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View Full Version : BUILD LOG: village idiot builds a plasma table.........



warwick
19-11-2016, 12:55 AM
ok to start...this is going to be picture heavy!..anything you see here is how iv done it and it doesnt mean its the right way.....
A year or so ago id seen a few videos on youtube and thought id really love to have a cnc plasma table.....
i had a look on the internet and most seemed mega expensive and made out of pressed tin...
i decided id build my own table to be able to cut an 8x4 sheet of 12mm mild steel.....I HAVE NEVER HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH CNC EVER,:hypnotysed:
the table is fabricated out of 80x80x6 mild steel box...a few photos of the table
a huge thankyou to julian
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warwick
19-11-2016, 01:02 AM
after welding the table up i mounted some 80x80x6 angle to the side making the base for my y axis 16mm linear rails..i drilled and tapped the three legs of the table and then slotted the angle iron so i had plenty of adjustment1965319654

warwick
19-11-2016, 01:16 AM
next i needed to drive the y axis so after alot of advice i opted for rack and pinion,it came in 2m lengths and i needed two 3m pieces... (lee roberts look away for the next few photos :triumphant:)

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warwick
19-11-2016, 01:24 AM
now having two pieces of 3m rack i needed to attach it to the y axis angle iron i used 4mm counter sunk brass machine screws..iv used these as it was 10pm and thats all i had in the shed.....1966019661

Robin Hewitt
19-11-2016, 02:36 PM
How clever are you? Do you actually need any help? Here is a bunch of stuff, feel free to tell me where to go if I am teaching granny to suck eggs.

Joining two bits of racking is easy, you just put a third piece on top an it gives you the perfect spacing while you nut up.

You want to cut 12mm steel, is that a specific job of a theoretical maximum?

An 8 x 4 sheet of 12mm is a fearsome thing. If you are actually going to be slicing 2mm while planning for 12mm, maybe you want a smaller, less vigorous torch to start with, or have you already been on CNC Zone and been convinced HyperTherm is the only option?

Possibly not because you don't have a monster water bed :eagerness:

It might be too late to mention that you do not need huge motors because there are no cutting forces. The only thing you have to push against is the weight of metal in the gantry when you reach a pointy corner. Weight is your enemy.

If you start using the same motor to lift the torch as you use to move the gantry expect derision.

magicniner
19-11-2016, 05:54 PM
If you start using the same motor to lift the torch as you use to move the gantry expect derision.

That's an interesting speculation, HTF would one go about doing that BTW?

- Nick

EDIT: Or did you mean "the same model/specification" of motor rather than "the same motor"?

warwick
19-11-2016, 07:10 PM
How clever are you? Do you actually need any help? Here is a bunch of stuff, feel free to tell me where to go if I am teaching granny to suck eggs.

Joining two bits of racking is easy, you just put a third piece on top an it gives you the perfect spacing while you nut up.

You want to cut 12mm steel, is that a specific job of a theoretical maximum?

An 8 x 4 sheet of 12mm is a fearsome thing. If you are actually going to be slicing 2mm while planning for 12mm, maybe you want a smaller, less vigorous torch to start with, or have you already been on CNC Zone and been convinced HyperTherm is the only option?

Possibly not because you don't have a monster water bed :eagerness:

It might be too late to mention that you do not need huge motors because there are no cutting forces. The only thing you have to push against is the weight of metal in the gantry when you reach a pointy corner. Weight is your enemy.

If you start using the same motor to lift the torch as you use to move the gantry expect derision.

hi robin,
its in my nature to bite off more than i can chew and blag my way through, bright or stupid?
yes i need help and adviice really, im a first time builder with no expierience of cnc or computers....
iv never even seen r&p until a friend showed me what to order,so yes clamping a piece to the two parts that need joining to get distance right is easy aslong as someone tells you the method of doing it...my original question re.welding rack ...was can i tack it to the frame rather then drill and tapping,its a part that has a sprung loaded gear pushing into it so didnt see any issue??...
iv messed about and built a few narrowboats on the bank without fancy over head cranes or lifting gear so any 8x4 sheet seems easy to handle compared to a 10mm base plate 50ft long.........
everything has always been EYE right as now with this project its 0.5mm is sloppy but ok for a plasma.you never see both sides of a boat at the same time........
i want to be able to cut 10/12mm but also thin stuff like 3mm.....


next part of the build is the x axis gantry..what are the best options for a gantry???iv got some 20mm supported rail and 2m of r&p

thanks in advance for your help..........

Robin Hewitt
19-11-2016, 08:11 PM
I tried and failed, my gantry was 2.75m of 4" square aluminium box section and it did the long axis. I started out by taking a 4m length of the stuff, supporting it at the ends and dumping weights in the middle to see how far it bent. Hardly at all. You don't need to swing huge amounts of iron just to move a torch. It had a 15mm profile rail along one side, screwed from behind so the black dust could not sneak in past the wipers.
I threw the towel in when I discovered the T5 belting and pulleys I had bought were unbelievably slack.
If you have pinions at either side of the gantry connect them with a low inertia shaft. Thin walled aluminium tube perhaps.
I could ramble on all day, it was fun.

warwick
22-11-2016, 07:46 PM
not a huge amount done today, anchored the table to the floor and adjusted it for leval and true,,,iv gone with 80x80x5mm box for the x axis....the brackets are just 2" of 50x6 angle welded to the legs still need to round the brackets off and repaint....

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Robin Hewitt
23-11-2016, 01:10 PM
Slats, you will support the work piece on slats. Think how you will support your slats. If they have to flex a bit to fit they are more likely to behave themselves.

If it is a small piece of metal you will need the slats close together with more support from below. If it is a large sheet the slats can be further apart. Why not put slats close together in one corner and further apart over the rest of the table?
The other slat function is the tilt. You cut a complete part and instead of resting flat on two slats or falling through it tilts and jambs itself at an angle. The tool slams in to it on a rapid transit and does hideous damage to itself. You would need vast numbers of slats to avoid this but it is quite predictable. You can put a bumper ring around the tool tip to spot them and apply the brakes.

warwick
23-11-2016, 01:39 PM
i quite like the mixed slat idea!...im going to use 100x50x6 angle to support the slats which will be spaced 20mm away from the main frame so i can eventualy turn it into a water table with down draft air extraction...im planning to use magnets to hold the torch to the z axis so if it hits anything it will break away.............

warwick
24-11-2016, 11:54 PM
had an evening of drilling tonight..managed to secure the first linear rail..then started fabricating the gantry

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warwick
25-11-2016, 09:46 PM
managed to get the gantry mocked up today

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Lee Roberts
25-11-2016, 11:07 PM
Looking smart.

warwick
26-11-2016, 12:48 AM
Looking smart.

thanks lee.
iv got a bit of time,so hopefully this is the last big push to getting it finished

warwick
27-11-2016, 05:32 PM
only managed a few hours in the shed today...managed to mount the linear rails to the x axis gantry....lots of m5 tapping

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warwick
06-12-2016, 09:34 PM
iv managed to get the x axis painted..and the z axis pretty much finished. iv gone for two short lengths of 16mm linear rail and and old piece of ball screw..

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warwick
06-12-2016, 09:52 PM
reduction box ..

iv ordered 15mm silver steel to build the shafts,15mm pillow block bearings (look very cheap) and the t5 pulleys are coming pre bored and grub screwed, by doing this hopefully the only bit of engineering will be to bore the 24t rack gear...

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warwick
09-12-2016, 02:32 AM
iv managed to build the x axis reduction box today..iv mounted the stepper upside down, im not sure i really like it like this,my plan is to make a cover to hide the motors and wiring...1993619937199381993919940

1Jumper10
09-12-2016, 03:15 PM
Looks really good. What is your plan for tensioning your pinion gear into your gear rack?

warwick
09-12-2016, 05:39 PM
Looks really good. What is your plan for tensioning your pinion gear into your gear rack?

hi, im going to use spring to hold the pinion against the rack,im using stainless steel to make the bush to pivot the reduction box (scrap prop shaft from a boat).........

warwick
15-12-2016, 12:12 AM
managed a few hours today,
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for the (hopefully)final assembly iv drilled the shaft for the grub screws to bite into and for the pinion gear iv sweated the gear onto the shaft and used a roll pin,which im sure is very stable and wont come loose but now if i have a bearing faiure im going to have to pull the shaft back through the 60t gear and the other bearing,so im not sure iv gone the right way...

warwick
20-12-2016, 01:14 AM
iv had a few hours spare so iv finished the slats for the table....iv used 80x3 flat...

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Paul3112
20-12-2016, 06:32 AM
looking very nice.
Have you thought of making a scraper/cleaner for the supported rails carriage?
In the past I have used pot scrubbers ( cheap scotch-brite nock-offs)
the flat ones .. Like these https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAv-pKD0Eug
profile to suit the rail section.. Green side out. sandwich between to alu plates.
I soak them in sewing machine oil prior to installation

Paul

warwick
20-12-2016, 03:04 PM
hi paul,
iv been thinking about some sort of scraper/gaurd for the linear rails..im ging to put an hour meter on the table so i can get an idea of how long parts last and cost of running.then i can work out if the for instance if the 16mm bearings will last a year and cost x amount and then they become a consumable? Or if its just a bad design and i'll need to rejig it....is plasma dust evil stuff?

ned
09-01-2017, 01:40 AM
Just wanted to say, I've enjoyed reading this thread, I'm trying to learn as much as i can, so your lots of pics approach is great.

warwick
10-01-2017, 01:03 PM
Just wanted to say, I've enjoyed reading this thread, I'm trying to learn as much as i can, so your lots of pics approach is great.

thanks for your kind words..i'm back on the cnc today...pics to follow :chuncky:

ned
10-01-2017, 01:37 PM
cool, following with interest.


Can I ask you, if you were to guesstimate, how much you reckon the build is going to cost you?

Speaking in euros, to buy an 8x4 table seems to be around 11 - 12 thousand, so maybe 9 - 10 thousand GBP.

At the moment I'm trying to familiarise myself with the different mechanical parts of the machine, I'll concentrate on that first and when I've that built, I'll scratch my head and think about the next hurdle, the electronics and software.

Clive S
10-01-2017, 05:48 PM
At the moment I'm trying to familiarise myself with the different mechanical parts of the machine, I'll concentrate on that first and when I've that built, I'll scratch my head and think about the next hurdle, the electronics and software.
Welcome to the forum Ned. The two are sort of related but when you are ready start a build log and try and get some cad drawings up then ask away.
Also keep away from kits of electronics as they are never matched.

ned
10-01-2017, 08:02 PM
Cheers Clive, appreciate the welcome.

I cant use CAD. I will have to learn. I'm pretty handy with photshop though, so I can illustrate well enough to explain what I mean, hopefully that will do till I learn. Oh its all in front of me... )

http://i.imgur.com/K2e03AV.jpg

ill bow out of this thread so as not to distract, regards all.

kingcreaky
11-01-2017, 11:58 AM
loving this thread. keep the photos coming warwick.

warwick
11-01-2017, 07:56 PM
evening chaps....iv built the one side of the y axis drive.....not sure if iv got the pivot on the right place? there is enough travel to disingage from the rack if needed..2032920330203312033220333

the shape of the gearbox is awful,but ill make some more when the tables up and running, iv had to run the steppers inboard because of the x axis moving off the table.......

JoeHarris
12-01-2017, 08:54 PM
Very envious of the space you have in your workshop and that enormous welder! Looking good, I quite like the weird looking gearbox!! Subscribed.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

ned
13-01-2017, 01:45 AM
good progress. the gearbox might look more in keeping with the machine if it were more angular, like below. Its functional though, who cares, it works.

http://i.imgur.com/KKNf08e.jpg

warwick
13-01-2017, 11:47 PM
managed to get the rack bolted upto the gantry tonight, im going to re design the y axis gearboxes because..theres to much pressure on the rack and pinion gear because the pivot it to close...i can get 3m cut on the y axis..and it looks awful...


photos of the rack bolted to the gantry

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Clive S
14-01-2017, 10:39 AM
How about turning the motor the other way up so that it can't get fowled from below

warwick
17-01-2017, 08:06 PM
hi, a few more pics...the first is the end of my shed that not many see :hypnotysed:....the next picsare of the cable drag chain

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warwick
21-01-2017, 06:31 PM
this is the final design for the y axis drive,the motors will be tucked away under the table, it doesnt take alot of spring pressure to hold the pinion into the rack.i can now get full travel accross the whole table...

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warwick
23-01-2017, 09:35 PM
iv managed to finish the reduction gearboxes and mount them today,have ordered the cable so i'll be wiring very soon!!

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warwick
27-01-2017, 01:23 AM
iv got the cable drag chain carrier fabbed up,just the ends of the x axis linear rails to support and im finished the fabricating...


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warwick
29-01-2017, 01:02 AM
all the switches are mounted

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warwick
29-01-2017, 08:52 PM
all the cable runs are in and threaded through the cable drag chain..

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ned
02-02-2017, 02:50 PM
looks great man fair play, very jealous!

warwick
03-02-2017, 07:43 PM
and the fun begins!!!!

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ok the problems begin....there isnt enough pins on my bob to run my proma thc and another axis for the rotory or the air scribe...so a friend has a uc400 knoocking about that he hasnt got around to using yet...

warwick
09-02-2017, 09:55 PM
a short video of its first run. no limit switches connected so had to go steady


http://vid361.photobucket.com/albums/oo52/lamper1972/Cnc%20plasma_zps0cacec9v.mp4

JAZZCNC
09-02-2017, 10:08 PM
It's Alive coming along nice mate.:thumsup:

warwick
11-02-2017, 04:27 AM
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a few photos of the computer cabinet,

warwick
11-02-2017, 11:04 PM
the cabinet is now prepped and painted

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warwick
12-02-2017, 02:14 PM
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ned
14-02-2017, 02:25 PM
your making it look very easy man !

warwick
14-02-2017, 06:32 PM
your making it look very easy man !

im struggling with a lack of enthusiasm at the moment im forcing myself to do something on it everyday, have been cladding the inside of the frame with galv sheet to make it into a down draft rather than a water table, i'll post some pics later..

warwick
14-02-2017, 08:21 PM
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ned
14-02-2017, 09:37 PM
same with any project i think, ive been working on this truck for 3.5 years, and ill go and do it again tonight.

http://i.imgur.com/YmDPo3d.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/Klyupkl.jpg

Whats difficult? or is is it just that its a big project? I will go downdraft or sidedraft also. How are youy planning on extracting the fumes? you dont seem to have a direction for the smoke to travel. I made a ghetto fume extractor using info i learnt while reading about custom subwoofer enclosures - air loves a smooth curve to travel along, it doesnt like sharp edges.

http://i.imgur.com/aabSeVf.jpg

I added slats to that etc. The pressurised air coming out the plasma torch travels down the curve and away from my nortrils. Theres a baffle at the back to get it further away from me. It works a treat, maybe better than I hoped.

warwick
17-02-2017, 10:12 PM
managed to get it wired up and have started configuring it...after a few attemps it now travels 1000mm accuratly x and y axis...the gantry was 3mm out of square over a 1000 x1000 square have now got it down to .75mm and should have that near perfect tommorow......


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warwick
20-02-2017, 02:16 AM
have got all the soft limits set up and the machine is running with a pen, JAZZ gave me an hour of his time via the phone and was a big help with sheetcam his cock turned out to be massive and we are working on making it a bit smaller:whistle:....the pic is the first thing weve taken through inkscape,sheetcam,mach.....

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Clive S
20-02-2017, 09:52 AM
his cock turned out to be massive and we are working on making it a bit smaller

Well we all have that problem:toot:

ned
20-02-2017, 10:31 AM
excellent mate, brilliant stuff, congrats!

JAZZCNC
20-02-2017, 11:10 AM
JAZZ gave me an hour of his time via the phone and was a big help with sheetcam his cock turned out to be massive and we are working on making it a bit smaller:whistle

Twat I've already had piss taken 3 times this morning.:cower: . . . . . So let me just clarify what warwick eluding too.!!

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Web Goblin
20-02-2017, 12:38 PM
He even cleaned it as well before giving it to you.

warwick
20-02-2017, 01:19 PM
Twat I've already had piss taken 3 times this morning.:cower: . . . . . So let me just clarify what warwick eluding too.!!

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im so sorry dean, when you said you werent familiar with sheetcam i didnt realise you would be ridiculed for using it....
ps my mrs says thats the largest cock shes ever seen and shes seen alot of cocks...

JAZZCNC
20-02-2017, 02:22 PM
He even cleaned it as well before giving it to you.

Without being too Cocky.!! . . . Nope I did that as well he just set me up for having piss taken. . . :toot:

JAZZCNC
20-02-2017, 02:25 PM
ps my mrs says thats the largest cock shes ever seen and shes seen alot of cocks...

Things always look bigger in mirrors and the virtual world I'll set her straight when I come visit, should give her laugh if nothing else..:hysterical:

warwick
23-02-2017, 09:53 PM
finally tracked down a machine torch and have got it mounted..iv used four magnets and a few domed head bolts

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JAZZCNC
25-02-2017, 12:56 AM
Well stop drawing pretty pics and get the bloody thing turned on.!!

warwick
25-02-2017, 10:21 PM
what a frustrating day!!!!! the dam thing wont recognise the probe for setting the hieght of the material...i did a test cut with no earths connected and to be fare it did cut quite well....heres a few pics of the cutting.........209052090620907

Clive S
25-02-2017, 11:04 PM
Well how about a Vid.:cool:

JoeHarris
25-02-2017, 11:11 PM
Nice one! [emoji106]


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

warwick
28-02-2017, 12:34 AM
Well how about a Vid.:cool:

clive iv tried to upload a video to photobucket and its not having it , i'll try to get a better video......

problems to solve.....

need macro for g31 touch off probe.........
mach3 is mega unstable and keeps freezing and not responding to the keyboard?? in plasma set.............works ok in mill set...ish
proma thc cutting 3mm higher than it should be......
soft limits stopped working saturday,but has decided to work today....
heres a few pics of some stars in 8mm mild steel..havent cleaned and dross off.......



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warwick
04-03-2017, 03:13 AM
a pic of getting to know how the machine cuts.....20948

ned
30-03-2017, 11:22 AM
how you getting on Warwick, any progress? gonna launch a build thread now, the day has come.

ned
22-05-2017, 12:42 PM
Warwick you there? hows it going man? The extra bit on your x axis, is that for a rotary axis? I want one!

warwick
24-05-2017, 06:58 PM
hi ned, sorry i havent been about much....tables working fine,,,cutting with it most evenings.....yes the extra piece on my x axis is indeed for a rotory ...i havent really thought about the scribe or the rotory axis yet.......i get email notifications if you post or message,,,,

ned
24-05-2017, 09:34 PM
aright man ) well done, good for you. I'm going to do the same, building the x axis out for a rotary axis. I want to be able to cut tube neatly. Lots of potential there.

i bought an 8x4 router table, and repaired it, stared at it good and proper, and now im feeling confident enough to start a fresh build and sell this one. I might hit you up for the gantry plates, going to use rack and pinion. can you cut alu? will pay of course. How do you even buy alu, its expensive as she**e! Yah rotary axis man, fun fun.

warwick
05-06-2017, 01:33 PM
hi chaps, thought id post some of the things weve been cutting...im just starting a stretch on our narrowboat so between getting the plasma business going,keeping a roof over our heads and doing the boat it hasnt left much time for anything else....please dont think iv used to the forum to build my machine and im not giving anything back...

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done countless brackets for different jobs...

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Robin Hewitt
06-06-2017, 11:15 AM
I like it. What sort of tolerance would you have through a 3mm steel plate? Do you do mail order?

warwick
06-06-2017, 04:41 PM
I like it. What sort of tolerance would you have through a 3mm steel plate? Do you do mail order?

hi robin, when i first set the table up it was doing .5mm tolerance, i havent checked it sinse as iv been doing the above sort of stuff and fabricating type brackets that dont require an engineering type toleronse...if you need anything cutting please get in touch....i stock 2mm 3mm 5mm 10mm mild steel plate...iv done a small amount in stainless steel and havent tried aluminium yet....
iv found when i was building the gear lamp that some of the holes were very tight for the bolts to go through and i had a devil of a job drilling them out as i think that the hole being cooled with an air jet hardened the metal??