15m Industrial Plasma Cutter

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31 Jul 2019 16:07 #141013 by Jarman
Hello,

I'm new to this forum.

I am an engineering student doing an internship at an industrial boiler manufacturing company.
I have been asked to design and manufacture (from scratch) a 15m industrial CNC plasma cutter, cutting ~10mm Aluzinc used to clad boilers.

The design doesn't necessarily need to be as precise or fast as a commercial industrial CNC plasma cutter, however I am trying to keep the cost below £10,000 ($12,210). All welding etc. can be done in house.

I had the idea of using a cheap desktop to run LinuxCNC and program the automation of importing G code from CAD models, but I was hoping to get some advice from people with more experience in this area.

Is LinuxCNC suitable for an application like this?

Many thanks in advance.

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31 Jul 2019 17:27 #141017 by PCW
Replied by PCW on topic 15m Industrial Plasma Cutter
Absolutely LinuxCNC is suitable, _BUT_
I think the mechanics/cost/design issues of a 15M table are
going to be the problem not the controller choice...
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31 Jul 2019 18:01 #141020 by andypugh
I think that a bicycle chain Core-XY might be one way to do this, just because you can easily join bicycle chains end-to-end.
Rack and pinion also scales fairly easily.

I don't know if anyone has done a plasma "Skycam" yet, but that might work rather well with THC.

The latter idea is really growing on me :-)

You used £, where are you doing this?
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31 Jul 2019 18:20 #141022 by tommylight
According to his IP he is in UK.
That is doable for sure, but you have to carefully follow some guidelines.
There is a lot of info on several threads here to give you an idea what you are dealing with, and anything above 3 meters is basically add more metal, more rails ( very hard to align properly as the max length is 6 meters ), more rack for the pinion ( easy to add length, they usually come in 2 meter lengths ), and more cable. The rest stays pretty much the same.
There is a big difference on the actual cutting table, it has to carry a lot of weight so there is no skimping there.
What's the width ?
Do you have any means of doing some technical drawings and post them here, that will save you a lot of everything as plenty of us have a lot of experience with it.
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31 Jul 2019 19:29 #141031 by pl7i92
Replied by pl7i92 on topic 15m Industrial Plasma Cutter
what is the expected precision

the length is 15m i cand find the table width to go
we use a I30:1 precision gear on a 8meter Table that gantry never failed in BEND order
cost is 180Euros per gear but its the real deal

you can go easy at 30meter with the T10 Rack pinion
at about 0,2mm precision

72Volts 8Nm steppers
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01 Aug 2019 08:14 #141080 by Jarman
Replied by Jarman on topic 15m Industrial Plasma Cutter
Thank you all for getting back to me.

You are correct, I am in the UK.
I am sourcing parts to build a model at the moment. Here are a few more details about the design:

My intent was to use servo motors given the size of the operation, connect to LinuxCNC via parallel port and use a two axis rack and pinion setup.

There are only two thicknesses of material the machine will be cutting so I was thinking along the lines of some kind of manual z axis control with no THC.

I don't have an exact scope with regard to precision, I would say less than a millimeter, the quality of finish and precision are not of paramount importance as the joints are overlapped and holes for gauges are patched when the cladding is applied (the material is wrapped around the boilers). At the moment the material is being plasma cut by hand so any CNC will be an improvement with regard to precision.

The maximum width is 1.25m with a maximum length of just under 15m.

It is potentially possible to build one of reduced length, the Aluzinc is kept in a roll and pulled out by hand so could theoretically be rolled out in stages, how much easier would this make the build?

I am trying to keep the design simple and get to a manufacturing stage within a few weeks.

Thanks again.

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01 Aug 2019 11:35 #141088 by tommylight
What is the thicknes of the material to be cut ?
Asuming it is very thin, you will have to make the gantry very light, cutting thin materials with plasma requires very fast movements.
You can use the parallel port for that but considering the overall price you should really buy a Mesa 7i76E or at least a 7i96.
Also the price of Mesa THCAD is so low that you will regret not having it the second day of use, it is imposible to cut thin materials without it and making manual adjustments during cutting will prove way to dificult.
As for servo motors, use steppers, you will have to deal with a lot of interference and very long cables that might end up waisting a lot of time and unreliable machine.
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01 Aug 2019 11:50 #141092 by andypugh
You could make a machine with a single axis (+ THC) that rolled and unrolled the material under the cutter for the other axis, and with a simple run-out table.
It works for plotters and vinyl cutters. But those don't end up with any loose parts.

It would be neat and compact, but might not be able to move fast enough for thin material, as Tommy pointed out above.

I think that, for a first build, the roll-unroll and cable-bot ideas I have suggested are too untried, and a conventional gantry machine is the way to go. But there is no reason that it couldn't incorporate a coil feeder.
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01 Aug 2019 12:34 #141099 by rodw
Replied by rodw on topic 15m Industrial Plasma Cutter
If you are going servos which makes sense given the size, I think you should forget about parallel ports and have a good look at the Mesa cards and add the THCAD-10 board which for $70 with the plasmac config will mean you have a high quality THC which you will need for the thin material for sure. $300 or so here is not going to break your budget.

I think I'd build 2 separate rails (say 100 x 100 x 4 SHS) that are mounted and aligned carefully that the gantry runs along and then build your down draft or water table as a seperate assembly that sits between them. That seems to be how the big tables are built. I'd go with rack and pinion drives and say 5:1 or so reduction drives.

Thinking out of the box here, you might be able to mount the electronics (and possibly even the plasma cutter) on the gantry itself and then all you would have is a mains cable and an ethernet cable to manage so noise on long cables would not be an issue. I don't have any wiring mounted to the table. Its all on the gantry!

The length of the table is not going to substantially add to costs

I would also suggest adding a 433 Mhz industrial quality pendant like I use.

And its not a big table by plasma standards. I have seen one 90 metres long.
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01 Aug 2019 12:50 #141100 by Jarman
Replied by Jarman on topic 15m Industrial Plasma Cutter
The thinnest material to be cut is 8mm. The other is about 12mm.

I am planning to buy a Dell OptiPlex 760 and I am assuming that this will be able to run the program.

The company I work for has just bought a similar product professionally (pictures attached). It isn't cutting the same material and is a bit bigger but I notice that it uses servo motors, are you sure that steppers will be able to handle such a large device?

Also, does LinuxCNC interface with limit sensors (not just servo motor encoders)?

I was intending to mount the plasma onto the gantry, the current plasma cutter being used (by hand) is large and heavy but I was thinking that a more modern one could fit.

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Thanks.

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