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Old Wed 25 August 2010, 05:56
Just call me: Mark
Shingletown, Ca.
United States of America
Couple questions about plasma...

As mentioned elsewhere, I'm planning on starting with a solsylva router table, and integrating some of the parts into a plasma mechmate (or mechmate/solsylva hybrid) and a mechmate router... 2 separate tables...

So I have a couple questions about options in planning the original solsylva build and what can or can't be done when I decide to move forward from there...

1) I have the option of using aluminum for the gantry and Z carriage on the solsylva.. Is this a problem for plasma? Is the heat from the plasma an issue for the gantry? Would sparks or slag cause any damage to an aluminum gantry or Z carriage?

2) I understand that 'cutting force' is not an issue with plasma, as there is no acutal contact between the machine head and the material being cut... Does this therfore allow for smaller steppers? The reason I ask, is that the solsylva specs out 425 in oz NEMA 23 steppers... If I can use these cheaper steppers and their associated drives/power supply, that would make life easier... The plan is to make a mechmate base table, and bolt wooden rails to it, and build the solsylva system on top with an all aluminum gantry... then later, shortening the aluminum gantry, and modifying it to ride on top of the mechmate steel rails and rack system.. (X axis), and replacing the router with a plasma torch... (likely replacing the solsylva bearing system on the gantry with linear motion bearings at that time as well if I'm not happy with the homemade bearing system)

3) The solsylva plans call out for a 2" x 6" x 1/2" aluminum C channel for the gantry beam.. I'm thinking about replacing this with a more expensive T slot aluminum channel (2 x 6 if they make such an animal, otherwise 3 x 6)) ... As this would make 'modifying' the gantry later much easier... But I'm not sure if this weakens or strengthens the gantry beam.. So I'm wondering which is a better gantry material, the extrusion or the C channel? If the open slots are an issue with the extrusion, I could always cut some thin sheet metal to cover exposed/unused channel surfaces...

This plan allows me to get a lighter duty router table up and running, while I build a true to plans mechmate router table, later modifying the lighter duty table to become a hybrid mechmate plasma table...

If I can resolve those three questions, I think I have enough info to gather some materials and start construction of some components..

Thanks for all your advice and help,

Last edited by Mountaincraft; Wed 25 August 2010 at 06:26..
Old Wed 25 August 2010, 08:32
Just call me: Mike
Columbiana AL
United States of America
Mark - I know you are building two machines, but let's keep the posts here related to your MM build. I am going to close this thread.
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