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View Full Version : BUILD LOG: DIY Plasma build - Attempt number 1



Gigalith
18-04-2016, 11:56 PM
Ok - so here goes.

I've made an attempt at building a 8' x 4' water table. Ballscrew x, y, z axis (z axis with 150mm travel was purchased complete off ebay) Currently awaiting delivery of a Hypertherm 45 with machine head. Photo's to follow - please note: constructive criticism greatly appreciated as i've got to learn. Have 3 x nema23 motors (Japanese - forgotten make but will update) all currently direct mounted but the whole thing bolts together. Don't know if these are up to the job. Water table has a drain to catch tank and a pump for refill. 3 phase electrics to the machine plus a neutral for the single phase stuff.

Forgive the brain splurge but its easier to think that way.

Now - i'm out of my depth. When it comes to the drivers plus breakout etc was thinking of trying to get a plug and play system with proximity switches plus emergency stop included. Think MarchantDice do something along these lines. Biggest concern is cooling. Temperatures can easily hit 50 degrees C in my workshop in summer and don't want them frying. Was planning on running Mach3 as seems to be pretty simple - I like simple!

Well there's a start made. :yahoo:

Any and all advice greatly appreciated.
Cheers

Boyan Silyavski
19-04-2016, 07:05 AM
Temperatures are not a problem with good quality electronics. I also live in Spain and summer could be 50C in my garage and 75-80C in the electronic box. No problem so far.

Biggest concern should be ATHC/torch height control/ and at what speeds you will cut what material, cause for very thin material you could need faster speeds than stepper will provide. Depends how you move all of course, what type of bearings and how heavy.

Clive S
19-04-2016, 08:53 AM
Temperatures are not a problem with good quality electronics. I also live in Spain and summer could be 50C in my garage and 75-80C in the electronic box. No problem so far.

Boyan It can't do the electronics any good to run a those temperatures. Leadshine state ambient temperature should be 0 - 50C and MAX operating temp. <80C so you are right on the limit.

So cooling should be a concern in my opinion.

JAZZCNC
19-04-2016, 03:39 PM
Now - i'm out of my depth. When it comes to the drivers plus breakout etc was thinking of trying to get a plug and play system with proximity switches plus emergency stop included. Think MarchantDice do something along these lines.

I'd sooner bite down on the Earth lead and point the 45A torch between my eyes and pull the trigger before advise anyone to buy one of those for plasma machine, or any machine to be honest.!!

With any machine the electronics are the heart of the machine but with Plasma it's even more important because your working with high frequencys which electronics don't particularly like playing nicely with if cheap or poorly made components.
They also don't tolerate sloppy wiring or poor practise so make sure you make a good job of this and have correct shielding and Grounding/filtering etc.

Building a reliable control box for plasma or any CNC machine isn't difficult provided you don't cut corners.


Biggest concern is cooling. Temperatures can easily hit 50 degrees C in my workshop in summer and don't want them frying.


Yes your Concern is valid despite what boyan says. Electronics of any kind don't like working in heat and while they may work ok @50c it 100% will shorten there life.
The fact your working with Hot metal won't help either so it would be good idea to put some form of cooling or air condtioning thru the control box.

Gigalith
20-04-2016, 12:09 PM
So here's a few photos of the progress so far.

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Gigalith
20-04-2016, 12:12 PM
Really need to start on the electronics. Can anyone recommend somewhere / someone who I should be talking to about a setup? Would love to build it myself but fear there is way too much learning to do beforehand and time is something I don't have a lot of! 3 boys under 6!!!!!!!!

Clive S
20-04-2016, 02:07 PM
Just wondering where you are in Andalucia

Gigalith
20-04-2016, 02:19 PM
Near the desert in Almeria

Clive S
20-04-2016, 02:39 PM
Near the desert in Almeria Ah shame I am over at the other end next week about 50K from Malaga.

Do you know the inductance of the motors? You might run into problems with the ball screws that long without rotating ball nuts.

For Plasma you WILL need some good electronics and they will have to be able to slave the second screw with homing switches. cslabs make some good controllers. Dean (Jazzcnc) is the go to person for advise on them here as he has fitted lots of them.

Gigalith
08-12-2016, 11:06 PM
After a ridiculously busy summer I'm finally finding a bit of time to try and progress my machine. I decided - after a couple of false starts - that I would be much better off if I at least learnt the basics of what was involved with the electronics so I've had a go myself.
I've gone with an ESS as this seems to have the ability to do what I need including slaving an axis when I get round to fitting it. Wired it off the table and it did at least turn the motors!!!!! Can't tell you how suprised I was.
Will post a couple of pics of progress tomorrow.
Definately some issies ahead - not least of which is initial height detection so if anyone can point me to anything of interest it would be much appreciated. I have had a search but have struggled to find much.

Boyan Silyavski
08-12-2016, 11:30 PM
Welcome back! I will be watching your progress with interest. I also have brand new universal Thermal Dynamics sl100/or it was sl60??/ plasma torch and Neuron THC laying in the workshop, waiting silently already an year or so, for me to start making my own plasma table.

JAZZCNC
09-12-2016, 10:04 PM
Definately some issies ahead - not least of which is initial height detection so if anyone can point me to anything of interest it would be much appreciated. I have had a search but have struggled to find much.

Oh dear should have took Clives advise and asked about Cslabs. This comes with built in HTC and it will slave axis. (It won't home to indvidual SW thou).
Also 24V I/O is much better for plasma than 5v which ESS uses. I can tell you for sure because tested one that my TIG welder will Stop ESS in it's track when torch fires up (This is one my tests for controllers) but Cslabs units don't even flinch.

Not saying it will do this for you because the test is little extreme as I fire torch right next to Controller and don't exactly take lot of care on the grounding etc but I do the same for Cslabs which handles it ok.

Gigalith
10-12-2016, 11:57 AM
You may well be right Dean. Will have to suck it and see. I do have a good distance between my table and where TIG is.

Have a question on Hypertherm interface cable wiring if anyone can help?

Gigalith
10-12-2016, 12:00 PM
Just so I know - which CSlabs would you have used?

Gigalith
13-12-2016, 12:08 AM
Right - before I blow something.

I need to connect the hypertherm interface cable to my BOB (one of the ones with the blue relay) and my Proma 150THC. Interface cable has 3 pairs of wires black/white (which according to proma manual are spoken for) Green/Black which are Start. Am I right in thinking these are to be connected to the relay output (spindle on/off)? And lastly red/black which are the Transfer wires - not sure if I need these with using this THC or what to do with them otherwise?

There is mention of Pin 17 for relay but not sure if relevant.

Proma has been wired in according to supplied instructions and will be tested tomorrow.

So far everything appears to be working - control cabinet looks a little messy but a work in progress I feel.

Any help greatly appreciated.

Clive S
13-12-2016, 10:17 AM
19989

You said before In response to Dean that your tig is well away from your plasma what do you think your torch is?

You are asking question without showing pictures or links to what you are using. By your own admission you say the control box is a mess in my opinion that is not a good start with a plasma machine.

Please don't take this the wrong way but nobody can advise without info.

Gigalith
13-12-2016, 06:39 PM
Nope, its all advice and I'll take what I can get. You are quite right Clive there was a lack of info.

The BOB is this one:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/5-Axis-MACH3-CNC-Breakout-Board-Interface-for-Stepper-Motor-Driver-/121924104910
If I have read things correctly on the forum - the Start wires that go through the spindle relay output just make the connection for the trigger which is enabled in mach3 on output 1 and pin 17

Gigalith
13-12-2016, 06:42 PM
All this is a BIG learning curve - but gotta admit i'm really enjoying it.

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