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Old 08-03-2012, 06:11 PM   #1 (permalink)
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New Plasma Machine Build - iplasma table, Hypertherm, Dragon Cut

We are starting a new build and were are going to document it from start to finish.

Its going to consist of a 4x8 iplasma table from Precision Plasma
Water table using GreenCut fluid
Hypertherm Powermax 65 cutter
Dragon Cut electronics package from CandCNC

Were using Corel Draw x6, SheetCam and Mach3
We are also going to be featuring and demoing products from Cascade Metal Designs and Steel F/X

We are going to upload updates as often as we can we also have a website dedicated to the build that you can follow:

Check it out: http://www.cncplasmabuild.com

We expect to brake the crate open in the morning and start building the table.

It wont let me post photos yet so you will have to check them out on the website.
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Old 08-03-2012, 11:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Great setup! You'll love it. Mine is very similar and it has literally opened new doors for me that never would have been possible without the CNC.

The table is very easy to put together except for the slats. I had to do them myself and somebody suggested using bungee cords to hold it all together. It worked perfectly.

Feel free to PM or email me if you have any questions about the table or electronics. Then maybe you can detail how to setup the THC because I still haven't done mine. :-)
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Old 08-04-2012, 10:07 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info! I'm planning on doing a water table with 1/8 flat stock running across the table. I keep going back and forth over running the slats across the short access or long. Both have points to ponder. The THC is the major reason for this upgrade. I think it will make all the difference from my old machine. And I plan on detailing the entire project so when I get to that point and you have questions let me know.




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Great setup! You'll love it. Mine is very similar and it has literally opened new doors for me that never would have been possible without the CNC.

The table is very easy to put together except for the slats. I had to do them myself and somebody suggested using bungee cords to hold it all together. It worked perfectly.

Feel free to PM or email me if you have any questions about the table or electronics. Then maybe you can detail how to setup the THC because I still haven't done mine. :-)
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Old 08-04-2012, 06:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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What is Made in the USA ?

Assembled in the USA probably more accurate ?
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Old 08-04-2012, 07:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The Hypertherm and CandCNC products are all-American. If you don't follow this stuff, you could at least search a little before making dumb comments.

Thought you were a good tech guy?

check out the by-line right at the top:
http://www.candcnc.com

...and Hypertherm is not assembled off-shore, like the rest of the big brands.
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Old 08-04-2012, 08:06 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The Made is the USA refers to quite a few items in this build. The Plasma Table from Precision Plasma is built in the USA as well as the Equipment from CandCNC. We are in AZ and will be custom fabricating the water table and several other components as well. We do business with American Companies when ever possible. We fly the American flag proudly outside our shop and are proud Americans here at Desert Fabworks.
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Old 08-05-2012, 02:52 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Good job so far, thanks for posting this up.
I'm in Fort Mohave too. I'll be watching your build.
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Old 08-05-2012, 10:32 AM   #8 (permalink)
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So all the components are MADE IN THE USA ?
All the electronics are USA ?
All the steel is USA steel ?
You are sure of this ?


Just because YOU put the pieces together in the USA != made in USA thus my comment of ASSEMBLED in the USA.

If all of it's 100% USA made that's awesome.

That's why I`m wondering because I too like to buy USA made whenever appropriate, and possible.


SOrry if you think it's dumb that I want clarification.
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Old 08-05-2012, 06:16 PM   #9 (permalink)
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just razzin' ya.

You can split hairs all day long on where the steel for the table came from, or if they printed the receipt with an American ink cartridge, or who does their lawn.

Have a look at the CandCNC link
http://www.candcnc.com
ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY ELECTRONICS: DESIGNED, MANUFACTURED, TESTED, SHIPPED AND SUPPORTED IN THE USA


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Ha ha...thats funny! All Hypertherm products are built in our plants in Hanover and Lebanon, NH, USA. Come on over and I'll personally tour you through the main plant where all of the plasma's are enginneered, designed, reliability tested and built. I guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised at the facility, the smiles on our employees faces...as well as the level of commitment to performance and product quality.
Jim
I don't know much about the table kit, but am looking forward to seeing this build. They look similar to the older Bulltears, with an upgraded Z axis. Not too keen on the smaller tables with flat roller bearings on tube steel, but the other models with v-wheels and belt reduction look interesting. The website also shows cold-roll and roller-bearing ways.

Which setup is this build?
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Old 08-05-2012, 07:28 PM   #10 (permalink)
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This table is the iplasma series they are made in MN not sure where the foundry for the steel it though. This does have the bearing on ground stainless steel tubes. They have upgrade kits for down the road with belt reduction and so on which we may try.

Did not get very far this weekend. Hit some snags when we un crated the frame and found some parts missing. Great customer service got a call back on Sunday from the owner and a fedex tracking number.

Also had a few problems with installing and getting the electronics package working. I though that I was computer tech savvy but this is kicking my butt, I'm sure its something simple. Nothing that a beer and a steak and some sleep cant fix.

Here are some pics for this weekend.

I also put up a quick video showing our old machine that were replacing

http://www.cncplasmabuild.com/videos.html
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Old 08-07-2012, 10:59 PM   #11 (permalink)
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The pan was delivered from the fab shop today. Forming 5 x 10 sheets of 1/8 was a little out of my capabilities.

Though I was going to go crazy today chasing my tail trying to get Mach and my controllers set up. Turned out that the serial port header on the Motherboard was bad.

Switched to a USB to serial converter and so far everything is working Great. I have heard horror stories about the usb to serial so not sure if I will keep it or get a pci serial card.

Need to weld in the slat supports and the plumbing connections so I can drain the table.

Got to love all of the bumps in the road on a project like this.
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Old 08-08-2012, 05:30 PM   #12 (permalink)
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looks like a fun project, the more ive worked with CandCnC stuff the more i like it.
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Old 08-21-2012, 10:15 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I did a bunch of work getting the water pan set. Precision Plasma the manufacture of the table provided plans for fabricating the water table. I modified the plans a little.

I went with 1/8 plate formed into a pan using their dimensions to fit the table. Their plans included an integrated slat holder that was plasma cut in to the plate then a 120 degree bend used to form a lip. No one in my area could plasma cut a sheet over 4 x 8 nor could they bend a 120 bend on top of the 180 bend. So I opted to use their alternate design.

I used 1.5 x 1.5 angle welded along the edge with 3/16 gaps.

They specified 3.5 in 1/8 flat stock for the supports. 3.5 inch flat stock is crazy expensive at almost $40 a stick and i needed 10 for the table. I opted for 2.5 in which was a quarter of the price.

To make this work I added a 1/2 support to raise the slats up off the floor of the pan and help with fluid flow. I also opted to have the slats sit 1/2 below the rim of the pan.

I will fill the table 2.5 inches deep and have 1/2 gap between the fluid and the part being cut. I think this will workout ok but its the first time I have done this so we will see.

Their design did not call for a center support rib but I added one and it made a big difference.

The slats slip in nice and easy but lock in once in place and I do not get any movement.

Yes the steel in the drawing is brand new, my steel supplier delivered some very rusty stock and they did not have enough. I hate cleaning brand new things!

I put more photos on the build website than I could post here: I did a bunch of work getting the water pan set. Precision Plasma the manufacture of the table provided plans for fabricating the water table. I modified the plans a little.

I went with 1/8 plate formed into a pan using their dimensions to fit the table. Their plans included an integrated slat holder that was plasma cut in to the plate then a 120 degree bend used to form a lip. No one in my area could plasma cut a sheet over 4 x 8 nor could they bend a 120 bend on top of the 180 bend. So I opted to use their alternate design.

I used 1.5 x 1.5 angle welded along the edge with 3/16 gaps.

They specified 3.5 in 1/8 flat stock for the supports. 3.5 inch flat stock is crazy expensive at almost $40 a stick and i needed 10 for the table. I opted for 2.5 in which was a quarter of the price.

To make this work I added a 1/2 support to raise the slats up off the floor of the pan and help with fluid flow. I also opted to have the slats sit 1/2 below the rim of the pan.

I will fill the table 2.5 inches deep and have 1/2 gap between the fluid and the part being cut. I think this will workout ok but its the first time I have done this so we will see.

Their design did not call for a center support rib but I added one and it made a big difference.

The slats slip in nice and easy but lock in once in place and I do not get any movement.

Yes the steel in the drawing is brand new, my steel supplier delivered some very rusty stock and they did not have enough. I hate cleaning brand new things!

I put more photos on the build website than I could post here: http://cncplasmabuild.com/

More updates coming soon!
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Old 08-23-2012, 08:26 AM   #14 (permalink)
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It has been way too hot and humid to work lately. So much for a dry heat here in Arizona.

I got the plasma table built / set up. One of the very nice things about getting a kit form table like we did is how easy it is to set up. The table is the iplasma series from Precision Plasma.

It was very easy to set up and with 2-3 three people could be completed in under 2 hours. Taking pictures and documenting the process slowed us down a bit. That is really nice to be able to have a 4 x 8 table up and ready in that amount of time with only simple hand tools.

The entire frame came powder coated blue. The bends were all uniform and no tool marks showed through the powder coat. The welds on the trolleys and the gantry's were all tig'ed.

The water pan Should drop right in I hope!.

If I was not doing the water pan I could throw some slats in the pre cut holders and hook up the electronics and be cutting.

I have a few more things to build though before I'm cutting. Here are some of the pics. I could not fit all of them here so the rest are on the build site:
www.cncplasmabuild.com
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Old 08-23-2012, 08:38 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Definitely like the builid site. I also have been keeping up here as well as www.cnczone.com

Nice Build!

I went the low (not so low) budget and have been building my table from a gantry kit where I had to order my own rails, parts, hardware and so on. Its been a long process, but we will be up and running real soon.
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Old 08-23-2012, 03:42 PM   #16 (permalink)
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This is a budget build for me also. I went high in some area and lower in others so that I can have a nice balance. The gantry is on the lower side while I think it will be fine. There are up grade options down the road if i want which is nice.
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Old 08-26-2012, 01:31 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Got a little more done. I got the stepper motors installed and the torch ran through the cable carriers and switched over to the mini machine torch and got rid of the large gear rack collar.

I fabricated up a cart / rack to hold the 55 gallon drums that will be my sump system for the table liquid. Still having a lot of different thought about how that's going to work. I really want to pressurize the barrels to move the fluid up the table and let it drain back but a little worried that the cap is going to pop off and I will loose it all on the floor. It should only take about 5 psi to move the fluid up but we will see.

At least the rack for the barrels is solid and fits perfect between and under the rails so that I can move it out for service and changes in the future. I have a small shop and have almost everything on wheels.

I'm going to start working on a cart that will hold the plasma cutter, computer, and electronics controller unit.

If any one has tried a sump system like this before I would love to hear your thoughts.
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Old 09-02-2012, 04:11 PM   #18 (permalink)
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With the help of 5 friends I got the water table lifted into place in the plasma table base. It fit! Very excited about that.

I plan on welding in the drain bungs and plumbing my sump system this week finally.

I made a little progress on the rolling cart that will hold my computer, plasma cutter and my Dragon Cut electronics box and an UPS system. I have to fab up the slide out drawer that will hold the keyboard and mouse and install the gas strut shocks that will raise the lid that will hold the monitor.

I looked at a bunch of other peoples photos of how they set up their electronics and almost settled on using a pre-built rolling tool cart but decided to go fully custom so that this unit would slide under the table when not in use and hold everything in one place.

The idea is to store this under the table and when I go to use it, slide it out from under the table. The lid with the monitor will fold up into a vertical position with the help of some gas struts and it will have a slide out drawer / tray for the keyboard and mouse.

Pull up a rolling stool and I will be all set. I'm big on keeping my wires and cables under control. I hope to make this setup as clean as possible. As soon as I can get everything set and tested I will send it all out to powder coat.

Getting close to being done!!
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Old 09-02-2012, 07:14 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I put a 60G compressor tank on it's side under my table. Was thinking the same thing, lower the water, and 5psi to raise it. Neat-o, eh?

My tank has only been used it once...there is hardly any need to raise or lower the water. Certainly not every time you make a part and need to retrieve it.

I find I'm constantly adding water because it evaporates quickly just sitting there, and with the table running, steam is produced. And its humid around here, somewhere dry might be worse.

If i need to change the slats (once every year or so) I just figure out when I can let the table sit for a while, and let the water evaporate or get really low. Like during Xmas vacation or something. Then when you are back in the shop, change the slats, clean out the pan, and re-fill with water.

If you are going to raise/lower a bunch, you are going to need some kind of filter to keep the table scraps and sludge from getting into the tanks.

And make yourself aware of the dangers of cutting aluminum and getting hydrogen (?) gas down in your tanks. Its more of a problem with circulatory tank systems, that are running a loop into the tanks while the plamsa is cutting. Gas can build up and explode.
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Old 09-07-2012, 09:59 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Its been tough getting work done on this project lately. 72+ hours a week at the day job does not leave much fabrication time lately.

I did make some progress on my computer cart. I both hate and enjoy the custom fabrication and all the bolt it on try it take it apart and repeat a thousand times.

I got the gas struts installed for the flip up monitor panel. It works great! I have changed struts many times which is easy but figuring out the mounting points and the the load vs the leverage and finding a strut that is not designed for what you want to do and making it work took a bit.

I was going to enclose the cart more and put panels on the sides but I figure that since the norm temp in the shop is about 110 I had better leave is open for some ventilation.

I need to mount the Dragon cut box so that it sits up off the floor and figure out how I want to mount the emergency stop button and it should be ready for powder coat.

I have been dreading the plumbing set up for the tanks and the water pan so I have not done anything with that in a bit. Maybe I will work on that next.

Thanks for all of the ideas and pictures you all have been sending!
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Old 09-08-2012, 08:29 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Great looking build. 2 things

1) where did you get your cable carriers and about how much where they, if you don't mind me asking?

2) are you sure about having your plasma so close to the computer and control box? It may not be an issue, but I've heard of guys with line noise issues. Just a thought.
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Old 09-08-2012, 12:26 PM   #22 (permalink)
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The cable carriers came with the table. Precision Plasma the manufacture of the table has options and pricing for with and without the cable carriers. I opted for them since I used them on my current table and love them. I think the cable carriers and the stainless trays were about a $300 option.

If you google "igus". Cable carriers there are a bunch of places and options.

They are a little pricy but worth it.

As far as having things as close as I do being a problem at this point I hope there is not a problem. I have heard that it is a problem and I have heard its not. Not sure who to believe.

On my current machine the computer and plasma unit are mounted to the table but separated by about 3 feet. I have not had any problems with that setup.

I hope there is not any problems. If there is not sure if I could run some metal screen between them and create a faraday cage.

I will have to check with Hypertherm and CandCNC and see if they know of any potential problems.
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Old 09-10-2012, 06:15 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Computer table is very nice. I've got my pc/power supply/bladerunner that close to the plasma unit. No issues, even with the plasma lead running in the cabler carrier. Make sure the table chassis is grounded really well.

The Bladerunner stuff and the plasma can taking sitting out in the shop like that, but the pc is going to hate life. At least put filters over the air intakes.
It should be in a cabinet.
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Old 09-10-2012, 08:22 PM   #24 (permalink)
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I have done some homework on the rf issue and got a bunch of info from Jim Colt at Hypertherm. I have had numerous people with similar configurations report that they have never had a problem and just a couple who have.

Two things with this set up that are in my favor is that I have a UPS that will be conditioning the power for the computer and electronics, and my powermax 65 does not use high frequency start.

Jim Colt definitely suggested a grounding rod and running grounding cables from the components to this rod and having it as close as possible to the table and keeping all cable runs as short as possible.

I plan on doing the grounding rod and as suggested by some other sites install some cheap and simple RF Ferrite Chokes on my cables running to the computer and to my electronics.

I also plan to keep as much separation between the various cables and avoid bundling or coiling cables together.

This is all more than I have on my current machine which has no grounding, but has had no problems. Maybe just lucky.

As far as the computer and the dust / dirt I have filters on the intake ports and I plan to keep the computer cart covered except when in use. With the water table and an exhaust fan over the table I expect to have very little plasma dust in the air/ getting into the computer.

The computer on the current table has been in use for a few years and it's pristine inside so I expect this one should do just as well.

I hope to be making my first cuts on this new machine in a few weeks so we will see soon enough if it all works out.
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Old 09-11-2012, 04:57 PM   #25 (permalink)
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IAs far as the computer and the dust / dirt I have filters on the intake ports and I plan to keep the computer cart covered except when in use. With the water table and an exhaust fan over the table I expect to have very little plasma dust in the air/ getting into the computer.

The computer on the current table has been in use for a few years and it's pristine inside so I expect this one should do just as well.
Right on....my issue with the 'open air' pc was grinding dust from the rest of the shop, not so much the table. If you have it covered when not in use, and filters, you should be OK.


Keep your .xml backups safe! Make sure you back everything up to an expansion drive or something, and don't store important stuff on that pc.
Be redundant, do not rely on the shop pc for much but operating the table. I do the drawing/design/sheetcam programming on a laptop, and just use a flashdrive to load the g-code .tap files.

re: grounding rod - sounds like you have it covered. My DTHC works awesome, it was flakey before the rod was pounded into the earth.
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