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Old Thu 26 February 2009, 04:58
Just call me: archie
prichard, wv
United States of America
Plasma Build questions

Hello all,
I have been away from the board for a while but I am getting closer to building. I have searched quite a bit on the forum but have not found much on building a plasma cutter. things like the base with water table and the grid's to place the stock on while cutting.

archie =) =) =)
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Old Thu 26 February 2009, 18:36
Just call me: T.J.
United States of America
I want to build a plasma machine as well. When the time comes I will make it work for a router and a plasma torch as well. I think it would not be too hard to bolt a plasma torch adapter to the Z-plate where the router mount resides. Also for the cross-members, (that is what I call them in the US) I would have to make a design so I could slide 1/4" plates verticle about 4 inches high and maybe 6 inches wide so they can be removed and still support the work plate being cut. I am thinking making some sort of pockets that will be welded to the cross-members allowing the verticle plates to be "slid" in the pocket. All would have to be level of course. I have many designs I would need to draw out.
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Old Sun 14 June 2009, 15:56
Just call me: Jared
United States of America
Great there are a couple more of us thinking along the same lines. I too want to get the MechMate design to work for doing some milling of hard metals, plasma cutting and perhaps some MIG/TIG. What sorts of modifications are you planning on doing to the base structure in order to accommodate the plasma cutter. Are you just planning to make a Steel catch basin capable of containing water or how are you thinking you will do it? I would like to know about any changes that you are contemplating doing. It would help me with my design modification "concept" generation. Nice to meet you TJ...jeep534
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Old Mon 15 June 2009, 02:30
Jan de Ruyter
Just call me: Jan
South Africa
Mixing wood and steel in the same shop is messy.

You can do plasma on MM, but it is over engineered for that purpose as there are no real forces when doing plasma cutting. (just moving the torch around) What I do suggest is building a separate plasma machine somewhere else using el cheapo steppers and using your computer & control box for both machines. You will just have to re-tune your Gekos for the different motors.

The plasma cutter can be made with less tolerances than the MM, (why do boilermakers have welders in any case?) I have seen plasma cutters running on grooved nylon wheels on plain inverted angle iron.

The catch pan is simply 3 inches of water in a 2mm rubberised mild steel pan with a drain at the bottom. For supporting the steel to be cut, use 2mm flat bar that is bent, no need for cutting little diamonds in angle iron.
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Old Wed 23 December 2009, 19:02
Just call me: Besser
Jan had it, to modify a std MM to plasma is one of my goals. protection and extraction is critical. I will have a 50mm deep folded pan with Perlite float surface. I was told to line the bottom with baking paper (easier to scrape out crud). An internal grid will support the material. the Z Plate will carry a 30cm circular plate to avoid vaporised material settling on the components and I will still be using the vacuum extraction to remove cut zone fumes. I have also looked into to torch height control as pierce and travel heights are different and important enough to invest in.
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Old Wed 03 February 2010, 19:31
Just call me: MOCO #58
United States of America
We are looking to have two z slides, one to fit with a router to engrave or spot hole centers, one fit with a plasma torch. We are researching implementing a THC. Our cutting surface well likely be 1/16"x2" slats mimicking the cutting table we curently use for oxy torch cutting. Our metal shop is fairly well ventilated so we had not been considering fume extraction.

One of our challenges is all our shops double as classroom environment so we tend to keep equipment as portable as possible. We need to be able to reconfigure our space from a learning environment in the morning to a production space inthe afternoon. With that in mind our base table is pretty stout, and we intend to mount the control box to it. A dedicated computer will likely be fit in a rolling cabinet.

Getting the project up and running is starting pretty slow. But we are picking up momentum. Key choices have been made, and we are moving on to purchasing.
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