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  #1  
Old 04-10-2009, 08:05 PM
Steven DeMars Steven DeMars is offline
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Smile Can a CNC Plasma Cutter make $$$$ . . .

Just need an opinion from all you guys . . .

My intention is to build or buy a CNC Plasma Cutter with a 4'X4' table. I want to operate it as a hobby machine for art / craft type of stuff. The reason for the small table, I can not imagine handling sheet larger, whether it be storage or getting on the table by myself . . . I'll be in a 2 car garage . . . :-)

My question to you guys is based on your experiences, where would you try to hustle additional work for my table.

I'm thinking, all types of shops;

1. motorcycle
2. 4X4
3. utility trailer
4. small fab
5. welding
6. machine
7. boat dealers
8. ornamental iron (fences, gates, etc . .)
9. farm equipment
10. lawn equipment
11. valve automation
12. truck repair
13. truck customizers
14. outdoor cooking (big down here)

These are the ones I have come up with . . . any thing else or comments on the above would be appreciated . . .

Thanks, Steve
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  #2  
Old 04-10-2009, 09:09 PM
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Ironman Ironman is offline
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Hi Steve,
If you are doing fab work you will probably need and use 8 ft sheets which are not too hard to run through a 4 ft table if you are set up for it and have the room on the infeed side. On your drawing, just make a 4x8 template and draw within that, then as you cut parts out of the sheet, advance your sheet, advance the drawing in the computer, and cut the next bunch. I use a wheeled steel engine rebuilders table with 6 2" castors bolted in the top edge and sides. Put your sheet on it and wheel it over to the table, lock the bottom casters, unlock the top and push the sheet on.

To add to your list.
A fire resistant coating outfit is talking to me about plaques they can mount on a treated house, so firemen know that the retardant will give a 45 min burn through to the neighbors house, instead of the usual 10 minutes..

As a sales pitch I gave him this for his barbecue. Gives him an idea of the capabilities and I used up some scrap.
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  #3  
Old 04-10-2009, 09:11 PM
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Jim-TX Jim-TX is offline
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Steve, I'm thinking that a 4x4 table isn't going to be large enough to be much of a money maker. I understand what you are saying by not being able to handle or store larger stuff, but I know a guy that has a plasma table and he is about to expand his from 4x8 up to 4x20 I believe. He cuts some signs and needs the extra size. I'm not suggesting a 20 foot table for your garage, but maybe rethink an 8 footer. I'm afraid that 4x4 will really limit you on what you can do. BTW, I'd love to have a plasma table and I've given it some thought. They look like a lot of fun.
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Old 04-10-2009, 09:33 PM
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dubby dubby is offline
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I enjoy the heck out of my plasma cutter, and I really wish I had automation to go along with it. It gets used, alot, as is though.

There's a feller out at our Trader's Mart that does a fair bit of business with his machine. It's mostly the standard cowboy stuff, receiver hitch covers, house numbers, etc. He doesn't do much else from what I can tell, as nothing else in his booth is welded or much more than flat sheet cutouts.


So, can they make money? Yeah. But can you hustle it up, and are you planning to make it a full time job?

The way I look at upgrading tools in the shop, it's just another expense to the hobby--and occasionally you make some beer money off the stuff.
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  #5  
Old 04-10-2009, 09:52 PM
Steven DeMars Steven DeMars is offline
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Smile Thank you . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim-TX View Post
Steve, I'm thinking that a 4x4 table isn't going to be large enough to be much of a money maker. I understand what you are saying by not being able to handle or store larger stuff, but I know a guy that has a plasma table and he is about to expand his from 4x8 up to 4x20 I believe. He cuts some signs and needs the extra size. I'm not suggesting a 20 foot table for your garage, but maybe rethink an 8 footer. I'm afraid that 4x4 will really limit you on what you can do. BTW, I'd love to have a plasma table and I've given it some thought. They look like a lot of fun.
I don't have one yet . . . but I think downsizing coming soon will speed me up . . .

Thanks
Steve
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  #6  
Old 04-10-2009, 09:54 PM
Steven DeMars Steven DeMars is offline
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Smile Thank you . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ironman View Post
Hi Steve,
If you are doing fab work you will probably need and use 8 ft sheets which are not too hard to run through a 4 ft table if you are set up for it and have the room on the infeed side. On your drawing, just make a 4x8 template and draw within that, then as you cut parts out of the sheet, advance your sheet, advance the drawing in the computer, and cut the next bunch. I use a wheeled steel engine rebuilders table with 6 2" castors bolted in the top edge and sides. Put your sheet on it and wheel it over to the table, lock the bottom casters, unlock the top and push the sheet on.

To add to your list.
A fire resistant coating outfit is talking to me about plaques they can mount on a treated house, so firemen know that the retardant will give a 45 min burn through to the neighbors house, instead of the usual 10 minutes..

As a sales pitch I gave him this for his barbecue. Gives him an idea of the capabilities and I used up some scrap.
Thank you . .
Steve

P.S. I followed up on the lead you gave me for a table builder . . . Nice guy . . he gave me the confidence after chatting with me for about a hour that I could build my own table . . . even offered advice if I get in a jamb . . .

Thanks again,
Steve
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  #7  
Old 04-12-2009, 09:52 AM
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Ironman Ironman is offline
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Pricing your work is a process akin to looking for your car keys in a mud puddle.
As a rule of thumb, 1 hr at $60 for artwork(even if it takes 10) and $.20 per pierce and $.15 per inch. Your software should tell you this info. Steel cost +50% or more.
You have to learn what the market will bear. People will spend up to $20 without a problem. Like that wienie cooker, it takes a 6" square piece of metal, and will sell for 15 - 20 bucks. People like things they can't get with the "made in China" sticker.
Artwork should not take more than an hour, if you are proficient. If I had a job of say 50 pieces of work, the art would be free. If I do one sign, well they pay for the artwork, but I may be able to incorporate some of it into the next job and that makes it faster, and that art charge may be break-even.

A 4 ft table can be lengthened to 8 ft, with minimal work, PlasmaCAM will sell you the gear rack and pieces, or buy them anywhere, and it is commonly done. The software and controller will handle it. I would say for art a long table is a waste, for fabwork it is a necessity. Expand as your market develops in whatever direction.
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We like to think that liberal societies are immune to the dangerous power of ideas.The result is the position we find ourselves in at the present time. Western policy is now driven by fear of forces and ideas that have sprung from the chaos that earlier Western intervention created. The risk of these conflicts rebounding on us as Western citizens who have fought in them return home is all too real.
John Gray


Sent from my rotary dial phone using SFT .
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  #8  
Old 04-12-2009, 04:16 PM
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SlimJim SlimJim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven DeMars View Post
Thank you . .
Steve

P.S. I followed up on the lead you gave me for a table builder . . . Nice guy . . he gave me the confidence after chatting with me for about a hour that I could build my own table . . . even offered advice if I get in a jamb . . .

Thanks again,
Steve
Steve, there are some really good threads in this forum about building your own.

http://www.cnczone.com/forums/
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  #9  
Old 04-12-2009, 07:28 PM
Steven DeMars Steven DeMars is offline
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Smile Thank you . . .

Thank you good sir . . .

Steve
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  #10  
Old 04-29-2009, 03:25 PM
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LW Hiway LW Hiway is offline
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Steven, there are several folks here that are giving/offering great advice as well as those found on/at other sites. Which is why I find spending time here so important and necessary.

FWIW, in the 60's and up through the 80's, I got wrapped up in doing speciality sign making with wood and metals, sandblasting, bead blasting, welded, nailed, glued etc etc. And it all started with my doing a favor for a friend and his business's new sign out front. Signing the bottom corner of it was the worst thing I could have done.

My point is, if you do good work, competent work, timely and priced with a little profit in mind, yes absolutely, you can and will make money. But remember, a market will not seek you necessarily, you have to make that market want to seek you.
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