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Thread: CNC plasma cut '40 Ford mini dash with sound
          
   
   

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  1. #1
    Plasmaman's Avatar
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    CNC plasma cut '40 Ford mini dash with sound

     



    Just cut this mini version of a 1940 Ford dash with a wireless Blue Tooth speaker fitted. When I put the Beach Boys on, it's like being back in my '40. Well, almost!

    Cutting was done on my small home=made plasma table, pic attached.




  2. #2
    34_40's Avatar
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    Wow, the plasma table is awesome! The dash is very nice as well, is it going to be mounted into something?

  3. #3
    Dave Severson is offline CHR Member/Contributor Visit my Photo Gallery
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    What a great size for a table, perfect for the DIY types! PS, I love the dash and the Beach Boys!
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    Carroll Shelby

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  4. #4
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    That is pretty cool! Are you going to make any to sell?
    Ryan
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  5. #5
    Plasmaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 40FordDeluxe View Post
    That is pretty cool! Are you going to make any to sell?
    I used to own a company (Torchmate) that manufactured CNC plasma tables of all sizes. I sold Torchmate in 2011 and now just use this small unit for fun. I have no further business aspirations.

    I came up with this idea for a small DIY table a few years ago, and put it together largely with leftover parts. Since then I have enjoyed designing and cutting out shapes of my favorite kinds of objects. My purpose in posting these pictures (other than showing the stuff off) is to demonstrate what is possible with the fantastic CNC plasma process.

    If there is interest, I would be happy to share details on my table build (free of course).

    Here are a few more pieces I have cut:

    40 Ford 1_4 mb.jpg32 Ford 1_4 mb.jpgno lights.jpgBlack ShadowJPG.jpg45 in window.jpg

  6. #6
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    Wow, those are awesome! I think alot of what you'll share will pass right over my head.. but.. who knows!?!?
    If you'd be interested in sharing how it all works, I'd be willing to listen / learn!

  7. #7
    rspears's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 34_40 View Post
    Wow, those are awesome! I think alot of what you'll share will pass right over my head.. but.. who knows!?!?
    If you'd be interested in sharing how it all works, I'd be willing to listen / learn!
    X2! Always interested in pieces & parts and how they work together!
    Roger
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    Dave Severson is offline CHR Member/Contributor Visit my Photo Gallery
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    That's some really great work! I've used a plasma cutter, but the CNC part of it is well beyond my capabilities but I'd really like to hear more about it!
    34_40 likes this.
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  9. #9
    Plasmaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Severson View Post
    That's some really great work! I've used a plasma cutter, but the CNC part of it is well beyond my capabilities but I'd really like to hear more about it!
    Needless to say, metal art stuff like the bikes and cars are not the only things that can be produced with a CNC plasma table. Anyone involved in building street rods, doing engine swaps, or any other kind of metal fabrication projects would find the process useful. Below are some more practical kinds of shapes that can be cut:

    flanges.jpg

    While I chose to make my own table because of my background in the business, there are CNC plasma tables available from various manufacturers for under $2K. Of course, an air compressor, plasma cutter, and laptop computer are needed as well. All in all, it takes a minimum of around $5K to get totally set up.

    On the plus side, the money-making potential of the process is obvious.

    I can keep going on this, so let me know if you want me to continue.
    Last edited by Plasmaman; 11-16-2022 at 07:22 PM.

  10. #10
    johnboy is offline CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    I'd like to see this too.
    I know I'm going to be left behind after the first three lines, but...
    johnboy
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plasmaman View Post
    I can keep going on this, so let me know if you want me to continue.
    Yes, please. Details like the type of linear actuator and linkage to achieve the tight positioning, type of sensors for feedback, etc, etc.
    34_40 likes this.
    Roger
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  12. #12
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    yep, I am in!

  13. #13
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    Rather than write this all up at one time, I'm going to do it in installments. Here is the first. I'll get into the table itself in the next one.

    I have no idea of how basic to make this, but I'm going to assume that everyone has some familiarity with plasma cutters and how they work. An overly simplistic explanation is that they heat metal to a molten state and blow a channel of air through it. There are all kinds of explanations out there about plasma being the 4th state of matter, solid, liquid, and gas being the first three. However, just as you don't need to know how an internal combustion engine works to drive a car, you don't need to know all the technicalities of plasma cutting to do it. If you want to read up on it, there is a wealth of information available on-line.

    Manual (as opposed to CNC) plasma cutting produces edge quality somewhat smoother than oxygen-fuel cutting, as it isn't quite as sensitive to speed and motion smoothness. However, the human hand has definite limitations when it comes to manipulating a cutting torch. The CNC process has the ability to precisely control the speed and directional movement of the torch without human intervention.

    It has the additional advantage of being able to combine the most elaborate of sequences into a single canned program. When the start button is pushed on your computer, the program executes and the part or parts are cut. A slight amount of dross must be tapped off the bottom of the edges - a comparatively easy task.

    A single part or an entire plate full of parts can be cut from a single computer file. Cut quality is as smooth or smoother than a bandsaw-cut piece, and inside shapes and complex contours not possible with a bandsaw can be cut.

    Depending on your software, absolutely no programming knowledge is required. Desired shapes can be generated in a number of ways, and converted into a cut file understood by your CNC software. Some of these are as follows:

    They can be hand drawn and scanned into your computer.

    An existing (small) part can be scanned into your computer.

    Clip art can be imported into your computer.

    A photograph can be traced by a drawing program to produce the desired shape (as in the car and motorcycle shapes above)

    A dxf (drawing exchange format) file can be purchased on-line from numerous sources. Note that many such files were created by artists and others with no plasma cutting experience, and won't work in the real world.

    If you attempt to take a picture of a part you want to duplicate, a perfect circle for example, it will be distorted unless the camera is perfectly centered, which is almost impossible. This doesn't happen with a flat bed scanner.

    Plasma arc produces a slight bevel in the cut face, which becomes more severe as the part increases in thickness. This is insignificant in material up to about 1/8" thick (11 gauge). On steel more than 3/8" thick, oxygen-fuel may be preferable as it does not produce the bevel. There are "high definition" plasma cutters that minimize the bevel, but they are quite expensive.

    An air compressor is required to provide the air jet necessary for the cut path. Your air compressor must be capable of 8 or more cfm (cubic feet per minute) at 90 psi. Less and your air pressure may become insufficient mid-way through a cut. While this eliminates small portable compressors, you don't need a gigantic unit either. Mine is a 3 hp Speedaire model with a 20 gallon tank, that produces 10.2 cfm at 90 psi. The bigger the tank, the less often it will cycle. Twenty gallons is probably the minimum. A photo of mine is below.

    Plasma cutting produces small particles of "plasma dust" that are harmful to breathe, and settle on everything. Using a water table to support the material captures much of this, but requires regular cleaning and creates a wet shop environment.

    I solved this problem by locating my little CNC plasma table just outside my basement door, under my deck. When not in use, I cover the small set-up with a fire pit cover. My compressor, plasma cutter, and laptop computer are just inside the door, and the motor and torch cables can be connected in minutes.

    I installed a 60 amp sub-panel next to the door to handle the electrical requirements. I keep a small galvanized tub under the table to catch the debris. I wear a little Covid-type mask and eye protection when cutting, and plasma dust is a non-issue.
    Attached Images
    Last edited by Plasmaman; 11-17-2022 at 09:41 AM.
    Dave Severson, 34_40 and rspears like this.

  14. #14
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    Thanks for that. I'm still with you so far!

  15. #15
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    As I mentioned earlier, I am no longer in the business. My purpose in posting this information is solely to acquaint people with the CNC plasma process and how it can help car builders and other metal fabricators.

    Rather than needlessly using up forum server space, I have created a small web site that goes into substantial detail about the CNC plasma process and what it can do.

    It also provides information on how to use your CNC plasma table once it is set up. Two downloads are available there: one for building a pantograph shape cutter, and the other for constructing my little 2' x 2' system.

    A link to the web site is provided below. There is nothing for sale there, although there are suggestions of external sources for required materials.

    I would welcome any comments or suggestions you might have about the site.

    https://cncplasmadesign.com
    Last edited by Plasmaman; 11-18-2022 at 09:07 AM.

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