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Old 02-23-2013, 09:18 PM
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Default Finally making sparks with the GoTorch

I finally got my work done in enough time to finish the last few items on my GoTorch checklist. I had to make some sort of cutting table (could have used saw horses, but thought I needed a table instead). I also had to pick up some non GFCI outlets, as Plasmacam equipment trips them instantly. I managed to build a quick table out of the scrap pile. I used some 4x4 legs, with 2x2 cross bars, and 2x2 angle to hold the flat bar for the grate. The table is not a be all, end all of plasma tables, but it fits my shop. Number one, it was free. I built it out of scraps. It is expandable. I built it so that i could easily adapt it to hold 4' materials, as the GoTorch is a wee bit on the small side. It was free. i made it to where, once I put caster on the bottom it would be the same height as all my other tables, thereby being able to use my welding tables to help hold larger materials. Did I mention that it cost me nothing? I still need to finish putting the grate in, but that can wait for a wee while. I can also easily put sides on it and convert it to a downdraft table.

After I got the table done, I rewired my GFCI outlets so I could actually turn the machine on. I cleared a spot in the shop for a computer. In the long run it needs to end up inside a cabinet, but for the moment it is on a bench with a tarp over it. I pulled up circle that I had drawn and converted to DXF, imported it with cut paths and cut it. I had a few small false starts (forgot to zip tie my plasma torch, didn't adjust Z axis height), but eventually cut the circle out.

This proves a couple of things. Number one, GoTorch can be used y itself with the software that comes with it. Number two, that the software that comes with it is completely inadequate, and basically sucks. If I didn't have some prior experience using a CNC, prior drawing experience, and AutoCad, and some other drawing software (thanks Gerry). The I would still be idle.

As it was, it takes about 45 minutes to assemble the machine, about an hour to figure out the ins and outs of configuring the parallel port, and about an hour to figure out how to get a drawing into its own dedicated computer and actually get the thing to cut it out.

The version of design edge that this machine comes with is a totally stripped down version and is machine control only, and VERY limited control at that. If I was to put date on it, I would say that this was mid 80's type of control. Don't expect a lot. I didn't expect a lot, in fact I expected to be disappointed, and I was not let down. Why did I buy this version then? It was a cheap way to get into a running kit. I fully expected to junk the software and convert it to Mach 3, and which is a totally viable alternative (video on you tube), for a much more affordable price than upgrading design edge.

As far as drawing, I don't think that the $3k that it takes to use the system like it shows in the video demos is worth it, especially since there is freeware that is pretty darn good for a lot cheaper (actually free). This system is also about to be totally outdated, as computers with parallel ports are nearly gone. f they don't update to USB, or wireless control in the next year or two I would expect them to be bypassed by someone else.

Am I happy? Yes, exceedingly! About 10 years ago I turned my metal working hobby into a full time job. Anytime I get new capabilities it excites me on a personal level, not just a new tool at work. Playing with electricity, fire, and metal is just fun!
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Old 02-24-2013, 01:21 AM
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Weld a pan underneath that table and fill with water. You will be so glad you did. The amount of smoke, debris, dust on EVERYTHING will be near nil. Seriously, in 10 years time, your lungs will even thank you.
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:00 AM
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The Go Torch system is a stripped down version of the normal PlasmaCam systems. It is designed for those that want to do some cnc plasma cutting at a budget. It will not cut as well, it will not provide the best consumable part life, and it is more difficult to nest and cut multiple parts than its more expensive big brother, the PlasmaCam DHC2 with the advanced capabilities. You should not expect it to be perfect...you bought the stripped down version because it was less expensive!

Converting it to a stepper motor driven Mach3 based system would definnitely be taking a few hundred steps backwards. the nice thing about the Go Torch systems is that you can upgrade to all of the advanced features as well as the full version of design edge software online...it is an unlocking of the software functionality that will bring this great little machine up to the same level as any fully equipped PlasmaCam or Samson machine, although the Go Torch is only a 2' x 2'.

Upgrading to full capability...and it is still less expensive as compared to similarly equipped machines of other brands. I have owned two different PlasmaCam machines over the last 13 years....they are awesome machines and have some of the best, easiest to learn and easy to use CAM and CAD software...bar none. The height control capability complete with Ohmic Plate sensing and auto voltage calibration is second to none.....(with maybe the exception of $100k industrial machines that have that same capability), the acceleration and speed capability of the full feedback servo drives is exceptional for a low priced machine (all others in the price class use steppers).

I have a PlasmaCam DHC2 in my shop now, also a Torchmate 2 x 4 machine, and have a new Go Torch on order (with full height control and Design Edge, just as my DHC2 has) that will be configured as a portable machine....with a self contained filtering downdraft table.

Jim Colt




Quote:
Originally Posted by Walker View Post
I finally got my work done in enough time to finish the last few items on my GoTorch checklist. I had to make some sort of cutting table (could have used saw horses, but thought I needed a table instead). I also had to pick up some non GFCI outlets, as Plasmacam equipment trips them instantly. I managed to build a quick table out of the scrap pile. I used some 4x4 legs, with 2x2 cross bars, and 2x2 angle to hold the flat bar for the grate. The table is not a be all, end all of plasma tables, but it fits my shop. Number one, it was free. I built it out of scraps. It is expandable. I built it so that i could easily adapt it to hold 4' materials, as the GoTorch is a wee bit on the small side. It was free. i made it to where, once I put caster on the bottom it would be the same height as all my other tables, thereby being able to use my welding tables to help hold larger materials. Did I mention that it cost me nothing? I still need to finish putting the grate in, but that can wait for a wee while. I can also easily put sides on it and convert it to a downdraft table.

After I got the table done, I rewired my GFCI outlets so I could actually turn the machine on. I cleared a spot in the shop for a computer. In the long run it needs to end up inside a cabinet, but for the moment it is on a bench with a tarp over it. I pulled up circle that I had drawn and converted to DXF, imported it with cut paths and cut it. I had a few small false starts (forgot to zip tie my plasma torch, didn't adjust Z axis height), but eventually cut the circle out.

This proves a couple of things. Number one, GoTorch can be used y itself with the software that comes with it. Number two, that the software that comes with it is completely inadequate, and basically sucks. If I didn't have some prior experience using a CNC, prior drawing experience, and AutoCad, and some other drawing software (thanks Gerry). The I would still be idle.

As it was, it takes about 45 minutes to assemble the machine, about an hour to figure out the ins and outs of configuring the parallel port, and about an hour to figure out how to get a drawing into its own dedicated computer and actually get the thing to cut it out.

The version of design edge that this machine comes with is a totally stripped down version and is machine control only, and VERY limited control at that. If I was to put date on it, I would say that this was mid 80's type of control. Don't expect a lot. I didn't expect a lot, in fact I expected to be disappointed, and I was not let down. Why did I buy this version then? It was a cheap way to get into a running kit. I fully expected to junk the software and convert it to Mach 3, and which is a totally viable alternative (video on you tube), for a much more affordable price than upgrading design edge.

As far as drawing, I don't think that the $3k that it takes to use the system like it shows in the video demos is worth it, especially since there is freeware that is pretty darn good for a lot cheaper (actually free). This system is also about to be totally outdated, as computers with parallel ports are nearly gone. f they don't update to USB, or wireless control in the next year or two I would expect them to be bypassed by someone else.

Am I happy? Yes, exceedingly! About 10 years ago I turned my metal working hobby into a full time job. Anytime I get new capabilities it excites me on a personal level, not just a new tool at work. Playing with electricity, fire, and metal is just fun!
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:19 PM
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Jim, I knew pretty well what I was buying before I bought it. I am a little disappointed, mostly in PlasmaCams sales style. I feel it is deceptive, and hides information that would help in making a purchase decision. Things like, exactly what software version and its capabilities, exactly what upgrades cost, and exactly what effort will be made to assist you online. If I hide these things from my customers I would not be able to make sales, or at least not make sales and sleep at night. My customers would also be calling be up complaining, and well as complaining to the registrar of contractor. I don't think PCam owners would have much difficulty with a class action if they wanted to, just not my style either. I am a big believer in open, honest communication, and have had good success with it through the years. If you have a good product, which I think they do, people will buy it. Even if the price is high, simply because there are no hidden costs.
As I said, I bought it as a working kit, and am happ with it for what i bought. I don't think the machine is functional as sold though. You are led to believe that you will be able to operate a business with it and that is sorely NOT the case.
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:44 PM
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Simply subscribing to the thread here, as i just got my ,plasmacam up and running to my little abilities right now.

Hands down, with maybe a half hour of actujal cutting time on it so far, needs a downdraft or water table.
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Old 02-24-2013, 09:00 PM
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I agree, I am planning on a downdraft table. IMHO the water tables are a whole 'nother problem. They seem to do well at keeping the sparks and dust down, but create their own set of issues, mucky mess, rust, bacteria, freezing, etc. The downdraft tables seem much simpler and easier to maintain, though you are dealing with smoke and grit in an electric motor. I have not yet found an exhaust fan that the motor is outside the stream of dirt, which I think would be more ideal.
I look forward to seeing pics of your setup, and also your new work. Also, what did you get for software? I am curious about which direction I need to take for my own table.
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Old 02-24-2013, 09:32 PM
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I got the software it came with, which is their basic design and bought the basic hieght control to start.

First part for my brother and i am thinking b adly about advanced hieght control.

I can design in autocadd or freeware, so getting the advanced design is of my list for now.

Willget a link to a video when i upload it to youtube. It is of my first cut.
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Old 02-24-2013, 09:49 PM
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehbM...e_gdata_player
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Old 02-25-2013, 11:40 AM
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Forgive my crude drawing, but these are my basic plans.
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Old 02-25-2013, 11:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walker View Post
I finally got my work done in enough time to finish the last few items on my GoTorch checklist. I had to make some sort of cutting table (could have used saw horses, but thought I needed a table instead). I also had to pick up some non GFCI outlets, as Plasmacam equipment trips them instantly.
It sounds like RF from the non-contact start is getting back into the GFI circuit. Rather than give up this important safety feature you might try some RFI filters on the line cord Here.

You might have to use two or three filters. They just snap over the wires. You Should position the table away from the GFI outlet and connect the table itself to a good cold water pipe ground with heavy copper braid.

DrBob
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