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  1. #1
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    Default CNC Plasma State of Play

    Recently got me a new plasma cutter that does a respectable cut up to 20mm, and has a machine torch available as an option, which has started me thinking about CNC. Any experience out there with a kit or DIY setup?

  2. #2
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    Watching with interest.
    Which machine did you get?

    Steve

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by OxxAndBert View Post
    Which machine did you get?
    One of these things:
    https://swswelding.com.au/collection...31806570070064

    Only downside with it so far is that the cooling fan seems to come on based on a thermostat, but never turns off, even when the machine must have cooled off. And it's a noisy little bugger.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by RustyArc View Post
    One of these things:
    https://swswelding.com.au/collection...31806570070064

    Only downside with it so far is that the cooling fan seems to come on based on a thermostat, but never turns off, even when the machine must have cooled off. And it's a noisy little bugger.
    Thanks. I've seen those online recently and thought they looked good (and CNC ready).
    Be interesting to hear what SWS have to say about the fan. I'd be surprised if that wasn't being controlled by firmware.
    Might also be an opportunity to float CNC with them in case they have feedback from other users they can share.
    Mate of mine has just ordered a TIG from them. He's mainly doing prototype work, but the guy who does any production alloy welding for him has one and is very happy with it.

    I've no personal experience, but got excited a while back and had did quite a bit of online "investigation" into CNC plasma.
    For my own situation I'd definitely want a water table or really good fume extraction, and think I'd probably get away with a 600x600 travel machine as long as it had the ability to overhang a larger sheet if necessary.
    Seemed that torch height control was very desirable too.
    The nature of plasma cutters (compared to routers etc) seems to cause a fair few interference issues that can drive you berserk trying to track down if haven't got good shielding and control boards etc.

    Steve

  5. #5
    elanjacobs is online now Apprentice gear maker and machine doctor
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    Quote Originally Posted by OxxAndBert View Post
    The nature of plasma cutters (compared to routers etc) seems to cause a fair few interference issues that can drive you berserk trying to track down if haven't got good shielding and control boards etc.
    When we first got our CNC router at my old work, the welder a couple of factories down on the same property (common supply) was wreaking havoc on it with power spikes. We installed a solar panel system shortly after and that fixed it (dunno what exactly it did, but it worked), but definitely worth looking into options for isolating/smoothing the power supply.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by OxxAndBert View Post
    Be interesting to hear what SWS have to say about the fan. I'd be surprised if that wasn't being controlled by firmware.
    They reckon it should turn off after 10 minutes if it's cool enough, which could be true - I'll need to check that next time it's fired up.

    Mate of mine has just ordered a TIG from them. He's mainly doing prototype work, but the guy who does any production alloy welding for him has one and is very happy with it.
    If I hadn't already bought my Unimig, I'd have seriously considered their unit - I think I saw somewhere that they did firmware updates for it, which would be awesome if true.

    For my own situation I'd definitely want a water table or really good fume extraction, and think I'd probably get away with a 600x600 travel machine as long as it had the ability to overhang a larger sheet if necessary.
    Seemed that torch height control was very desirable too.
    I was thinking 1200x1200 and similarly, with the ability to index/overhang a larger sheet. That said, hadn't actually worked out where that would fit... Nor how I'd handle and load a full, say, 12mm sheet...

    CNC seems pretty straightforward these days with lots of essentially turnkey components - I have a 6040 CNC router where there's probably only a handful of custom components (i.e. the gantry ends).

    I'll ask SWS about CNC options. There's also a local bunch who do CNC kits - 3dtek - but they didn't respond to my inquiry

  7. #7
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    Hey Rusty - did you ever get any further with this?

    Steve

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by OxxAndBert View Post
    Hey Rusty - did you ever get any further with this?
    No - and every time I see a CNC plasma fire up on a Youtube video it comes to mind again...

  9. #9
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    Haha - I know that feeling!
    What surprises me a bit is the lack of DIY plasma table kits locally. Plenty of CNC routers, but Ive only seen a couple of plasma ones.
    Out of interest I did the online quote thing for a 1200x1200 PlasmaCAM setup. Around $28k...
    Im guessing even getting something like a Langmuir Crossfire ex USA would still run close to $5k
    Below that there doesnt seem to be much other than rolling your own from scratch. Less dollars, but LOTS more time.

    Steve

  10. #10
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    From my research it would seem that CNC plasma is not for the faint hearted! The plasma produces an enormous amount of electrical noise that causes havoc if effective shielding is not consider up front. Avid CNC makes a range of "roll your own" systems that appear to be popular in the US although I am not aware of an Australian distributor (I have bought some items from Avid CNC and their customer service is exceptional but even they bemoaned the cost of shipping to Australia). There are plenty of builds on YouTube but they generally lack the detail required (I do like Stefan Cymbaluk builds but he hasn't done any videos for about a year). Rod W (Brisbane based) has provided an excellent write up of his build - search for "rod's spaceship cnc plasma".

  11. #11
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    Here is a video I did just before Christmas showing file creation and cutting on my CNC plasma


    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dUm5VYdV1c

  12. #12
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    Thanks Greolt. What machine do you have - a commercial one or did you build your own?

    Steve

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by OxxAndBert View Post
    Thanks Greolt. What machine do you have - a commercial one or did you build your own?
    I built my own It can cut 1200 x 1200. Or a full sheet hanging out one end.

    Chinese pilot arc plasma cutter. Water table.

  14. #14
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    Id be really keen to see a few photos and hear your thoughts on the build. Things that worked well, or that youd do differently with the benefit of hindsight.

    Steve

  15. #15
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    Thanks for the Video Greg, was it built from scratch or come as a kit?? Also if it's not too personal, what did it set you back dollar wise??
    Kryn
    To grow old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

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