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  • Plasmacam DHC2 help

    Hi guys and gals. It's been a while since I have stopped in here. Life and all that, you know?

    Anyhow, I recently bought a Plasmacam DHC2-- one of the early DHC2 tables. I did not get the PC with it, nor the stock software. I have been in contact with Plasmacam and they said they were willing to help me out once I transfered ownership. So, after two weeks of trying to straighten that out (I bought this thing from a state surplus sale, so you know, bureaucracy...), and getting the transfer of ownership completed, I call them back to try to purchase the original software, and the guy was a complete A-hole to me. It seems once they saw my receipt for the table, and that I only paid $125 for it, that they decided they did not need my business. The guy literally laughed and told me that the only way to drive the machine was with their (from what I read) incredibly crappy cad/cam/motion control software and that I need to cough up $2000. This is simply not true, they have software that only drives the machine and has limited CAD/CAM and is likely what the machine came with. I am no stranger to CNC builds and setup, I explained to them that I don't need support, I just want to buy a copy of the original software. The "sales" guy kept telling me that the 3.11 software does not exist anymore. I believe this to be a bold faced lie. I have dealt with CNC machines that are 40 years old and been able to still get manufacturer support. To top it all off, all the paperwork they made me fill out to "transfer ownership" explicitly said that the original software license would be transferred with machine ownership.

    So first off, I apologize, this is a bit ranty because I am ticked. It's been a week since my phone conversation and my heart still starts hammering when I think about all that went down. I have never been treated that way by any manufacturer, ever! It was surreal. This guy told me it's my fault for buying a 10 year old machine. All this while my 1982 Bridgeport Boss CNC2 is hammering out parts in the background... SMH... Anyways, it feels good to vent a little bit.

    TL;DR

    I'm looking for the software that came with the machine. Plasmacam refuses to acknowledge it exists. I asked him if I can find the software online, am I allowed to use it? His reply was that they don't support it anymore. I still don't care about support. If anyone has a copy or is willing to copy their disc, I am willing to purchase. Please PM me.

    I heard that the Plasmapig group on yahoo may at least have enough information for me to get another control software going, but I have applied to the group with both of my yahoo accounts, included my serial number and all they ask for, and it seems no one is monitoring the group-owner email anymore, because I cannot get a reply. The owners listed direct email address gets the mail bounced back to me. If anyone is a member and can try to raise the moderators, I'd appreciate someone helping me get my membership approved.

    Thanks,
    Jason Campbell

  • #2
    It might be worth contacting a few over at the CNCzone site where there is a PlasmCam Forum, someone may be able to help with the S/W?
    Max.

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    • #3
      A quick search is saying that dhc2 uses the printer port to do closed loop servo control. Sound very proprietary. You may have to switch out their controller/drives to use other software. It would be interesting to see a schematic or pinout of the printer port interface. Linuxcnc might be able to control it depending on how the closed loop communication is done.

      Sam

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      • #4
        Yes, I'm aware of that. Plasmacam will not release the lpt pin assignment. I was hoping to control this thing with Mach 3, but without knowing the pin assignments it would be shooting in the dark. If I can get any version of their software that will drive the machine, I intend to analyze the lpt traffic.

        I have a spare Galil controller on the shelf. I'd only need to get a few baby servo amps and one stepper driver to run it with that control. The only reason I'm still pursuing the original software is that the plasmacam controller had what is supposed to be a very good torch height control built in. Aftermarket torch height controls have gotten much cheaper, but from what I've read the built in plasmacam control is one of the best.

        From what I understand, much of this work may have been done and is sitting in the plasmapig Yahoo group, b but I can't seem to get anyone to grant me membership.


        Thank you,
        Jason
        Last edited by jacampb2; 10-22-2018, 07:53 AM.

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        • #5
          Recently I gave some thought to constructing a plasma table. Read a lot of posts by people who had built or were going to construct a table. As part of that research I read a lot of comments about Plasmacam and the poor customer support was mention numerous times. In my opinion the vendor is in the catbird seat right now with a decent table and good software, from what I can tell much better than the Mach based machines.

          What I gleaned about Plasmacam software is that todays version IS quite good and very easy to use. It apparently bears little relation to the version that was originally provided with your table. Apparently it was clean sheet designed for CNC plasma cutting rather than based on "G" code, router software, etc.

          I put off the construction of a table until the available software catches up. I believe there is growing interest in consumer quality tables with software purposely designed for home shop use and soon. The bad attitude may change then with more competition in their price range.

          I suggest you Google "Jim Colt" at Hyper Therm. He is an expert on plasma cutting and owns at least one Plasmcam table that he runs a home business on. He is also something of a spokesman for Plasmacam. You might consider asking him for advice as he is knowledgeable about the various software packages in use.

          Also Plasmacam sells under the Go Torch name plus one other that I cannot recall.

          Good Luck Post if you have any success.

          I believe Colt has a video or two on you tube.

          Old as Dirt

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          • #6
            Thanks for the reply. I did manage to get a copy of the 3.11 version of the software which is plenty for my needs.

            The new design edge software may be the cat's ass, but they didn't actually improve any of the control functionality, they improved the cad side of things. That might be great for someone making signs and what not, but I've been using AutoCAD as well as other cad packages for 20 years. I don't need another cad package. On top of that, they actually took functionality away when they went to design edge and sold the features back a-la-carte which I have a big problem with. The base price of $2500 I can see, especially for a business purchase and not for hobby, but it actually costs more than $10k to get the software license with all the add-on crap for it.

            I wouldn't be scared at all to run a plasma table with Mach. It's not going to do any of the CAD/cam side of things, but it was never designed to, so that's not a fair point of comparison. As for using a gcode based controller, I can't see how it really matters what's under the hood. Mach is more than capable of running one of these machines.

            Thanks,
            Jason

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            • #7
              Well they were Pri$ks 15 years ago when I had mine but I thought with all the Chinese machines on the market for a 1/3 of the price I figured they had changed.
              I sold my machine years ago and IF i looked I might have a new un-opened disk. They never understood I had sold my machine.

              If you still need I will look.

              The software belongs with the owner of the machine. Period.

              PS My machine never came with a PC.

              PM answered
              Last edited by wmgeorge; 12-06-2018, 09:18 AM.
              Retired - Journeyman Refrigeration Pipefitter - Master Electrician - Fine Line Automation CNC 4x4 Router

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              • #8
                Where did you find a copy of the software? I'm in a similar situation, my old computer crashed and Plasmacam pretty much said the same thing. I want the original software. It worked fine for my needs since I got the machine so no reason to pay 2k for an updated version.
                Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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