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  1. #1
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    PowerMax 45 / CandCNC THC question

    I've bought a PowerMax 45, a gantry kit from Precision Plasma and BladeRunner electronics from CandCNC.

    I've built the table. Everything is fine.

    I've installed the motors and software. I've tuned the motors. It runs around the table like it should and an inch of movement is an inch of movement.

    Everything appears to be hunky-doory in that respect.

    I've hooked up the THC stuff to the plasma cutter. All the little test buttons on the different cards seem to function like the manuals say they should (green lights are green, test lights flash, seems to read the voltage while cutting, etc.)

    The table has a ground rod 8 feet into the ground and hooked to the table leg.

    The plasma cutter has a motor guard filter on it.

    The consumables are as new as the plasma cutter is. They are just out of the box.

    I lowered the THC Rate and got the thing to stop bouncing like a chihuahua on crack.

    A couple of things, though. One thing I can't keep it from doing is losing it's arc during a cut. The torch fires, the THC delays for a second like the settings tell it to, the torch rises to the height, the THC keeps it following the surface of the metal, but the torch cuts out intermittently as it is cutting. It acts like I turned the torch off for a half a second and turned it back on. Obviously, there's this half inch to 1 inch gap in the cut now.

    I'm not real sure what to do with that. The air compressor is plenty big enough. The air is going through several dryers right before it goes in the unit. The consumables are the ones the book told me to use.

    I just don't know what to do with that. All the other issues I feel confident are just me not dialing the right settings in. The cuts are a little hot and a little beveled, it's a little slaggy, but nothing I'm sure I can't work out, but why it stalls or cuts out like that... I have no idea.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Have you posted this question on toms yahoo forum.There are a lot of good people there that can help out. There are alot of things that can cause loss of arc. The first thing i would check is that the torch light stays lit throughout the cut. If it doesn't it could be a computer or mach3 issue.
    Dave

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by dnelso View Post
    Have you posted this question on toms yahoo forum.There are a lot of good people there that can help out. There are alot of things that can cause loss of arc. The first thing i would check is that the torch light stays lit throughout the cut. If it doesn't it could be a computer or mach3 issue.
    Dave
    I haven't yet, but that's because I just requested to join that group. Just waiting on replay for access.

    I honestly can't say if the arc ok stays lit or not. It happen for such a short bit of time at random, I think I was watching the volts and THC moves... not the arc ok light.

  4. #4
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    I ran into the same thing when I was at that point in the build. There is no real mention of it unless you go into the sheetcam manual. You have to set up your "tools" in sheetcam. Tools are the sheet thickness with its appropriate pierce height, cut height, voltage, etc. for different sheet thickness'. Right now you are running on the default tool in sheetcam. I have attached the tool set image I have in sheetcam right now. You will have one default tool in this spot. Go thru your plasma cutter operators manual and you should find all the settings required for your sheet thickness. Once you have made up your tool set, when you go into sheetcam you will have to select the appropriate "tool" for your sheet thickness when doing the cam part of the programming.

    Brad
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails sheetcam toolset.jpg  

  5. #5
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    another thing to check is to make sure you have the latest files in place, like the ccc_ files. There have been some changes to these that address this issue. Also, check that ONLY mach is running and no other bluetooth or background stuff is running on your table PC.

    There is some good info on the CandCnc yahoo forum.

    Are you running a PN-200 pendant?

    WSS
    www.metaltechus.com

  6. #6
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    A couple of things...

    -The plasma cannot shut down and refire itself.....the start signal has to be coming from the cnc electronics.
    - You state "The torch fires, the THC delays for a second like the settings tell it to, the torch rises to the height". The torch should never rise after piercing....pierce height is always higher than cut height.....so the torch fires, then drops to cut height would be correct. Make sure your plasma settings are exactly as listed in the Hypertherm operators manual!
    -Provide more details....what material thickness, what consumables, what amperage, what speed, etc....and we can offer better advice!


    Jim Colt Hypertherm



    Quote Originally Posted by aaronbee View Post
    I've bought a PowerMax 45, a gantry kit from Precision Plasma and BladeRunner electronics from CandCNC.

    I've built the table. Everything is fine.

    I've installed the motors and software. I've tuned the motors. It runs around the table like it should and an inch of movement is an inch of movement.

    Everything appears to be hunky-doory in that respect.

    I've hooked up the THC stuff to the plasma cutter. All the little test buttons on the different cards seem to function like the manuals say they should (green lights are green, test lights flash, seems to read the voltage while cutting, etc.)

    The table has a ground rod 8 feet into the ground and hooked to the table leg.

    The plasma cutter has a motor guard filter on it.

    The consumables are as new as the plasma cutter is. They are just out of the box.

    I lowered the THC Rate and got the thing to stop bouncing like a chihuahua on crack.

    A couple of things, though. One thing I can't keep it from doing is losing it's arc during a cut. The torch fires, the THC delays for a second like the settings tell it to, the torch rises to the height, the THC keeps it following the surface of the metal, but the torch cuts out intermittently as it is cutting. It acts like I turned the torch off for a half a second and turned it back on. Obviously, there's this half inch to 1 inch gap in the cut now.

    I'm not real sure what to do with that. The air compressor is plenty big enough. The air is going through several dryers right before it goes in the unit. The consumables are the ones the book told me to use.

    I just don't know what to do with that. All the other issues I feel confident are just me not dialing the right settings in. The cuts are a little hot and a little beveled, it's a little slaggy, but nothing I'm sure I can't work out, but why it stalls or cuts out like that... I have no idea.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimcolt View Post
    A couple of things...

    -The plasma cannot shut down and refire itself.....the start signal has to be coming from the cnc electronics.
    - You state "The torch fires, the THC delays for a second like the settings tell it to, the torch rises to the height". The torch should never rise after piercing....pierce height is always higher than cut height.....so the torch fires, then drops to cut height would be correct. Make sure your plasma settings are exactly as listed in the Hypertherm operators manual!
    -Provide more details....what material thickness, what consumables, what amperage, what speed, etc....and we can offer better advice!


    Jim Colt Hypertherm
    I understand that it shouldn't rise, but it often does anyway. 18 gauge gets springy, warped, and all kinds of fun stuff. So when I say "rise" it's not supposed to, but it does anyway. It will do a touch-off which pushes the metal down a 1/16. The torch rises to pierce height (which is now too low), fires, and often, rises because it fired too low. Trying to get 18 and 22 gauge metal to lay flat and not spring back after a touch-off is practically impossible; especially after you have run some heat over it.

    You can pin it down. Clamp it down. I've used magnets in the corners and along the sides. I've used weights to hold it down. I've chased it with a stick and followed it around trying to get it to lay flat (none of this on this machine, but others).

    So, yeah, it shouldn't rise, but it often does. It will fire too low and the THC will pick it up where it should be. It may then keep it tracking up and over warps a half-inch high, so the THC seems to do it's job.

    Once it's where it should be, that's where it's cutting out. It will be a 1/16 off the metal, cutting along just fine... then stop firing for half a second... keep on going ... cut out... keep on going.... cut out..... keep on going, etc.

  8. #8
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    Did you ever figure out what caused this. I am setting up my new table and I am having a very similar problem and would love to know what caused it for you.

  9. #9
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    u must review the plasma cutting tools in sheetcam program
    and the postprocess u r used.

  10. #10
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    mp1000-THC-scriber post
    Tooling is set to the hypertherm manual other then I slowed down the cut rate significantly. I was cutting 14g steel and set the feed rate to 60ipm cause I thought maybe the 280imp was to fast from the manual. But the plasma still skipped quite a few times.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ksilovich View Post
    mp1000-THC-scriber post
    Tooling is set to the hypertherm manual other then I slowed down the cut rate significantly. I was cutting 14g steel and set the feed rate to 60ipm cause I thought maybe the 280imp was to fast from the manual. But the plasma still skipped quite a few times.
    Try the following settings for 14 ga:
    pierce delay time = 0
    FR = 280 i/m
    If the sheet gets springy, try to raise the iph up to 0.16"
    Also it is so imprtant to adjust the max. and min. THC corrections, because I think that you should raise the THC max. and lower the THC min. to assure that the torch nozzel tip will not touch the high vertex surface springy sheet or to be too high from the low surface level of this sheet.

    This requires also to raise the THC rate and accurately adjust the propper voltage to be able to follow the waves of the springy sheet.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Islam View Post
    Try the following settings for 14 ga:
    pierce delay time = 0
    FR = 280 i/m
    If the sheet gets springy, try to raise the iph up to 0.16"
    Also it is so imprtant to adjust the max. and min. THC corrections, because I think that you should raise the THC max. and lower the THC min. to assure that the torch nozzel tip will not touch the high vertex surface springy sheet or to be too high from the low surface level of this sheet.

    This requires also to raise the THC rate and accurately adjust the propper voltage to be able to follow the waves of the springy sheet.
    Got it working. My tool was set up correctly, but my material was set at 0.125" thick. Not sure if that was the problem. But I changed it and was up and cutting. Made a sign my bros birthday.

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkjzVjmdTM0]Patriot 4x8 CNC Plasma Table - CandCNC Electronics - Hypertherm 45 - YouTube[/ame]

    Feels nice having a working table,

  13. #13
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    You're on your way. If you were cutting 14 guage, the feed rate seemed slow in the video. This is a learning process, and patience is key here. Learn everything you can about setting up the tools in sheetcam. Save your toolsets to a thumb drive so they wont ever get lost.

    I'm a cnc virgin too, I'm only about 2 chapters ahead of you, i feel your frustration. The learning curve seems almost insurmountable, but then all of a sudden, it will click, and you'll be cutting some awesome stuff.

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    I'm having this exact problem too guys, Hypertherm tech pointed me away from blaming the PM65 which I agree, is not the problem.

    I have CandCNC electronics, 4x8 patriot table, sheetcam (mp1000-THC-scriber post
    ) mach 3, and everything works great and is up to date. I have a 20 cfm compressor, dry clean air, well over 100 psi at the unit while cutting. Clean brand new consumables...., ect....

    While cutting, the damn torch will be cutting along great, at the right voltage/height and then, it goes out, there are no errors on mach 3 or the pm65 and a second later re-fires and keeps cutting like nothing happened. While the torch is off the torch still moves like it's cutting.

    I'm so lost, there is nothing in the G-code that tells the torch to turn off, and the same gcode file re-ran will produce cuts with the torch cutting out at different spots (random) so there is nothing specific in the code. with the DTHC turned off, it still does it.

    ANY help would be greatly appreciated.

    This has happened to me with finecuts @ 40 amp on 16 gauge, 45 amp tips @ 45 amps on 1/4" and 1/8" and 65 amp tips on 1/2" and 5/8". Soooo on everything I've cut.

    I honestly think in the next week my handtorch will see more use then the whole CNC table because I'm goign to cut it into bits.

  15. #15
    Registered jimcolt's Avatar
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    If you can clarify a couple of things it will help us figure out what is going on:

    1." While cutting, the damn torch will be cutting along great, at the right voltage/height and then, it goes out, there are no errors on mach 3 or the pm65 and a second later re-fires and keeps cutting like nothing happened.".....do you mean that the plasma stopped cutting all the way through the plate....or that the plasma arc actually extinguished...then refired without loos of motion.
    a. If the arc actually shut off.....then a good troubleshooting method would be to wire a small switch in parallel with the plasma on contact output from your CandCNC electronics. Close the switch a moment after the cut starts....and keep it closed. If the arc extinguishes while this auxiliary switch is closed....the the problem will be found in the plasma. If the arc does not extinguish while this switch is closed.....then for some reason the plasma on output from the candcnc electronics is opening...then reclosing to refire. The plasma has a safety circuit so that if something internal in the plasma shuts off the arc....it cannot refire until the input plasma on signal is opened, then reclosed.

    A bouncing input start signal could be caused by a loos connection, a bad relay, electrical noise interference, etc. If you can clarify what it is actually doing we can steer you in the correct direction..


    Jim Colt Hypertherm



    Quote Originally Posted by p-j View Post
    I'm having this exact problem too guys, Hypertherm tech pointed me away from blaming the PM65 which I agree, is not the problem.

    I have CandCNC electronics, 4x8 patriot table, sheetcam (mp1000-THC-scriber post
    ) mach 3, and everything works great and is up to date. I have a 20 cfm compressor, dry clean air, well over 100 psi at the unit while cutting. Clean brand new consumables...., ect....

    While cutting, the damn torch will be cutting along great, at the right voltage/height and then, it goes out, there are no errors on mach 3 or the pm65 and a second later re-fires and keeps cutting like nothing happened. While the torch is off the torch still moves like it's cutting.

    I'm so lost, there is nothing in the G-code that tells the torch to turn off, and the same gcode file re-ran will produce cuts with the torch cutting out at different spots (random) so there is nothing specific in the code. with the DTHC turned off, it still does it.

    ANY help would be greatly appreciated.

    This has happened to me with finecuts @ 40 amp on 16 gauge, 45 amp tips @ 45 amps on 1/4" and 1/8" and 65 amp tips on 1/2" and 5/8". Soooo on everything I've cut.

    I honestly think in the next week my handtorch will see more use then the whole CNC table because I'm goign to cut it into bits.

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    Thanks Jim, I'm all for a systematic approach. It may be slow as I work full time in a office situation so I only tinker at night with the table.

    1. the plasma arc actually extinguished...then refired without loss of motion. on the thin material I have perfect cuts, and perfect non cut spots where this happens. I have video of it doing it once, I will try and post it. But yes, the torch extinguishes, the gantry keeps moving, seconds later the torch refires.

    this jumper wire with a switch is no problem, but I don't quite get where to hook this up on the CandCNC side or the plasma side? A quick explanation of this and I'll do it tonight and report back.

  17. #17
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    Whatever connects to pins 3 and 4 on the Plasma CPC interface connector. When you jumper 3 to 4 the plasma (assuming it is happy with air and power) will fire and will stay fired until you release the connection between 3 and 4. That is the connection that is somehow being lost.....although in a normal machine interface the candcnc also monitors pins 12 and 14....which are an output from the plasma indicating (if 12 and 14 are closed) that the plasma is cutting metal, and opens when the cutting stops. If you have this function setup in your candcnc machine...the motion should stop instantly when 12 to 14 becomes open.


    Jim Colt




    Quote Originally Posted by p-j View Post
    Thanks Jim, I'm all for a systematic approach. It may be slow as I work full time in a office situation so I only tinker at night with the table.

    1. the plasma arc actually extinguished...then refired without loss of motion. on the thin material I have perfect cuts, and perfect non cut spots where this happens. I have video of it doing it once, I will try and post it. But yes, the torch extinguishes, the gantry keeps moving, seconds later the torch refires.

    this jumper wire with a switch is no problem, but I don't quite get where to hook this up on the CandCNC side or the plasma side? A quick explanation of this and I'll do it tonight and report back.

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    Jim, I wired the switch up, but I not going to get back out there for awhile if ever.

    I went into sheetcam to make some test files and magically it wouldn't let me seperate contours anymore. I fought with it for hours. Another new problem. Then I went to cut some old G-code files and one cut went fine (without messing with the switch) and the next would be on and off and totally random.

    This was so random in everyway I literally had a melt down.. I've wasted so much material, consumables and time on this, Everytime I go out and use this thing it's a new problem, it has yet to do a cut from start to finish without problems. On top of drivers failing and sourcing new parts, scribe plumbing being messed up, limit switches wired wrong ect.... I'm done. Hand cutting would be better at this point.

    If anyone wants a cheap Patriot 4x8 table In Alberta, let me know.
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    Re: PowerMax 45 / CandCNC THC question

    I'm gonna try and talk you down off the ledge. Take a deep breath... for what it's worth, I had many moments like yours. These are the Times that separate the men from the boys. Wait until you've calmed down and thinking rationally again, before you go back to it.

    Forget about the scriber for now, concentrate on the plasma end of things. If I were you, I would start back from the beginning of the candcnc manual. Make sure that your pc is dedicated to your table. And set it up as per manual. Which means uninstalling everything and starting over. No antivirus, nno automatic updates etc... You should only have mach 3 running on it. Right down your motor tuning if you have those. Anything else running in the background can cause sporadic activity like that which you described. Run all the tests for your electronics setup. If everything checks out. Setup sheetcam on another pc. It's important to learn sheetcam and make sure that you are running the correct post. If nothing else, this will be an exercise in getting to know your setup better. A lot of people give up on these things, don't be that guy! It is doable, take it from a guy that had his share of troubles.

    Marcel

    Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk 2

  20. #20
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    Ill tell you this now. Scrap the whole air scribe set up they give you. I am supper pissed about it but I spent another $500 to do it the correct way. Get rid of that junk scribe and get a cp 9361, and run a 3/8 od (1/4" id) tube to the scribe with a lubricator in line.

    When you get to setting up the scribe feel free to pm me and Ill tell you what I did.

    As far as the plasma cutting. I would do as stated above. Make sure to close and end every process in your PC. Could cause faults.

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