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  1. #1
    Member CNCSuperNoob's Avatar
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    Default Esab

    Hi Guys. I'm looking into upgrading a friend's esab plasma cutter.
    I has a 1996 dual floppy controller and all the old goodies to work. I'd like to upgrade it to use a windows or linux based pc.
    I don't know anything about cnc but I'm ready to learn and assemble the pieces.
    I posted the same project on linuxcnc to have some feedback about using the software to run the machine. I don't know which components I will have to keep. The primary goal is ti use a moden interface and computer to run this beast. It uses a Hypertherm Max200 which we would like to remove and use a less power hungry cutter.
    I will post pics of the machine.
    Any info about the required components and software to buy to start this upgrade is welcome.
    Thanks.

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  2. #2

    Default Re: Esab

    Hi,
    you have quite a range of choices.

    LinuxCNC being open source has a lot to recommend it.

    Of the Windows solutions the leading contenders are:

    Mach4 (all development on Mach3 has ceased six years ago and is not recommended for a new machine). $200 license and hardware ranging up to $400 or so.
    UCCNC, a capable software solution with reasonably priced license and hardware, my understanding is that plasma it not its 'first strength'.
    Centroid Acorn, reasonably priced, approx $300, but not sure how it handles THC.

    I am most familiar with Mach4 and use an Ethernet SmoothStepper. The Ethernet SmoothStepper is often paired with a TMC torch height control which has a range of
    features includes highly programmable Anti-Dive functions. The combination of the Mach4 license, the ESS and the TMC controller will set you back approx $800, so its
    a good solution but not free.

    Craig



  3. #3
    Member CNCSuperNoob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Esab

    Thanks for the quick reply Craig.
    I found similar upgrades on different esab models on linuxcnc.
    I don't know anything about the hardware so I'll have to learn.
    Your info is very helpful. Let's say I decide to go Mach4 for windows (my friend is familiar with windows) do they offer hardware upgrades kits or do I have to buy the hardware on my own?
    Can I keep the esab components and remove the Dos/floppy controller only or do I have to throw away the motors and the torch holder. Sorry for not putting in the right terms I'm learning.
    We plan to put up to 3000$ in the upgrade to get something optimal and with easy maintenance.
    Do you have an esab machine?



  4. #4

    Default Re: Esab

    Hi,
    Mach4Hobby is a software solution sold by New Fangled Solutions ($200), but they sell software only. They rely on other manufacturers to supply
    motion controllers in particular.

    There are six manufacturers of Mach4 ready motion controllers at this time, and anyone familiar with Mach3 will recognize the names as they all have
    a long history supplying Mach3 ready controllers.

    Different manufacturers have different features and specialities and different price ranges. Without going through the list of them I would recommend
    the Ethernet SmoothStepper (ESS) by Warp9TD ($180). The ESS has realtime (hardware) support for THC with a TMC torch height controller.
    You have a big plasma and you'll want big performance, in which case you definitely want a TMC controller ($400). You also need a breakout
    board like a C25 ($30) so you have a place to hook limits, homes, probes and your axis drivers.

    While I have recommended a TMC torch height control Mach4 has in recent times (about 9 months ago) released a script based THC feature.
    For various technical reasons script based THC has NEVER worked well with any Windows based CNC software. The control loop is just not
    fast enough. Having said that the script based Mach4 THC solution achieves a creditable 20Hz closed loop bandwidth any many have used
    it with success. If you require higher dynamic range and the anti-dive features (highly recommended) then you'll want realtime (hardware) THC.
    You could, if trying to save pennies, go with the script based (free) option but I suspect you probably long for realtime THC.

    Given that the hardware I've recommended comes from different manufacturers you will by necessity have to buy individual components.
    I rather suspect CNC4PC probably have all of them if you enquired.

    I don't have plasma however I worked for a company for seven years that specialised in service and repair of welding equipment. The company
    is a Hypertherm agent, sales and service, and I personally had a lot to do with the internals of Hypertherm….superb equipment. Electronics
    is my thing. When you are finished with your 200Max they'll melt it down and make a tank out of it!!! Thats why I know you'll be expecting big
    things from your plasma and why I recommend Mach4/ESS/TMC/C25 as good solid, robust solution, without going to the expense of Hypertherm
    or Burney tables etc.

    The solution I've sketched out will cost the best part of $1000 so you'd best do your homework. Just because I am a Mach4 afficionado should not
    of itself convince you, you should look at other solutions. I am not familiar enough with LinuxCNC to offer expert comment but I do know that many
    plasma table users swear by it.

    Craig



  5. #5
    Member CNCSuperNoob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Esab

    Great info, thanks.
    I'm talking with forum members over at linuxcnc and I'm going for that solution. One member has already done another esab model p2500. I have p2000.
    I will try the linuxcnc. He gave me a list of the parts I need to buy.
    Thread is here if you want to take a look:
    https://forum.linuxcnc.org/38-genera...pgrade-project

    Thanks for taking the time to help.



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