I got a message from the site this morning stating that I have been away for a long time, and encouraged me to stop by for a visit. I have actually been very busy building, so haven't had much time to do pretty much anything.
I'm in the process of building a 5X9' plasma table. Why 5X9? Mostly because pretty much all the steel we get here is 4X8'. That is not to say that 5X10 is not possible, just my work's suppliers seem to have only 4X8.....but I suppose when you're working with 1" plate 4X8' is enough....
The extra width allows me some flexibility with sheet placement, and the extra length allows me to have a "home" position for the gantry (that's the theory anyways). This should mean that I can load the table using a plate clamp and an overhead of some sort (still to be figured out....probably an A-frame on wheels with a chain block to lift) without hitting the gantry.
I am using the aluminium rails as runners for the x-axis (shimmed so that they are straight and parallel within .005" or so). On them will go a carriage using skate bearings and all this will attach to the gantry. The Y axis will run on the gantry tubing.
After trying twice to order rack and pinion from Mcmaster Carr (the first time they canceled the order without contacting me, and the second time they finally got back to me and told me that they can't ship to Canada....B*st*rds!!), I decided to run the x and y axes with roller chain (good old Princess Auto). The z axis will be run off acme threaded rod, and shielded from plasma dust.
I bought a complete CNC servo/stepper package from C and CNC (torchhead), and am eagerly awaiting the time when I can play with it. On a side note: Tom and his wife are absolutely fantastic to deal with....I wish all customer service could be like that.
Once I get this working, I will post the Solidworks assembly file (right now I'm a bit behind on the required changes), but I will post pics as I go.....