Does anyone have a CNC Plasma cutter?

Mattshel

New Member
I was just wondering if anyone on here has one and can answer a couple of quick questions for me. Here is some background, we are looking at picking up equipment to do our blanks in house ranging from .060 all the way to .125 5052 H38 Aluminum. What is the minimum thickness you can cut or would .060 warp because it is too thin? Also how much finishing would be required to deburr it? Would a quick grinding of the surface usually suffice?
 

Mattshel

New Member
On the water jet, I have heard consumables as well as maintenance are a real pain and quite expensive, as well as being quite slow compared to a plasma.

How much volume do you cut with your CNC Router? We buy around 300-400 blanks a month so it would need to do quite a bit of volume and most of them are .080" thick.
 

Stanton

New Member
Plasma cutting aluminum leaves a ratty edge.

(this is 0.1875")

Plasma Cut Aluminum.jpg


A 3/16" dia single flute spiral-up carbide end mill
with mist coolant will give you a finished edge.

(6061 cuts better)
 

SebastienL

New Member
On the water jet, I have heard consumables as well as maintenance are a real pain and quite expensive, as well as being quite slow compared to a plasma.

How much volume do you cut with your CNC Router? We buy around 300-400 blanks a month so it would need to do quite a bit of volume and most of them are .080" thick.


Yeah! thats a lot of blanks! I don't think you can do that on a cnc router, at least not economically.
For sure, water jet leaves a better finished edge. Maybe a sheer is what you need.
 

Mattshel

New Member
Yeah, its between Shearing them or cutting them with a plasma. With the shearing a lot more hands have to touch the material though.
 

rjssigns

Active Member
See what fab shops in your area have. The one I use has 2 lasers and a huge waterjet. All my aluminum blanks are lasered and there is zero clean-up/deburring. Very reasonable pricing since they like to run the equipment all day and all night.

Hate to pay the electric bill on their 6000 watt laser.:omg:
 

FireFab

New Member
My business started in metal fabrication and I run a 54" x 96" CNC plasma water table. I run a Hypertherm PowerMax 85 and can cut steel up to 1" thick. CNC plasma on aluminum can have a rough edge depending on plasma cutter, consumables, grade of aluminum. There are other options that would give a finished product that is smoother than plasma. There is plasma that is higher quality, but they come with a much higher price and require gas mixtures, not just shop compressed air. As suggested I would look for a metal fab shop that runs laser or can punch press them on a Iron Worker. Work a deal on quantity and it will cost you less than investing on metal fab machinery.

Steel will cut cleaner than aluminum on plasma and this 5/8" plate is pretty clean right off my table with zero finishing.

20170203_101907.jpg

20170203_101856.jpg
 
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equippaint

Active Member
You can get a fairly clean edge with a plasma on aluminum but it wont be the same as a waterjet. We have a plasma we use to cut circles out of .063 and it leaves a clean edge with no burrs. It gets dirtier the thicker you go. Good tip and temp set right goes a long way. For blanks, Id use a shear unless you had hundreds and hundreds of them. Then get a corner rounder. You could get a small iron worker and stomp shear (if you need 4' and less) for a lot less if all you're looking to do is blanks. A shear and brake are very handy, you'd use them more than you think.
 

henryz

Member
Have you tried your aluminum supplier to do them, We use Metals USA and they have mill or painted cut to size any thickness. Small quantities can be routed, we normally wouldn't plasma aluminum not for this use, like previously stated will warp the sheets and leave a jagged edge. Stomp shear and a radius corner notcher will do the trick as well.
 
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