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Old 12-21-2015, 05:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Another CNC Plasma table build (CandCNC/Precision)

Iíve been wanting to do this for several years, but just recently decided to go for it after spending some time looking browsing this forum and others. This is really going to be a hobby endeavor, but we will see how this works out for the income stream. I donít want to get any unrealistic expectations.
I found a lot of great ideas and was inspired by a lot of the posts and build threads Iíve seen here and on other sites and hopefully I can do the same for someone else with this build. Feel free to chime in with any ideas or even criticism. The one thing Iíve found out so far, is the steep learning curve of the software. I donít have much CAD experience, since im an old guy now and back in my day we used pencils for mechanical drawing. I can find my way around a computer pretty well though and have gotten some basics down in Corel and Inkscape.
Since this is going to be a buget project with the emphasis on hobby, I decided to go the kinda DIY route, rather than a turnkey table or just parts. I had a few considerations I was looking at, but I always got pointed back to Precision Plasma. For me, building is half the fun anyways. I was going to do a 4x4 table to save some space, but almost everywhere I read people wished they went bigger. I am somewhat limited on shop space (too much junk), but I decided to go with a 4X8 table and build more space!
Here is what I decided on and started gathering parts for;
Precision Plasma 4X8 HD (used speed monkeyís ad/offer here on Pirate)
CandCNC Blade Runner Dragon cut 620-4 Ethernet + DTHCIV
Sheetcam and Mach3
Hypertherm 65 w/Machine torch and serial port
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Old 12-21-2015, 06:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Well I got started a couple months ago so I am playing catchup with posting. I ordered my parts from Precision Plasma and CandCNC. Both of these outfits are terrific to work with! I was very pleased with both. I was going to go with the Magnum HD Gantry with belt drive because I wanted room to upgrade to a router later, but ended up with the HD and belt drive. It all showed up in several boxes very well packaged and organized.
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Old 12-21-2015, 06:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Got some of the Gantry put together. The electronics showed up too. Very pleased. I went with a refurbished win7 32bit i3 computer. Should do the trick.This is kinda like an early christmas.[img][/img][img][img]
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Old 12-21-2015, 06:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Good start! Let me know if you need any help, I just built basically the same table.

The software is what annoys me as well. I have CAD experience, Drawing parts is easy for me. Drawing this artsy stuff is a pain in the ass for me. I'm used to solidworks, Then I try to go and use correl and I'm lost every time. Takes me way longer than it should to do the drawings, I did download a trial of illustrator haven't had time to play with it though.
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Old 12-21-2015, 08:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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For what it is worth, I have a PPLLC Standard Duty Gantry and it will mount a large porter cable router with no problems... I generally just use a Porter Cable Trim Router to engrave... I have multiple functions, I built a scribe setup, I added Scanything and an optical scanner so when people bring my a part to duplicate or a pile of cardboard templates... I am not spending hours trying to duplicate them in CAD...
I use Draftsight CAD, I use AutoCAD R15, I use Inkscape... More than ANYTHING else I use CAD... but I do conversions in Inkscape then usually end up fixing them in CAD. Built mine two years ago come June... Paid for itself twice now and I am making money with it. Over and Over and Over. I used a water pan Slats run lengthwise.. mine is a 5x5... I load Thick Plate with a Winch and a 39" Conveyor Roller on the infeed of the table...
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Old 12-22-2015, 10:27 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks for the input. KKRoger, I saw your build early on. I got some ideas from you. I really like the scanner. I havent done the water table yet. I like the idea of running the slats lengthwise. Was this an issue loading the table? Mike, just looked at yours. great progress!
I have been busy the last couple weeks gathering goodies and trying to expand to make some more room for this beast. I got all the steel for the table. I decided to have the water pan broke out of a 5X10 sheet, rather then weld 24' along the edge of angle as the plans called for. I could just imagine the warpage issues! The cost was reasonable for the amount of labor saved.
I got some 5/8-11 machine feet, used some 5/8 structural studs I found and used some of the scrap 1/2" CRS and fabbed up the feet.



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Old 12-22-2015, 07:23 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Here are some more pics of the frame build up from last week. I made a little more room under the table than the plans called for to have a home for the plasma and electronics. I plan on doing an enclosure of some sort along with a keyboard and monitor stand. I shimmed up some steel flat on the floor to build on, then got both sides done. Got it square along the diagonals to a 1/32". I think that is close enough. Measured it a million times. Tacked it all up, then measured again. Finally welded it off, jumping around to try and avoid warpage. I later found the 2 extensions at the back of the table did come in a little. No big deal. All in all coming together well so far.







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Old 12-22-2015, 07:31 PM   #8 (permalink)
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This weekends work on the table. Getting the sub rails on as straight and flat as possible. Then drilling the CRS rails.



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Old 12-22-2015, 07:32 PM   #9 (permalink)
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oops.



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Old 12-22-2015, 07:51 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I was amazed how bowed the CRS rails were. I spent a lot of time measuring and adjusting making sure they are straight and parallel with each other. Then on with the cable track and end stops. Moving on to the water pan. It was a lot easier to weld up 12" of corners on a one piece pan, rather than 24' of perimeter for the multi piece one.
Well, this is where I am at today. I just crammed everything from several weeks into a few posts. Now I need to decide about the slats. I am leaning toward KKroger's idea of running them lengthwise. I have the material on-hand to do either. Any other thoughts?





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Old 12-22-2015, 07:58 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I load my table from the side so I prefer the slats in the short direction. If you plan to load length wise I would run them that way.
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Old 12-22-2015, 08:29 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I load my table from the side so I prefer the slats in the short direction. If you plan to load length wise I would run them that way.
I just assumed end loading, but over the side may work better since most of the time it will be a one man show. I will be able to bring sheets in on tractor forks if need be for the thicker stuff. I tossed that pan up here by myself, 'bout killed me. Don't want to make a habit of that. Thanks for the info.
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Old 12-23-2015, 06:18 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Slats work better "Lengthwise" or the edge of the material catches on the slats all the time... when loading. Here is a video of the Winch in use, never mind the help's Chattiness... This is loading 3/8 AR500 on the table from about 1' above with the winch
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwV-OnFXLNs
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Old 12-23-2015, 07:13 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I just assumed end loading, but over the side may work better since most of the time it will be a one man show. I will be able to bring sheets in on tractor forks if need be for the thicker stuff. I tossed that pan up here by myself, 'bout killed me. Don't want to make a habit of that. Thanks for the info.
You have to load EVERYTHING over the rail from the side...
End Loading is simpler for me, with heavy plate I can just back up to the table and drag it on with the winch...
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Old 12-23-2015, 08:31 PM   #15 (permalink)
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You have to load EVERYTHING over the rail from the side...
End Loading is simpler for me, with heavy plate I can just back up to the table and drag it on with the winch...
That makes sense. Thanks for the Video.
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Old 12-24-2015, 06:30 AM   #16 (permalink)
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That makes sense. Thanks for the Video.
There was over 1200 pounds of 3/8 AR500 plate in the truck as well as 400 Pounds of 3/16 plate... I can't even imagine trying to horse that over the rails by myself, Sheet metal maybe... I am running a 5x5 machine so my stuff is generally smaller sheets I can load a 5x5 4x5 or 4x4 by myself easily if I were to buy 10' sheets loading those might be a bit of a challenge... I did put a 39" Conveyor roller on the infeed and have leaned a plate against the table hooked my Steck pinch weld clamp on it and pulled it on with the winch from a vertical standing position... the winch I use is the 120VAC model from harbor freight, rated at 1500# IIRC. In the new shop we will have a couple 5x10 tables, and I will still have the 5x5 for small stuff. I have to do large panels from time to time...
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Old 12-29-2015, 08:59 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info. I decided to go lengthwise with the slats and redesign it a little from PP's plans. Should find some time this week to start up again. Curious, what are you doing with the AR500?
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Old 01-06-2016, 10:02 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I found some time to get busy on the table again today. I decided to go lengthwise with the water table slats after hearing some input here. This just seems like the better option for loading and the sheets not getting hung up as much on the slats. I discovered the kerf from my cold saw was just over an 1/8". perfect to slide the slats into. Set up a stop to go in an inch, then started cutting...and cutting. It turned out pretty well so far.






I also played around with the gantry last night and with MACH. Got the motors somewhat tuned and finally got some movement!
Question: Should I worry about a magnetic torch mount? I never gave it much thought before, but crashing my brand new machine torch would not be good. What do you guys think?

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Old 01-07-2016, 05:11 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info. I decided to go lengthwise with the slats and redesign it a little from PP's plans. Should find some time this week to start up again. Curious, what are you doing with the AR500?
Targets....
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Old 01-08-2016, 12:52 AM   #20 (permalink)
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More progress

The much needed rain we've been getting this week has given me another chance to work on the table today. Set up the drain on the water table. It's nice to use up some of the old parts laying around.










Got all of the slats installed. They needed a little persuasion from the hammer and are in there pretty solid.








Instead of just tacking the waterbed to the frame, I bolted it down so I could easily remove it later for painting or replacing.





Getting ready to tackle the rest of it next time.

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Old 01-08-2016, 01:30 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Use the magnetic breakaway torch mount. Sometimes things shift pop up when cutting and can hit your torch. I've had it happen twice with my 5'x10' table. The magnets I use are plenty strong enough to hold the torch firmly in place. Nice build btw.
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Old 01-08-2016, 10:12 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Use the magnetic breakaway torch mount. Sometimes things shift pop up when cutting and can hit your torch. I've had it happen twice with my 5'x10' table. The magnets I use are plenty strong enough to hold the torch firmly in place. Nice build btw.
Thanks. Did you make your own mag mount? I've seen them for sale, a bit pricey though. Willing to take a shot at building one, but without a mill accuracy might be an issue.
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Old 01-08-2016, 01:24 PM   #23 (permalink)
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I bought my mag mount with my gantry... I didn't have time to make one...
Couple different places to get such a thing. I like mine... from Precision Plasma...
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Old 01-15-2016, 04:31 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Thanks. Did you make your own mag mount? I've seen them for sale, a bit pricey though. Willing to take a shot at building one, but without a mill accuracy might be an issue.
I'll take a picture of mine later. Its not terribly complicated.
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Old 01-16-2016, 08:24 AM   #25 (permalink)
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I'll take a picture of mine later. Its not terribly complicated.
The more I thought about trying to make one; with the wrong tools, the more i thought about breaking down and buying one. I went with the Precision Plasma mag mount. Should be here next week. Ron at PP is a pleasure to work with. The build is coming together well. I have the gantry rolling and getting the electronics set up. pics to follow.
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