What is a Plasmacam Cutting System?

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Quite simply, the Plasmacam Cutting System is an automated cutting machine tool operated by use of programmed commands derived from encoded abstracts stored as electronic media. This differs from most shop tools that are typically controlled with levers or handwheels or cams. Since the birth of this type of servomechanism, going back to the 1940s and 1950s, they have been developed along with the advances in the technology of the times, including the augmentation of analog, and finally, digital computers. The modern CNC plasma, or “computer numerical control” plasma cutter has singularly revolutionized the processes of at home steel cutting.

The very same qualities that make metal parts durable, strong and resistant to damage are the qualities that make it difficult to manipulate these materials. For this reason, plasma cutters have become the most popular choice in cutting out metal parts. Ideal for cutting metals of greater thicknesses, the plasmacam is preferred over the laser cutter for at home users due to cost, and the ability to cut thick precise parts for under ten thousand dollars. Most CNC Laser cutting machines start at 100,000 dollars and up thus putting them out of reach for most at home shop owners.

The CNC plasma cutter has had some time to develop more refined features that continue to improve performance. A smaller nozzle and a thinned plasma arc have further improved the power delivered to enhance production and mimic laser quality cuts. Once considered a high-end specialty device in workshops, these cutters have now found a useful place in all manner of fabrication, from automobile manufacturing to air conditioning manufacturers to garages, welding shops, locksmiths and more.

As with all mechanisms that bring such powerfully popular and effective innovation, they continue to undergo refinements in their operation as they reach a level of functioning that truly becomes state of the art. Adapting the orientation of the cutting table from horizontal to vertical and going to built-in cutting tables that possess multi-axis cutting ability are innovative improvements that have resulted in safer operation with greater flexibility proving to be more efficient in their operation. Many could not perform the volume and quality of work to which they have become accustomed as a result of having the advantage of using their plasmacam cutting machine.

Going beyond the dazzling visuals of beautiful scroll or detail work that appear as if cut from a laser, the PlasmaCam Cutting System is capable of cutting out any shape that can be adapted and stored in digital format. Highly automated end-to-end component design is achieved in either computer-aided design (CAD) or computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) program applications. These computer generated files are the means by which the CNC plasma cutter is able to follow the commands needed to engage the particular components through a postprocessor, after which, they are loaded into the plasma cutter for production. This high-tech functioning is a complex series of steps from which parts, that are produced through automation, closely match original CAD designs.

When deciding on what equipment to purchase, there are many options available, from new to used. While the idea of being able to get more machine for the money buying used equipment, the wise buyer looks at the potential hidden costs with older machines. Again, technology advances so rapidly, especially where computers are concerned. It is important to examine the elements of the plasma cutter being considered. Over the past 10 years there have been at minimum three variations to the PlasmaCam cutting system – when buying your next machine make sure you compare specifications as each revision to the Plasmacam has increased complexity, and abilities.

Some things to watch out for are as follows:

• Check the CNC control unit on the system – buyers need to educate themselves about the technology of these devices.
• Beware of retrofitted or updated parts – machines that are older than 5 years may pose difficulties in obtaining parts or service
• Check the plasma power source – old plasma may cost less to buy but more to operate than a newer, more advanced unit
• Check the mechanical components – wear items such as bearings, rail systems, drive pinions, and gear rack can take a beating from use. These are all of the elements that provide free moving linear function.
• Invest in professional installation – dealing with such high tech equipment deserves the proper start and training for operators to become proficient to get a quick start with less difficulty

With a PlasmaCam Cutting System, anyone can have their very own private industrial revolution right in their own garage or workshop.


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