• Scam Alert. Members are reminded to NOT send money to buy anything. Don't buy things remote and have it shipped - go get it yourself, pay in person, and take your equipment with you. Scammers have burned people on this forum. Urgency, secrecy, excuses, selling for friend, newish members, FUD, are RED FLAGS. A video conference call is not adequate assurance. Face to face interactions are required. Please report suspicions to the forum admins. Stay Safe - anyone can get scammed.

CNC plasma cutter build

DavidR8

Scrap maker
Administrator
Moderator
Premium Member
The black box is now actually black :)
I need to add one more connector for the limit switches which seem to be a necessity.
IMG_7422.jpg
 

Tom O

Ultra Member
I was wondering about that design not showing limit switches I thought those were a important part of the Cnc machines my router just stops till you crank it back which is a pain with the enclosure.
B155F86A-15E2-41E3-88E7-F823BF6E800C.jpeg
This is a first generation design that I want to upgrade the control boards on I’m thinking maybe a centroid system.
 

DavidR8

Scrap maker
Administrator
Moderator
Premium Member
I was wondering about that design not showing limit switches I thought those were a important part of the Cnc machines my router just stops till you crank it back which is a pain with the enclosure.
View attachment 14707
This is a first generation design that I want to upgrade the control boards on I’m thinking maybe a centroid system.
Is that a 6040?

The original design of the plasma cutter has the gear track ending before the carriage ran into the ends. So the stepper pinion would just run out of mesh and stop.
I extended to gear rack to allow for maximum travel of the carriage for maximum cutting area.
That said, I'm using OpenBuilds control software which looks for limit switches for proper homing of the machine. Adding them is a bit of work but easier than having to think about it every time I use the machine.
 

ShawnR

Ultra Member
Premium Member
Sooo @David_R8 have you used this CNC plasma cutter much? Would you recommend going ahead with the project or would you make a lot of changes were you to build another one? I purchased the motors and controllers but none of the other hardware yet. You made a comment in your thread on the CNC router about rigidity which makes we wonder if there is enough rigidity in this design to be satisfactory? I was wondering about still using the toothed track but mounting it to something more substantial...:confused:
 

DavidR8

Scrap maker
Administrator
Moderator
Premium Member
I haven't had occasion to use it much because I'm not happy with my water table slats. And I've been super busy with other projects <eyeroll/>
I'm considering doing away wit the water table and just making a 'skirt' for the cutting area to contain the sparks.
It is definitely not rigid enough to use for a router but the design is well suited to its purpose.
I made only two design changes:
First was to put the Y-axis gear rack above the pinion so that dirt and grime didn't accumulate in the rack and cause issues.
Second was that I extended both gear racks to have as much travel as possible. That's a plus. The negative is that I now need end stops because I can run both axis to the point where the hit the frame :(
I did buy switches and the board for them but haven't managed to get them wired in.
 
Last edited:

ShawnR

Ultra Member
Premium Member
Soooo, trying to get my head around how this works (having never used a CAM program)
Here is what I think. Please interject or correct

Do a drawing in a CAD program ie F360 or FreeCAD
Convert the file to DXF?
Then do what to get it to the Arduino?
Arduino has grbl in it...
any interaction on your part? Serial monitor?
DAC is a little vague after the hardware is complete.

Trying to understand the whole process.
 

DavidR8

Scrap maker
Administrator
Moderator
Premium Member
Soooo, trying to get my head around how this works (having never used a CAM program)
Here is what I think. Please interject or correct

Do a drawing in a CAD program ie F360 or FreeCAD
Convert the file to DXF?
Then do what to get it to the Arduino?
Arduino has grbl in it...
any interaction on your part? Serial monitor?
DAC is a little vague after the hardware is complete.

Trying to understand the whole process.
You're pretty close.
Not sure if FreeCad has a CAM side to it but I draw in F360, then switch to the CAM (Manufacturing I think it's called) where you chose the tool, set the feed rate etc. Then you tell it to generate the gcode using the grbl post-processor built into F360. It churns away and spits out a text file full of the coordinates, feed and commands to turn the torch on/off.
Save it to a jump drive and stick it into the control computer. The actual process from there depends a bit on what control software you use.
I like the OpenBuild controller because it has a decent interface.
Then it's basically load the file, turn on the compressor, turn on the plasma machine and press start cycle, stand back and be amazed :)
Have you built one?
 

ShawnR

Ultra Member
Premium Member
You're pretty close.
Not sure if FreeCad has a CAM side to it but I draw in F360, then switch to the CAM (Manufacturing I think it's called) where you chose the tool, set the feed rate etc. Then you tell it to generate the gcode using the grbl post-processor built into F360. It churns away and spits out a text file full of the coordinates, feed and commands to turn the torch on/off.
Save it to a jump drive and stick it into the control computer. The actual process from there depends a bit on what control software you use.
I like the OpenBuild controller because it has a decent interface.
Then it's basically load the file, turn on the compressor, turn on the plasma machine and press start cycle, stand back and be amazed :)
Have you built one?

FreeCAD can generate G-Code, but I have not mastered that yet, ie, need to go through the tutorial again. Pretty straight forward, if I recall correctly. .There is info available on it


I think I did it once last year to see if it works.

I load it to the Arduino through the controller? In your case, OpenBuild? I remember reading that you started with one software, then switched. I will go look that over too.

Have not built it yet. I wanted to learn a bit about the Arduino first and get more comfortable with stepper motors and the controlling of them. The power feed project for my mill has done that. DAC does not supply any code for the Arduino so, I am guessing, that part is all done with the CAM software and controller software?

Thanks
 
Last edited:

DavidR8

Scrap maker
Administrator
Moderator
Premium Member
FreeCAD can generate G-Code, but I have not mastered that yet, ie, need to go through the tutorial again. Pretty straight forward, if I recall correctly. .There is info available on it


I think I did it once last year to see if it works.

I load it to the Arduino through the controller? In your case, OpenBuild? I remember reading that you started with one software, then switched. I will go look that over too.

Have not built it yet. I wanted to learn a bit about the Arduino first and get more comfortable with stepper motors and the controlling of them. The power feed project for my mill has done that. DAC does not supply any code for the Arduino so, I am guessing, that part is all done with the CAM software and controller software?

Thanks
Yes, the Arduino gets flashed with the grbl software so that it knows what to do with the gcode that it gets from the control software.
 
Last edited:
Yes, the Arduino gets flashed with the grbl software so that it knows what to do with the gcode that it gets from the control software.

the Arduino board is flashed with the grbl software so that it knows what to do with the gcode it receives from the control software.
Centriod's (Acorn) software has an simple programming tool called Intercon, which makes it easy to take DfX files and create cut profiles and turn them into G-code specific to Centroid type controllers.
 
Top