View Full Version : 3M x 2M Plasma table build

26-02-2008, 06:50 AM
Hi guys,
I will be starting a build of a CNC plasma cutter soon and want to know your opinions of the Hypertherm Powermax 1000 I will be buying. It cost $5038.64 with a machine torch setup and a high definition AKA fine cut akit. From what I can tell from the various websites it does a remarkable job and is 30% faster than the older models with less taper on the cut face which seems to be only an issue with small holes and thin pieces.
I will be using 1/2" to 3/4" angle iron for the side guides, stitch welded to the side frames for the main carriage assembly,and aligned with some piano wire for a straight gauge and measured with a vernier. Height isn't critical but straightness along the length is (obviously for straight cuts) because I will be using a torch height control but I will try and get it as close as possible.
Does anybody have a good one they can recommend?
I will be making my own MOS2 filled Nylon P66 guide wheels which I used on my laser gantry and runs very well and quiet. I will be keen to find out how the added weight will affect them. I don't think it will too much. It will have double bearings and sealed for life.
here is a link to my laser table I completed last year. gecko drives with C10 breakout board and Linkmotion from Solustan. Next one I make will be with the http://www.Testra.com setup SS-4544. You get all the drives and software for $1300. I believe they used to make all the drives for Universal VersaLase Lasers up until recently.

It's going to be and interesting little journey for me. I am tossing up whether to use my Rutex Servo controllers or the gecko steppers from another test router I made.
Let me know what you all think and please suggest somethings to look out for like ....do I need a lot of RF shielding etc.

26-02-2008, 11:28 PM
If you want some good advice on plasma cutting machines, you may want to give mike a ring at Techserv (http://www.techserv.co.uk) They make some big plasma cutters, and mainly use analogue drivers and brushed servo motors for X and Y and stepper for height control (Z)
Noise is also an issue, so shielding is very important.

Also for long strokes, to keep the cost down look into using a rack and pinion.

I hope that helps.

Lee Roberts
27-02-2008, 01:27 PM
Hi cant wait to see your build log for this new machine, welcome to the forums Richard !

Robin Hewitt
04-03-2008, 06:57 PM
Here's a very pretty plasma cutter that caught my eye when I was designing mine, although any similarities are entirely co-incidental :roll:

http://www.samsoncnc.com/mech.php the link has a wonderful movie in it.

I went for the R-TECH cutter simply because I'm in the UK and there were no special deals on Hypertherm like there are Stateside.

The R-TECH has an amazing duty cycle and cutter spares are cheap. Maybe not so easy wiring the torch height control as with Hypertherm simply because there are lots of people who have already done that one.

Lee Roberts
13-05-2009, 10:08 PM
Mono did you get off the design table with this machine or ?

25-08-2009, 05:17 PM
Quick update......

Just a quick video of the Plasma table going through the motions. I still haven't sorted out the torch height controller yet as I bury the tip after about 2" of cut and stuff it up. I have so far burnt out 6 tips and 3 shields trying to get it to work properly. It's an expensive test cut. I will try the test with the plate on a slope to give myself a bit more time to hit the reset button on Mach so i don't bury the tip as quickly and to see if the height controller is following the contours.

I'll post some pics soon.

It's undergone a few design changes since the first one but I think I will settle on this one as it's pretty smooth and I will probably change out the X axis timing belt with a chain like the Y axis just to keep everything the same. You can hear the timing belt riding along the edge of the toothed pulley so it's not tracking really well. A bit of dry lube will fix that though.
YouTube - Plasma Small

25-08-2009, 05:23 PM
The rack and pinion was way too expensive here in Australia for me to justify spending a huge amount on so I ended up fitting 1/2" roller chain at about $30 for 10 feet length. It's industrial strength stuff so it should last a while as there isn't too much force on it.
I wouldn't recommend anything under 18 teeth for the sprockets as there is significant cogging under that but over 18 - 20 teeth it seems to be negligible and pretty smooth as can be seen in the video.
Let me know your thoughts on how it turned out. :-)
Be very critical if you wish....... I am pretty thick skinned.

25-08-2009, 05:47 PM
I like it :) And a good ,informative video as well :)


25-08-2009, 05:54 PM
I agree with Bill - nice video, nice setup and nice construction!

Lee Roberts
26-08-2009, 12:32 AM
You Rock !

27-08-2009, 08:13 AM
I did some more testing today and low and behold..... I hadn't wired up 2 critical wires inside the Hypertherm Plasma unit. That's an " ID 10 T " error (put the letters together and read them from a distance and you will see what I mean.)

I still, for some reason, can't get the THC to start up in Mach3 but the rest of it is working now. I cut out about 6 items today at a very slow feed rate so I could control the tip and stop it from burying itself and everything was as it should be and the voltage sensing was working and I could control the height by varying the tip volts etc but the LED on the Mach3 screen still won't light up. Frustrating stuff this.
soon, very soon it will be up and running and then I can start cutting s**t up and hopefully sell some and get some money back.
Did I mention this is fun.........
After 1.5 years with about 3 months of problem solving it all gets a bit weary after a while. Sometimes I think it would have been easier to hook up a capacitive sensor to the thing for 1/3 the price but I am told this is the way to do it so you can cut almost anything with ease. I hope they're right.
When I get it up and running I think I will take a few pictures and draw up a connection diagram for anyone that will be using the (now obsolete) MP1000C digital torch height controller from CandCNC. Tom Caudle is a bit of a legend at designing these things and he is second to none for his reply times on the forums and at the "zone". It will be good to give back some feedback for others as without this the forums would be useless and I would still be rolling around in the grease and muck for the rest of my life. Now I will have something to fall back on. :-)
I will get the pictures up as soon as is practicable.

27-08-2009, 08:15 AM
Ah, damn. I forgot.

Thanks for the kudos people.

Let me know if you want any information on anything.
And Lee! Ben from Protomate on eBay will probably be contacting you soon on a laser.

Be well people.

Lee Roberts
27-08-2009, 09:01 AM
He has, Peace !

27-08-2009, 09:11 AM
Ah, damn. I forgot.

Thanks for the kudos people.

Let me know if you want any information on anything.
And Lee! Ben from Protomate on eBay will probably be contacting you soon on a laser.

Be well people.

01-09-2009, 11:11 AM
What coolers? Sorry, I have no idea of what you are talking about.

I fixed the THC and guess what.......
Stupid me didn't put my license into the mach3 folder. Derrr!

It now works!

All I have to do now is get the cutting speed/feed right and the amps/ air pressure and everything will be sweet.

I'll post a vid soon when I get the time as the Silver City show is on soon and I have to get off my bum and start making stuff for it to show or sell or just get some interested people to look at it.

Be well.