YIKES!! And SWEEET!!!
Hope you have a warehouses for this!!
ME WANT! (Full confession, I think I heard the makerspace I’m a member of may be getting a plasma cutter soon, but I’ve not really seen one in action until now – this is making me drool in a very dangerous way, god I hope I heard right )
My son has a ‘GoTorch’ with a Hypertherm 45 plasma torch that I lust after.
Ummmm… Son… Father… Take the damn thing!! Lol!!
Something like that’s on my long-term someday list - like a laser engraver was until I learned about Glowforge.
There are a couple downsides to using plasma cutters, that I didnt even think about until I got a job at a place that used one for production parts.
The consumable tips that handheld plasma cutters use, become REALLY consumable when you put them into an automated machine. Keep lots of them handy because you’re going to potentially use a few of them for each sheet of material you run.
You need a hoist or forklift for material handling. 1/4" steel plate doesnt seem like much to handle, until you decide to get 4’x8’ sheets of it, and you’re simply not going to manhandle that.
You need a steel bin for waste. You can’t just toss that stuff into a trash can, it will get destroyed. Then you definitely need a forklift for handling/moving the waste bin, and you need a recycler.
Consumables! My old light-weight Abcor Binzel torch needed tips, electrodes insulators and springs. Finally found a vendor - Wester Welding that offered a kit of 5 of each for $90, but been waiting a month for them - so far…
Plasma Cutters are great fun.
We have 3 tables at my work. Each one over 20’ long(one up to 40’).
Expensive but super fun. These 4’x’4 tables have their own merits too but you had better be making money with them because they are expensive to maintain.
Bush League I tell ya.
you want to get awesome? Water Jet Cutter. no flying molten metal.
i have access to one at www.firstbuild.com. I had thought of a use for it. ran out of time, and used my welder to cobble up an alternative. would have been way spiffier to make the tool with the cuttter and bending the tabs down.
I made a tool to install my coretec plus floor when the plank has a 45 degree angle on the end that I have to pull into the locking end.
Just got my plasma table operational (had some fun and games with voltage conversion between the plasma unit and the CNC). Boy is it fast. Cuts up to 10m per minute in 2mm steel. Bit slower for a bit thicker. It can handle up to 25mm thick but I haven’t had a chance to see the cut.
I’ll be using it for mostly under 6mm stuff.
Thanks for the video
I want one of these: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/974179222/ability1-3d-print-real-metal-parts-at-home but international shipping looks very expensive and it is 110V only, requiring a massive transformer for 240V. That makes no sense as 240V welders are available here.
Having been burned by GF I just pledged a dollar to follow it. I might have a go at making my own someday using the motion parts from Hydraraptor in a metal case.
Very impressive blade work! Fair dinkum mate!
You should drop a link for your work in the Show&Tell thread.
That’s a massive plasma rig. The shop is so cool!
The surface finish in the video was not to impressive. Hopefully they get that sorted for production models.
Unlike GlowForge they seem happy to show their early prints, warts and all, and seem honest about where they are up to and how they can improve it.
The spanner seems to have a few gaps where the weld didn’t spread enough. I am sure that is easy to fix. Where there is enough material to be trimmed back with the milling pass the finish looks good to me.
When they were showing it at MakerFaire NYC there were either total blobs of metal or super high quality prints that looking at their current video I really don’t believe were done on their machine (a few of the parts seemed to require more than a 3-axis mill for instance). And the machines were not working the entire weekend. So I’d want to see a real working model do this live repeatedly before investing…
Having seen RepRap go from a few blobs of plastic to what it is today I am less worried about this working than GF being able to do doubled side cuts. For me the video shows proof of concept, something we have never seen for a lot of GF’s unique features.
It would be very bad if they have passed off parts made another way though. If you do thin layers and use a ball end milling bit I suspect you can get sloping sides and overhangs without a five axis mill. There would be some banding though and the first layers would need a flat ended bit requiring a tool change.
The add and subtract technique is something I have been planning to try out with my next 3D printer design that can have many heads, so a couple of different milling bits and some extruders would be no problem.
If it was a European project I would probably back it with my eyes open to the risks as the hardware looks solid enough even at this stage, but the GBP collapse, crazy shipping costs from the US and 120V 60Hz kill it for me. Plus I don’t have room for another machine but I think I can convert Hydraraptor to printing metal using this technique. I don’t know anything about welding but then I didn’t know anything about FDM when I made my first 3D printer.
MIG welding is fairly messy (basically metal FDM using an arc as your “hot end” with a surrounding cloud of argon) and generates some pretty nasty fumes. The problem is MIG is designed to weld steel, so the weld material is extremely hard. This means you are milling steel. As anyone who has tried to even mill aluminum on an inexpensive CNC mill knows, that’s not trivial to do well, and steel is an order of magnitude higher.
The arc welding part of the MIG is of course a major fire risk (I’ve certainly set a bunch of stuff on fire while welding, luckily just smoldering plywood or whatever) from splattering slag. It also uses a lot of power. You will also need heavy UV shielding since arc welding put out an enormous amount of high-energy UV.
that metal printer is pretty nifty. I think one problem with their early prints isn’t the capability, it’s the software - from their KS page they note that they’re currently writing all their g-code by hand as they need to use both additive and subtractive manufacturing, and it’s limiting the complexity and presumably finish of the parts they produce.
definitely keeping an eye on it, though, that’s pretty cheap; i wonder what the MSRP will be