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Xalky's cnc plasma table build log.

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jumps4

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#31
something that may help i found in mach3 mill is to put the curser on the text and scroll to watch the code execute in the display one line at a time. you can watch what is happening in the simulator screen. if you just hit run it is too fast. I dont know about the plasma screens i have never opened them but i'll take a look to see if it works there also.
steve
 

xalky

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#32
Apparently sheetcam has a similar simulator. So I'm told, I haven't messed with it yet, but a few guys have told me that you can run the code on regular PC without Mach3. My plasma computer is dedicated to running Mach3 exclusively, which makes it a real pain to load files that may or may not be good. Running the simulations on my laptop would allow me to do it right in bed before i go to sleep or wherever.
 

jumps4

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#33
i have mach3 installed on all my pcs and run them offline to simulate you can put your licence on all the pcs to run full code unlimited. just copy the entire mach3 folder from the plasma pc to the other pc.
hope that helps, if you want help copying it ask.
steve
 

jumps4

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#34
i save all my files to a mem stick that away i can take them from the shop to inside to work at night. then plug it in at the shop and run it from the stick. helps keep everything together in one place.
steve
 

xalky

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#35
I ran my first couple of simulations on the sheetcam simulator. It seems to work fine. I've learned a lot in sheetcam and DraftSight for 2d cad. in just a couple of days.

I also ran my first test cuts with the Torch Height Control enabled, which has introduced a whole new set of obstacles. My plasma is an 85 amp model and the torch tips that came with it are for the 85 amp torch setting which is way too much juice for cutting 16 guage. I can cut it but can't enable THC because the tips are too big. I ordered some smaller tips to cut 16 guage cleanly with THC enabled. I won't get those till the end of the week. In the meantime, I'm working on my downdraft system to tame this smoke and dust producing beast.:))
 

Kennyd

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#38
That is very cool! So let me understand please, with THC (torch height control) it checks/verifys the height before every segment? Is this automatic or programmed by you?
 

xalky

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#39
That is very cool! So let me understand please, with THC (torch height control) it checks/verifys the height before every segment? Is this automatic or programmed by you?
It's set by me. I tell it to check plate height before each pierce. But thats not torch height control. Torch height control actually regulates the hieght of the torch between the pierces. Imagine a long 24" cut that only has one pierce in the beginning. As the torch goes along the plate starts to distort and warp from the heat. The THC moves the torch up or down to keep the distance to the work uniform throughout the cut. It does this by monitoring the voltage of the arc. As the arc gets longer the voltage increases and vice versa when the arc shortens. As voltage increases or decreases it sends a signal back to the controller to move the z axis up or down to keep the voltage within a specified range.
 

xalky

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#40
The weather is getting cooler and I'm again looking at my plasma table that's on the verge of being finished. I ordered the hyt connect kit from cancnc and the serial port kit for the Hypertherm. They've both been sitting on the work bench for a couple of months. I have to finish wiring that up.


Tom at candcnc is almost finished with his software and posts to get it all working together, so i'm pretty excited about getting all this working together.


On another note, I've reconsidered my plan to use a downdraft setup. In the video above, The downdraft was working well, but it's a bulky setup and the fiberglass filters on the negative air machine clog up very quickly. I don't see this as being very practical in my small 2 car garage at this time. So now, I'm planning on building a water tray for it. I'm going basic, Filling it with a hose and draining it out with a ball valve with a hose attached to it. The under the table reservoir idea is great but not for my shop, i need to be able to wheel my table around in the shop when I'm not using it, all that water weight will just make it a bear to move.


So that's the progress report. I'll be posting more once i actually start working on it.
 

xalky

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#42
I'm just bumping this thread, I haven't played around much in the garage over the past 4-5 months because i was slammed with work. But it's getting colder, and work is getting slow so I'm back at my plasma table. I had to send the whole control panel back out to CandCNC because I was having random Charge pump issues. I kept losing charge pump from an internal e-stop error. Now they have the whole panel to see whats causing the random issue. Personally, I think that the power supply went bad or got damaged when i had the Chicom plasma cutter hooked up to it.

So in the meantime i've been learning the software to grab and/or design artwork for cutting and also trying to learn the SheetCam program for running the table.

Anyone here running sheetcam that could give me a few pointers?
 

xalky

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#43
Finally got all my Ts crossed and my Is dotted on this thing and now, this build is done. I'm still learning my software and getting to know my machine, fine tuning sheetcam settings etc... . I'm finally able to reliably produce some cool stuff.


Here's my first piece, traced from a jpg that i grabbed online. My 19 yr old son did most of the tracing, he's a graphics wiz. He showed me how to do the tracing. I coached him a little on what a plasma can and can't do and how to make the trace plasma friendly.


I got some patinas and played with them for the first time on this piece. I'm pretty happy with the way it came out :cheers:


20130116_154057.jpg
 

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xalky

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#45
Yes he did. I hope he stays interested in it. I have a lot of knowledge that I'd love to pass on to my son's, but keeping them interested has been very difficult. My skill set in many disciplines has blessed me with the ability to survive and even thrive thru some of the worst economic times. If I can pass on some of that to my 3 son's, they'll have a pretty good shot at making a living too.

Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk 2
 

xalky

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#46
Here's another cutout that i just did tonight.

20130122_224523.jpg

Man, there's so much to know and learn to get these things running well. I've been spending some time today building toolsets for the FineCut consumables in sheetcam. It was well worth the effort. The cut charts in the Hypertherm manual work really well once i figured out what the hell i was doing. I cut some beautiful stuff with almost no dross and nice clean edges on 16Ga steel using the fine cut tips.

For anyone that's building a Machine using the CandCNC bladerunner kit and using a Hypertherm torch. I highly reccomend getting the DCC HyT connect kit for direct connection to the Hypertherm. You can set all your cut profiles in Sheetcam instead of setting them up in mach.

Plus many of the tools were already preconfigured for the 45/65/85 amp consumable tips. This might not seem like much help, but it was a huge help to me when trying to figure out how to setup the tool sets for the fine cut consumables. By referring to the cut charts and looking at the already configured tools, i was able to setup the FineCuts fairly easily.
 

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scoopydo

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#48
Hey, Marcel, I just discovered your build thread. I'd still like to see a lot more detail on the build. I get a lot of the idea but some things just are not clear to me.

Thanks George
 

scoopydo

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#50
I guess I mean to say I'm waiting for that Youtube video tour that shows all the interworkings of your beast. It looks like it's working well, I just need more details to borrow from you.

George
 

xalky

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#51
I guess I mean to say I'm waiting for that Youtube video tour that shows all the interworkings of your beast. It looks like it's working well, I just need more details to borrow from you.

George
I'm gonna be doing a video(s) on the plasma table. I did a lot of research when I was planning the build, but heck If I can remember everything I learned 5 yrs ago. I don't think I'll be able to squeeze all the info in a single video. I'll have to focus on one section at a time. I'll start with the table and work my way up to the y axis, then the z axis, and then the z axis. The controls are not my strong suit but I should be able to at least direct you guys to the info. This table works beyond all my expectations. I'm gonna tell you guys that the plasma cutter you choose is gonna make this a joy to use or a major PITA. Hint: forget about using the cheapest chinese plasma cutter you can find, it'll be nothing but a hassle.
 

scoopydo

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#52
I don't know about others, but I have plenty of CNC and electronics experience. What I don't have is a design that I like, but yours looks like something I could do. I have a 50A Hypertherm plasma, a big box of steppers and controllers. I really like the size of your table and the idea of the downdraft. I'm really not trying to push you into any extra work but if you have the time and nothing else to do it would be very appreciated.

Thanks George
 

xalky

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#53
Hey george.,sorry it took me so long to catch this post. I just changed my notifications so that I can get notified when people react to my posts. :geek::geek: Hypertherm is the best IMO, when it comes to CNC friendly machines. So you're off to a good start.

As far as giving me work...that aint a concern. Quite frankly, I've been feeling a little uninspired lately, so this renewed interest in my plasma table is giving me lots of inspiration to make some new videos. I know there's a lot of different ways to control these things but I would suggest a setup that either uses Mach 3 or there's a LINUX based system run CommandCNC for CNC control. It can run on a very compact computer, and its free. I'm using mach3, because commandcnc didn't exist at the time.
 

scoopydo

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#54
Thanks for the reply Marcel. I have a Windows XP machine already setup with Mach 3. I have wanted to try the LinuxCNC program but just never got around to it. I have a couple of systems running Linux but I just never tried CNC for some reason. Maybe I'll get ambitious and try it? The Hypertherm is a really great machine, though I've replaced the torch and cable 3 times now. But my machine is pretty old I bought it in 2000, I don't even know if it can work with THC? Also, I don't have a machine torch but I have a design for using the hand torch. I'm really looking forward to your new videos, especially the ones on the plasma table.

Thanks George
 
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