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Discussion Starter #1
Decided I need a CNC plasma cutter for my own projects as well as to make a few bucks on the side. Thought I would share the build here for others inspiration/feedback/ridicule :)
Fist problem was I do not have a garage or workshop. To remedy that without blowing all my funding I picked up a 20' Shipping Container that I am going to convert into a small workshop. I would have liked something larger but this will have to do for now. It's now installed and sitting on concrete peer blocks. Full conversion to workshop will wait until I get the Plasma built....I don't want to have a petty shop and no money left for a plasma. So on to the plasma table build!

I originally wanted to be able to cut full 4'X8' sheets but I've decided to cut that in half. It should better fit the sea can while still allowing a bit of space for a small work area . I'm going to have to be very organized! :) I will be adding a water table and plate marker as well.

For a good price I picked up a used Hypertherm Powermax 1000 that looks to be in great shape. It has a hand torch that I will probably use/convert until I can upgrade to a machine torch.

For electronics I have an order in at CandCNC for their kit: BladeRunner Dragon Cut 620-4 EtherCut + Digital Torch height control IV, Feather-Touch Sensor, and connection kit for the Hypertherm.

Software will be Mach 3 and SheetCAM

Decided to design and build my own Z axis. There are a few available to buy on ebay but I'm picky/OCD so I didn't want to risk it. Designing the Z axis (6” travel) has turned into a larger project that I expected. Most of it has been due to the fact I have decided to design it all in Solidworks. I'm a machinist and use Mastercam daily Solidworks is...different but so far I really like its capabilities.

Z axis design at the moment


Home switch Position. I'm also adding over travel switch. It is not needed when using stepper motors but I feel better using them for the small expense.


Stay tuned :)
 

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Discussion Starter #2
X+Y axis will be driven by rack and pinion. Will need a reduction drive for the stepper motors. It will be a 3.75:1 reduction but it can be changed if I want something different in the future.
Using a 1" trailer spindle bearing kit since they are handy and come with a grease seal as well.





Y Axis Drive mounted on backside of the Z axis.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
A axis, rails and rack mounted on gantry cross beam. Haven't decided on the material for the beam yet. Initially was thinking 3'X3" 3/16" steel but I'm getting worried about the 100lb max my gantry can wait so I might give 3'X3" 1/8" aluminum a try and see how it goes. With the 1/8" thick aluminum I would have to ditch just threading the beam and use nuts and washers. I'm not sure if M6 threads in 1/8" thick aluminum would hold up?


 

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Discussion Starter #4
Figured I was okay keeping the reduction drive the way it is and am getting excited to start building something. So the machining begins!

1st side of the bearing block


2nd side. Sorry only photo I took.


3 complete. I should be able to heat them up and slide in the races tonight.


I also started the 1st side of the drive shafts. I'm waiting to commit on the end that the pulley mounts on since It's still in the mail. Also the final length may change yet.

Bearing and seal diameters turned manually


I've been spoiled by working with a CNC so I machined the threads and slot on the mill.

Drive shafts complete 1st side.


Bearing block covers. Done.



The cable drag chains showed up yesterday so at least now I can finalize the Z axis and gantry positions. I tried to find something with a large bend radius and within budget. These are 75mm rad and 25mm X 57mm internal.
Back to the CAD.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Extended the Y axle motor plate to make room for the drag chain. A little worried about the overhang. Thinking about adding a support bracket to keep the plate from wobbling.


1/2" thick Aluminum gantry uprights. Still a work in progress. At the moment there will be 7.5" clearance to bottom of Z axis to top of slats. Once I finalize positions of everything all cut some pockets in to remove some weight.



Going to use 3.5"X3.5"X.25" Angle for the water table perimeter. It will allow for a nice overhang to protect the ways and gear rack.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Parts for Z axis are in so I can start machining.

20mm Linear Slide Bearings and rod.



5mm pitch ball screw and mounts (may have to make a cover for it in the future).


Found a slightly used bellows type motor coupler on ebay. Over kill for a plasma but if I ever use the table with a router it will help improve things.


Picked up some material for the Z axis.
Z axis slide

Raw block


1st operation. I have added .25" bores and slots to help to line up anything that I mount to it.


2nd operation. Just for fun cut some weight off it. 2 whole ounces BUT it's off every axis lol


Lost two operations were the bearing bores and ball nut mount. Sorry I didn't take photo's on that machining.
Done
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Also cut some speed holes in the underside of the three reduction drive bearing blocks. I'm sure I could take more off but I'm okay with the 2.25lb total weight savings at the moment.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Finished the Z axis motor mount.
Some pics.

1st Operation. Bottom side with locating bore/slot for 1/4" dowel pins. Machined the motor locating bore right though in this operation as well to ensure it all lines up.


Machining 2nd operation. No finished photo of this side but it was just faced and threaded for the motor to mount to.


A slot cut in two sides to save some weight and allow me to tighten the motor coupler screws.


Done
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Been working on the CAD. Table top is done except for some little bits. Still have to work on the legs, water table and slats.
I'm going with an aluminum gantry beam to keep the weight under 100lbs (it will be close) With the .25" aluminum angle for the drag chain support bolted to the backside it should be okay.



I added a 1"x1" steel angle iron inside threaded to bolt the linear rail to. I didn't think the M6 threads you have enough engagement with 1/8" wall aluminum. Also some speed holes to shave some weight.


Completed the magnetic break away floating torch mount. I will add a cable or something to keep the thing from dropping completely onto the table. It can't be good to just let the thing crash down.
The two limit switches up can see are for the Z tough off and an emergency stop if the torch breaks off.


And another tangible part complete :) Upper an lower Z axis linear rail and ballscrew bearing mounts.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Guess it's time for an update.
There has been a little progress, it's been a busy couple of weeks so I haven't had much time to work on the table.
Finished the floating/break away torch mount.
It is made for a machine torch so if I'm going to temporarily use my hand torch I'll have to come up with some sort of bracket system.

Steel plate to mount to Z axis and break away side of torch mount. The steel plate has a couple dimples milled in so the .5" stainless ball bearings that are pressed into the other plate align everything after a break away. Still have to epoxy in some strong magnets into the three bore you see.


12mm linear bearing mounts and pins.


Assembled. Well sort of I need to by hardware still.


Limit switch.
 

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This has me drooling!!!:bowdown:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Guess I should update this thread. Things have been very hectic the last while so I have not had much time to work on the table. I did manage to buy some material and cut out the X axis reduction drive mounting plate.

Plate


Positions of reduction drive and motor on plate.




Also found a used Chicago Pneumatic cp-9361 air scribe that I will use for a plate marker. Quite happy about getting a good price on that since the funds allocated for this project are just about dry :)

 

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Discussion Starter #13
Not a lot of progress. Been sidetracked by my "shop" Cut a hole in the side and welded in a door frame. Using the big doors all the time is a pain. :)

Guess a finished door photo would have been good. Picked up some porcelain tile for 46cents a square floor so that next. That way I will not have to worry about the plywood floor catching fire.

Also finished the gantry cross beam 3"X3"X1/8" 6061 T6 Aluminum. Also some plugs that I'm bolting into the ends to attach it to the uprights. Thought bolting it would save some warping and will make any future changes/adjustments easier.
 

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Gorgeous work.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Slowly but surely :)

Reduction drives fit together. Haven't checked the play in them but I pretty sure they would be under .0005" at the moment. Once they at mounted up I'll get a dial on them.




1/2" thick gantry side plates I had waterjet cut then machined the necessary bits.


Z axis together. You can also see the air scribe actuator and slide mounted. The other half of the scribe mount is still in the works.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Finished off the plate marker system



X and Y axis will be using these AGW25 Rails


Side plates assembled.


Gantry together :) Note the gear boxes removed. Sight clearance issue with the drive shaft lengths. Spur gear hits the beam. Going to have to take them back apart and shorten the shafts. At least it's an easy fix.


Still have to sort out hard stops for x axis but gantry is pretty much complete. Picked up some steel so I can get started on the table. Getting closer.
 

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Not sure what all this is, I might have a slight idea, but it looks really nice and well built. Does this mean you'll be able to make custom parts for us?
:woot: :rofl:
 
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