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System Reboot - time to start from scratch
« on: May 23, 2017, 09:41:45 AM »
Hey guys (and gals), I've posted a couple of questions before and gotten some responses which I appreciate. I am new to the CNC Plasma scene but have been doing metal work for a few years now. I mostly build hand rails, mailbox posts, and other household items. I wanted to add the CNC capability to expand my lineup but am having a difficult time getting going. I purchased a DIY Eagle Plasma 4x4 table from a guy that used it to make parts for his hobby vehicles. I got the whole package from him except for the plasma cutter which I already had. He included a couple of computers and the software. I found out one of the computers won't work as-is since it has a 64-bit operating system. The other computer is an old XP machine and will work but I'm still having trouble.  The previous owner had a Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 52 plasma cutter and I have a Cutmaster 38 so I thought it would be an easy transition, but I was wrong.

I am at the point that I want to start over from scratch with this system and need some help getting going. Here is what I know about the system:
QCad drawing software
Lazy Cam or Sheet Cam software (I cannot get SheetCam to produce the complete code needed to cut a project, and don't know which Post processor to use)
Mach3 Software, latest version
Proma THC, previous owner was unable to get it to work
Eagle Plasma 4'x4' table with hand torch floating head bracket
Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 38 plasma cutter

For a beginner, what are the steps I need to take to get going and what advice do you have to offer?

Thanks
Re: System Reboot - time to start from scratch
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2017, 02:54:52 AM »
Hi,
the real question is whether you want to stick it out. Hobby CNC doesn't come easy, there are lots of pitfalls and things to learn.
If you are the sort who expects it to come easily or quickly without having to learn all sorts of stuff then CNC is the wrong hobby for
you.

I have on and off been into model aircraft since I was a lad. I've watched people come along and think 'this is great, I'm going to build one'
Then when they fly the thing it gets broken, they always do eventually, and they are very disillusioned and depart forever. What gave them the idea
that gravity doesn't apply to their models I've no idea!

The bottom line is that CNC rewards those who stick it out. There are some good resources out there, particularly this forum, which will make it all
possible and the sense of satisfaction attending a good result is amazing.

If you wish to continue then you need a suitable PC. If you have a late model one you will need an external controller in all probability. Shell out some
bucks and get on with it.

Craig
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!

Offline RICH

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Re: System Reboot - time to start from scratch
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2017, 09:06:09 AM »
I guess the following echos Craig's reply.

-Use what ever CAD you wish as long as you can draw a circle, a line, an arc and few other things and it can save a version 12 DXf.
-Lazycam Plasma module works and provides good code. READ the manual on how to use it and you will need the Pro version to use the Plasma module.
There are better programs out there.
-Don't use the latest version of Mach3 try 062 and below. Read the manual for Mach3, watch the available videos, and understand the controlling software.
Buy CNC Programing Handbook by Peter Smid and study it.
-Plasma is a different machine in itself. You need to understand how to use it
so educate yourself.
-Know what you need to buy or modify and decide what you want and after you have selected the item  you'll need to pay for it!


CNC is not pug and play and touches on so many different  topics. The learning walk is long and the path can be windy.

Only you can walk the path..................if you don't desire to do so, consider taking  up Golf!

My advice and you asked, ;)
  
RICH
« Last Edit: May 24, 2017, 09:11:10 AM by RICH »
Re: System Reboot - time to start from scratch
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2017, 10:35:20 AM »
Ok guys, thanks for the motivational boot in the rear. I will heed your advice and devote some time to learning the software as I should. Guess I was just anxious to get started making some of these cool cut-outs like y'all do. Didn't know what all was involved but I'm going to make it work. My business will benefit from it!