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    The build log, CNC plasma table.......
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    Vendor yoshi's Avatar
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    This will eventually be a pretty big log, covering not only the table, but anything I build for the table, like the tube notch setup, racking, alignment jigs for material, etc..



    Ok, little light reading into .

    I decided I needed a little plasma table. I design all my parts in solidworks and I have thousands of dxf files, so I just needed a machine to get some stuff a little faster when I was out of parts. My plasma shop has been taking up to 6 weeks lately to get parts and i'm just getting way behind schedule on stuff. I was all set to get the torchmate 2x2 with no bells or whistles, and after a phone call to inquire about buying one, well, I may have gotten a little side tracked.

    I ordered a 5x10 torchmate 3 with laser cross hair and a 1650 Hypertherm, and everything showed up about 10 days ago. I will be getting the engraver and router attachment, and will be building my own tube notcher setup to handle 24 foot material, just not right now.

    I spent a few weeks going through everything I could find on plasma tables, and literally went through every single topic in the torchmate forum on this site ("Lets see what you've built on your torchmate" is my favorite so far ), and spent countless hours reading and rereading as much as I could to see what I was getting myself into. I tried to prepare myself for anything that has come up with others so I could try to work around them.

    First, i've spent quite a bit of time designing my water table, as it appears that it's not only a must for keeping down the gunk in the shop, but will also allow me to cut my .050 aluminum without warping the crap outta it.

    My water table will be a little different. I spent a lot of time researching and determining what the pro's and cons are of different setups and have figured out a way to incorporate pretty much all of them into one setup that i'm happy with.

    Adjusting water level is great to keep from digging through the muck to find parts, but pumps are slow. I want the water level to go up and down fast.

    Expanded metal is great for keeping the parts from falling too deep, but makes cleaning more difficult.

    The torch only has about 3" up/down movement, which is fine for plate, but if I want to cut into the side of something taller, say some 12" i beam, or anything that has a big shape, I am unable to do so.

    So, I took all that and designed a table that consist of 2 parts: a slat support table and a water table to go around it.


    The water table is separate from the slat support table which is separate from the aluminum torchmate table (torchmate table only holds the gantry).

    The slats are on an adjustable table that is able to be lowered to get an item under the torch that is over 2 foot tall if need be, which will come in handy when I put the router option on so I can work with big pieces of foam for making plugs to do fiberglass or carbon work..

    The water table itself will sit on a 6k capacity automotive scissor lift (aprox. 6" high when fully collapsed and could rise 4 foot if needed, which I don't), so I can drop it down from under the slats. Since it only needs to drop down 3" to get below the expanded metal and slats, when I flip the switch, it will drop clear and raise back up in seconds, so no pumps, no bladders, no funky plumbing, just drop the whole table 3" and the parts will be sitting on the expanded metal, but the dross will stay in the tank.

    The water table box, with casters, will be approximately 19" tall, and when lowered all the way to the floor, after emptying the water, I will be able to roll it straight out the side to clean the dross out, which means I don't have to remove the slats and the expanded metal to clean it, or have to be up so high.

    Also, by having the water table drop down, I can have high sides to keep the water from splashing all over everything, but I can drop it down when I wanna load material from the side without tearing up the water box since the slats will then be the highest point.

    Something else I read about was plasma machines getting hot after high runs and shutting down, and even read some problems with the torchmate controller box getting really warm, so I have designed a computer box to hold the computer and torchmate controller which will be fitted with a small ac that can cool 150 sq. feet, which is bigger than I needed, but the smallest they had. Maybe i'm over thinking it, but I needed to build a box to keep the crap off the computer anyway so I took the project a little farther. I will have a small fan installed as well so when the weather is cooler, I can turn off the ac and just pull air straight through the box.

    At first, I was gonna put the plasma in the box, but was worried about how much heat it would put out, so I called hypertherm and found out all the air that is used to cool the plasma is pulled in from the side. So what I am doing is mounting the plasma machine up about 3 foot on the back of the box on it's own shelf, outside to exhaust the heat from the machine into the air outside of the box, but am ducting air from inside the box to the inlet of the plasma machine (the ac mounts in the back just below the shelf, about 12" off the ground). The tech said he never heard of anyone doing that, but it should work great and would increase the duty cycle.

    The box is caulked and airtight, and since the air conditioner only recirculates the plasma wouldn't be able to pull the air it needs from the box, so i'm installing a big filter on the side of the box so when the plasma is trying to draw air, it can suck the air into the box through the filter as needed.

    I have some other cool things i'm doing that haven't really been done before to a plasma machine, but this has gotten pretty long so far so i'll save it till later and start posting some pics.........


    In the below pics, you'll notice after I cleaned and painted, I moved one of my pallet racks to the wall next to the bay in the left of the picture. I have set the shelves accordingly to hold my material. The shelves are 10 foot wide, so 8 foot material will go there and I can fork them out, turn 90 degrees, and drive it straight to the table. I have one shelf designated for 4x10 aluminum .050 down lower so I can slide it to a cart, then run it to the machine or to my air shear. I will also eventually be running 24 foot or longer i-beams over the table so I can have my 5x10 material above the machine, then it will be really easy to load. I can use a trolley attached to one of the beams to load material from the side as well.

    And if your wondering why the slats are installed when they will be removed for my external slat and water table, well, I need the plasma table to make parts for the plasma table, so it will be used as is for a little bit.






    Step one, make room........
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    Re: The build log, CNC plasma table.......
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    Step 2, repaint........
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    Re: The build log, CNC plasma table.......
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    Step 3, unpackage......
    www.SinisterSandSports.com
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    Re: The build log, CNC plasma table.......
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    Step 4, assembly.......
    www.SinisterSandSports.com
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    Re: The build log, CNC plasma table.......
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    Step 5 make a mess.......
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    Re: The build log, CNC plasma table.......
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    .......
    www.SinisterSandSports.com
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    Yes, i'm on facebook clicky clicky.................

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    Re: The build log, CNC plasma table.......
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    Step 6, new electrical and air lines beginning.
    Last edited by yoshi; 08-13-2012 at 04:04 PM.
    www.SinisterSandSports.com
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    Re: The build log, CNC plasma table.......
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    I use to paint cars before I started building offroad toys, and when I sold my booth, I keep a few things, like the clean air system, which i'm glad I did....
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    Re: The build log, CNC plasma table.......
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    I also have a dry system in the corner that comes off the compressor, also there from when I really really needed clean air for painting cars, so I think my plasma should be pretty happy......
    Last edited by yoshi; 08-13-2012 at 08:29 PM.
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    Re: The build log, CNC plasma table.......
    #10
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    Nice unit Yoshi.

    I found the folks at Torchmate are really good to deal with. I bought myself one of their 2x2 tables a while ago & now going to expand my table size.

    Looking forward to seeing what you turn out with this.
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