I'm looking to for your recommendation for a cutter/consumables/accessories able to cut (mechanized) thin sheet metal (brass, aluminum, steel possibly titanium) from 1/64 to 1/4 with maximum possible precision. I'm building my table so I'd also need to know what cutting IPM I need to achieve for this. Do I have to start having THC setup? What precision could I achieve with a plasma setup on these materials?
Based on the research I made, it seems cutting sheets under 1/16 seems to be a problem. Are there any workarounds?
I currently operate a Taig CNC using Mach3.
There are a lot of varieties of plasma systems. Hypertherm produces air plasma systems , conventional multigas systems, and high definition class systems.
The air plasma systems on a high accuracy machine with an accurate torch height control system can produce cut part accuracy in the .010" to .020" range down to about 26 gauge materials. If the machine does not have acceleration in excess of 40 miligees, and does not have a THC that can maintain accurate torch to workpiece distance within plus or minus .005".....then expect less accuracy.
Torch height control is necessary for good cut quality as well as consumable parts life.
For accurate cutting of thin gauge materials the machine needs to be able to maintain an accurate following error at speeds in the 200 to 250 inch per minute range.
High Definition class plasma systems can cut from 26 gauge to 3 inch thicknesses with even longer consumable life and tighter accuracy. The high definition plasmas are approximately 10x more expensive and are designed for 100% duty cycle industrial use.
You can download operators manuals for Hypertherm systems from the www.hypertherm.com web site. Look at the various products under the product selection tab, and from there you can download cut charts with suggested speeds for different materials.
Jim Colt Hypertherm