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View Full Version : 5 x 10 table for plasma / tourch / router - project



ajclay
02-15-2008, 08:42 PM
Hello All,

I've been working on my project for about 6 months and I'm almost ready to start connecting the wires to the servo motors. It's been a real time consuming project. Those ads saying you can build one in a week or so are just trying to suck you in to buy their products in my opinion. I've been keeping a log on part numbers, where they came from, and cost. That's the hardest part of building a machine is coming up with a design and figuring out where and what to purchase.

I've used ideas from a lot of different machines, some from cnczone and other production machines.

Also, have an on going set of plans I've drawn in AutoCAD. I'd be willing to share if anyone is interested. The drawing is not 100% but its close. As the parts are needed I draw and update my final drawing.

This is an entry level machine. It is all I can do with the tools available and my knowledge of machine work. Also, I'm trying to use available materials that aren't hard to find. Why make it harder than what it already is?

I'm sure when it comes to getting the software and controler to work will be another big learning curve. I'm just taking it one step at a time.

Thanks for reading.

ajclay

rpage
02-16-2008, 12:37 AM
Sounds interesting. I would love to see your plans. You build this table out of steel I would assume since you list it as plasma. I have a small 4 x 4 plasma table and have been thinking about a 5 x 10. Have any pictures you can post of your machine? How about cost estimates?

Congrats on almost being done!

Rick

ajclay
02-16-2008, 09:37 AM
Rick,

I put the plans on my internet server for you to download. They are in AutoCAD v2000 format. I'm currently redrawing the project with Autodesk Inventor to make a real set of 3d plans. Understand, these plans are not 100%, it's project in progress. You'll have to know the bascis in AutoCad to really use the plans. Moving things around make it hard to put a lot of dimensions, so you'll have to check that as needed.

http://members.cox.net/ajclay/project_2-16-08.zip

If you want to download photos of the project, change the last part of the address to numbers like below, and to a .jpg file extension.

http://members.cox.net/ajclay/001.jpg

Currently 001.jpg - 049.jpg photos on site.

The cost is almost to the point where I've stopped adding. I'd say when I'm though with the basic machine, no plasma torch, I'm going to be in the neighborhood of $6000.00

Take a look at the plans / photos and I'll fill in the blanks. As with any project I can only wright down so much info. Some things slip through the cracks.

Aj

Weldtutor
02-16-2008, 11:08 AM
I put the plans on my internet server for you to download.


Good to see the start of another great looking project log.

Your plans are sure to be popular & inspirational for others wanting to begin a CNC plasma table.

I'll be following your build as you progress.

ajclay
02-16-2008, 07:51 PM
Weldtutor,

I worked on the plans for a few months before I cut the first piece of metal. Should have seen what I started out with. I'm a firm believer in “if you can draw it, you can build it”. There is a lot of truth in that statement.

Now I’m to the point on making a few small parts that I have to measure the placement on the machine, then draw and make them. I just couldn’t visualize some things till I got there. I could only think so far ahead.

I did use a couple of techniques in checking machine straightness that really haven’t been discussed much, straight wire, or wire sag. This allowed me to get the rails within a real plus/minus .0025 in 12 ft. Accuracy is very important in building a machine. That’s one reason why most all my machine is bolted together and not welded. The parts in most cases can be shimmed to get the desired results.

Thanks for your interest,

Aj

millman52
02-16-2008, 08:31 PM
Impressive job. Looks like your machining skills are well up to par. I certainly understand 100% the time you have invested there. I too spent many hours in the machine shop on my table. I can tell by viewing your photos you have more hours invested than I. The end result will be worth it though.

I am using Ox/Fuel on mine. I am now burning many holes that I used to drill. I do get round holes, very crisp square corners & can hold very tight tolerances. Way better than I imagined. Better by a wide margin than I could ever hope to get from any of the 3 steel suppliers I use. I'm sure they have state of the art "MEGA BUCK" machines also.

I feel really good about the $6000.00 or so I have invested in my 5' X 10' table. It will have paid for itself within 6 months or so.

All the attention you have paid to detail will pay off down the road too. I also went to great lengths to bolt in key parts so repair of rails & other wearing parts will be speedy & not to expensive. I lost count somewhere along the way of just how many hundred 5-40, 3 mm, 6-32, 12 mm, 1/4", 3/8", 1/2', & even some 3/4" holes I drilled for & tapped.

I also built my table to be taken apart in key areas so expansion is an option without having to start from scratch again.

ajclay
02-16-2008, 10:58 PM
Thanks Millman52 for the support. It's been a long row to howe. I've just keep on working knowing there are only just so many parts to make.

Aj

millman52
02-16-2008, 11:58 PM
Thanks Millman52 for the support. It's been a long row to howe. I've just keep on working knowing there are only just so many parts to make.

Aj

I went through a 5-6 month burn out stage on my build. Spring time rolled around in '07. decided it was time for the grandaughter & I to go fishing!!

I was using mine this evening & posted a few short videos of it cutting. I still need to build belt guards & soon as the weather breaks here I want to apply some paint. That should help minimise the "Home Built" looks a bit.

If I may ask what made you decide to go with servo power?

ajclay
02-17-2008, 07:55 PM
The motors were something that was a bit of a mystery. It’s something no one wants to give a straight answer on. So, I just went with what a few guys in the business were using. The way I look at it, if the motors don’t work out, I’ll put them on e-bay and get a different kind / size. I just had to start somewhere. Thanks, Aj

millman52
02-17-2008, 09:20 PM
I used steppers for the simplicity of use. I'm not knocking servos. Just requires encoders & from what I have read can be more troublesome with RF noise from other electronic devices (Plasma mainly). I was just curious. Servo vs. stepper there seems to be lots of debate on the issue. Definitely NOT what I want to start here. I'm pretty much of the opinion, if it works for you & you like it Great.

Keep up the good work! & keep us posted of progress. You'll love it when it all comes together as a working machine. When customers see mine working they can't believe I built it.

ajclay
02-24-2008, 07:26 PM
Well I finally got to the electrical componets. I'm not 100% finished with the steel work but I'm to the point of making things move on their own before I can do the final touches. Is there someone that's real sharp on building power supplies? That's my next phase of the project to research. I'm a little behind in brain power in that dept. Thanks, Aj

drafterman
02-25-2008, 08:44 AM
Great looking machine. I have noticed many machines that don't entirely lock the gantry down...I noticed in your thread description it said "router". Is the thought that the gantry will be heavy enough that it would never attempt to lift off of the rail(s) during a plunge cut?

drafterman
02-25-2008, 03:39 PM
Sorry...I took another look at your pictures and I see how you get around this...the motor pinions are held tight to the racks via the tension springs.

ajclay
02-25-2008, 05:21 PM
Drafterman,

Yep, it’s not the most elegant way to capture the gantry but it will work for me. Currently the springs have the gears preloaded with about 25lbs of pressure per side; and the gantry weighs about 60 lbs. That is no doubt something to keep and eye on.

Putting a wood router on it will be the last phase of this machine. I’ll have the plasma and torch working and cutting parts before I start on the router program. I’m going to do that just for fun.

Thanks for the nice comments! AJ

DRL
02-25-2008, 06:08 PM
AJ,
Thanks for the great pixs. I have them saved on my hard drive for latter reference. BTW pix #018-020 I think it is do not work. I really like some of the features and will steal them when I get around to building mine. Let use know when you add some more pixs after #049.
Keep up the great work.
Doug

DRL
02-25-2008, 06:35 PM
AJ,
Tried to open your plans but my freebie CAD won't open it. One question I have, it looks like from the pixs that your X axes rails locate the gantry on the rear rail. I think I am seeing it right, V rollers on the rear and flat rollers on the front. It seems like it would be better to have the V rollers on the same end of the gantry as the drive. Am I seeing it wrong or am I just thinking wrong?

Doug

ajclay
02-25-2008, 06:40 PM
DRL,

Thanks for pointing that out the problem with .jpg files... The file extension was wrong, I’ve got it fixed. Also added a couple more photos…. 50 & 51.

I have to hit the books on the power supply and other electrical problems. So, that’s going to be the next bunch of photos...

Thanks, Aj

ajclay
02-25-2008, 06:45 PM
DRL,

Also, if I can help you in any way don’t hesitate to ask. I'm by no means an expert, but I have learned a few things from the school of hard knocks.... and as most, I’ve got an opinion…..

Aj

ajclay
02-25-2008, 06:54 PM
DRL,

One thing about autocad, the drawing files have to be in the same format / version as your autocad viewer. Drop an e-mail to me if you need a good program to view it with: ajclay@cox.net

The vee rail is on the high side or rear of the machine and the flat rail is on the front or lower side. We don't want anything to hit the vee rail during loading so that's why it's on the rear. There is a servo drive motor on each side of the X, (two). One motor on the Y or gantry.

It should track just fine.

Thanks, stay in touch.

Aj

Weldtutor
02-25-2008, 07:21 PM
I have to hit the books on the power supply and other electrical problems.


This Link (http://www.campbelldesigns.net/files/power-supply-part-1.pdf) might help with your power supply.

cooknwithgas
02-26-2008, 12:01 PM
AJ:

Here's a tip you can use for your electrics. I recently built a 3-axis mill including a ballscrew conversion, etc. For the motors and controllers and power supply I used a kit from Dan Mauch. It has the power supply and all the drivers for the stepper motors and included the motors also. It is the best way to go in my opinion since you built all the hardware - leave the electrons to the guys who do that. It cost me around $1800 but was worth it and it worked right out of the box and I've been able to focus on making stuff with a working CNC mill instead of fiddling around with my soldering iron. Great work by the way,

Scott Laughlin
Omaha, Nebraska
http://www.cooknwithgas.com/CNC_Mill/CNC.html

ajclay
02-26-2008, 09:35 PM
Weldtutor,

Thanks for the “link”. That’s a good primmer for sure. I’m starting to get an understanding of the basics. As with everything, I have to pay my dues and do a little research. I’m getting there slow but sure.

I’m just trying to be able to build and maintain all aspects of my machine. When it brakes down for one reason or another I’ll be able to pull out my notes and got to town on the repair.

Thanks, Aj

ajclay
02-26-2008, 09:53 PM
Scott,

WOW, your airplane work looks great. My daddy was the head of EAA here in Baton Rouge for a while and rebuilt several fabric covered style planes from the ground up. He never worked on any metal covered planes. Yours really looks good..

I don’t know about the corvair engine though. Looks pretty, but I don’t know if I’d like to get airborne with it or not. I had about 30years experience in an engine shop, so I’ve seen about everything go wrong that could.

Thanks for the info in the Dan’s sight. I going to try my hand at it fist before I submit to buying one.

My next project is going to be a small mill. You gave me some ideas. Thanks, AJ

ajclay
02-28-2008, 08:29 PM
I put the plans on my internet server for download. They are in AutoCAD v2000 format and "zipped" to speed transfer.

Understand, these plans are not 100%, it's project in progress. You'll have to know the bascis in AutoCad to really use the plans. I didn't use very many dimensions, so you'll have to check that as needed. But, the plans are accurate.

http://members.cox.net/ajclay/2-28-08_Plasma.zip

If you want to download photos of the project, change the last part of the address numbers to get different photos. Be sure to keep the .jpg file extension.

http://members.cox.net/ajclay/001.jpg

Currently 001.jpg - 051.jpg photos on site.

Take a look at the plans / photos and I'll fill in the blanks. As with any project I can only wright down so much info. Some things slip through the cracks.

Aj

Normsthename
03-05-2008, 05:24 PM
Hi ajclay
Nice Job :)

I worked on the plans for a few months before I cut the first piece of metal. Should have seen what I started out with. I'm a firm believer in “if you can draw it, you can build it”. There is a lot of truth in that statement.
I agree!
I did the same with my Router / Plasma table :)
I drawn it in 3D and I changed the design so many designs, each time I refined it until I was ready to cut metal :)
It paid dividends because the design was 99% right first time :D
I only made a couple of minor alterations to my original design.
Drawing it in 3D helped no end, being able to rotate and zoom in was a godsend! :)

I am looking into making a Mark 2 Plasma Table :)
I have loads of ideas I learned from Mark 1 to improve the machine.
I want to build a table to take a 2000mm x 1000mm Stock Sheet.
Also I want to use servo motors instead of Steppers to get the speed up for cutting thin material.
My current table is 1000mm x 600mm and was initially built as a router, the gantry is way too heavy for Plasma. The gantry weighs 100+ lb :eek:

I have looked at your design and it looks great, but one quick question.......
The Gantry has odd sized legs, where one motor is lower than the motor on the other side.
I am sure that there is a logical explanation for this, I just can't see it :)

Thanks

Andy

ajclay
03-05-2008, 08:42 PM
Andy,

My machine is what I call a “drop side” machine. The cutting table is higher on three sides. Only the rear where the vee rail is located is higher or taller than the cutting table. This type of configuration will be easier to load heavy plate without damaging something. So, that throws the motors off about 9in on my machine.

I’ve seen a few machines with the cutting table lower or sunk down between the main rails. With this type the material is mainly loaded from the ends in most cases. In my opinion, it isn’t versatile as a drop side.

The smaller a machine gets, the less important it becomes.

Thanks for the interest.

Aj

Normsthename
03-06-2008, 06:06 AM
My machine is what I call a “drop side” machine.
I see!
I knew there would be a simple answer! :)
A drop side is a good idea for my Mark 2 Table.
I need it to be easy to load a 2000mm (78") x 1000mm (39") 16swg Stainless Steel which weighs approx. 52lb single handed.
It is definitely something that I will need to bear in mind for Mark 2 :D

Thanks

Andy

ajclay
03-10-2008, 09:47 PM
Here is some good information on servo motor / drive / power supplies. Just another piece of the puzzle that I had to dig up. This inforomation should be easier to find for people that need help. (like me)


Aj



http://www.rutex.com/pdf/Mystique2.pdf

DRL
03-20-2008, 04:11 PM
AJ,
Was going though your pixs again an had an idea(dangerous).

http://members.cox.net/ajclay/047.jpg

What would be wrong with putting the rack on with more bolts and using the back side(top in this case) as the rail for your cam follower. Then you would not need the CR. Never hurts to keep the parts count down if it would work.

DRL

ajclay
03-20-2008, 07:30 PM
DRL,

I don't have the best design, but I think I have one that can be repaired and maintained if future problems accrue; and I’m sure they will for one reason or another. There's nothing wrong with your idea, matter of fact, these guys build some of their machines that way.

http://www.dynatorch.com/

I considered that design, but it just isn't the right thing to do in my mind. If there is a problem with the rack for some reason and it has to be replaced with another size or shape... Well, now there's double trouble. Either way it’s a lot of work when something fails.

My power supply parts are slowly arriving by UPS. I’m close to start wiring the pieces together and getting things moving under their own power.

Thanks for the note….. Aj