm (0.040") over the entire length.
Can you say that your machine even when they do set it correctally at there workshop is that accurate?
I mean that is like, so accurate.
But anyway going back to your drama's with you machine. Yeah, if you can see a wobble in the rail, I would tell the company what is going on. And hope fully they will fix it for you.
It's just a shame that you pay good money for things somethimes and you expect a quality job, but all you get is crap.
I will leave you with those thoughts.
To give you a little background about me...I built my first table as a Torchmate Standard kit. I ended up changing a few things about it to make it more of a production table and, to be honest, it's exceeded my expectations. When I built the table I went to great lengths to ensure that the linear motion was square as I knew it would impact the quality of the cut if it were not. Maybe this is why I'm so bent.
I completely understand where you're coming from and the fact that this is not a high-end system is dually noted. I guess the main reason why I'm really burned is they stated this machine is a production quality machine and, based on the assembly of it, it cannot be - that is unless of course you product parts that are not straight.
To me it's all about quailty control. If you advertise high quality then sooner or later someone like me will pop up and call you out if you don't deliver high quality. To be fair, I probably have higher tech equipment than they do and expecting them to put the effort and time into building the table correctly may have been a stretch.
As far as the rest of the system is concerned it's really a top notch setup and likely the best in it's class (price class that is) if they can build a straight table.
I'm hoping that they'll call me back this morning so I can get it resolved.
I'm also on the same page I bought a table some things were not rite so I called them on it and it was there problem so they fixed it out of there pocket. That's what you pay for. If I did'nt want a quality table made by someone who knew what they were doing I would have built one myself!
What is the latest with your table?
what table did you get? are you happy with it so far? hows customer service?
good construction? plasma or router?
Reason i'm asking is cause i am looking into buying a table also and just trying to get all the feed back that i can on all tables.
I have a dyna cnc table. I have not used it that much, I started a house project and things are so busy here that I have to do all the work myself.
Originally Posted by bearracecars
I'm happy with it I would have liked to have a manual with it but they are fairly new and are working on things. The coustomer service has been good they fixed problems with the machine and know what they are talking about.I like the fact that if they closed the doors tomorrow that I could still get info on my software and table. When I researched mine I found that they had some good features and seemed the best bang for the buck. I have cut steel and all the software works good and the machine works well. I have a milwakee 3.5 horse router for it (plasma/router table) that I have yet to use just got my floor poured in my shop so it should be back up running soon.
It was between dyna and the dynatorch system are the two I liked best dynatorch seems to have experience actually using thier machines and dyna seems to know how to built them. But dyna uses proven systems with lots of outside support so you really don't have to pay for tech. support. And you have software that thousands use. One I would stay away from is practical 'cause of all the horror stories. My 2 cents.
Last edited by bogger44; 10-08-2006 at 05:18 PM.
I am of the opinion that 15k is still a sizable chunk of change. I would go after them to fix both issues. Not just because you paid a fair amount of money for a machine that you expect to work, but also from the stand point that if you fix it yourself and down the road you have a major problem with something else they may refuse to take responsibility because of the repairs you made. In short they could blame other issues on your repairs.
We bought a PlasmaCAM just under two years ago. I have had zero issues with it to this point and have cut thousands of parts and artwork with it. But because of there lack of friendly support, I dread the day I need to call them about something. Hopefully the company you have bought from is easier to deal with.
Good luck and let us know what you decide. Would be interested to know how it turns out for you.
Sorry it's been so long with no update...before I dive in I'll pre-appologize for the length. I do believe this is a completely fair and honest evaluation of Dyantorch and the system they sent me.
First let me address my issues:
I was given two options. First was to send the table back and have them fix it for me. The second was to give me a credit to fix it myself. The thought of tearing down the entire table and shipping it back (and being down for potentially weeks) wasn't all that fun. The deciding factor was that I'd have to crate it all back up and the crates didn't exist anymore...credit was accepted and I fixed it myself. This turned out well as I was able to be as anal as I wanted to and now it's SUPER FREAKIN' square. I made a few jigs on the mill and it took me a couple of hours of drillin' and tappin'.
I identified a new issues after everyting else was fixed. The height control had some tapped machine screw holes that the "V" rails bolted to and one of the holes had a deviation of ~0.032 from square which made it impossible to get the v-roller bearings to slide up and down with even resistance. I called regarding this issue and their support again wasn't the greatest. I was told that it wasn't right but when I contacted whom I was supposed to get a replacement, they failed to send a new assembly. It's my understanding that they were in the middle of a facility move or something so I'll go easy but it would be nice if it were resolved ASAP.
My system is a Dynatorch. I previously had used their stand alone height control on my previous system so, out of stupid luck, I was able to take that entire assembly and replace the one they sent me. As a result my machine was put into service almost imediately but I can't sell the old system (I do have a buyer) until I get this new height control assembly.
My overall opinion of the system is as follows:
- The software is completely configurable - neat features for arcs, corners, holes, height control, etc.
- The height control is fast enough to allow the correct torch height to get the optimal cut.
- There seems to be something funny about the height control under certain conditions. If you don't home the machine after startup (because you choose to define your own home) torch crashes are certain.
- The air handler table works well but not great. It works great if you're running a full sheet of material. When cutting a smaller sheet (much smaller than table capacity - a drop) is it's weakness. Also it works better at the center of the table than on the edges. I think a slight design change would enable it to work much better.
- The design of the air handler table and how it fits inside the table prevents you from cutting a full 5x10 (though it's sold as a 5x10 table). Because the torch doesn't sit in the X gantry's centerline (offset of about 10") it actually hangs off the front of the table 10". If the table itself (gear rack) were 11" longer on the far end of the table it would cut a full sheet barely (with an inch to spare). When asking Dynatorch about this they told me I had something setup wrong...even though I know I don't. It's true that it can cut a 5x10 but unless you think cutting 10" over the floor acceptable, you really can't.
- The air handler table moves some air. I have to open a door, large window, or let the A/C unit run on fan only when the table is on to bring in enough air to compensate for the air the table moves out. An excellent thing during the summer, not so hot (literally) during the winter. Not having to breath the dust is worth it though. My employees will just have to wear bibs.
- A turn-key table doesn't include feet. They say they're extra. I believe a turn-key table should have everything in the box so I don't have to go to the store. FWIW, if you want feet, you have to ask for them.
- After the table is ordered they'll tell you that they told you things during the sales process and, even though they may not have, blame most for forgetting - ex: Apparently they need dual serial ports for their system to operate. If you don't have dual serial ports then you need a USB adapter that they can provide. You can't just get any USB adapter as they only recommend one so make sure you ask about this when they don't bring it up.
- I was quoted 3 weeks from the deposit for shipment. My order took 5. If you need this machine for production you should probably expect twice what they quote for delivery. This didn't bug me too much as I had another table that was fully operational.
- Dynatorch's tech support isn't linked to production/sales. If you bring up an issue that needs to be resolved with tech support you will be asked to call the other number to have it resolved if it means replacement parts are in order. It is Dynatorch's weakness if you ask me. All of my issues have generated many more calls than I should have had to make to resolve such simple issues.
- I've not yet figured out how to define an exact IPM for the system. Out of the box it appears that I can increase/decrease IPM by 5% as desired. This may have something to do with me importing pre-ordered/nested DXF files. I believe that when you do so it assumes that the default speed is 100IPM - that or I don't know how to set the default yet. Not a biggie, it stays where you set it until you turn the software off so repeat cutting of the same material isn't difficult.
- The table slats are 3" center to center. I'd prefer 2". There's no mid-support for the table so the slats can move around. I had to build a mid-support so the slats could be curved. Simple mod, no biggie.
I think some of these issues could have been resolved prior to me receiving the table in the first place - making them production/design issues. Outside these issues I do believe this system will do very well for us when it comes to cutting. I admit I have some issues (configuration changes) to deal with but even out of the box it improved our cutting quality and capacity quite a bit. If I had to order the table again I would order the system, build the table, and order the air handler.
There are some companies that have a decent product to offer yet don't have people/customer service skills - not because they don't want to have them but more because they don't know how to. There are also some compaines that have a great idea but don't know how to put their idea into production. I had heard this about PlasmaCAM and that's why I went with Dynatorch. IMO, if Dynatorch resolved their production issues, increased their component accuracy, and bridged their gap between production and tech support they'd quickly pull to the front in their industry.
Originally Posted by rpage
I'll tell you what would be fun...to do a side by side comparison of all of the plasma systems out there and actually see which does what better. I'd really like to see that.
I too have some issues right out of the box with my Dyna table. During welding the table they abviously didnt look for "warpage" the middle of the table from the disstortion os wider then the ends. They were closed Friday for a move when I called, so I will see about this when Will calls me Monday.
Needless to say when the side support legs were drilled they were not square, hense the gantry isnt wide enough to clear the machine bolts holding the gear rack on. This is why I ordered a table already made so I did not have to worry about squaring or welding a table together.
The Powermax 1000 also didnt ship with the table, so i am waiting for that to come to hook all the wires up and do the set-up (3 days lost) Now I need Will to send me spacers for the drop side of the gantry so it will slide smoothly and more then the 6" now. I am a little upset to say the least, but I will give them a chance starting Monday to resolve these issues ASAP.
We cut 16-14-12-3/16 and 3/8 steel, do you have any tips for those thicknesses re: voltage settings-torch height-IPM-kerf setting to get good clean, minimal dross cuts? If you could help me out that would be great, my email is email@example.com.
Maybe we should start a thread just for Dynatorch users, seems to be a few of us here now. Thanks alot.
Scorpion, I was just looking at the Dynatorch site under the whats new section and I see they have been fixing or updating their software every few weeks. http://www.dynatorch.com/WhatsNew.htm I don't know which version you have but the latest version talks about Ipm speed settings. I do know you must pay $300.00 per year for software upgrades after a certain length of time from initial purchase. As for the alignment issue you speak of I have heard of it before on another one of their machines. The owner said the long axis had a bow that was .125 out when it arrived in the crate. I think they must outsource their tables although you would think they would catch that before shipping though. I decided to build my own table as I wanted to incorporate a water tray and avoid any other issues. I am close to being finished. I did notice the rail length issue and offset my rails in relation to the table. The gantry has about 10' 6" travel from end to end but part of the table is unused. I do have a friend who has a Plasma Cam. He had no computor experience before buying it and the 3 months free tech support expired before he got the machine all set up. To my surprise he was able with a little help from his computor savy wife get it up and going. He cuts all types of stuff with it from signs, art, brackets etc. The detail is incredible in some of the smaller items he cuts although he has had a year to get good at it. He has it hooked up to a Hypertherm 1000. This is not a plug for Plasma Cam but I do think it has its place. I think it looks to be a great prototype or very low production machine. After 3 months you must pay for any tech support. I think it is $500.00 per year. Their 4x4 table is to small and lightweight for any serious work. I bought the 5x10 Dynatorch gantry for use in a production enviroment and I liked the idea of free lifetime tech support. It seemed like a middle of the road machine, not a $50,000.00 machine but a machine that could still be used for production work. Its great that their are several Dynatorch owners here. It helps to share information.