Ok I am totally new to cnc. I have been around metal working for over 5 years and have been running my own welding business for almost a year. I'm doing mostly mobile welding, but and working on setting up a shop. I want to have a cnc setup for anything from custom furniture parts to offroad brackets. I'm not looking to spend a ton of money. I'm not sure if I should go plasma or waterjet. Is there any kits out there that would come with everything I need but for the laptop and table. I can build the table myself. Thanks for the help.
For the cnc plasma kits, you can check with Dynatorch, torchmate, Dynacnc. They supply the machine in kits form.
I don't know any one can supply cnc waterjet in kits. This machine require precision motion and not easy to assemle by your own. The water pump and other parts also not cheap.
There is a quantum leap in difference in doing plasma and waterjet. First you need a 40,000 to 60,000 PSI pump for abrasive waterjet. Those size pumps are not cheap or small. You need LOT's of HP (electricity 3 phase 480) to run something like that. If you have that solved then you need to deal with the water and mess the process makes.
Plasma is messy but you don't have to worry about liquids (except maybe the water going stagnant in the water tank under the torch!)
If you are handy with mechanical stuff but need some help with the electronics, contact me off list (don't use the private messages in this list unless you include a real e-mail I can reply to) and I have a new years surprise I can share with you (:-)
In my opinion... if you're thinking about making "parts" and not Art, and your options are those two units, I'd figure out the details on getting a water jet. I make alot of off road parts with mine but the accuracy is just not there. The table has the accuracy, but not the the plasma cutter. I don't know what type of parts and brackets you're making, and if they get welded on or not, but I personally have laser envy.
Plasma is great for artsy stuff which is more forgiving on tolerances but I have a hard time competing with the laser/waterjet/hi-def plasma guys.
If you can swing it, check into the hi-def plasma units. They have much more accuracy.... of course that comes with a price...I think they start at around 30K or so.
Plasma is not a machining tool. It's hard to hold a 30,000 deg flame vaporizing metal as it goes, to better than about .030 (more on thicker metal). If parts have to have a precision fit then it would probably be more cost effective to have those parts cut at a commercial waterjet shop.
When Bryan said he did not want to spend a "ton of money" I took that to mean he wanted to keep the solution below $25,000....maybe WAY below that.
I sell used waterjet systems and even a small 1m x .5m machine with a 25 hp pump that is several years old is going to be around $45,000. If you wanted to buy just a small pump and the high pressure components you would still be looking at about $35,000 (if you have a used pump $45,000 if new). If you can look in this price range you do have the advantage of the higher tolerances and the large variety of materials you can cut. We've also helped lots of people retrofit one of their existing cnc machines to be a waterjet. Everything from plasma, laser, vmc, and mills. This might be a good option for you too.