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  1. #1

    CNC Plasma purchase advice?

    Hi all, new to this forum and was hoping to get some advice or guidance.
    I am looking at a side business making wall art, decorative screening and letterbox plates among other things using a CNC plasma. Mainly cutting aluminium and stainless steel < 3mm thick.
    Looking at the swift-cut pro 2500wt or the Weldclass t2400 . I would get the refrigerated air dryer and filter to improve performance.

    Anyone have any experience or advice regarding either of these? Are either of these machines suitable to do the job? Or any other suggestions?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    Re: CNC Plasma purchase advice?

    Hi,
    I worked for a company for seven years fixing welders and plasma machines, so mainly electronics.

    Many low and medium priced plasma machines are Chinese made, and are pretty rubbishy. It doesn't matter what colur they paint the outside
    or where the 'box' is assembled all the electronics inside is Chinese.

    Make no mistake that the price is so low means they are good value for money....its just that they don't last long as a rule. They also have poorly
    designed and engineered torches and torch parts. They almost all use high voltage HF to start the arc and that HF gives ANY CNC electronics a hard time.

    By far and away the best plasmas I've ever come across is Hypertherm. There is a reason also that they are probably the most expensive, the best does not
    come cheap.

    Hypertherm design, engineer and build ALL their own torches and torch consumables...and they are top quality. Excepting the big 200A and 400A machines they use
    pneumatics as a 'contact break' to start the arc and therefore no troublesome HF.

    A Powermax45 will cut 3mm nicely and fairly rapidly and is the largest size that is still single phase (just!!). They have both handheld and machine torches.

    Using an air dryer is highly recommended in humid environments, but is very much secondary to having a good machine in the first place. Dry air helps secure the longest
    possible use of torch consumables, but Hypertherm consumables are the industry standard for longevity as is.

    Craig

  3. #3
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    Re: CNC Plasma purchase advice?

    Hi,
    I worked for a company for seven years fixing welders and plasma machines, so mainly electronics.

    Many low and medium priced plasma machines are Chinese made, and are pretty rubbishy. It doesn't matter what colur they paint the outside
    or where the 'box' is assembled all the electronics inside is Chinese.

    Make no mistake that the price is so low means they are good value for money....its just that they don't last long as a rule. They also have poorly
    designed and engineered torches and torch parts. They almost all use high voltage HF to start the arc and that HF gives ANY CNC electronics a hard time.

    By far and away the best plasmas I've ever come across is Hypertherm. There is a reason also that they are probably the most expensive, the best does not
    come cheap.

    Hypertherm design, engineer and build ALL their own torches and torch consumables...and they are top quality. Excepting the big 200A and 400A machines they use
    pneumatics as a 'contact break' to start the arc and therefore no troublesome HF.

    A Powermax45 will cut 3mm nicely and fairly rapidly and is the largest size that is still single phase (just!!). They have both handheld and machine. torches.

    Using an air dryer is highly recommended in humid environments, but is very much secondary to having a good machine in the first place. Dry air helps secure the longest
    possible use of torch consumables, but Hypertherm consumables are the industry standard for longevity as is.

    Craig


    WHOOPS....Sorry double post!!

  4. #4

    Re: CNC Plasma purchase advice?

    Thanks Joe, Really appreciate your response.
    Both the machines I listed come with the hypertherm 45xp so at least I know I'm on the right track. Would the quality of cut be ok when mainly cutting 2-3m brushes stainless steel and 4mm aluminium or will there be a heap of "clean up" work afterwards?

  5. #5
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    Re: CNC Plasma purchase advice?

    Hi,
    with appropriate tuning you should be able to produce excellent cuts in 2mm-3mm stainless. 4mm aluminum I would expect to be good, but prehaps not as good
    as 2mm-3mm stainless.

    If your sole purpose is to cut thin materials such as these you should enquire about 'Fine-Cut' consumables. I have been away from this company for three years
    and even when I was there I tended to focus on Hypertherm's electronic design and left the consumables debate to the sales team. If I'm not mistaken the FineCut
    consumables produce superior results in thin materials, but less than optimum in thicker materials. It tickles my memory that FineCut consumables may require a
    dedicated torch which precludes the use of regular consumables. Thus you may have to have two torches or decide on one or the other.

    I used to have contact with two or three customers that had large plasma tables with 200A Hypertherm machines. The absolutely critical part of cut quality
    is torch height control and anti-dive strategies. Torch height and Anti-dive are what separate good from bad and all other things being equal these alone should
    determine your choice of purchase. If the salesman cannot tell you exactly how it works and how to, and what parameters you can tune, then walk away, in fact run away.

    Craig

  6. #6

    Re: CNC Plasma purchase advice?

    Thanks Craig, much appreciated.

  7. #7
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    Re: CNC Plasma purchase advice?

    Andrew,

    If you are looking at buying a CNC table/machine, stay right away from ART machines!

  8. #8

    Re: CNC Plasma purchase advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick_B View Post
    Andrew,

    If you are looking at buying a CNC table/machine, stay right away from ART machines!
    ok roger that

  9. #9

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    Re: CNC Plasma purchase advice?

    Hello do you consider to use fiber laser cutting machine to cut the metals? The cutting surface is perfect and cutting speed is very fast.

  10. #10
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    Re: CNC Plasma purchase advice?

    Hi,

    Hello do you consider to use fiber laser cutting machine to cut the metals?
    Yeah, great idea. How much does, say, a 1kw fiber laser cost? Tens, or is it hundreds of thousands?

    Craig

  11. #11

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    Re: CNC Plasma purchase advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by joeavaerage View Post
    Hi,



    Yeah, great idea. How much does, say, a 1kw fiber laser cost? Tens, or is it hundreds of thousands?

    Craig
    Hi,

    Actually there are kinds of types for 1kw. Do you mind to tell me your email, then we talk via email? What's your idea?

    ???? KB2000 ?? Tapatalk??

  12. #12
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    Re: CNC Plasma purchase advice?

    Hi,
    no, my point is that anyone would prefer a laser, but a laser powerful enough to cut metals of reasonable thickness and production
    speed are very expensive. How about just posting the cost of the laser......it would tell us instantly whether its a viable solution based
    on cost alone.

    Craig

  13. #13

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    Re: CNC Plasma purchase advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by joeavaerage View Post
    Hi,
    no, my point is that anyone would prefer a laser, but a laser powerful enough to cut metals of reasonable thickness and production
    speed are very expensive. How about just posting the cost of the laser......it would tell us instantly whether its a viable solution based
    on cost alone.

    Craig
    Hi,

    Ok, got you. It's around $20,000-$45,000 for a 1kw machine with 3000*1500mm working table based on different types.

    Hope it's helpful.

    ???? KB2000 ?? Tapatalk??

  14. #14
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    Re: CNC Plasma purchase advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankRMF View Post
    Hi,

    Ok, got you. It's around $20,000-$45,000 for a 1kw machine with 3000*1500mm working table based on different types.

    Hope it's helpful.

    ???? KB2000 ?? Tapatalk??
    Here? USD? AUD? what is the max thickness it will cut?

  15. #15
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    Re: CNC Plasma purchase advice?

    Hi,

    what is the max thickness it will cut?
    I'm at my limit as far as practical experience with lasers but they are broadly similar to plasma with respect to max thickness.

    For instance Hypertherm publish the max steel thickness as 16mm for the XP45, and from personal experience it does work, just slowly. In truth I would say
    the XP45 has a limit of about 5mm AT PRODUCTION speeds. Same with a laser, its not so much what is the max a 1kW laser can cut but what can it cut
    fast ENOUGH that I can make money with it.

    Craig.

  16. #16
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    Re: CNC Plasma purchase advice?

    Yer I know what "Production" speed is and you would be even pushing to get it with a XP45 on 5mm. I was more interested in what he was offering for $45K, considering the one I have been looking at is $265K.

  17. #17

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    Re: CNC Plasma purchase advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick_B View Post
    Here? USD? AUD? what is the max thickness it will cut?
    Hi,

    It's USD.

    For 1kw fiber laser, it can cut max. 12mm carbon steel, max. 5mm stainless steel, max. 3mm aluminum, max. 3mm brass and max. 1mm copper.

    For 2kw fiber laser, it can cut max. 18mm carbon steel, max. 7mm stainless steel, max. 6mm aluminum, max. 6mm brass and max. 4mm copper.

    What kind of metal do you cut and what's the thickness?

    ???? KB2000 ?? Tapatalk??

  18. #18

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    Re: CNC Plasma purchase advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick_B View Post
    Yer I know what "Production" speed is and you would be even pushing to get it with a XP45 on 5mm. I was more interested in what he was offering for $45K, considering the one I have been looking at is $265K.
    Hi,

    We can talk more details if you need more info about the machine I offered.

    ???? KB2000 ?? Tapatalk??

  19. #19
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    Re: CNC Plasma purchase advice?

    You can check their reviews about CNC plasma!

  20. #20
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    Re: CNC Plasma purchase advice?

    Well somebody from Australia should say something!
    For starters, it does not sound like you have got $150k for a table from ART so Rick will be happy! They have a background in routers before they built plasma machines, they are therefore pretty heavy so are slow with acceleration which is OK if you have one of their machines cutting 30mm plate in a shipyard all day.
    The Aussie market is dominated by Chinese machines with very poor controllers and often no way to accurately probe to find the material height. I would try and stay clear of them.

    The other alternative is to consider building your own but you need a large skill set and the electronics has many gotchas on the design. The best plasma controller in that DIY class is Linuxcnc based on mesa hardware for the emotion control and torch voltage reading to allow Linuxcnc to manage the Torch Height control internally using Linuxcnc's sophisticated PID based algorithms.By going with an open source solution you end up with a system you are not locked into and you end up with better support from a global community more or less 24/7.

    I have quoted building a complete table which would provide better performance than the options you are considering but its still going to be > $30k excluding the plasma cutter and air supply and dryer. If you want to explore this option, or part of it, feel free to PM me. You will get a very carefully engineered solution.

    Finally, a note on plasma cutters. Hypertherm are by far and away the best option for air plasma. If you go with Linuxcnc, you can control them from the Linuxcnc controller using the Hypertherm RS485 interface. If you only have single phase, you are restricted to the 45XP but it does have a low duty cycle. If you have 3 phase, a 65 or 85 amp machine is a better option...

    If you are anywhere near Brisbane, I'm happy for you to check out my plasma table.
    Rod Webster
    www.vehiclemods.net.au

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