How time flies! It was July 10th of 2012 when we purchased the table from Precision Plasma and started this project. So here on July 12th of 2013 I though I would show the table and talk about what we put it through over the last year.
A picture of the table before she made her first cut!
A picture of the table one year later after over 320 4x8 sheets have passed over her
We make it a point to take good care of the table and despite all of the use the table is basically in the same condition as it was brand new. I wanted to find out how much cutting had been done on the table so I pulled my invoices from my steel supplier and counted up all of the sheets I had purchased over the last year. It was just over 320 sheets. It has been everything from steel, stainless, and aluminum and think nesses from 22 gauge to ½ plate.
This is by no means huge production volumes but that it quite a bit of sheet for our shop and this table. This is not a table designed for 24/7 commercial manufacturing but you would not know it by how well it has held up.
The cutting has varied from the very intricate detailed pieces of art to large simple squares and everything in between.
Consumable life has been great on the Powermax 65, We have gone through roughly 20 electrode / nozzle combos mostly in the Finecut and 65 amp variety. My consumable life has been exceeding the estimates set forth by Hypertherm. I credit that to having extremely dry air and following the cut chart data to the tee.
This picture give you a view of the slats down the one side before I did my first cleaning on the table.
The slats are still in really good shape and I was able to reuse all of them.
I make it a point to remove any drop outs that I can see (larger ones) as time goes by. They go in a recycle bucket and get taken to the steel yard on a regular basis.
By keeping the table clean it minimized the need to do a complete clean out.
After a year of cutting it was time for a full clean out.
The first table Clean out
I allowed the water level to slowly lower via evaporation a couple weeks before I started the clean out. With the lower water levels I got a bit more smoke in the air but it was bearable using an exhaust fan.
I started by pulling all of the slats off the table and pressure washing them off.
Next I pulled out the larger pieces of drop outs via hand and magnet.
I then went at it with the shop vac sucking up the water and sludge and pouring it into 5 gallon buckets. You can see some of the sludge in the buckets to the right.
The sludge was allowed to dry via evaporation which did not take long since we have been having days over 122 here lately.
Once the material was dry it was taken to the steel recycling yard and turned in for cash!
This picture shows the cleaning in progress. I sucked everything up that I could then went back and added clean water and brushed it to loosen the sludge then shop vac’ed it until it was clean.
Definitely not a fun task but it only took a few hours and for being the first time in a year I dont think it was that bad.
I estimate I took a little over 250 lbs off the table in metal dust and drop outs.
As far as the Green Cut goes that I was using as my water additive its gone. The high evaporation rates and dilution that took place over the year were too much for it.
After about 6 months I noticed that I was not getting the effectiveness that I once had.
In a cooler climate I would imagine that I would get a better and longer life cycle.
I have plans to try Plasma Quench and a few other options in the coming year.
Here is the table after cleaning. The powdercoat is holding up well besides a few scratches the table looks as good as new.
I took a 4.5 in grinder with a wire wheel to the slats before I put them back in to clean off any dross.
I also ran a grinding wheel over the top edge to take off any burs. I did not flip them since they were still in great shape.
So there is the table after cleaning and ready to go again.
The table looks and performs as good as it did the day I got it. I have not had any component failures or repairs to date.
This last week it was 126 here and 116 in the shop. I was cutting ¼ plate most of the day at 65 amps. The Powermax 65 had its cooling fan running on high but after about 4 yours on and off cutting it was still doing great.
After a year of reasonably heavy use I could not be happier with my purchase. Everything has and continues to perform as designed and promised. The tech support from Precision Plasma, Hypertherm, and CandCNC has be excellent anytime I have a question they are there to help.
So where do we go from here? I want to add a Rotary Axis to the table for tube cutting as well as a pneumatic plate marker. So as soon as I add those to the table I will be updating the website with that information. Till then we will just keep cutting!