BUILD YOUR OWN PLASMA TABLE
Floating Z axis ...(explained)
Sometimes we need to modify our CNC machine in order to achieve our machining goals as quickly and as efficiently as possible. CNC machines such as plasma, plotter cutters, lasers need mechanism that helps with measuring of material surface.
Good example of such modification is Floating Z axis.
The concept is pretty straight forward: Z axis has its own movable unit which is able to move when tool encounters with material surface.
Floating Z axis on a plasma machine is a safety feature that prevents any serious damage of your plasma torch, in case of hitting any obstacles on located on machine table.
For plotters and drag knife cutters, floating effect comes handy because it is much easier to apply pressure of the pen or knife onto material surface (paper, carton, vinyl etc) without the frustrating trial and error procedure.
Floating Z axis can also be used for measuring material top surface. In such case, floating z axis unit uses limit switch. When Z axis moves down towards the material, activated switch signals controller that surface of material was detected and zero work position of Z axis can be set.
SMALL GUIDE HOW TO USE OUR PRODUCTS:
FOR A HAND TORCH AND SMALL SIZE PLASMA TABLE WE RECOMMEND THIS LIFTER,IT HAS FLOATING SYSTEM ONLY:
FOR FLOATING AND BREAKAWAY SYSTEM WE RECOMMEND THIS LIFTER:
FOR COMMERCIAL USERS WE RECOMMEND THE HIGH END VERSION:
YOU ALSO CAN ADD TO YOUR EXISTING LIFTER FLOATING OR FLOATING AND BREAKAWAY SYSTEMS.
HERE IS FLOATING ONLY SYSTEM:
HERE IS FLOATING AND BREAKAWAY SYSTEM:
WE MADE A DIVERSE VARIETY OF CHOICES TO ACCOMMODATE YOUR DESIGN.
ALL PRODUCTS HAVE INCORPORATED SWITCHES FOR EASY INSTALL.
Plasma cutting is a process that cuts through electrically conductive materials by means of an accelerated jet of hot plasma. Typical materials cut with a plasma torch include steel, Stainless steel, aluminum, brass and copper, although other conductive metals may be cut as well. Plasma cutting is often used in fabrication shops, automotive repair and restoration, industrial construction, and salvage and scrapping operations. Due to the high speed and precision cuts combined with low cost, plasma cutting sees widespread use from large-scale industrial CNC applications down to small hobbyist shops.
Freehand cut of a thick steel plate
The basic plasma cutting process involves creating an electrical channel of superheated, electrically ionized gas i.e. plasma from the plasma cutter itself, through the work piece to be cut, thus forming a completed electric circuit back to the plasma cutter via a grounding clamp. This is accomplished by a compressed gas (oxygen, air, inert and others depending on material being cut) which is blown through a focused nozzle at high speed toward the work piece. An electrical arc is then formed within the gas, between an electrode near or integrated into the gas nozzle and the work piece itself. The electrical arc ionizes some of the gas, thereby creating an electrically conductive channel of plasma. As electricity from the cutter torch travels down this plasma it delivers sufficient heat to melt through the work piece. At the same time, much of the high velocity plasma and compressed gas blow the hot molten metal away, thereby separating i.e. cutting through the work piece.
Plasma cutting is an effective way of cutting thin and thick materials alike. Hand-held torches can usually cut up to 38 mm (1.5 in) thick steel plate, and stronger computer-controlled torches can cut steel up to 150 mm (6 in) thick. Since plasma cutters produce a very hot and very localized "cone" to cut with, they are extremely useful for cutting sheet metal in curved or angled shapes.
Plasma cutting with a tilting head
Plasma cutting grew out of plasma welding in the 1960s, and emerged as a very productive way to cut sheet metal and plate in the 1980s. It had the advantages over traditional "metal against metal" cutting of producing no metal chips, giving accurate cuts, and producing a cleaner edge than oxy-fuel cutting. Early plasma cutters were large, somewhat slow and expensive and, therefore, tended to be dedicated to repeating cutting patterns in a "mass production" mode.
As with other machine tools, CNC (computer numerical control) technology was applied to plasma cutting machines in the late 1980s into the 1990s, giving plasma cutting machines greater flexibility to cut diverse shapes "on demand" based on a set of instructions that were programmed into the machine's numerical control. These CNC plasma cutting machines were, however, generally limited to cutting patterns and parts in flat sheets of steel, using only two axes of motion (referred to as X Y cutting).
Proper eye protection and face shields are needed to prevent eye damage called arc eye as well as damage from debris. It is recommended to use green lens shade #5. OSHA recommends a shade 8 for arc current less than 300 A, but notes that "These values apply where the actual arc is clearly seen. Experience has shown that lighter filters may be used when the arc is hidden by the workpiece." Lincoln Electric, a manufacturer of plasma cutting equipment, says, "Typically a darkness shade of #7 to #9 is acceptable." Longevity Global, Inc., another manufacturer, offers this more specific table for Eye Protection for Plasma Arc Cutting at lower amperages :
Current Minimum Shade
0-20 A #4
20A -40 A #5
40 A-60 A #6
60 A-80 A #8
Leather gloves, an apron and a jacket are also recommended to prevent burns from sparks and debris.
Plasma cutters use a number of methods to start the arc. In some units, the arc is created by putting the torch in contact with the work piece. Some cutters use a high voltage, high frequency circuit to start the arc. This method has a number of disadvantages, including risk of electrocution, difficulty of repair, spark gap maintenance, and the large amount of radio frequency emissions. Plasma cutters working near sensitive electronics, such as CNC hardware or computers, start the pilot arc by other means. The nozzle and electrode are in contact. The nozzle is the cathode, and the electrode is the anode. When the plasma gas begins to flow, the nozzle is blown forward. A third, less common method is capacitive discharge into the primary circuit via a silicon controlled rectifier.
Inverter plasma cutters
Analog plasma cutters, typically requiring more than 2 kilowatts, use a heavy mains-frequency transformer. Inverter plasma cutters rectify the mains supply to DC, which is fed into a high-frequency transistor inverter between 10 kHz to about 200 kHz. Higher switching frequencies allow smaller transformer resulting in overall size and weight reduction.
The transistors used were initially MOSFETs, but are now increasingly using IGBTs. With paralleled MOSFETs, if one of the transistors activates prematurely it can lead to a cascading failure of one quarter of the inverter. A later invention, IGBTs, are not as subject to this failure mode. IGBTs can be generally found in high current machines where it is not possible to parallel sufficient MOSFET transistors.
The switch mode topology is referred to as a dual transistor off-line forward converter. Although lighter and more powerful, some inverter plasma cutters, especially those without power factor correction, cannot be run from a generator (that means manufacturer of the inverter unit forbids doing so; it is only valid for small, light portable generators). However newer models have internal circuitry that allow units without power factor correction to run on light power generators.
CNC cutting methods
Some plasma cutter manufacturers build CNC cutting tables, and some have the cutter built into the table. CNC tables allow a computer to control the torch head producing clean sharp cuts. Modern CNC plasma equipment is capable of multi-axis cutting of thick material, allowing opportunities for complex welding seams that are not possible otherwise. For thinner material, plasma cutting is being progressively replaced by laser cutting, due mainly to the laser cutter's superior hole-cutting abilities.
A specialized use of CNC Plasma Cutters has been in the HVAC industry. Software processes information on ductwork and creates flat patterns to be cut on the cutting table by the plasma torch. This technology has enormously increased productivity within the industry since its introduction in the early 1980s.
CNC Plasma Cutters are also used in many workshops to create decorative metalwork. For instance, commercial and residential signage, wall art, address signs, and outdoor garden art.
In recent years there has been even more development. Traditionally the machines' cutting tables were horizontal, but now vertical CNC plasma cutting machines are available, providing for a smaller footprint, increased flexibility, optimum safety and faster operation.
CNC Plasma Cutting Configurations
There are 3 main configurations of CNC Plasma Cutting, and they are largely differentiated by the forms of materials before processing, and the flexibility of the cutting head.
2 Dimensional / 2-Axis Plasma Cutting
This is the most common and conventional form of CNC Plasma Cutting. Producing flat profiles, where the cut edges are at 90 Degrees to the material surface. High powered cnc plasma cutting beds are configured in this way, able to cut profiles from metal plate up to 150mm thick. up to thickness 30mm
3 Dimensional / 3+ Axis Plasma Cutting
Once again, a process for producing flat profiles from sheet or plate metal, however with the introduction of an additional axis of rotation, the cutting head of a CNC Plasma Cutting machine can tilt whilst being taken through a conventional 2 dimensional cutting path. The result of this is cut edges at an angle other than 90 Degrees to the material surface, for example 30-45 Degree angles. This angle is continuous throughout the thickness of the material. This is typically applied in situations where the profile being cut is to be used as part of a welded fabrication as the angled edge forms part of the weld preparation. When the weld preparation is applied during the cnc plasma cutting process, secondary operations such as grinding or machining can be avoided, reducing cost. The angular cutting capability of 3 Dimensional plasma cutting can also be used to create countersunk holes and chamfer edges of profiled holes.
Tube & Section Plasma Cutting
Used in the processing of tube, pipe or any form of long section. The plasma cutting head usually remains stationary whilst the workpiece is fed through, and rotated around its longitudinal axis. There are some configurations where, as with 3 Dimensional Plasma Cutting, the cutting head can tilt and rotate. This allows angled cuts to be made through the thickness of the tube or section, commonly taken advantage of in the fabrication of process pipework where cut pipe can be provided with a weld preparation in place of a straight edge.
Hand held plasma cutter
High performance cut
In the past decade plasma torch manufacturers have engineered new models with a smaller nozzle and a thinner plasma arc. This allows near-laser precision on plasma cut edges. Several manufacturers have combined precision CNC control with these torches to allow fabricators to produce parts that require little or no finishing.
Plasma torches were once quite expensive. For this reason they were usually only found in professional welding shops and very well-stocked private garages and shops. However, modern plasma torches are becoming cheaper, and now are within the price range of many hobbyists. Older units may be very heavy, but still portable, while some newer ones with inverter technology weigh only a little, yet equal or exceed the capacities of older ones. etc
Changes in Mach4 vs Mach3:
In Mach3, Height Control was partially integrated into the Mach3 program, had no real error reporting when something went wrong, and used the same M3 macro as the spindle.
In Mach4, the we started from scratch to implement Height Control and everything is inside the ESS plugin (and TMC3in1 plugin as appropriate). This allowed us to have more flexibility, better error reporting and better performance overall. Another significant change is that instead of M3 we now use M62 to turn the torch on and instead of M5 we use M63 to turn the torch off. This has two distinct benefits. The first is that you won't accidentally turn on the Spindle in a machine that has a spindle and a plasma unit - a giant safety improvement. The second reason is that the M3 macro is not coordinated with your motion data and may be off by up to half a second! This is not a huge issue when you start a spindle and let it get up to speed for a few seconds, but when you are vaporizing metal, milliseconds count! With M62 and M63 the torch on and off commands are precisely synchronized with the start of the next motion command. This also allows for precise timing of a pierce delay.
Types of Height Control:
Manual Mode. This allows you to use the keyboard to adjust the Z height up and down, which is the simplest form of height control but it is 100% manual. This is common in Oxy-Acetlyne and water jet cutting. (Operationally this is almost identical to Up/Down Mode so the two modes are combined together. The only differences are two inputs and a button to select which mode you are in.) There are no anti dive capabilities here, other than the operator.
Up Down Pins Mode (like with Proma Controller), Manual Mode (Oxy-Acetylene) or no THC. This is the simplest kind of automated Height Control, and it offers the least flexibility. You have to manually adjust your target tip volts on the Proma controller, and the SmoothStepper just responds to UP and Down input signals to control the Z Height. (Operationally this is almost identical to Manual Mode so the two modes are combined together. The only differences are two inputs and a button to select which mode you are in.) There are almost no anti dive capabilities here. This will also let you run without THC (Torch Height Control) or in Manual mode if you are using Oxy-Acetylene.
Mach4's built in THC Mode (totally independent of the SmoothStepper). This utilizes a PLC to read the tip volts. Mach allows you to change your target tip voltage, and will generate Up and Down Z motion to correct the height. However, there is some lag and there are limited anti dive capabilities.
The TMC3in1 Torch Height Controller, which was designed to interface directly to the ESS and adjust the cut height over 1000 times per second. Since it communicates directly with the ESS and there is no buffering of data, there is almost no lag in response. There are 6 different Anti Dive modes, and almost all of the run time settings for the TMC3in1 can be controlled by macros in your GCode! This offers the most flexibility and performance.
WHAT DO I NEED TO GET STARTED?
Your going to need a few things to get started in the CNC Plasma Cutting business or Hobby. The basics are the same for someone that will be doing this as a hobby or as a full time business. I will go over the basics here and you can follow the links to get more specific info on each of the items.
There has never been more options as far as tables and equipment than there is now. When I started in 2000 there were only a handful of companies that built tables or components now there are thousands. Sorting through all of this can be a challenge and even overwhelming at times. I will help you sort through the options and find the best setup for your application.
Cost - Price varies from around 5K to over 200K and everywhere in between. Some of the factors that determine cost are the size of the machine which can be a super small 2x2 ft table to a 6x20ft table or larger. The most common sizes for hobby and light industrial tend to be: 4x4, 4x8 and 5x10 feet. Many people start out with a 4x4 table because it is usually the least expensive but quickly outgrow the table and want to make bigger things or more of something without having to load more material. Common steel sheet sizes are 4x8 feet and 5x10 feet. Which is why you see table sizes to match.
When I first got started I began with a 4x4 table then moved to a 4x8 table and now my latest table is a 5x10. I fully intended this to be a garage hobby but it quickly grew into a full time business. Trying to anticipate future needs and wants is critical and can save you a lot of money in the long run. I get a lot of people who ask me what size I should buy and I usually try and discourage them from a 2x2 or 4x4. More often than not they quickly outgrow these smaller tables. Going one size bigger than you think you will need is often a safe bet. Prices from a 4x4 to a 4x8 are usually not much different because the cost of the other components to run the machine remain the same.
The basic components of a CNC Plasma System:
The Cutting Table – This is where your material is going to go and be cut. Common variations are size ie. 2x2, 4x4, 4x8 and 5x10. Other variations are: Water tables which have water under the cutting surface which helps to eliminate smoke and dust as well as keep the parts cool and minimize warping. Downdraft tables use exhaust fans to pull the smoke and dust down and exhaust it outside of the work area, and then open tables which are the least expensive and have nothing below them but ground. We will discuss all of these and the pluses and minuses in the TABLE SECTION.
Plasma Cutter - This is the piece of equipment that is actually doing the cutting of the metal. It uses electricity to generate the plasma arc and cut through the metal. Plasma Cutters are most often classified by Amps. Common Amp ratings are 45, 65, 85, ect. There are quite a few companies that make plasma cutters but many are not specifically designed for mechanized cutting, they can usually be retrofitted and made to work. This is one piece of equipment that is critical to the quality of the cuts and the product you turn out. Skimping here often results in regret down the road. Check out the PLASMA CUTTER SECTION for more detailed information.
Software - There are a few software components that make up a plasma system. There is the design software where you make your part in a CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) program or your artwork in a program like Corel Draw, Adobe Illustrator or a host of other programs. Once your part has been created you export this file in a CAD format with the file extension .dxf. Once in this format you can open the file in a CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) program. This program is where you set up what material your cutting, where to start, what to cut and all of the cutting parameters. Once you have completed the CAM step you then export the file out in a file extension .tap. This is your G-Code (Machine Language) This code tells the machine where to go, how fast, how long how many amps to use and directs the operation of the torch and your table. There are a lot of choices in the world of software and I will cover them in depth in the SOFTWARE SECTION.
Compressed Air Source - Air not oxygen or any other special gas is the most common gas used in plasma cutting, IE “Air Plasma” machine. There are special industrial grade units that use, Oxygen, Argon, Nitrogen, and Hydrogen in the cutting process. On this site we will mainly be focusing on Air plasma cutting. Air Plasma units only need you to supply them two things to cut metal - Air and Electricity. Most plasma machines need a supply of around 100 PSI to make this all happen. Its critical to the quality of the cut that the air delivered to the plasma cutter be as clean and dry as possible. We will cover all of this in the AIR SUPPLY SYSTEMS SECTION.
Power - Power is one of the critical components that make all of this happen. You will need power to run the computer, control system and table drive system as well as power for the Plasma Cutter. Most tables only require 120v connections. Most plasma cutters on the other hand require a minimum of 240v Single Phase to power them. The larger the plasma cutter (more amps) equals more cutting capacity and requires more amps to make the larger cuts. Larger industrial and high definition plasma units will require 3 phase power. It is critical that you carefully evaluate the power requirements of the plasma cutter you are considering and look at the manufactures listed amp and circuit breaker requirements for the unit. Many small shops and garage based shops may not have the electrical wiring to support the larger plasma machines and may require expensive electrical upgrades. Make sure you evaluate the manufactures recommendation on the plasma unit you are considering and discuss this with a qualified electrician and evaluate your individual situation before making a purchase. What I believe to be two of the most widely used plasma cutters in the world in the Hobby and Light to Medium fabrication areas are the Hypertherm Powermax45 XP and the Powermax65. The 45 and 65 refer to the cutting amps of the units. We will discuss the plasma cutters in greater depth in the PLASMA CUTTERS SECTION.
Computer - Your going to need a computer for all of this two work and often two of them. Most software and machine manufactures will recommend that you have one dedicated computer to run the the machine and only have the software necessary to run the machine on it. You don't want to be surfing the Internet and playing games on the computer that is running the machine. Computers have so many things going on in the background and the more programs you add to the machine the more likely you are to have things running in the background. These background operations can disrupt and interfere with the cutting operation of your machine and ruin a project. There are plenty of people who risk it and do everything on one machine some are lucky and some are not. I have always kept my machine computer dedicated to machine operation. Its safer and a better option. The computer running the machine does not need to be a high end gaming PC. The machine requirements are pretty basic. Different Plasma cutting machines have different computer requirements. Most table manufactures will advise or supply the needed computer for the machine side of the operation. If building your own system from scratch you can often use a refurbished dell to make it work. Be sure to check with the table manufacture or control system manufacture before purchasing a computer so that you get one that works for your application. Many times manufactures do not recommend laptops for the machine computers due to several internal configuration settings seen in laptops. Your second computer will be the computer that you do all of your part or artwork design on and prepare your project for cutting on. This tends to be your higher end computer to handle the graphics and CAD operations. Once you have created your project on this computer you can export the finished G-Code over to your machine computer via, Wifi, Ethernet (Home or work Network) or a simple USB jump drive. I have my design software loaded on a laptop and my office computer to allow me to design anywhere I want or the comfort of my air conditioned office and then send the Job out to the machine to be cut. I will cover software more in depth in the SOFTWARE SECTION.
Control System - Your control system is best described as a box containing circuit boards and driver units that take the computer code that was created in the software and turn it into electrical signals that tell the Stepper Motors or Servo motors where to go when and how fast. Steppers and Servos are the motors that drive the Gantry and your torch around the table. There is quite a bit of debate over Stepper vs Servo and you can get more info in the PLASMA TABLES SECTION. This control system box and all of the internal components vary from manufacture to manufacture. There are control systems that are exclusive to Table manufactures and are sold with the table as a package and there are companies that make DIY packages allowing you to build your own table.
Turnkey System vs. Build your own or Kit system
This is another highly debated topic and one which has pluses and minuses on both sides. There are hundreds of turn key solutions offered today. A turn key option is one where you can purchase everything you need in one shot ready to cut. Everything is configured and ready to go all you do is supply air and power and your off and running. Advantages include faster, simpler, less of a learning curve, less to go wrong, no compatibility problems between components, one contact point if something does go wrong. The only real disadvantage is price. You are going to pay for all of this convenience with a higher price tag.
Kit or Build your own systems are almost always less expensive than turnkey but all the advantages of a turnkey system can now be disadvantages of a build your own or kits system. With a build your own system you have the ability to control the quality and components at every step of the project and you will be able to gain a great deal of knowledge about the inner workings of your system and likely fix problems on your own if they come up. Building your own will require skill and precision. Having a table that is not square or that has problems will affect your products quality and appearance.
My first two tables were build your own / Kits. I did a ton of research and learned a tremendous amount in the process. They were time consuming and at times frustrating but in the end they worked well and I saved a lot of money. For my third and current table I took all of the knowledge I had gained from the previous two and opted to do a turn key system. I knew all of the things I wanted in a table as far as features and components and found them in a quality and convenient for me package in my Westcott Plasma Pro Series 5x10 table.
What is Plasma - It is the the Fourth State of Matter
One common description of plasma is to describe it as the fourth state of matter. We normally think of the three states of matter as solid, liquid and gas. For a common element (water) these three states are ice, liquid water and steam. The difference between these states relates to their energy levels. When we add energy in the form of heat to ice, the ice melts and forms liquid water. When we add more energy, the water vaporizes into hydrogen and oxygen, in the form of steam. By adding more energy to steam these gases become ionized. This ionization process causes the gas to become electrically conductive. This electrically conductive, ionized gas is called plasma
How hot is the plasma arc? = The plasma is then forced through a fine-bore copper nozzle which constricts the arc and the plasma exits the orifice at high velocities (approaching the speed of sound) at a temperature approaching 28,000 °C (50,000 °F) or higher.. Compare this to the surface of the sun which is about 10,000 degrees F.
How Plasma Cuts Through Metal
The plasma cutting process, as used in the cutting of electrically conductive metals, utilizes this electrically conductive gas to transfer energy from an electrical power source through a plasma cutting torch to the material being cut.
The basic plasma arc cutting system consists of a power supply, an arc starting circuit and a torch. These system components provide the electrical energy, ionization capability and process control that is necessary to produce high quality, highly productive cuts on a variety of different materials.
The power supply is a constant current DC power source. The open circuit voltage is typically in the range of 240 to 400 VDC. The output current (amperage) of the power supply determines the speed and cut thickness capability of the system. The main function of the power supply is to provide the correct energy to maintain the plasma arc after ionization.
The arc starting circuit can be Blowback design which is used on the Powermax Series or a high frequency generator circuit that produces an AC voltage of 5,000 to 10,000 volts at approximately 2 megahertz. This voltage is used to create a high intensity arc inside the torch to ionize the gas, thereby producing the plasma.
The Torch serves as the holder for the consumable nozzle and electrode, and provides cooling (either gas or water) to these parts. The nozzle and electrode constrict and maintain the plasma jet.
Sequence of Operating a Plasma Cutter
The power source and arc starter circuit are connected to the torch via interconnecting leads and cables. These leads and cables supply the proper gas flow, electrical current flow and high frequency to the torch to start and maintain the process.
1. A start input signal is sent to the power supply. This simultaneously
activates the open circuit voltage and the gas flow to the torch
(see Figure 2). Open circuit voltage can be measured from the electrode
(-) to the nozzle (+). Notice that the nozzle is connected to positive in
the power supply through a resistor and a relay (pilot arc relay), while
the metal to be cut (work piece) is connected directly to positive. Gas
flows through the nozzle and exits out the orifice. There is no arc at this time as there is no current path for the DC voltage.
2. After the gas flow stabilizes, the high frequency circuit is activated.
The high frequency breaks down between the electrode and nozzle
inside the torch in such a way that the gas must pass through this arc
before exiting the nozzle. Energy transferred from the high frequency
arc to the gas causes the gas to become ionized, therefore electrically
conductive. This electrically conductive gas creates a current path
between the electrode and the nozzle, and a resulting plasma arc is formed. The flow of the gas forces this arc through the nozzle orifice, creating a pilot arc.
3. Assuming that the nozzle is within close proximity to the work piece,
the pilot arc will attach to the work piece, as the current path to positive
(at the power supply) is not restricted by a resistance as the positive
nozzle connection is. Current flow to the work piece is sensed
electronically at the power supply. As this current flow is sensed, the
high frequency is disabled and the pilot arc relay is opened. Gas ionization is maintained with energy from the main DC arc.
4. The temperature of the plasma arc melts the metal, pierces through
the work piece and the high velocity gas flow removes the molten material
from the bottom of the cut kerf. At this time, torch motion is initiated and
the cutting process begins.
Variations of the Plasma Cutting Process - Conventional Plasma Cutting
This process generally uses a single gas (usually air or nitrogen) that both cools and
produces the plasma. Most of these systems are rated at under 100 Amps, for
cutting materials under 5/8" thick. Primarily used in hand held applications
Dual Gas Plasma Cutting
This process utilizes two gases; one for the plasma and one as a shield gas.
The shield gas is used to shield the cut area from atmosphere, producing a
cleaner cut edge. This is probably the most popular variation, as many different
gas combinations can be used to produce the best possible cut quality on a given
Water Shield Plasma Cutting
This is a variation of the dual gas process where water is substituted
for the shield gas. It produces improved nozzle and work piece cooling
along with better cut quality on stainless steel. This process is for
mechanized applications only.
Water Injection Plasma Cutting
This process uses a single gas for plasma and utilizes water either radially or swirl
injected directly into the arc to greatly improve arc constriction, therefore arc density
and temperatures increase. This process is used from 260 to 750 amps for high quality
cutting of many materials and thicknesses.This process is for mechanized applications only.
Precision Plasma Cutting
This process produces superior cut quality on thinner materials,
(less than 1/2") at slower speeds. This improved quality is a result of
using the latest technology to super constrict the arc, dramatically
increasing energy density. The slower speeds are required to allow the
motion device to contour more accurately. This process is for mechanized
WHAT CAN I DO WITH A CNC PLASMA MACHINE
Well you can do just about anything you can imagine! Well within reason. You need to make sure what your cutting is electrically conductive ie - Steel, Aluminum, Stainless steel, Titanium, Copper ect. If its one of those you can cut it with the plasma machine.
In most cases you are going to be limited to 2D or flat cutting unless you have a high end machine with bevel capabilities or you have a rotational axis ie tube cutting accessory.
After those little details if you can draw it or have it drawn for you usually your only limited by your skills or abilities. There is a learning curve involved and getting to know your machines capabilities and how to use your software. When I say machine capabilities what I’m talking about is plasma cutting has limitation on how small you can cut. For example you are limited to the amount of detail you can fit in a space. Your not going to fit the 10 commandments in a 3x3 inch space. As you begin do design and experiment with your plasma machine and table you will learn the limitation of both.
What you cut can be broken up into two broad categories: Parts and Art.
Parts tend to be things that will be welded, bent, formed, drilled, tapped, or processed as part of an assembly or attachment to something else. Examples include: brackets, tabs, braces, engine components or suspension components etc.
Art is about everything else. It can be signs, pictures, abstract metal forms and host of other things that you want to call “ART” you can also combine these two categories to make things like benches, chairs or even a door for a jeep.
Below are some examples of items that we have created with our machine in the past.
This is a 14g steel painted multi layer flag that is 8ft wide and was done for a local police department. This was cut with a Hypertherm Powermax65