CNC Plasma Cutter

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CNC Plasma Cutter
IMG 4045.JPG
Owner/Loaner PS:One
Serial Number N.A.
Make/Model N.A.
Arrival Date 10/16
Usability yes
Contact CNC Area Host
Where Hot metals
Authorization Needed yes
Hackable no
Estimated Value $6000
Host Area CNC


CNC Plasma Cutter Area: CNC https://wiki.pumpingstationone.org/CNC_Plasma_Cutter



Status

Working. Stay tuned for an announcement about authorizations.

Authorization

Authorization requirements:

  • This is not a commercial machine; it was hand-built at PS1 and as such there is no website to check, nor any manual to read. You must be willing to accept the fact that the machine can be quirky and you may have to do some troubleshooting when using it (hopefully not, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯).
  • You should be familiar with how plasma cutters work (at the very least, read this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plasma_cutting). If you can swing it, please get authorized on the Miller handheld plasma machine beforehand; this is not a requirement, just a useful suggestion.
  • Read all of this page about the machine: https://wiki.pumpingstationone.org/CNC_Plasma_Cutter
  • Read and be willing to add your experience/knowledge of using the machine here: https://wiki.pumpingstationone.org/Talk:CNC_Plasma_Cutter

CNC Plasma Cutter Authorization has more details.

Drawing guidelines

  • No sharp corners, all corners should be filleted with at least a 1/16" radius
  • The thicker the part, the larger the smallest feature
    • Small holes 1/4" and under are not advisable
    • Holes under 3/4" on 3/8" plate are not advisable
    • Not all these sizes are learnt yet, this is why you need extra material
  • Acceptable drawing formats:
    • DXF
    • SWF
  • Acceptable drawing formats for review:
    • DXF
    • SWF
    • AI

Safety and Protective Equipment

  • Number 5 shades when a job is running
  • Thick gloves when handling freshly cut parts
  • Hearing protection recommended
  • Respirator/mask while cutting

Procedures

Machine Startup

Fill water table if not filled already. Takes about 35 minutes to fill. Be sure to have the splash guard on it so when it's filled the air does not spray water everywhere.

  1. Wipe down machine with clean dry clotha
  2. Log in to machine
  3. Turn on air
  4. Make sure e-stop is depressed
  5. Turn on control box
  6. Start Mach3
  7. Clear e-stop
  8. Raise Z
  9. Move torch to end of table
  10. Remove torch shield and inspect for dross build up
  11. Reinstall torch shield
  12. Turn on plasma cutter
  13. Check cutter status (Air/torch/etc)

Machine Shutdown

  1. Hit e-stop
  2. Exit Mach3
  3. Turn off plasma cutter
  4. Turn off air
  5. Turn off control box
  6. Clean torch shield
  7. Sweep under table
  8. Wipe down machine with clean dry cloth
  9. Wipe down computer
  10. Leave the area cleaner than you found it

Creating a Job

  1. Start SheetCam
  2. Import a Drawing from the File menu. Remember that the origin is at the bottom left on Sheetcam, and the origin on the machine is back left.
  3. Click on Operation => Plasma Cut
  4. Unfortunately most settings can be changed by other users between jobs. Some that seem to work:
    • 130 ipm feed rate
    • Tool: T11: Plasma 12 Gauge (or whatever gauge you're cutting)
    • Note that Inside/Outside offset determines if you're trying to cut an inside edge or outside edge.
    • You may need to select a layer.
  1. Click OK and the path should be generated and display.
  2. To create a TAP file go to the P icon at top left. That's post-processing.
  3. It should save as type G-code/.tap.

This is now a runnable job.

Running A Job

Look elsewhere for turning on the machine, filling the table, turning on the plasma cutter.

  1. Start Mach3 CNC
  2. You should be able to move the gantry using the arrow keys to get into position. You MUST start your job over metal - it does an auto z-axis zero/home.
  3. If "Reset" is flashing, click it to reset the connection.
  4. Test the job without the plasma on if you want.
  5. Turn on plasma cutter and close curtain.
  6. Click Cycle Start (green).

Starting a job from a particular line of code (needs update)

  • Run from here
  • Select next line

Previewing a job (needs update)

  • Load file
  • Select the 'Run BLK' button in the interface or type Alt-N
  • Press the start job button - this will step through each line of code

(warning: includes torch homing and torch ignite so be careful)

  • You can step backwards though a job by pressing the 'reverse order' button.

Job Crashes

SmoothStepper Buffer Under run

Your work piece is trash, start again, home position lost

  1. Click through error
  2. Start your job again

Causes:

  • Communication error between smooth stepper and PC


Touch off failure

Your work piece is not trash yet, but might be if you don't follow these steps

One of the following happened:

  • Touch off get stuck with torch touching the plate
  • Touch off fails to detect plate and rams into the plate
  • Error probe ignored in status bar - If this is the case clean the shield nozzle, dross has gotten inside, do not move work piece

Do This:

  1. Hit escape ONCE, not e-stop, not reset, escape
  2. Double click in the g-code window to display line numbers eg: 20:N0100 G91.... rather than N0100 G91....
  3. Look for the current line, it should be highlighted and be: G31 Z -100
  4. Look up a few lines for the torch moving to safe height: G00 Z1.5
  5. In the operator console click in the line number box
  6. Type in the line number of the safe hight move and hit return
  7. Highlighted line should change to that line
  8. Hit "Set next line" button
  9. Hit cycle start

Causes:

  • Dross has built up inside shield
  • Work piece is flapping around like a flag in a breeze, put some weights on it
  • Dross/corrosion on the plate cause a none conductive area where the torch touched off
  • Torch cable has become too taught and caused the probe connection to come loose or the probe ring not to touch the torch shield

Torch fails to ignite

Your work piece is not trash yet, but might be if you don't follow these steps

Mach3 shows job stuck on M3 command.

  1. Hit F5 to re-ignite the torch (possibly twice)
  2. Job should continue once M3 detects arc transfer signal from the plasma cutter

Causes:

  • Unknown at this time

Mach3 Crash

Your work piece is trash, start again

  1. Shutdown the control box
  2. Close Mach3
  3. Turn on control box
  4. Start Mach3
  5. Run your job again

Causes:

  • Unknown at this time

Sheet Cam

https://www.youtube.com/user/arclightdynamics/videos has good tutorials.

Sheet Cam settings always use the last setting. So double check it's what you want.

Origin is bottom left. Origin on the machine is back left. Brown box is the material size, but it doesn't need to be set.

It's a good idea to have a bounding box on your work so it's placed correctly.

Isolate paths by selecting them then put them in a new layer. This includes the previously mentioned bounding box.

Cuts can be inside edge, outside edge or on the line. A lead in is a good idea to help keep the cuts clean. Lead out has not been tested but may help.

The post-processor to use for this machine is named 'PS1 Plasma'. It's already included in the list of post-processors on the installed copy of SheetCam.

Manual Controls

  • Arrow keys move X/Y
  • Shift PageUp/PageDown moves the Z axis

Click the zero button to set home. (this is from memory, please correct -- Burton)

Todo List

  • Documentation



Squareness todo:

  • Physical end stops - probably want to move the wiring out of the X axis tubes for this
  • Limit switches on A-axis (slaved to X, the rail against the wall)

This will allow both manual squareness and automatic machine homing. Mach 3 has a routine that will home the X axis with the slave, then adjust which ever one did not hit the home switch independently.


Water table todo:

  • Fix 2 pin hole leaks (one at each end of tank)
  • Fit bladder input line (so it doesn't collect crap in the tank)
  • Wash out old compressor tank
  • Trim the top of the side where the A axis hardware grazes the top of the tank.
  • Paint the outside of the tank
  • Treat the water with the green goo

Plumbing/wiring todo:

  • Extend air line to under table to create a manifold for table mounted air consumers
  • Run large conduit for 220 outlet for the plasma cutter
  • Run small conduit for data/estop between the table and the PC
  • Run black pipe for connecting the table to the bladder (old compressor tank)
  • Water line from north side of the shop, with input into the old compressor tank
  • Air lines to the compressor tank (one vent on from the compressor)
  • Run ethernet line to PC so its not on wifi any more
  • Z axis limit switches


Plate marker todo:

  • Design and cut new y-axis trolly or offset plate to carry torch and marker
  • Machine mount for engraver
  • Mount new trolly with air slide and Z axis
  • Plumbing and wiring
  • Pen mount as well as engraver?

35A Fine Cut todo:

  • Build floating Z axis using left over linear rail
  • How to multiplex the digitise input for touch off? Relays to switch digitise input from ohmic sensor to switch on head? (and disconnect the switch from the z limit array) (the switch should be in the z limit switch array by default incase the THC plunges the torch into the work piece)


Roundness/cut quality todo:

  • Y Axis pulsing - new connection spigot for drive year to fix eccentric rotation of gear
  • Remove and clean X axis gears, reinstall and use loctite on set screws (the keep backing off)
  • Make sure all bearings are right against the rails so there is no slop
  • Investigate backlash and configure mach3 is required - 0.0001 on X, Y and A
  • Get quote for installing ground rod next to the table and execute it
  • Look into THC issues (cut rippling) if still present after ground rod - possible Z axis flex in the mount to the Y carriage.
  • Why is the THC seeing ~80V for a good clean cut from the hypertherm? Is the internal voltage divider broken (is this why the machine was retrofitted with a dangerous high voltage tap?)? Or is this related to a bad ground at the table?
  • Motion pauses: (Seen on large 3'x2' complex cuts)
    • Why are there zero move G1's at the end of curves generated with G2's
    • Do we need to add a CV on G-Code in the preamble of the post processor - Does not appear to need this
    • Smooth stepper under-run errors - I have only seen this when jogging not cutting, mostly related to rapiding the Z, maybe reduce the micro stepping on the driver for the new threaded drive step count is huge per inch which could be hurting us
    • Axis and Core frequency tuning for the smooth stepper? - Dropped to 64k on X,Y,A
    • Look ahead tuning - increased to 150
    • Is CV plasma mode hurting us?
    • System problems, AV jamming things up? - low cpu load not an issue


Ohter things:

  • Cleaning/maintenance schedule
  • Shelves/lockers in the unused space under the table for project/tool/etc storage?
  • Materials storage ideas?
    • sheet goods
    • 20-24' bar/tube stock

Future Items

  • Tube attachment
  • scribe attachment


Torch Consumables

The torch is a T45m hypertherm machine torch.

Consumables Change Log
Date What By
6/10/17 electrode, nozzle Andrew Camardella

What does a worn electrode look like?

Torch tips components are consumables. If you are getting a wide kerf or the plasma torch isn't cutting through the materials anymore you may need to change the tip parts. To change the consumables disconnect the ground clip from the black retaining cap and unscrew the entire tip from the retaining cap.


Standard

  • Shield P/N: 220673
  • Deflector P/N: 2206732
  • Retaining Cap - Ohmic P/N: 220719
  • Nozzle P/N: 220671
  • Electrode P/N: 220669
  • Swirl Ring P/N: 220670

Fine Cut

THERE IS CURRENTLY NO POST PROCESSOR FOR RUNNING WITH THESE CONSUMABLES INSTALLED


NOTE: These parts are for a t30 unshielded torch, they are compatiable with the T45m when it is run at a setting lower than 30A and cutting materials thinner than 3/16". Ohmic sensing will not work with these parts installed.

  • Deflector P/N: 2206732
  • Retaining Cap - Ohmic P/N: 220483
  • Nozzle P/N: 220480
  • Electrode P/N: 220479
  • Swirl Ring P/N: 220478


Consumables catalog page

Feeds and Speeds

T45m Shielded Consumables

Mild Steel

Recommended Maximum
Arc Current (a) Material Thickness Torch-to-work distance (in) Initial Piece hieght (in) Pierce time delay (s) Cut Speed (ipm) Arc Voltage (V) Cut Speed (ipm) Arc Voltage (V)
30 0.018" 26Ga 0.06" 0.15" 0.0 ? 117 400 118
0.030" 22Ga ? 116 400 117
0.036" 20Ga ? 115 400 117
0.060" 18Ga 0.2 ? 111 280 115
45 0.036" 20Ga 0.06" 0.15" 0.0 380 115 400 112
0.060" 16 Ga 150 116 400 115
0.075" 14Ga 0.1 150 117 360 115
0.105" 12Ga 0.3 130 117 240 115
0.135" 10Ga 0.4 110 117 175 115
0.188" 3/16" 0.5 85 118 110 115
0.250" 1/4" 0.6 60 120 75 116
0.375" 3/8" 0.9 32 122 40 116
0.500" 1/2" Edge Start Recommended 4 132 25 125
0.625" 5/8" 3 138 14 127
0.750" 3/4" 2 140 10 131
1.000" 1" ? 146 5 142

Stainless Steel

Recommended Maximum
Arc Current (a) Material Thickness Torch-to-work distance (in) Initial Piece hieght (in) Pierce time delay (s) Cut Speed (ipm) Arc Voltage (V) Cut Speed (ipm) Arc Voltage (V)
30 0.018" 26Ga 0.06" 0.15" 0.0 ? 117 400 123
0.030" 22Ga ? 116 400 121
0.036" 20Ga ? 115 400 119
0.060" 18Ga 0.2 ? 111 185 118
45 0.036" 20Ga 0.06" 0.15" 0.0 ? 115 400 109
0.060" 16 Ga 138 116 400 125
0.075" 14Ga 0.1 ? 117 360 115
0.105" 12Ga 0.3 ? 117 200 116
0.135" 10Ga 0.4 ? 117 155 118
0.188" 3/16" 0.5 ? 118 85 118
0.250" 1/4" 0.6 ? 120 55 120
0.375" 3/8" 0.8 ? 122 32 121
0.500" 1/2" Edge Start Recommended ? ? 18 128
0.750" 3/4" ? ? 9 131

Aluminium

Recommended Maximum
Arc Current (a) Material Thickness Torch-to-work distance (in) Initial Piece hieght (in) Pierce time delay (s) Cut Speed (ipm) Arc Voltage (V) Cut Speed (ipm) Arc Voltage (V)
30 0.018" 26Ga 0.06" 0.15" 0.0 360 117 400 120
0.060" 16Ga 0.2 340 118 400 121
0.075" 14Ga 215 118 270 121
45 0.060" 16Ga 0.06" 0.15" 0.0 360 116 400 114
0.075" 14Ga 340 117 400 116
0.105" 12 Ga 280 120 360 119
0.135" 10Ga 0.1 220 122 280 120
0.188" 3/16" 0.2 100 123 130 120
0.250" 1/4" 0.3 80 123 100 120
0.375" 3/8" 0.5 33 130 42 125
0.500" 1/2" Edge Start Recommended 20 134 25 130
0.750" 3/4" 8 143 10 138

T30v Unshielded Fine cut Consumables

THERE IS CURRENTLY NO POST PROCESSOR FOR RUNNING WITH THESE CONSUMABLES INSTALLED

Mild Steel

Recommended Maximum
Arc Current (a) Material Thickness Torch-to-work distance (in) Initial Piece hieght (in) Pierce time delay (s) Cut Speed (ipm) Arc Voltage (V) Cut Speed (ipm) Arc Voltage (V)
30 0.018" 26Ga 0.02 0.1 0.0 350 105 400 98
0.030" 22Ga 320 102 400 103
0.036" 20Ga 280 101 350 100
0.060" 16Ga 0.2 175 97 220 100
0.075" 14Ga 0.4 120 98 150 97
0.105" 12Ga 80 96 100 96
0.135" 10Ga 50 100 65 101

Stainless Steel

Recommended Maximum
Arc Current (a) Material Thickness Torch-to-work distance (in) Initial Piece hieght (in) Pierce time delay (s) Cut Speed (ipm) Arc Voltage (V) Cut Speed (ipm) Arc Voltage (V)
30 0.018" 26Ga 0.02 0.1 0.0 350 103 400 102
0.030" 22Ga 320 198 400 100
0.036" 20Ga 300 97 380 98
0.060" 16Ga 0.2 150 99 190 98
0.075" 14Ga 0.4 110 101 135 97
0.105" 12Ga 60 101 75 98
0.135" 10Ga 45 102 55 97



Aluminium

Recommended Maximum
Arc Current (a) Material Thickness Torch-to-work distance (in) Initial Piece hieght (in) Pierce time delay (s) Cut Speed (ipm) Arc Voltage (V) Cut Speed (ipm) Arc Voltage (V)
30 0.036" 20Ga 0.02 0.1 0.0 320 107 400 105
0.060" 16Ga 240 104 300 103
0.075" 14Ga 190 104 1240 103
0.105" 12Ga 0.2 145 103 180 103
0.135" 10Ga 95 101 120 101

Wiring

Stepper Coils

  • A+ Black
  • A- Green
  • B+ Red
  • B- Blue

Smooth Stepper Pin Mapping

C25 Interface board pins

SmoothStepper Target Device
Port Pin Type Device Connection Wire color
1 1 Output X Stepper Driver Pul+ Green
1 2 Output X Stepper Driver Dir+ Red
1 3 Output X Stepper Driver Ena+
1 4 Output Y Stepper Driver Pul+ Green
1 5 Output Y Stepper Driver Dir+ Red
1 6 Output Y Stepper Driver Ena+
1 7 Output THC Step In Green
1 8 Output THC Dir In Red
1 9 Output Z Stepper Driver Ena+
1 10 Input Plasma Interface Connector Torch Lit Out
1 11 Input Z Limit Connector 2 Grey
1 12 Input Y Limit Connector 2 Grey
1 13 Input X Limit Connector 2 Grey
1 14 Output A Stepper Driver Pul+ Green
1 15 Input E-Stop Switch Switch contact NC Grey
1 16 Output A Stepper Driver Dir+ Red
1 17 Output A Stepper Driver Ena+
2 1 Output Torch Relay Coil +
2 2 Input Touch off probe connector Pin 2
2 3 Input
2 4 Input
2 5 Input
2 6 Input
2 7 Input
2 8 Input
2 9 Input
2 10 Input
2 11 Input
2 12 Intput
2 13 Input
2 14 Output THC Enable relay Coil +
2 15 Input
2 16 Output
2 17 Output

Configuration

Stepper Drivers

Steps per inch: 1358

Driving current:

  • SW1 ON
  • SW2 ON
  • SW3 OFF

Holding Current:

  • SW4 OFF

Steps:

  • SW5
  • SW6
  • SW7
  • SW8

Parts

maintenance

maintenance page


Authorization

Authorizers

  • Andrew Camaradella - 45A auto Z only
  • Ron Olson - 45A auto Z only

List of Currently Authorized Users - 45A Auto Z

Qualified Member Trained By Date
Andrew Caramdella Danger Committee
Jake Chaitkin Ron Olson 6/9/2018
Zack Sasnow Ron Olson 6/9/2018
Erik Wessing Ron Olson 6/9/2018
Ryan Pierce Ron Olson 9/2/18
Glenn Powers Ron Olson 10/21/18
Sam Paris Ron Olson 10/21/18
Farsheed Hamidi-Toosi Ron Olson 10/21/18

List of Currently Authorized Users - 30A Fine Cut

Qualified Member Trained By Date
Casey Olson Tom Judge
Jake Chaitkin Ron Olson 6/9/2018
Zack Sasnow Ron Olson 6/9/2018