View Full Version : Newbie Just another LOW budget table

04-21-2009, 10:17 PM
I built a 3' x 4' table last fall, this was a real low budget build. I used alot of junk I had lying around and what i could scrounge up. Ive got less than $500 into it not including the plasma machine. The machine is a little crude but I am extremely supprised with the accuracy and speed of it. 200 ipm. I have been using the sh$$t out of it since I finished it, and have not had any problems with it at all. Except for a plasma cutting speed feed learning curve. I am fimilar with cnc and machine tools but not so much plasma cutting. It was a wonderful learning expeirence!! It has built up my confidence and I am now bitten by the cnc building bug and have been collecting bits for a mini vmc (not quite so low budget). Anyways hers some pics of the table I built.



04-22-2009, 03:47 PM
Accuracy, speed, & no problems sounds as if you put together a winner!
Thanks for posting the pictures.

Keep enjoying the CNC building "bug."

Do you know what the motors are from?

04-22-2009, 05:09 PM
The motors I got with the controler board off ebay. It was one that someone bought with intentions of building a router and never did. Found it buy it now for $150. 3 axis strepperworld fet3 board and 3 nema 34 motors unknown torque. That was one of the few item i had to buy.

Heres some pics of some 1/2" HRS I cut today.


I am still amazed I built this thing with junk and it works this well.

04-22-2009, 05:45 PM
There is countless pride in making something from practically nothing. I've built 2 machines from pretty much "Spare Items" (1) is a bending machine that will take 16" wide 1" A36 to 90 deg. Not a press break design but more like a contractor uses to bend metal trim for siding/soffit. A second I can't really describe other than it's used to wrap solid 1" HR round bar & 3/4 X 3 HR strap to the outside contour of a specific product we manufacture. Total investment in either machine was between $500.00 & $700.00 each. Both very dependable & I'm sure on a ratio of $'s invested / billable hours have made more money than anything else I own.

04-22-2009, 05:52 PM
Looks like you are getting nice cuts. You may have pieced it together from "JUNK" as you call it. I can see quite a bit of craftsmanship in your assembly. The direction changes on the shown parts have nice transition & are smooth. You can't have much slack or backlash in the machine. Overall I'll give 2 thumbs up on the budget table.


04-22-2009, 06:15 PM
There is some backlass, but very little, maybe .01". I have learned a way to take that out though, just got to get a roundtuit. I learned that if i mount my motor assemblies in such a way that I can tension the pinion to the rack with a spring that should go away.

Craftsmanship........LOL I can do much better. I just kinda pulled this out of my $ss as i went along, using what i had laying around. I have been aquiring bits to make a mini vmc, I plan to put a little more thought into that, but still using whatever bits I have or can get cheap of ebay. I plan to use servos for that but I have been checking out some of the mill builds on here and see that they perform nice with steppers. So I am now thinking about dumping the servos on ebay and getting a nice stepper setup. I havent played with the servos yet so I will decide when I get a chance to play with them a little. I just dont want the servos to overcomplicate things if I can get away with steppers. I have some real nice linear rails and ballscrews to use for the mill also. I cant wait to get started. I will start a thread for that soon....


Heres some artsy pics.

04-22-2009, 06:34 PM
Steppers should be fine on a small mill. The new square case steppers can pump out pretty good torque especially at low-medium speeds. & still achieve good rapids. especially on a small machine.

Couple them with better drives like the 203V Gecko & 60 or so volt power supply they can be very robust.

04-22-2009, 07:17 PM
Thanks for the reply.

Great looking cuts on the 1/2" & also the artsy stuff.

What I call my "warehouse" some people might call a junk pile.

04-30-2009, 12:08 AM

You built an excellent machine for less than $500. If it works dont fix it. I like that largemouth bass switch cover. Thanks for the pics/post.

04-30-2009, 10:35 AM

You built an excellent machine for less than $500. If it works dont fix it. I like that largemouth bass switch cover. Thanks for the pics/post.

Actually that frame didnt cost me anything, its made from snowmobile shipping crates that someone gave me. worked great because most of the work was already done. They are suprisingly flat too. I did have to buy a piece of good tube for the x axis rail setup, but I think that was the only steel I bought for this project. The rest is just junk I had laying around.

As far as if it works dont fix it...... actually ive decided that becuz I cus alot of thin sheet that I need to add a THC. I have the parts already but no time at the moment due to the fact that I have been super busy with powderkote work. I have also been shopping for a new plasma machine, I want to be able to cut at least 3/4 plate. I am working on getting some repeat jobs for the table but its 3/4 plate. My current machine limits me to 1/2" although I havent played around with the thicker stuff, I dont think that 40A box will do it. I'm looking at a 80A says it will do 7/8 and will sever like 1 1/2:D But I am also consider a slightly cheaper one that will sever 1 1/4 it a 50A. I want the bigger one but I may have to settle for the 50 for now.

If I get a go from the shops I am try to pull work from, I'll go get that new box:D

oh and I have to replace the slats in the be soon because they are getting pretty worn.


BTW Ive been using this thing for 6 months and I still think this by far the coolest and most usefull thing Ive ever made out of junk.

11-13-2009, 11:07 PM
So, I use this thing all the time and found a mod a while back that I wanted to do and finally got around to doing it. First of all if you arent familiar with plasma cutting, it creates lots of bad smoke and dust. Being computer controlled means that the machine does way more cutting than you could ever do manually, running for several minutes without stopping and doing this over and over again. My original idea was to evacuate the dust via ventilation, but never got around to ventilating properly. The new improved idea, was to create a water table, meaning that the cutting table is actually flooded with water, which does a couple good things. #1 the water traps or collects all the dust and smoke so that there is very little emitted into the air. #2 it keeps the sheet that is being cut cool, which in turn minimizes the warpage due to the heat from plasma cutting. Which also improves the cut quality and accuracy.

I wanted to add the water a while ago but didnt want that big body of water constantly evaporating into the air and causing everything in the shop to rust up and having to constantly add water to the table. So the solution I came up with is quite awesome. I started with fabricating a big pan where the cutting table is located, I then added another sheet about 7 inches up from the bottom of the pan that extends most of the way across the pan, all but about 6 inches actually. I then added another piece of sheet where that one ends, that goes down toward the bottom of the pan stopping about 1/2 inch from the bottom. In the side of the pan about 6 inches from the bottom I added 2 pipes, 1 for air in and 1 for air out.

How it works, is that the pan is filled with about 5 inches of water which leaves only 6 inches at the end of the table exposed to evaporation. Now I attache pressurized shop air to the air in pipe with a valve and just a valve on the air out. So now for the cool part, open the air in valve to pump air into the baffle that is created by the top sheet which in turn forces the water level up and onto the top sheet and up to the desired level for cutting, then shut off air in. Do my cutting then when I am finished cutting I open the air out valve, which lets the air out the baffle and the water drains back down into the bottom of the pan again leaving only 6 inches at the end of the table exposed to evaporation.

Yeah, its kinda a windy explaination but its kinda hard to explain. I wish I would have taken more pics of the build process, it would help explain things but....... heres the pics I do have.


It works awesome!!! I should have done this long ago!! The hardest part of the whole project was getting the pan sealed up so that is didnt leak, LOL.