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Old 01-06-2018, 08:22 AM   #1
blackmega3500
 
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Automated plasma tables

Have a buddy/ client of mine looking at automated plasma tables and wanted real world feedback from those that have used them.

The current one he's looking at is about $30k, and the machine will be used for multiple avenues with an emphasis on custom auto fabrication.
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Old 01-06-2018, 08:49 AM   #2
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I would suggest having cut samples from the exact table that is getting purchased so you know the quality of cut you will get. So you don't wasted time in secondary operations. Most only advertise transverse speed which is just a bogus number. Contour speed is a better number to look at. On a cut sample I would send a dxf of a part with a sharp changes in direction to see how the table can actually handle a change in direction. You want clean corners if they are poor quality find another table.
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Old 01-06-2018, 11:58 AM   #3
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3 friends of mine have bought cnc plasma tables in the last couple years, all of them went with arclight. 2 of them do mostly artistic stuff and the other one cuts brackets and various parts. The biggest thing I noticed was the cut quality difference between plasma machines, hypertherm is by far the cleanest.

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Old 01-06-2018, 12:47 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjpcummins View Post
I would suggest having cut samples from the exact table that is getting purchased so you know the quality of cut you will get. So you don't wasted time in secondary operations. Most only advertise transverse speed which is just a bogus number. Contour speed is a better number to look at. On a cut sample I would send a dxf of a part with a sharp changes in direction to see how the table can actually handle a change in direction. You want clean corners if they are poor quality find another table.
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Originally Posted by chevota84 View Post
3 friends of mine have bought cnc plasma tables in the last couple years, all of them went with arclight. 2 of them do mostly artistic stuff and the other one cuts brackets and various parts. The biggest thing I noticed was the cut quality difference between plasma machines, hypertherm is by far the cleanest.

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What about hypertherm compared to the Lincoln tables?
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Old 01-06-2018, 12:51 PM   #5
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hypertherm doesn't make tables just cutting systems. I would recommend hypertherm for the cutting systems. But even with the same cutting system the end result can be different between two table manufactures because of quality of the table components.
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Old 01-06-2018, 01:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
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hypertherm doesn't make tables just cutting systems. I would recommend hypertherm for the cutting systems. But even with the same cutting system the end result can be different between two table manufactures because of quality of the table components.
Ah.... so what would be a good one to complement them?
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Old 01-06-2018, 04:29 PM   #7
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Get something with servo motors vs stepper motors. The feedback is good for various different reasons.
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Old 01-06-2018, 04:32 PM   #8
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Im not sure if the 30k price is a complete system or just budget for the table but i would look at a larger manufacturer and get one of their smaller tables. Koike, messer, multicam etc. Find someone with good support close to your location. Im in the process of possibly purchasing a table from park industries(kano hd) if the stainless edge quality is acceptable by the customer. My system will be running a xpr300 optimix not an air plasma. An air plasma system produces much better edge quality on a higher end table than a cheaply built table because of motion.
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Last edited by kjpcummins; 01-06-2018 at 04:35 PM.
 
Old 01-06-2018, 05:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjpcummins View Post
Im not sure if the 30k price is a complete system or just budget for the table but i would look at a larger manufacturer and get one of their smaller tables. Koike, messer, multicam etc. Find someone with good support close to your location. Im in the process of possibly purchasing a table from park industries(kano hd) if the stainless edge quality is acceptable by the customer. My system will be running a xpr300 optimix not an air plasma. An air plasma system produces much better edge quality on a higher end table than a cheaply built table because of motion.
I know you had talked about a laser setup, curious what made you change your mind?
That KANO looks pretty nice btw
 
Old 01-06-2018, 06:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjpcummins View Post
Im not sure if the 30k price is a complete system or just budget for the table but i would look at a larger manufacturer and get one of their smaller tables. Koike, messer, multicam etc. Find someone with good support close to your location. Im in the process of possibly purchasing a table from park industries(kano hd) if the stainless edge quality is acceptable by the customer. My system will be running a xpr300 optimix not an air plasma. An air plasma system produces much better edge quality on a higher end table than a cheaply built table because of motion.
Lol, yep that all just went over my head but I'm sure his main fab guy will understand lol.

He has the second largest commercial glass company in the city of Houston so cost really isn't the variable for him. I pretty much told him I would get details and experiences from fellas such as yourselves, and then forward the findings. Trade shows are great and marketing info only gets you so much data, it's hands on experience he's really looking for.

When he cut a $250k check for an automated trim and steel fab machine for the glass biz he chewed on that decision for awhile just wanting to make sure it was the right one, and the same thought process is in the table.

He actually is going to be just running this as a hobby shop and building custom one off things such as a V8 powered barstool or his more recent 1000hp golf cart built from scratch. He just wants to basically justify paying for a 10k storage facility for his projects by having it be a functional custom fab shop. If it cuts a profit great, if not he'll write off the loss for the glass company.

His main fab guy has incredible skills from custom fiber glass and body work, machining and fab, to motor builds.
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EFI by ATP in Idaho, s364.5sxe/FI ETR s488 with V2 cover, s&s 135% overs, Hamilton springs/ pushrods and 188/220, suncoast Comp68 getting it all to the ground.

2014 BMW X6 ///M factory 560hp twin turbo AWD
 
Old 01-06-2018, 06:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
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I know you had talked about a laser setup, curious what made you change your mind?
That KANO looks pretty nice btw
Customer seems to be happy with edge quality and color on 10 gauge stainless from the new hypertherm xpr300 which is fine by me as the laser cost 3x as much. Had a few test parts made which will be here next week to be 100% sure. Whether the parts are made with a laser or hd plasma they will have to use the same deburing process for the bottom edge after they are cut before they get bent on the brake.

The kano hd table, deburing machine, and press brake tooling I plan to use for this part are all made just 5 hours north of me. With high production jobs support that close is always nice to have.

I think from most of the normal work I will have for the machine a hd plasma would be a better option to start with because of the wide thickness range that a 2kw fiber laser doesn't have. Up to 2inch thickness will be handy on a some fabrication equipment I will build for myself and a few guys I know locally.
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Old 01-06-2018, 06:27 PM   #12
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Lol, yep that all just went over my head but I'm sure his main fab guy will understand lol.

He has the second largest commercial glass company in the city of Houston so cost really isn't the variable for him. I pretty much told him I would get details and experiences from fellas such as yourselves, and then forward the findings. Trade shows are great and marketing info only gets you so much data, it's hands on experience he's really looking for.

When he cut a $250k check for an automated trim and steel fab machine for the glass biz he chewed on that decision for awhile just wanting to make sure it was the right one, and the same thought process is in the table.

He actually is going to be just running this as a hobby shop and building custom one off things such as a V8 powered barstool or his more recent 1000hp golf cart built from scratch. He just wants to basically justify paying for a 10k storage facility for his projects by having it be a functional custom fab shop. If it cuts a profit great, if not he'll write off the loss for the glass company.

His main fab guy has incredible skills from custom fiber glass and body work, machining and fab, to motor builds.
You mainly want a heavy frame construction and a table that can fully support the material being cut without flexing. You want good software to control torch height which is also critical to reduce dross as are servo motors with decent horsepower so you can get proper speed especially when changing directions. To produce good cuts. Last thing anyone wants to do is knocking or grinding slat off.
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Old 01-06-2018, 06:47 PM   #13
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Customer seems to be happy with edge quality and color on 10 gauge stainless from the new hypertherm xpr300 which is fine by me as the laser cost 3x as much. Had a few test parts made which will be here next week to be 100% sure. Whether the parts are made with a laser or hd plasma they will have to use the same deburing process for the bottom edge after they are cut before they get bent on the brake.

The kano hd table, deburing machine, and press brake tooling I plan to use for this part are all made just 5 hours north of me. With high production jobs support that close is always nice to have.

I think from most of the normal work I will have for the machine a hd plasma would be a better option to start with because of the wide thickness range that a 2kw fiber laser doesn't have. Up to 2inch thickness will be handy on a some fabrication equipment I will build for myself and a few guys I know locally.
Ok, makes perfect sense and cool that you can buy from that close. Our 4kw co2 laser honestly doesn't even do the greatest job with 0.25" AL and steel all the time. What debur machine and brake are you looking at? Our shop is kind of backwards from you as we have a pallet changer and debur manually with an air belt sander. Maybe yours will require more intensive deburring with the hd plasma though.
 
Old 01-06-2018, 07:21 PM   #14
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deburing/edge rounding from a Timesaver. Once the part shows up monday it will get discussed with the customer. Then the part will get sent up to Timesaver to run it thru one of their machines to make sure it will do what I need to do.

Press brake has me unsure what to do. So I decided I'm just going to build a way over built 2 station 2ft press brake for this job. Im actually working on the design right now. It will be handy for any small parts and most of the aluminum tank/heat exchanger stuff I would bend aswell. Press brake tooling will come from wilson tool. This job will use roller v series bottom dies and 30 degree punch.
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Old 01-06-2018, 07:52 PM   #15
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I assume that picture is the brake frame model? That is the 2" you are referring to cutting? That should be an interesting project. Hopefully no one cares about the derail, just forgot about your project and think it's cool.
 
Old 01-06-2018, 08:00 PM   #16
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I assume that picture is the brake frame model? That is the 2" you are referring to cutting? That should be an interesting project. Hopefully no one cares about the derail, just forgot about your project and think it's cool.
Correct the picture is currently what i have done on the press brake. It will be made completely out of 2 inch plate using a single hydraulic cylinder in the center.

Hopefully the op doesnt mind to much. But the info from my project could be useful for his friends stuff aswell i believe.
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Old 01-06-2018, 08:18 PM   #17
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I think so too. Are you set on building a press or still deciding? To be honest I think it's a huge project that might take more time to engineer (possibly more to refine) than it's worth to get your deal started. Also depends on your tolerances. I can tell you this - our 100 ton amada up acting is older, has less issues, and is operator preferred over our newer 175 ton fully cnc down acting accurpress.

Last edited by kleann; 01-06-2018 at 08:20 PM.
 
Old 01-06-2018, 08:34 PM   #18
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I think so too. Are you set on building a press or still deciding? To be honest I think it's a huge project that might take more time to engineer (possibly more to refine) than it's worth to get your deal started. Also depends on your tolerances. I can tell you this - our 100 ton amada up acting is older, has less issues, and is operator preferred over our newer 175 ton fully cnc down acting accurpress.
The picture is basically done beside adding the guides. I think i am going to give it a shot. Its only 2 ft wide and over built. So it shouldn't have any crowing issues and with a single cylinder since its not wide which will eliminate having to balance two cylinders. I plan to use limit switches with adjustable stops for up and down movement. Once its set it will be set for 20,000 piece run. If i need help with the electrical side i know a handful of electricians from my full time job that would help. I wont have a whole lot in the press brake even compared to a decent shape used machine. But if it doesn't work i will just buy one.
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Old 01-06-2018, 08:37 PM   #19
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Correct the picture is currently what i have done on the press brake. It will be made completely out of 2 inch plate using a single hydraulic cylinder in the center.

Hopefully the op doesnt mind to much. But the info from my project could be useful for his friends stuff aswell i believe.
Please keep going, it's all gibberish to me lol! Fun to read and try to understand at least lol!

It makes me appreciate the fabrication process that's for sure!
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Old 01-06-2018, 09:06 PM   #20
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The picture is basically done beside adding the guides. I think i am going to give it a shot. Its only 2 ft wide and over built. So it shouldn't have any crowing issues and with a single cylinder since its not wide which will eliminate having to balance two cylinders. I plan to use limit switches with adjustable stops for up and down movement. Once its set it will be set for 20,000 piece run. If i need help with the electrical side i know a handful of electricians from my full time job that would help. I wont have a whole lot in the press brake even compared to a decent shape used machine. But if it doesn't work i will just buy one.
Cool, I admire the courage! What are you planning for the guide components? So you'll have to 2 different fixed back gauges and punch/dies? I see the frame of the machine, but I don't see the punch and die holding sections..are you going to get these machined/ground flat and parallel or just plasma cut?.. this where I can see a lot to adjust. Limit switches should work fine if can get enough control over them, I think ours are based on tonnage or hydraulic flow. I know with the material variance (strength and thickness) on our steel, the operators have to do some adjustments and previous engineers have played around with k-factors during modeling stages to help dial in the presses' output.
 
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