WHAT YOU MUST KNOW BEFORE BUYING A PLASMA CUTTING SYSTEM by ProQuest

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WHAT YOU MUST KNOW
BEFORE BUYING A
PLASMA CUTTING SYSTEM
BUYING A CNC MACHINE IS NOT AS EASY AS
RUNNING DOWN TO THE HARDWARE STORE
AND PICKING ONE UP. ANSWERING THESE
QUESTIONS WILL HELP MAKE YOUR BUYING
DECISION EASIER AND SAVE CONSIDERABLE
TIME AND EXPENSE.
By Megan McNew




M           ore and more shop owners are deciding that CNC plas-
            ma-cutting tables are great additions to their shops. The
computer-controlled robotic arm can guide the plasma torch over the
surface of the work to create intricate and complex cutting patterns.
With the ability to cut so precisely, the money-making possibilities are   MATERIALS
endless; create metal art for sale at trade shows and art galleries;       You'll want to check on the quality of materials used in construction
create complex HVAC ductwork with ease; create a prototype of a            of the frame. Is it steel? Aluminum? Something else? Steel is stronger
concept part; create one-off or hard to find mechanical parts.             than aluminum, of course, so the steel machines will require less mate-
   But buying a CNC machine is not as easy as running down to              rial and will be lighter, but will have the appearance of flimsiness.
the hardware store and picking one up. You’ll want to consider a           Aluminum machines will be bulkier, but will have the appearance
few questions to help make your buying decision easier. With care-         of strength. Machines made of either material will have more than
ful research beforehand you can save yourself and your company             enough strength for even the biggest jobs.
considerable time and expense.
                                                                           DESIGN
MACHINE QUALITY                                                            You'll want to check on the quality of the table design. So many fac-
First and foremost, the number one thing to make sure of is that you're    tors can affect the performance of the table, and the slightest variation
getting a high quality machine. CNC plasma cutting tables (no matter       in even the smallest factor can alter table performance. For example,
the manufacturer) are expensive. Do your homework beforehand and           if the gantry (the big heavy bar that slides up and down the length of
make sure you're getting the highest quality your budget will allow.       the table) is too heavy, it makes the torch difficult to control with high
                                                                           speed and accuracy. A light-weight gantry, on the other hand, can
                                                                           produce amazingly accurate results at high speeds.
                                                                               Also consider rolling surfaces. Sealed ways keep out more dust
                                                                           and grit, but they can't keep out all of the inevitable plasma dust
                                                                           Eventually the dust will mix with the oil and create a gritty sludge that
                                                                           will chew up the parts. Because it's sealed, you'll have to replace the
                                                                           entire component. Unsealed parts, however, are much simpler. An
                                                                           unsealed roller on a simple way can be wiped completely clean in a
                                                                           second, and should a part need to be replaced, it can be accessed
                                                                           without replacing the entire component.

                                                                                                         MOTORS
                                                                                                         What sort of motors control the torch?
                                                                                                         Servo motors are widely recognized
                   
								
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