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Need help deciding on a table

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Plasmanewb
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri May 18, 2018 2:14 pm

Need help deciding on a table

Postby Plasmanewb » Sat Jun 02, 2018 2:52 am

Unfortunately I am new to the world of plasma tables so I apologize for my ignorance. I'm sure this question has been asked before but I would like some input from people with experience in this field. Im torn between doing a 4x4 table now to start my business and upgrading later, or choking a big bullet and get a 4x8 now and hope I can get enough beginning business to cover it. Id really like to avoid my first step being in the wrong direction. Thanks for looking, and any input is appreciated.

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acourtjester
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Posts: 3041
Joined: Sat Jun 02, 2012 6:04 pm
Location: Pensacola, Fla

Re: Need help deciding on a table

Postby acourtjester » Sat Jun 02, 2018 8:16 am

To start with is you need to see if the area you are in will support a table or another table. And be sure of what you are looking to do, are you a Fab shop looking to cut for others. A shop that will do art work for walk-in type customers, a hobbyist wanting to do side work for extra cash. Most here would tell you buy a bigger table to start, it make no sense to buy and small table and find your business needs a bigger table then having to get another and sell the smaller one. Do you have room for a bigger table, remember you also need to add a Plasma unit and a compressor, clear air system, tools to clean cut parts. Also what if any other options would you need or want on the table. What restriction you may run into with local codes about where you can run a business? Is there a local steel supplier that you can deal with? ;)
There is a section here that deals with info on tables, questions/problems are discussed, there are many tables shown many with happy buyers. There are some that are posted to stay away from and why. In the upper right is a box called "search" type in names of tables and info will be shown. :)
There are other blanks to fill in besides what table you buy. :o
DIY 4X4 Plasma/Router Table
CandCNC DTHC-IV & Feather Touch
Hypertherm PM65 Machine Torch
Drag Knife and Scribe
Miller Mig welder
13" metal lathe
Small Mill
Everlast PM 256 tig

motoguy
Posts: 1053
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 12:05 pm
Location: Central MO, USA

Re: Need help deciding on a table

Postby motoguy » Sat Jun 02, 2018 11:09 am

I don't think you will ever say "I wish I had a smaller table". You may very well want a larger one, though. I went with a 6x12 table, even though I was initially shopping a 4x8. Once you're "in" for the table purchase, the larger tables are typically a better value (in $ / sq ft of cutting area). Once you've paid for the controls, electronics, plasma, etc...a bit more steel and welding isn't that much extra.

I've had my table just under 3 years. In that time, I've needed the full 12' length 2-3 times. Each of those times, the extra length was worth 1-2 thousand in profit. Why? Because they NEEDED 12', and nobody else had one.

Go as big as you can afford, IMO. It opens up options. Other than footprint and initial expense, there is no downside, IMO.
Bulltear 6x12 w/ Proton Z axis & watertable
CommandCNC/Linux w/ Ohmic & HyT options
Hypertherm Powermax 85 w/ machine torch
Solidworks, Coreldraw X7, Inkscape, Sheetcam

tcaudle
Posts: 986
Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2012 6:47 pm

Re: Need help deciding on a table

Postby tcaudle » Sat Jun 02, 2018 2:41 pm

Plasmanewb wrote:Unfortunately I am new to the world of plasma tables so I apologize for my ignorance. I'm sure this question has been asked before but I would like some input from people with experience in this field. Im torn between doing a 4x4 table now to start my business and upgrading later, or choking a big bullet and get a 4x8 now and hope I can get enough beginning business to cover it. Id really like to avoid my first step being in the wrong direction. Thanks for looking, and any input is appreciated.

I know you have heard this all before BUT...."It all depends"
1. Do you have the room for a larger table in your shop?
2. Can you provide for the smoke and dust extraction and the physical isolation a production table needs from other processes?
3. Is your goal to make a business out of doing decorative cutting or as a general job shop (or both?)
4. What size material can you handle/store. What is the thickest you plan to cut. Big material is heavy


I started and ran a plasma /router cutting business from 2000 to 2005
I quickly learned the money was in custom plasma cutting mostly in decorative stuff . I only had a modest little 4 X 4 and an old Miller Plasma but it served me for many years. Bigger jobs (lke gates and overheads) are not usually cut from one big piece. They were cut in smaller sections and stitched onto a frame work, not because of the smaller table but because an 8ft piece of material with cutouts has no lateral strength and folds up like a soft taco. Yes you can cut it out of thicker material but it raises the price and its harder to load and unload. I did do a couple of larger jobs by indexing the cut (not real easy but doable) . I think the best size for most small shops is a 5 X 5 work area since you can buy 5 X 10 material and have them bust it in half.
What was said is true about the value per sq ft being better because its the same electronics, Gantry , motors, Plasma torch , Z mechanism and software for any sized table.
Now, if you are building products and you need lots of parts per hour you go with a large table where loading and unloading times are fewer. If you build stuff out of big sheets of material a large table has value.
Well, not sure it helps your decision process. There are pros and cons for sure. I think it's hard for a newby to quantify WHAT they will be doing with any tool.

Plasmanewb
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri May 18, 2018 2:14 pm

Re: Need help deciding on a table

Postby Plasmanewb » Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:43 am

I would like to use the table for home decor, one-off automotive, and a little industrial stuff. I spoke with the gentleman across the road from me that owns a drilling company, he said that they are all the time needing gussets, braces, and backhoe eye brackets etc. Ideally I'd be starting off small, and doing a little bit of everything. The drilling company owner did say that they use up to 1" thick material, so my concern will be with the cost of a plasma cutter that will handle that. Would a 1" capable plasma still be able to run the thinner material ok just by adjusting amperage?


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