CNC Plasmacutter - Torchmate vs. Plasma Cam?

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My partner and I are looking to purchase a CNC plasma cutting setup. We are considering the Torchmate II 4x8. Does anyone have a torchmate or plasma cam. Love it ? Hate it? Wish they had purchased something different? All input and advice welcome. We already have a plasma cutter and a computer for it. Want to spend under 12K for everything. We do railings, gates, architectural metal, furniture, lighting fixtures, sculpture etc. Probably would be mostly cutting 3/8 or less but would like to be able to cut 1/2 on occasion. Our plasma cutter can handle those thicknesses. We are both computer savvy and I am expert in illustrator and the like. Thanks Paul Studio23 Metalworks paul at olymetal.com www.olymetal.com


Ries's picture

Well, they are both kinda

Well, they are both kinda mickey mouse, but the torchmate is far superiour to the plasma cam.
Its made out of very thin metal, with every possible corner cut, and its mostly propriatary, making it harder to fix, improve or modify.

So I would go torchmate.

Be aware you really need a machine torch- which is usually at least another $500. The cheeseball system of using a hand torch and a hose clamp is not even worth bothering with.

You absolutely want auto torch height adjustment, as well- not sure if that is on your list, but its essential.

Material warps as you cut it, and the torch will then hit the metal that has moved, and ruin your whole piece, unless you have auto torch height.

Me, I really like my C&G machine, bought new in 92 and still used hard all the time. Its a step up, in both price and quality, but it has been worth it to me.

http://www.thermadyne.com/cgsystems/


visitor's picture

Thanks for the info and

Thanks for the info and advice. We are definitely going with a machine torch head and the auto height adjustment. I looked at the CG site but could not find pricing. How big a step up are we talking about?


visitor's picture

If auto torch height

If auto torch height adjustment is a priority, I would definitely take a second look at the Plasmacam. Their DHC2 model has the best torch control I have seen. I have been a fabricator for over 20 years and I have run both Torchmate and Plasmacam machines. In my opinion the Plasmacam is far better than the Torchmate in construction and performance. (Steel vs aluminum frame, servo moters vs steppers, better software.)

Also, with the Plasmacam you don't need to make the investment in a machine torch. The quality with a hand torch is so good that you won't be able to improve on it with the machine torch which will save a bit of money. I should also mention that the software that comes with the Plasmacam machine was quite easy to learn and use.

I have no complains about my Plasmacam machine. All of the problems I have had, turned out to be problems on my end. (The Plasmacam support staff was quite helpful in helping me track those down.) I would recommend the Plasmacam to anyone.


visitor's picture

CNC Plasmacutter

Thanks for the inputs. If you don't mind me asking, how much did you pay for your setup if you don't mind me asking?


visitor's picture

CNC Plasmacutter

I couldn't believe how cheap the plasmacam was! The price on these things has really come down!!


visitor's picture

Apparently this guy owns or

Apparently this guy owns or works for the company. Especially since he won't mention price


Jess's picture

Good call! I how i only need

Good call! I how i only need to work with in one program. And if anybody is looking into the designedge upgrade...It is worth it! 

Jess Hauck


Ace's picture

Researching

Dear faithful bloggers and metal working enthusiasts:

 

I have been doing quite a bit research on this topic and have found the one of these companies seems to be a better machine for hard earned dollar or my case Euro. To avoid sounding like I am favoring one over another because of my own selfish opinion, I strongly recommend that you call each place up and find out for yourselves. It will be as brilliant as daylight to anybody that is seriously looking at a machine, to as which one is a better choice!

Here some questions to ask when you call (some are extremely obvious and please feel free to reply and add if I missed any that one may deem appropriate):

1. Price (overall bang for the buckskin)?

2. How long is the warranty (including all electronic implements and machine components)?

I have found that this can vary depending on the company that you call. Make sure to ask this question up front and right away, because it is very important! And it will set the tone and show you how much a particular company will stand behind their product.

3. How long has your company been in business?

This is an often overlooked question, that seems to be of the utmost of importance in today's ever changing market place. In essence, every time you see a new company come out of the woodwork, one must have a keen eye and ask is this a fly by night en-devour or a legitimate company?  This is not to say that: all new companies are bad, but with an investment like this---which is not pocket change for me --- and I don't expect it to be for many people who are in similar heels --- it would be savvy to have a 'BUYER BEWARE' type of mentality when it comes to the 'NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK'.

Most of these companies go unnoticed when they vanish, but possibly around 50% of these businesses go under within five years of setting up shop. Many of them commence with a spectacular fanfare only to end up with an equally spectacular disaster...especially for the poor chaps that invest a large amount of coin on machine like this only to be left with a severe case of air pocket (to have less money than one should).

One trend that seems to be a sign of the times, even with well established companies, is that many companies can become guilty of unintentionally alienating their faithful customer base when they experience even the most minute bit of growth (that is companies shifting into new directions and thus alienating the very people who made a particular company a success in the first place). This is truly the hardest thing to conceptualize. But DYNA (not to be confused with the other DYNA) and PRACTICAL were pretty big names in the business, until it all came down like the sinking of the Titanic. According to some, they were "out running their head lamps" and attempted to fiendishly to get into new and more 'bourgeois' market segments and tried to appeal to a completely opposite customer bases....and therefore discontinued paying attention to the their core customer base: the proletariat. Good examples of this on a bigger scale would be something like what happened to Netflix recently. This is not to be interpreted as such that a company shouldn't improve nor make their products better, but rather making sure that when changes do occur in the product or the business, that you have your current customers in mind as well. It is a must that one should be wary...of major changes in company policies or signs of companies trying to grow too big for their own britches (also note that a good sign of this is when the following core business elements seem lacking as opposed to prior times: customer and technical service seems like it has gone downhill to the point where it would be better suited for the toilet and the lack of support for a used system or the company will lack in supporting older pieces of equipment that were once sold by the particular firm.

A good company will usually support their older pieces of equipment. Meaning you should be able to still get things like parts, software and service without being FORCED to purchase something completely brand spanking new that costs a bomb! A good example, even though it has nothing to do with metal art nor plasma equipment is my LLbean socks that I purchased in 1975. A rather large hole had developed in one of them, and when I was ordering something else, and me and my hyper-active mentioned the battered pair and they absolutely insisted on sending me brand new pair last week free of cost (I only had to pay the shipping expense). Brilliant!!! That is what I call a good company! Look carefully and ask the company and current machine owners, if possible, if the manufacturer will still provide parts and service for their very first machine model that they ever sold.

5. Do you have free phone support and web support?

It is industry standard these days for companies to offer technical service free of charge, so do not get overly AMAZED if a salesman at a company is making a big scene out of this..if they are then it is probable that they are concealing something, like a warranty that will hold slightly more weight than a cracker jack toy and very well may strand you a couple of months after you get a machine and you find yourself in real hash. Remember Murphy's Law: It will always happen at the worst possible moment in time. So make sure that you will get the support and parts that you need well into the glory years of your ownership period without having to give up your first born child in the process.

6. Ask them to tell you about the software and the steps that you would have to take to actually shape something out.

If they seem like they are in a snit or seem like they do not want to talk about this, then they may be hiding something something corresponding to the ease of the user interface of the machine or the sales person may simply not have the slightest clue about how to work the piece.

 7. How many software programs would I need to be savvy with, in order to make my particular art or parts?

8. If you are not very knowledgeable with Computer Numeric Control programing you may want to ask: Does the software require one to know about G-Code and how to program it? (trust me if their system REQUIRES G-Code, no mater what they tell you, if you don't know a lick about G-Code...then it might be time to learn how to program it if your considering a system with this requirement.

 9. If you are a photographer: Can I take a photo and cut something out based on the image?

Then you may want to ask them the to go through the steps of making that photograph into something that you are able enjoy on a piece of metal.

10.  If you are using another CAD program you may want to ask: Can I import my existing CAD files directly into the controlling software and simply just cut or do I need to use one software program to make a tool path and then another software program to convert it into G - Code?

11. What kind of motors does your system have? Servo or Steppers?

If you do not know the difference between the two, here is a cheeky hint: Servo motors are know for better performance (vs steppers)when considering cut speed, accuracy and consistency. And they are usually found on higher-end systems like water jets, lasers and  mills and lathes machines (and YES they do make a difference when it comes to tolerances). A stepper motor can be less accurate and usually will move at slower speeds. They are found on many economy models because of their low cost. Stepper motors are not necessarily bad, but if accurate performance and speed are important to you, then a Servo based system is something worth eying.

 12. If I prefer to hand draw something that I want to cut out, can I draw something on a sheet of paper and scan it into the software program? 

13. How fast can the machine actually cut?

14. What material is the machine constructed of? (ie Steel vs Aluminum).

15. What is recommended for mitigation of dust and smoke?

Will they try to sell you an expensive GIMMICK to control dust and smoke?

16. When I place an order for my machine, how fast can I get my machine?

17. How much weight can it hold and has that been examined?

18. What are some of the other abilities and or set of possibilities with the system? Can I do everything that I need to do on a novice or entry level system?

19. Does the entry level system come with a true Z axis MOTOR control or is it a possibility? Can I get the automatic height adjustment later? If so, how hard is it to get later?

An industry standard for this is a arc voltage style automatic height adjustment, either digital on non digital. Digital, if used correctly tends to be more versatile that non digital (message me if you need further explanation on this topic---I would be more than delighted to enter into a discussion about what I have learned).

The following is information that I have gathered (Since I am a novice, I cannot say that I have experienced this---I am just passing along some of the content of my notes): Higher end machines will typically offer a automatic height adjustment that can sense material using 'ohmic resistance'. Which has a more responsive material sensing capability and it appears very a good feature in a production environment because it helps the consumable portion of the plasma unit last longer. It also appears to do a better job at sensing thinner material that 16 ga material.

You may want to ask about this.

20. How easy is it to upgrade to the more advanced features later?

21. Can I come the company's facility and spend some time seeing the machine in play? And also seeing how the software operates?

22. If you have your own plasma you may want to ask: Can I use my own plasma even if it is a hand held system without a special interface? Can I use a machine head if I decided to get one later? 

23. Is it required that you get a plasma cutter through the company or if I find a better price on my own, would that be acceptable?

24. What is involved in working with other tools instead of plasma? Is there more software programs involved if I choose to cut wood, plastics, tube or engrave? or can I use the same software program that I would be already accustomed to for plasma?

 

Let me know or message me if I can be of any assistance. After this level of painstaking study into all of this, I feel well prepared to take the plunge and get one of these elegant pieces ordered. Please note that I am not mentioning which one of these unit I am getting, I don't want to take the fun away from anybody nor do a want to slag anybody off.. If it is not rather obvious after you talk to the two companies then you can message me privately and ask me why I did what I did then please feel free.

 

Cheers!

 

Ace 'Awesome' Harding

 

 

 


visitor's picture

A shop I used to work for

A shop I used to work for had a C&G machine, so I was interested in getting one. I have looked and looked but I can't seem to find a definite price on them either. Then I read on a forum that they run about 50K. A little steep for me. I think I am going to look further into a Plasmacam.


visitor's picture

Hi Ries, I am glad you

Hi Ries, I am glad you brought up Mickey Mouse. The plasmacam software makes it so easy to draw perfectly round mickey ears and connect them to a perfectly proportioned mickey mouse head. I can make huge 1 inch think mickey signs or I can get really precise and make itty bitty Mickey key chains. With height control, I can even make diamond plate mickeys. Really, I can easily design & cut all the Disney characters on my plasmacam.


visitor's picture

I would have to disagree

I would have to disagree that the torchmate is “far superior” to the plasma cam. They both have their pros and cons, but it seems to me that the plasma cam has more pros than cons. I have had my table for a couple years now and I am as pleased as pie. Also, don't completely rule out the idea of using a hand torch. If you are using it for metal art, like me, it's handy to be able to use the torch when you want that more handcrafted/rustic look.


Jess's picture

  have had my plasmacam for

It is nice to have a machine that I can use any hand held system on without having to spend $700 on a machine torch. I can even you the machine torch consumables for a hand held set and it will cut the same as the more expensive machine torch. The plasma cam will support a machine torch, if you insist (my neighbor has one on his 5x10 at his facility)..but really why spend the extra money? I have found it to cut the same with the right consumables.

Jess Hauck


webminster's picture

Try http://technogon.com/

Try http://technogon.com/ The guy that use to do tech support for Torchmate ended up with his own company. Leon Drake is an expert with this stuff. I bought the torchmate years ago and, after fiddlin with the setup, I ended up with a decent machine. If I had to do it again today, I would probably go with Tecnogon.


visitor's picture

Technogon

Looks like all they sell are patterns for cutting, not the actual cutting system.


Canaday Designs's picture

not to throw out too many

not to throw out too many choices but I have a dyna cnc. not a bad machine for $10k have torch hight control and runs off a pc, built pretty stout and can be upgraded. after figuring out how to use the stupid thing i'm pretty happy.
matt


DumOleBob's picture

CNC Plasma Tabl4e

I have owned two PlasmaCams over five years. I cannot agree that they are the “toys” described earlier. I find mine to be sturdy and well built for less than industrial applications. The software is superior and easy to learn! It is just darn good!

I like the fact that the PlasmaCam uses a hand torch. It means your plasma cutter can be used in both machine and hand held applications. You can get or make a very simple torch holder that makes the hand held function much like the machine torch.

The height control works nicely.

The biggest drawback might be the 4’x 4’ table. In my case it is an advantage as my shop space is limited. I have cut hundreds of 4’x8’ sheets by simply “indexing” them. I would prefer, had I the space, to get a 4'x8' table. PlasmaCam now offers an 8’ table under a different trade name. Call ‘em as I don’t recall the name. Their support desk is now very good after some earlier problems.

Anyway, There are other good outfits offered in this class, but probably more PlasmaCams than others so they'll be around awhile. Suffice it to say I’d buy another PlasmaCam without out a seconds thought.

DumOleBob


visitor's picture

PlasmaCam = Junk

A shop I work with a lot bought a Plasmacam unit and for what they paid for it - they could have done much better.

It can't be made any lighter or cheaper and still last for a several cuts. Keep looking!


visitor's picture

Thanks for the input. After

Thanks for the input. After more research I think we are going with the Dynatorch. Seems to be better constructed and supported.


DumOleBob's picture

To call it junk is sinmply NOT correct, nor fair.

Interesting observation and I don't mean to be adversarial, but different tools come up different stress in any given shop.

All I can speak to is my personal experience at having owned, and extensively used a PlasmaCam for over five years. I've yet to have ANY issue related to it not being strong enough, not being well built, and I’ve used mine for probably over ten thousand, cuts. The software is excellent. I have always found their support to be excellent.

So there you go. Different stroke as it were, but PlasmaCam is NOT a squirrelly tool that some, with no practical hands on experience, might lead us to believe.
Bob


visitor's picture

Thanks Bob for the input.

Thanks Bob for the input. We want all the info we can get before we take the plunge. Any thoughts or experience with Dynatorch?


Canaday Designs's picture

hi, not sure if dynatorch /

hi,
not sure if dynatorch / dynaCNC are the same, but My dynaCNC witch I was very frustrated with at first, but I had never run any sort of cad or cam program and now I use correldraw9 for the cad, ha, ha, it works... and well for me. the unit came with sheetcam, that was easy to learn rite off the tutorial.
anyway no problems with the machine, I've had it a little over a year, and Ive done well over 10k cuts. and it just keeps going. I use the hypertherm powermax 1000, at first I was using my powermax 600 and HAD to upgrade (do not cheat yourself get the 1000 way less headache). also the machine torch just unplugs and your using the machine with a hand torch in seconds. and the consumables interchange.
Matt


visitor's picture

Flawless

I don't know about the other machine that you are comparing it to but I know our plasma cam works flawlessly. We were given a job by someone who has a $100k machine, his machine wasn't accurate enough to do it but our plasma cam was.


visitor's picture

No more DynaCNC

I just tried to look DynaCNC up and no luck. I read a few forums and it sounds like they are no longer in operation. Everyone is going out of business these day.


visitor's picture

Everyone out of Business

Yep, seems like a lot of business are falling. That's why I am so wary about buying a machine from a small outfit. Compared to some other small CNC plasma manufactures, plasmacam seems to be the best established. I want to make sure I won't have a problem get part or tech support in the future if I need it. That's why I will probably go with a Plasmacam.


CaptLarry's picture

I feel very badly for some

I feel very badly for some the guys that went Dyna, when they ended up going belly up. I talked to them and they had an good pitch, but it seemed like they were getting into a lot of industries that alienated their customer base. So true enough the day came when they were no more. You should talk to some of these guys that spend 20k on set up right before they simply vanished. It is very sad.

 

Larry


Jess's picture

Hi all! I am in Germany for

Hi all! I am in Germany for a while and actually came across some magnificent little metal working shops! Most of a lot of people are doing things by hand and I really admire their talent. But I did come across one person in Essen that had a Plasma Cam and they are really putting it to use! If I can figure out how to work the picture psoting program I will share some photos! Just a reply to looking into different machines..buyer beware! Look for a n established company that has been around for a while. If you can go visit the facility where they make them. That's what I did (along with know an owner of one machines that was knowledgeable!. Plasmacam has been is very well established and continue to change and innovate their sofware and products to meet our needs. That is why I love them and my machine.

 

Edited by moderator... webminster

___________________________________

 Greetings from Dusseldorf!

Jess Hauck


visitor's picture

PlasmaCam=Junk

OK Bob, come clean, you either own PlasmaCam stock or your screen name is suitable? (hey you picked it not me..)

The shop I work with had a problem with their control box - 2 times. It was sent back, returned, sent back returned etc.

The last time it failed (in 3 weeks) the drives took off and flew the gantry across the table so hard that the gantry twisted about 30 degrees. After some work with a pair of channelocks, the gantry was twisted back into shape. For the last couple of weeks it has been working better.. I guess 3 times is a charm?? But the bearings are way to small, the frame way to light. If you dropped a 1/4" plate on it from any distance at all - a bunch of stuff will bend out of shape permanently.

Before you buy one - go look at one and tell me how they could have made it any cheaper or more flimsy. I don't think it would be possible. Perhaps steel costs a lot more where these are made then they do in Midwest USA, or else the PlasmaCam dudes are just plain cheap?

I think the shop paid about $9K for the table with no PC or Plasma cutter. They could have done so much better for about the same or less cost.

But if you like the videos and think the paint is pretty - go for it. Just remember that Tonka uses heavier sheetmetal in their big dumps that my kids used to play with.. (;->)

If you have a PlasmaCam I'd sell it on Ebay and then drop your Ebay account so they can't hunt you down!


Rich Waugh's picture

It is worthwhile to hear

It is worthwhile to hear differing reports on such equipment, but if you feel so strongly about the PlasmaCam, why don't you put your name on your comments? Since you suggested that Bob was affiliated with PlasmaCam, it would seem only fair to ask if someone is paying *you* to make these claims and insult people like Bob who is satisfied with the machine.

You said, "If you dropped a 1/4" plate on it from any distance at all - a bunch of stuff will bend out of shape permanently."

I cannot imagine how anyone could expect a precision plotter system to withstand such abuse, regardless of manufacturer. Are you in the habit of dropping heavy plate on your plotter? That might explain some of the issues that your shop has had with its PlasmaCam.

Feel free to voice your opinion on equipment, but please don't make insulting comments about other people. ArtMetal isn't the place for that stuff.

Rich Waugh
Moderator


visitor's picture

Plama Cam = Junk - my previous comment

Rich,

You are right. I should not have pointed out that DumOleBob chose to make his screen name resemble an insulting comment. I have no idea why he chose that name..?? Any ideas?
I apologize DumOleBob.

However I feel that DumOleBob has made some serious mistakes when purchasing not one, but two Plasma Cam cutting machines.

The shop I work with is very typical of many smaller midwestern Rust Belt shops - they fab up whatever they can to generate revenue, make custom machines when possible etc. They are one of the few remaining shops that I know of that is making money.

The shop owner obtained a copy of Plama Cams video and took the hook and bought a unit. What he got differed from what he thought he was going to get. Somehow it looks much more robust in the video. The frame is lightweight steel - formed into shapes on a press brake. The light weight keeps the shipping costs down which makes sense. Beyond that, everything possible to cheapen the construction has been done. But they have clearly crossed the line between economy and junk. I can clearly state that IMO if you buy a Plasma Cam unit, you are making a big mistake. Do yourself a favor and look at one before buying it. Then send me $20 for keeping you from making a huge mistake! (;->)

Working with steel is heavy work and sometimes things get bumped and drops occur. This Plasmacam table was meant to be put to work cutting .1 to .75 steel primarily, however the table is way too flimsy. I'd very very concerned if someone put a 4x4 plate of .75 steel on the table in fear that it might collapse. Dropping a 1/4 - 4x4' plate from a couple of inches is a definite possibility. Cut enough plate and it will definitely occur. I'd be fearful that the table would simply collapse or bend out of shape if that occurred. It's that lightweight.

Here are some major deficiencies that I have discovered.

Proprietary controls - everything is sealed up. If after the warranty if you blow the control box (this shop is on #3) the cost to replace is $3500 I have been told.

The framework and gantry are pressed steel - you can flex it by hand. Not good.

Linear bearings - there are none. The slide bearings are very small - about 5/8" diameter and they ride on the edges of the pressed steel framework. I predict that they will last for less than a year around the grit and dust created by the plasma process. The engineering is very clever - it was very clever that they could make this thing work with such cheap components. Like I said - all cost has been wrung out of this table.

The table does not accommodate a machine torch - they use a goofy clamp to adapt a hand torch - it works - just don't try and adjust it afterwards - screws are behind brackets and not accessible without disassembly. I guess you could make one - but for $9K couldn't they include that?

No covers - all of the slide bearing (read little cheap bearings smaller than skate bearings) are totally exposed - also there are no covers over the belt reduction drives. The belt reduction drive bearings are also exposed. I guess that covers cost money and they were not absolutely required - so no covers.

Servo Motor - no labels on anything. If PlasmaCam goes belly up and you blow a motor - good luck finding one.

Torch height control - the plate sensor switch is a wire that hangs down from the torch height carriage and touches the plate you want to cut - better keep that wire bent in the right way or else it may not make the circuit - yes that is correct there is no switch - that would cost money and after all you only paid $9,000 dollars for your Plasma Cam right? And you expected an actual switch? Come on.....

So say you want to cut some slightly rusty steel - whoops - bare wires don't work very well on rusted steel. That's ok as the torch will smack the steel plate and keep it from running off it's tracks which are by the way - raw steel edges running on - little grooved rollers.

THC faults - torch dives into holes. If that little wire hits a hole while going down the find the surface the torch will wack the plate. The shops solution is to hang may small wires down so the chances of this happening is less.

Wire handling - The torch cables and motor cables hang from a tube that projects above the table. Simple but laying a piece of plate on the table with an overhead crane is tough, the cable hanger gets in the way - I'm sure that if Plasmacam could have gotten by with dragging the cables across the table they would have done that, but for 9K they threw in that piece of tubing so you can hang the cables up!

No provisions for a water table or ventilation. - Grab your dust mask when using this table - plasma cutting makes a lot of gritty dust and smoke. Plan on making a water table and adding ventilation!

Table grid/grate - now this is a really clever situation. The side rails support the table which is made up from laser cut sheet steel. When you burn up the table - and you want to replace the laser cut sheet steel interlocking pieces.. I'm sure that PlasmaCam will be happy to send you more for a price.

Points on the table grid - they put little points on the table so you can position your part and cut around the points. This works great until the part you cut falls out and tips on the points and the torch gets jammed on the fallen part. And when you accidentally burn off a point then you can call PlasmaCam for more laser cut sheetmetal to replace little points.

Good things about the Plasma Cam.

Paint - the paint job is really nice - no joke. I think it is powercoat and it is a nice shade of blue. If you want to buy a plasma table for a status symbol - like you're the only guy on the block with a plasma table, then this is a really good thing.

Phone - they do answer the phone so when you blow a control box or two you can send them back and get another one.

All in all the Plasma Cam unit is really a marvel. It's absolutely amazing to me that a company can make a machine like the Plasma Cam, with such flimsy components, and sell it with glitzy adds and videos for about $9K. It simply blows my mind to see such companies produce such products.

The shop owner has done a good job in kicking himself around the shop whenever the topic of the PlasmaCam comes up. His most recent comment was that he has discovered that he could have bought a "real" 4x8 plasma cutter for less than 20K. Actually he is mistaken - many are available for less than that.

I read another comment on the web about PlasmaCam tables and one guy said - you may buy one Plasmacam but you will never buy a second one...... Now I understand why.

FWIW, I am not affiliated in any way with any Plasma Cam or their competitors at this time. I do industrial control work for this particular shop and have done so for 4 years.

I invite everyone to tell me where I am wrong on any of these points.

Dave from Ohio


Metal Momma's picture

Now I know why I decided to

Now I know why I decided to just buy a plasma cutter and forget the table - I too had done lots of research on most of the brands out there only to come across other discussion forums like this particular thread where people either liked, hated, or loved the machine they use. My head was just spinning and it was too difficult to make a decision with so much different types of feedback.

Not trying to add fuel to this metal fire, but just felt like I had to confirm to myself why I decided to go the freeform way with my plasma cutter(which I finally bought! - a Miller 625) and go tableless.

Metal Momma - metal art everlasting