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Last Updated:  05-20-14

Baker's Gas & Welding CandCNC Corel Free DXF HYPERTHERM LubeCorp Manufacturing Inc. ARTSOFT MACH3 PRECISION PLASMA LLC Steel F/X SHEETCAM COPYRIGHT 2014 DESERT FABWORKS LLC - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED- WEB DESIGN BY: DESERT WEB MARKETING LLC    -     Contact Us   - Our First CNC Plasma Machine

Here is some info and pictures of our current and first CNC Plasma Machine.  This machine is a custom built machine by a guy in Phoenix AZ.  We wanted to add a CNC Plasma Machine to our shop and did very little research before we purchased this one.   


Price was a major factor in our purchase decision.  There were so many things I did not know about CNC Plasma machines when I found and purchased this one.  While this machine has been a great machine and has worked without failure since we purchased it, it lacks some major features which if had there been a site like this I would have requested in the build or purchase a different one.


This machine has served us well but we have quickly out grown it and need a bigger machine with more advanced options. Which brings us to this site and this build. At the end of this build we will sell off this machine.   If you are interested in purchasing this machine please contact us.


Here is a little about this machine:


Completely Custom built

Aluminum gantry  

Stepper motors with parker drives

PC with windows XP Pro

Running SheetCam and Mach3

Table Cut dimensions:  Y= 44in X= 40 in Z = 2.5 in


Plasma Cutter:


Chicago Electric with Trafimet Torch

Pilot arc striking system for easy starting

Indicator light for thermal overload protection

Post-flow cooling

Air/gas regulator with pressure adjustment

Easy carry handle

Input: 240 volts, 25 amps, single phase, 60 Hz

Rated output current: 10-40 amps

Rated output voltage: 94 volts @ 35 amps

Max open circuit voltage: 148 volts

Duty cycle: 60% @ 40 amps

Air flow rate: 3.5 CFM @ 60-80 PSI

Plasma gas: dry air or nitrogen only


Cuts: cast iron, steel, stainless steel, copper, brass, aluminum, titanium and magnesium alloys

Cutting thickness: 0.08" to 1/2"Severance thickness: 5/8"Includes: flow calibration tube, spare cutting tip (0.9mm), spare electrode

Shipping Weight: 56.10 lb.


Ya this is the Harbor Freight plasma cutter that sells for about $650.00.  While the rated cut capacity states ½ inch on the machine we were not able to achieve better than ¼ cut.   Cut quality is good and consumables are easily found online or in your local Harbor Freight Store.   While I was very leery of having anything from Harbor Freight on my Plasma Table it did work very well especially for the price.  Part of the reason for wanting an new table was to get a plasma cutter with a thicker capacity.  If you are cutting primarily in the 1/8 and thinner this machine works very well.


One thing I did not catch in the beginning was that while it was advertised as a 4x4 table the actual cut area was a touch less.


We had used a plasma cutter but had no idea how much dust a machine created compared to a couple small cuts from a hand held unit.  When we got the table it was open with no down draft system. We later added a down draft system to save us from the plasma dust and mess.  Another lesson learned.  For our new machine we are opting for a water table.


This table being an entry level unit did not have torch height control.  We did not know anything about THC when we got this unit and quickly learned its value.  We have made things work  pretty well without it but as our need for better quality and increased production rates on steel that was less than flat, we knew we needed to upgrade.


The linear motion guides and rails are top notch on this table.  They are much higher quality than you would normally find on an entry level table.   The guides have worked great and the machine has excellent accuracy.


The one thing we wanted and got in this table was Turn Key.  We wanted a table that we did not need to buy anything else, nothing to set up.  This fit the bill we watched it do test cuts in person before we purchased it and we were cutting in no time once we got it back to the shop.  If you know nothing about plasma machines and do not want to assemble the components Turn Key is the way to go, but it removes the ability to get all the features and options you may want or need.


Before you purchase a machine make sure you do your homework.  Know what you expect your machine to do and what you intend to do with your machine now and in the future.  This is a great machine for the home hobbyist but for a business we needed more.  We failed to plan for the future.  


I hope that this guide provides you with all the info you will need to make well informed purchase.

Here are some photos of our current and soon to be replaced table.