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Anyone try making a Pantograph Plasma Cutter

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  • #16
    Originally posted by JoeFin
    I'm just looking to build a 1' x 2' sized machine to cut out patterns of up to .325" plate. Doesn't need to be any more accurate then .025". Most of the patterns have no straight lines in their geometry
    Joe,probably work.Depending upon how many amps you had you would have to go at between 2 and 8 feet/min on mild steel at 5/16" thick.
    But,how do you watch what your doing with the template and how the cut is going bearing in mind you need eye protection and it will be kind of hot close up.
    I did consider just mounting a torch on the end of a long arm which was bolted to the table of a cnc mill.Probably have worked fine for small parts.
    Mark.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Mark McGrath
      The problem with using a template or magic eye oxy-acetylene profile for plasma is that very few of them,especially the older ones are capable of producing the cutting speeds plasma needs.
      The main problem I see with a pantograph machine is the same.Will you be able to move the stylus fast enough to keep the plasma cutting and how smooth would the movement be?
      Mark.
      No problem as far as speed goes, on My particular unit the drive shaft was 1/4'' and held in with a nut much like acutter in a router. I replaced the original with a 5/8'' drive wheel turned down to 1/4'' to fit as the original. On 3/8'' plate the speed controll is set just a little over half throtle, 1/8'' or thinner might be a problem but I don't do any plasma cutting on stuff that thin.

      Steve

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      • #18
        YES, it don't have to be as complicated as the router you show there. You could use ball bearing drawer slides for "that" type build. One of the guitar guys doing inlays did it with two sets of ball bearing drawer slides.. one x, one Y.. and a pivot.. Router and scribe on same plane.

        FOR a Hotrod bracket maker that fits on a 55 gallon barrel, I have built one here laying on the table. I emailed George asking if he wanted me to write it up for HSM magazine. It cost almost $10 to build.

        The nice thing about a pantograph is that you can rig the linkages up to allow extreme precision.. for example a 10x larger pattern.. you trace it.. and error is reduced by 10x also. For simplicity, the plasma pantograph is 1:1.
        Mucho simpler..

        Kinda strange there bud.. are ya reading my thoughts? Do I have to wear a tin foil hat??
        Excuse me, I farted.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by doctor demo
          No problem as far as speed goes, on My particular unit the drive shaft was 1/4'' and held in with a nut much like acutter in a router. I replaced the original with a 5/8'' drive wheel turned down to 1/4'' to fit as the original. On 3/8'' plate the speed controll is set just a little over half throtle, 1/8'' or thinner might be a problem but I don't do any plasma cutting on stuff that thin.

          Steve
          When I said what I did,I based it on the fact that if you were building a plasma cutter you would want a speed range that would cover from thin up to the capacity of your power source.
          For you to say "no problem as far as speed goes" and then come back and say it`s ok for 3/8" plate but thinner might be a bit of a problem,sort of makes your first statement pointless and backs up my original statement.
          It`s like if you built a drilling or milling machine it would be pretty useless if it only had one speed.
          Even the old cnc plasmas would run at 1000"/min for thin down to 10"/min for thick material.There is not a magnetic template follower ever been built that would run at these speeds without modification.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by datsun280zxt
            Got any pictures?
            Not right now, unless you want look at it unassembled.

            When I first built it (back in the '80's), I mounted it to the garage wall. Never once thought about pix then. I've since moved and am in the process of mounting it on my welding table.

            When it was nearly complete, I found plans which a guy was selling and bought a set because I was having trouble with the pattern-follower. I think he's still selling plans, but I don't know whether he's upgraded them for plasma. If anyone's interested, I can post his contact info.
            I don't do drugs.
            At my age, I can get the same effect if I stand up too quick!

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Mark McGrath
              When I said what I did,I based it on the fact that if you were building a plasma cutter you would want a speed range that would cover from thin up to the capacity of your power source.
              For you to say "no problem as far as speed goes" and then come back and say it`s ok for 3/8" plate but thinner might be a bit of a problem,sort of makes your first statement pointless and backs up my original statement.
              It`s like if you built a drilling or milling machine it would be pretty useless if it only had one speed.
              Even the old cnc plasmas would run at 1000"/min for thin down to 10"/min for thick material.There is not a magnetic template follower ever been built that would run at these speeds without modification.
              Well Mark , speed isn't a problem for Me and My machine . Like I said , I don't do thin stuff. I have not checked the ipm of My machine but it works quite well for everything that I do between 1/4 and 1 inch with 1'' being the absolute limit.
              "If You were building a plasma cutter you would want a speed range that would cover from thin up to the capacity of your power source."
              No I don't want or need to cut thin material so I don't have a problem as far as speed goes.
              It has more than a one speed mill or drill ,it has a speed range that works for My material use range.So it doesn't make My statement ''pointless''.

              Steve

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Mark McGrath
                Joe,probably work.Depending upon how many amps you had you would have to go at between 2 and 8 feet/min on mild steel at 5/16" thick.
                But,how do you watch what your doing with the template and how the cut is going bearing in mind you need eye protection and it will be kind of hot close up.
                I was thinking of modifying his approach to have the Stylus table up front and 6" elevated from the cutting table, which of course would be mounted 6" over a water reservoir to prevent Hot Cherries rolling all over the place. That way I could have 6" shields all around the cutting area.

                Frankly I never thought about the Eye Protection aspect

                BTW: it is a 50 amp plasma cutter rated to cut 3/4"

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                • #23
                  is the sloped kirf problem not an issue any more ? i always get a sloped or slanted kirf if i just hold the torch in the same plain and go around a circle. more noticable of course as the material thickness increases. . . .

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