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Old 12-20-2011, 09:39 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Torchmate decisions.. I need input

We have set aside approximately $7,000 to purchase a plasma table from Torchmate that will be used for (but not limited to) the following:

-Making detailed "cowboy/western scenes" for either a gate, or just stuff to have around the house.
-Misc. bracketry for vehicle/trailer projects
-Neat/interesting designs/pieces to supplement bbq pits and other metal works
-Anything a potential customer can imagine

Wants/Hopes:

*I'm hoping a 4x4 table with some killer software is within the budget! A 4x4 would make life easier since sheets of steel come in 4x8. We'll be using a miller 625xtreme and/or a large Snap-On to make the cuts... Probably the miller. This will not be used for mass production.

*We're interested in a water table to keep the smoke/dust to a minimum since we work in a climate controlled shop (which I'm thankful for!) It's not 100% necessary but it would certainly help. We'll either want a bolt together kit or a DIY kit.

*We MIGHT be interested in the tube/pipe cutting/notching stuff. Turns out that we already have the adapter that holds the tubing to the rotating assembly.

Unknown:
*Everything!

Here are some examples I found with a quick google search of pieces similar to what we'd like to do..








Yes, this pic is massive ^^^ And obviously it wouldn't fit in a 4x4 table.. just an example

I have a LOT to learn about these.. I'll likely give Torchmate a call after I hear what you all have to say.

School me
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Old 12-21-2011, 05:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I have a TM2 4x4 in my garage in Sugar Land. I built the watertable myself, its a must have. I know of another 4x4 here in town that I've worked around a bit without a watertable and it sucks for dust, debris, noise, and general dirty filthyness.

The platemarker and AVHC has been invaluable for me. I also have the Tube setup but do not have it installed or hooked up as the watertable nixes that deal. I've got a glame plan on mounting it outside the rails and making a snap mount to move the torch carrier from the gantry face to the gantry end for cutting tube outside the rails only. Havent done it yet though.

The best thing I can say is that the bigger units you get the more robust TorchmateCAD version, and that makes snaggin images off the internet and be burning it out less than 5 minutes later is huge.

Oh yeah your comment on the gate being to big. As long as its not more than 4 feet in one direction you can cut as long as you want. So on a 4x4, you could do a 4'x20' gate like that with 5 indexes in the file. You burn the 1st portion, then slide the material through, cut the 2nd, then repeat.
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Old 12-21-2011, 12:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I have a TM 2x4 machine and am extremely impressed with it. Best tool in the shop.

$7K should be enough to do a 4x4 machine. Particularly if you already have the torch, compressor and can build your own water table.
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Old 12-21-2011, 01:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
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If your going to get into doing gates and inserts you will really want a 4x8 machine. My current table is 4x4 because that is all that my shop will fit and I really wish I could upgrade to a 4x8 to make artistic cutting profitable. The water table is a must have IMO. I can cut in my 25x25 shop without running myself out. At work the table without any water runs people out of a 50x150 shop quickly. Stupid vent isn't plumbed right yet. Tube cutter is a cool upgrade, but so far I haven't had a call for one. I would put that money towards a better cutter and a bigger table. The scribe would be ahead of the tube cutter. Don't forget that you will need to put more money aside for files. There are a lot of great cut file suppliers out that that will save you a ton of time and money and allow you to sell lower priced decorative stuff.
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Old 12-21-2011, 01:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Software and Automatic Torch Height Control are a Must!!


Software to take high res pictures and convert them to .dxf is a must for art work, if not your spending alot of time in a cad program.


Side note: Our tables come with above features as standard, and we are local.
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Old 12-21-2011, 02:11 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I've had a Torchmate 2 "bolt-together" table for about 3 years. Started with a 4x4 and later added the other 4ft to make it 4x8. I run a Hypertherm 1250 and have a ATHC.

I would say.. get the largest table you can afford/fit. For artsie stuff, you'll want a plasma torch with "fine cut" consumables.. like Hypertherm. Cutting thin sheetmetal, you're gonna want a water table to keep the sheet cool (as well as keeping dust/smoke to a minimum). You're also gonna want the ATHC to maintain accurate torch height while the material warps from heat. ATHC is also needed for "production runs" where you hit "Start" and walk away from the table for long periods of time.. while it's cutting.

Those Western wall hangings you posted are easily done in the TM CAD program. There are also vendors who sell packages of various designs/themes/shapes that you can paste together to create your own drawings. Once you get the CNC plasma process down, you'll be limited only by your imagination and dedication.

You might want to check out This Thread in the Torchmate Forum.. all kinds of neat ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Good luck!
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Old 12-21-2011, 03:16 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks for putting your trust in us pic_jon!!

The best advice I can give to anyone looking to purchase a cnc table is to call and just talk through what you are trying to do with our team. They will stear you the right direction. You have lots of options and you don't have to do everything at once. The whole idea is to have the system grow with you. We are still working on the next step that will allow for upgrading from 4x4 to 4x8 and larger.

There is a learning curve, so be patient and keep our phone number close. At this point we have 8 guys down in support that are just waiting for folks to call with questions. One thing you can rest assured of is that we are not going anywhere and you know where to find us.
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Old 12-22-2011, 11:42 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks a bunch for the input.. It helped quite a bit.. Especially the link to the thread with everyone's pictures! Neat stuff in there!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Torchmate View Post
Thanks for putting your trust in us pic_jon!!

The best advice I can give to anyone looking to purchase a cnc table is to call and just talk through what you are trying to do with our team. They will stear you the right direction. You have lots of options and you don't have to do everything at once. The whole idea is to have the system grow with you. We are still working on the next step that will allow for upgrading from 4x4 to 4x8 and larger.

There is a learning curve, so be patient and keep our phone number close. At this point we have 8 guys down in support that are just waiting for folks to call with questions. One thing you can rest assured of is that we are not going anywhere and you know where to find us.
Absolutely! I wish we could order directly from you guys. We'll be ordering through one of our approved vendors.

I'll give you guys a call!
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