535,387 active members*
4,283 visitors online*
Register for free
Login
IndustryArena Forum > CNC Plasma, EDM / Waterjet Machines > General Waterjet > Is It Possible to Cut this Part on a Plasma Table?
Results 1 to 16 of 16
  1. #1
    Registered
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    0

    Is It Possible to Cut this Part on a Plasma Table?

    I've asked this question to a few different people with mixed results. This part is made from .080" aluminum and has .080" slots cut into it (to interlock with other similar parts). I'm thinking about building or buying a cnc plasma table, but many/most of the parts I make are out of this material with these type slots in them, so I'm wondering if it's even possible to do this or not. Right now I'm having all of this stuff farmed out to a local laser/waterjet cutter.

    Also, what's the minimum Hypertherm cutter I would need to be able to do the occasional cut on 3/4" alum? This is not a material I would run very often, but once in a great while. Can alum this thick be cut on a plasma table with good results and edge quality? I'm new to all of this, so thanks for any help you might be able to give me!
    Attached Files Attached Files

  2. #2
    Registered
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    197
    i would say this part is totally possible - would it be as clean as laser or waterjet? probably not.

    I'd use a fine tip, which typically gives about a .04" kerf.

    check out the new hypertherm 65 & 85. 85 should be able to do 3/4" aluminum.

  3. #3
    Registered
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    0
    Thanks for the reply. Anyone willing to give this part a try on your plasma table if you've got some .080" alum laying around....and you think you can get the slots cut fairly clean? I'd gladly pay for the materials if someone can show me that these parts can be plasma cut.

    I'm thinking gauge thickness for this material usually runs more in the range of .076", and I'm thinking that someone once told me there is a choice of .076" kerf width with the correct tip? If this is the case, is there any reason you can't program it to cut the slot in one pass, then back out and resume the rest of the perimeter?....instead of it cutting one side of the slot, and then trying to shift over a couple thousanths to cut the other side of the slot.......because this is what causes all of the dross, correct? Keep in mind I have zero experience with plasma or cnc, just kind of thinking out loud here.

  4. #4
    Registered jimcolt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2247
    I will cut one of these parts for you.....I have .080" aluminum in my shop. The round holes will be cut undersize and drilled out. The slots will have a radius the approx diameter of the arc (about .050") on the bottom, where you have it squared off. The edges will be a bit rough and porous, and a bit of taper. Aluminum is not the best process for an air plasma, but it is acceptable for many applications.

    Here are some pics of aluminum cuts: 1st is .080" zipline trolley parts, 2nd and 3rd are 3/16" parts

    Jim Colt
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails ziplinecuts 018.jpg   IMG_2766.jpg   IMG_2768.jpg  

  5. #5
    Registered
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    0
    Thanks Jim! I really appreciate your help with this! I saw those pics in the other thread, and I can't say that the edge quality looks that much different from the waterjet parts I'm getting now. Of course laser is....well, very near perfection, but I'm not expecting laser edge quality here. And, yes, I can definitely live with having a radius at the ends of the slots......might have to make some adjustments to the length of my slots if this all works out, but I can live with that!

    If this all works out, and I can justify building myself a table, you know who I'll be contacting for a plasma cutter. ;-) Thanks again!

  6. #6
    Registered
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    0
    TTT for a friendly reminder........ Thanks!

  7. #7
    Registered jimcolt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2247
    I am on the road (California) for Hypertherm until Friday February 11th.....hopefully the weather will cooperate and I will cut your part after that.

    Jim

  8. #8
    Registered
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    0
    bump.......

  9. #9
    Registered
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    155
    I believe this part can be done on a CNC plasma
    Now featuring Plasmaland online

  10. #10
    Registered
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    0
    One more bump to see if I can get anyone who thinks they can run this part to give it a shot on their plasma table. I'm getting closer to being able to pull the trigger on building my own plasma table, and it would be nice to know if I'll be able to run these parts before I make that decision. Thanks!

  11. #11
    Registered jimcolt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2247
    Vacexstar,

    I apologize for not getting this done....I actually lost your contact info, and just stumbled across this post again. I have converted your file for my Powermax85, PlasmaCam machine and I will cut it today. The .125 holes cannot be done accurately....so I will cut them smaller, then drill them.

    Please email me your shipping address and real name, and I will put the part in the mail.


    Jim Colt jim.colt@hypertherm.com

  12. #12
    Registered
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    0
    Email sent! Thanks Jim! As I said in my email, I'd really like to see what the part looks like right off the table......no drilling or clean-up, so I can see how much work I would need to do to the parts if I cut them myself if/when I build my own table. Thanks!!!

  13. #13
    Registered
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    114
    Hi, i will be happy to see the result posted here. I have exactly the same question on my mind before building a plasma table. I need to cut 10mm 6061

  14. #14
    Registered jimcolt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2247
    Vacextar,

    Here are a couple of pics of your .080" aluminum part as cut from your .dxf file. I did not cleanup, it is as cut. This was cut with a Hyperthem Powermax85 at 45 amps, 200 inches per minute. Total cut time with ohmic plate sensing and height control retract and traversing was about 15 seconds. Converting to a usable cut path from your .dxf file using the PlasmaCam software, about 15 seconds as well. I set the parameters in the machine setups (cut speed, cut height, pierce height, pierce delay, lead in length and kerf width)....in about 25 seconds.

    Sorry for the slight corrosion on the aluminum....it was the only sheet I had! The 1/8" holes are a bit oversized, around .140", but that could easily be adjusted on the second part with kerf compensation. The part will be in the mail Monday.

    Whats critical on cutting thin materials?

    1. Cut speed and the ability to get there fast (acceleration). 200 inches per minute on this material, specs from the Hypertherm manual.
    2. Pierce height. (.012", used ohmic sensing for no plate deflection)
    3. Cut height (must be held to torch manufacturers spec within .010"). The cut height for this was .060".
    4. Last but not least...a good plasma with good energy density.

    Jim Colt
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_0505.jpg   IMG_0507.jpg  

  15. #15
    Registered
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    0
    Jim,

    Wow! To be honest, that part doesn't look much different at all from the parts I'm having water-jet cut for me right now! Looking forward to seeing the part in person. I can't thank you enough for taking the time to run that for me. I'm pretty sure you just sold a hypertherm cutter.....although it will probably be a few weeks......planning on starting my table build this week.

    I take it that you really like the plasmacam software? Would you expect me to be able to re-produce your results with a home-built table using a precision plasma gantry and candcnc package running sheetcam& mach3? Thanks again!

    Sent from my DROID PRO using Tapatalk

  16. #16
    Registered jimcolt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2247
    In all fairness....I am very familiar with the PlasmaCam software because I have owned PlasmaCam machines for my home shop use for over 10 years. It is very user friendly and does not require any programming knowledge (no machine code modifications or tweaking). I have seen some people using Mach 3 as well as other cutting software (such as Torchmate) that are very good at cutting parts and getting them from the CAD drawing stage to the actual cutting stage. Like with most processes, familiarity and lots of time makes you an expert! The key to good cuts is with good torch height control, and with good acceleration.

    Just for reference, the part in the pictures on my earlier post, cut from .080" aluminum with my Powermax85 (45 amps) I would price out at $4.88. I don't know how that compares with other processes, I suspect it is far less expensive. At that price I am very happy with my hourly income from my shop. The key to the low cutting cost with plasma, assuming that the plasma is on a good machine, and I can't stress enough, a good torch height control, is with the ease of setup, ease of use, and extremely fast cutting speed, as well as with a low cost (to operate) process.

    My shop machine which I bought for personal use does paying jobs occasionally. I did use it fairly heavily over the first 6 months of ownership for profit....as I told my wife it would pay for itself in 6 months! It actually took about 3 months, and now when I want to buy a new (expensive) tool or toy I search for work for my cnc plasma machine....is has paid for itself quite a few times over. The drawback? When my buddies come over and need a part.....and pay for time and material with beer....which they also help me drink. Oh well, its not all that bad.

    Jim

    Jim

Similar Threads

  1. Precision Plasma LLC 2' x 3' DIY Plasma Table
    By rchacich in forum News Announcements
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 08-26-2011, 12:05 AM
  2. Precision part with an entry level cnc plasma!
    By jimcolt in forum Hypertherm Plasma
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 10-20-2010, 07:30 PM
  3. Precision Plasma LLC 5' x 5' CNC Plasma Table
    By rchacich in forum News Announcements
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 11-10-2009, 05:08 PM
  4. plasma cut part
    By millman52 in forum Employment Opportunity
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 04-21-2009, 08:27 PM
  5. How to center a part on a rotary table
    By ryansuperbee in forum Benchtop Machines
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 07-30-2008, 10:17 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •