Going Crazy Trying to Find the Right CNC Plasma Cutter Any Help Appreciated

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Techbuilder
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Going Crazy Trying to Find the Right CNC Plasma Cutter Any Help Appreciated

Post by Techbuilder » Fri Apr 16, 2021 6:24 pm

Howdy folks!

New to the forum so nice to digitally meet everyone!

Let me start you off on my journey!

I've been pulling my hair out trying to find the right cnc plasma cutter and was hoping for some feedback or thoughts from the people who own tables!

I own a 4x4 CNC router I built from scratch and have a two-car garage full of tools, I wanted to get into CNC plasma cutting as I have a small plasma cutter that I use with templates but I would love to have the same capability as I have with cutting wood, plastic, and aluminum with my router but in steel instead with the CNC plasma cutter.

My issue boils down to space, power, and somewhat location (I'm renting and I live in a duplex with a neighbor connecting my house to theirs but I have a two-car garage)

I can make a 4x4 work in my space but barely as I already have the 4x4 CNC router taking space so I got the idea of combining the machines so I can get a single 4x8 machine and can work with a full sheet for either (hate breaking sheets for the router)

I went down the rabbit hole of looking for combo machines and they all pretty much had the same shortcomings due to the fact that it's really difficult to have a combo machine with the individual requirements of both.

I did look at going with a ShopSabre sidekick 8 (23k with everything I wanted) with the intention of being a one-and-done machine but the goal would be to move out of the garage and into a warehouse if enough work comes my way but I have but 90amps for the whole house and wanted to get a Hypertherm 65 and with all the power requirements from the sidekick 8 I could be dealing with a paperweight I couldn't power or if the lady uses the microwave blows the breaker to the house.

I would hate to lose having the cnc router but do you guys or gals think dealing with a combo wouldn't be worth it and should I stick with a 4x4 with the intent of eventually selling it?

Also what machines do recommend that are lower budget than the ShopSabre that you've been happy with?

There's so many LDR,Starlab, Arclight, STVcnc maybe even Avid

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djreiswig
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Re: Going Crazy Trying to Find the Right CNC Plasma Cutter Any Help Appreciated

Post by djreiswig » Fri Apr 16, 2021 9:13 pm

My starlab has been great. It's very well built. The controls are different on the new ones, but it's an updated version made by the same company.
The gantry is sturdy enough that you can run a router. They even sell a kit to add one.
You're going to have to figure out how to keep the sawdust out of your water pan. Or I guess you could go with a downdraft table. I think it would be doable, and it would be nice if you could run full sheets. Probably increase your range of projects.
2014 Bulltear (StarLab) 4x8
C&CNC EtherCut
Mach3, SheetCam, Draftsight
Hypertherm PM65
Oxy/Acetylene Flame Torch
Pneumatic Plate Marker, Ohmic, 10 inch Rotary Chuck (in progress)

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acourtjester
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Re: Going Crazy Trying to Find the Right CNC Plasma Cutter Any Help Appreciated

Post by acourtjester » Fri Apr 16, 2021 9:58 pm

I have a DIY table and have built others, many are dual purpose tables. I have a water table and a spoil board for the one I have now, it is not as bad as you think to swap them. When not in use either is vertical against the wall with the other on the table. Having the slats removable make the the water table easy to install and remove. I also have a diamond scribe, vinyl cutter that I attach to expand the tables functionally. The Ohmic sensor works for both plasma and router bit touch offs. You will need to do the different planning for the G-code and is simple.
Here are post showing optional tools I attach to my table. Buy or build but get full use of your table, some real fun stuff can be done. the last 2 are plasma cut wall hangers.
viewtopic.php?f=122&t=31755
diamond scribe
Drag knife for vinyl cutting
Chicken sign
DSCN4153.JPG
DSCN4366.JPG
DSCN2249.JPG
Man Cave 2 (2).JPG

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DIY 4X4 Plasma/Router Table
Hypertherm PM65 Machine Torch
Drag Knife and Scribe
Miller Mig welder
13" metal lathe
Small Mill
Everlast PowerTig 255 EXT

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Re: Going Crazy Trying to Find the Right CNC Plasma Cutter Any Help Appreciated

Post by adbuch » Fri Apr 16, 2021 10:47 pm

For a 4x4 I highly recommend the Plasmacam DHC2. Cost is about 8K plus you will spend another 3k upgrading the Design Edge Software to include Advanced Machine Control, Advanced Height Control, and Advanced Design. This is a great machine with the capability to index longer sheets (4x8, 4x12, etc.) thru the machine for seamless cutting/engraving of larger pieces. Plus all design, editing, cut paths, etc. are created using a single piece of software (Design Edge) as opposed to using multiple programs for drawing, creating cut paths, and controlling the machine. I own two of the Plasmacam DHC2 4x4 tables and they have served me well for over 4 years. Hypertherm 45xp seems to be the preferred cutter - I use both the 45xp and 85 on my tables.

Avid cnc makes quality tables that can be used "half & half" - wood router on one side and cnc plasma cutter on the other side. I own two of the Avid cnc routers - Pro 4848 and Pro 4824. These are great machines, excellent quality, fit, and finish - and very reliable. I use one for cnc wood routing/engraving and the other for high speed machining of aluminum parts.

I would personally stay away from the combo tables (wood/plasma) for a number of reasons. You are welcome to pm me for a more detailed explanation.
David

http://www.plasmacam.com/reviews.php

http://www.plasmacam.com/faq.php

http://www.plasmacam.com/softwarespecs.php

http://www.plasmacam.com/machinespecs.php

http://www.plasmacam.com/

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WyoGreen
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Re: Going Crazy Trying to Find the Right CNC Plasma Cutter Any Help Appreciated

Post by WyoGreen » Sun Apr 18, 2021 11:37 am

First, looking at the power situation, remember that you will need a decent size air compressor also, which will probably be 240 volts, as well as 240 volts for your plasma cutter. If you have enough power in your garage, then you need to decide how thick of steel you want to cut (and handle). I have a 4 by 5 table that I built, and a HT45 that I cut with. Like Jester said, indexing larger sheets is easy, and the HT45 handles 1/2" plate easy. You need to look at what plasma cutter you are planing to use and see what CFM of air it requires, then look at an air compressor big enough to supple that volume of air. Note the amperage of those two machines and see if you have 240 volt outlets with enough amperage to supply those 2 machines. The control system of the table will probably be 120 volts from a standard outlet. If you don't have the juice to run a plasma table, cutter and compressor, you might as well stop until you do.

Steve
Precision Plasma gantry
CommandCNC Linux controller w/Feather Touch & PN200 hand controller
HT-45 plasma cutter
Plate Marker
Router
Laser

Techbuilder
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Re: Going Crazy Trying to Find the Right CNC Plasma Cutter Any Help Appreciated

Post by Techbuilder » Sun Apr 18, 2021 11:16 pm

I have 220v 50amp breaker in there now and my current 60 gal compressor draws about 17amps. My only concern is I don’t want to get the 45 and eventually move to a shop again and be short changed on being able to do 3/4 if needed. I figure for an extra grand I can have a 65 and just dial it down to 45 until my shop location and power requirements change. I think given the space right now I have no choice but to go with a 4x4 and index as you’ve said for in the future. How fast are you cutting 1/2 plate and what’s the edge quality like @WyoGreen?

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WyoGreen
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Re: Going Crazy Trying to Find the Right CNC Plasma Cutter Any Help Appreciated

Post by WyoGreen » Mon Apr 19, 2021 3:24 pm

Techbuilder,
1/2" plate requires an edge start with the HT45. I cut at book specs, 18 inches per minute. I have cut as thick as 3/4" with edge start, but it is slow at 8 ipm. The last 1/2" I cut was a chain sprocket for an antique oil well drilling rig. It was about 30" in diameter, so it took a while. Cut quality was fair, with a little rounding on the sprocket teeth due to flame lag while changing cut direction.
Steve
Precision Plasma gantry
CommandCNC Linux controller w/Feather Touch & PN200 hand controller
HT-45 plasma cutter
Plate Marker
Router
Laser

Techbuilder
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Re: Going Crazy Trying to Find the Right CNC Plasma Cutter Any Help Appreciated

Post by Techbuilder » Thu Apr 22, 2021 12:28 am

Just to update the thread I ended going with a ShopSabre Sidekick 4 with the HT65, it will be a while before it’s completed being built but I appreciate everyone that responded on this thread so thank you!

weldguy
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Re: Going Crazy Trying to Find the Right CNC Plasma Cutter Any Help Appreciated

Post by weldguy » Thu Apr 22, 2021 10:27 am

You can't go wrong with the Shop Sabre, well built, well supported, and they have been around for a very long time. Super exciting!

Techbuilder
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Re: Going Crazy Trying to Find the Right CNC Plasma Cutter Any Help Appreciated

Post by Techbuilder » Wed Apr 28, 2021 9:06 am

Thank you Weldguy I'm super excited! Now to get everything ready before it comes!

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