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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2021
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    2

    Plasma/ Router table

    I have been researching what cnc controller to purchase to build a cnc Plasma/ Router table and have not found one that I like. I want to use one table but be able to do either plasma or routing. I am lost when it comes to the electrical part of designing something like this. Would a Pokeys 57 be a good choice? I want to use a THC with the plasma and will probably expand the router later on to have a VFD controller. I want to run closed loop nema 23 motors, unless there is a better option. Would Linux be the preferred method of trying to achieve this setup? If so what all would I need to purchase? Would I need a Linux based computer? I am trying to keep cost down as much as possible, right now I am guessing it will cost me about $3500 to build this system. I am slowly buying metal to build the table itself, the table will be a 4'x4' table with rack and pinion drives for the X&Y axis, Z will be a ball screw set up.

  2. #2
    Registered
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Posts
    599

    Re: Plasma/ Router table

    Best choice for plasma is Linuxcnc and it will do an admirable job on a router as well.
    I would suggest a Mes 7i76e (5 stepgens, 32 inputs, 16 outputs and spindle control) and a THCAD-10 to read the plasma voltage.
    But be aware that plasma and routing have totally different design parameters so combining them will result in some compromises.
    Rod Webster
    www.vehiclemods.net.au

  3. #3
    Registered
    Join Date
    May 2004
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    208

    Re: Plasma/ Router table

    I think you are asking about a table that has both a router/spindle and plasma torch. I can't help thinking this is a bad idea.You will have to, at the least, swap out the router spoilboard when you want to use the plasma. And I'm not sure how you would be able to keep the spoil board flat with respect to the spindle when doing that. Also, every working plasma table that I have ever seen has gotten pretty dirty with "dross and slag". Not sure I'd want to cut nice clean wood or plastic on a table like that. Even with a spoilboard covering up the water table.

    Note that a plasma X/Y mechanism (rails, carriages, gantry) doesn't need to be very strong as the torch is fairly light and there are no opposing forces. A plasma table is significantly less expensive to build.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jul 2021
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    2
    Quote Originally Posted by philba View Post
    I think you are asking about a table that has both a router/spindle and plasma torch. I can't help thinking this is a bad idea.You will have to, at the least, swap out the router spoilboard when you want to use the plasma. And I'm not sure how you would be able to keep the spoil board flat with respect to the spindle when doing that. Also, every working plasma table that I have ever seen has gotten pretty dirty with "dross and slag". Not sure I'd want to cut nice clean wood or plastic on a table like that. Even with a spoilboard covering up the water table.

    Note that a plasma X/Y mechanism (rails, carriages, gantry) doesn't need to be very strong as the torch is fairly light and there are no opposing forces. A plasma table is significantly less expensive to build.
    I have been thinking about it and you're right, I should probably just have two separate tables. I think I would use the plasma table more than a router table. I enjoy woodworking, but I can think of more ways to use a plasma table. I could always build a router table later on.

    I was leaning towards using the proma myplasma controller with a proma torch height controller, tied to a hicon integra board. Would like to run nema 23 close loop steppers and drivers. I am still undecided weither I should use ball screw, belt or rack and pinion. I know the belt would be the cheapest route but I've heard that the belt stretches when it gets hot. I've heard the ball screw is slower than the rack and pinion. I've also read that the rack and pinion has to be adjusted a lot do to wear. Personally I'm leaning towards the rack and pinion.

    If I go linux will I need a Linux based computer?

    Sorry for all the questions but when I build it I want it to be right.

  5. #5
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    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    208

    Re: Plasma/ Router table

    I think you could get by just fine with belts because you are moving the torch and maybe a small THC motor - not much weight and no opposing forces.

    I don't know much about LinuxCNC but you will need a computer. I recommend you do some research on what kind of machine you will need to get - linuxCNC might require a parallel port (LPT).

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