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Cutting Designs with a Plasma Cutter


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#1 photojax

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 09:57 PM

When cutting designs with a plasma cutter, what can be used to draw the design on thin gauge metal to act as guide for the cut?
Any suggestion are appreciated.

#2 Darth Pooky

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 10:17 PM

Ultimately a scibe line is the most faithfull method considering it doesn't disapear with heat, you just need to dig it deep to be able to see it clearly when cutting. I've had good results though with a silver sharpy marker. The silver seams to be much more heat resistant than the regular black or a paint marker. Chalk will also hold up well under heat but I find harder to follow with goggles on.
"A man who can't think is an idiot. A man who won't think is a fool. A man who doesn't dare to think is a coward"

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#3 PTsideshow

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 03:12 AM

As has been posted above the silver sharpie,also the local weld-a-teria is selling wood pencils that have a silver marking mix in it I believe it it is a silver colored pencil. Will get the name when the sun comes up. I'm sure they would be cheaper at the art supply store.
Its not with a plasma cutter, but what I do is draw it out with the silver pencil and use a spring loaded center punch to set dimples close together to follow with the henrob2000 torch.
As it seems I never can get the scribe line to be deep enough and follow the draw line correctly.
The aluminum powder in the silver marking sticks,pencils, and sharpie's is what holds the line to a higher temp.
I have read about using a white out pencil for layout when cutting with a torch. They are using the correction fluid as a solder stop in jewelry work.
Also you may want to swing thru your local ceramic/glass hobby shop. My mother had high temp pencils when she was China painting.
Tractor supply had both the flat aluminum marking sticks and round ones along with the holders for them.
DSC02426.JPG
The above picture is all the methods I currently use. I had forgoten about the colored chalk and chalking the dimples from the spring powered center punches.
Flat aluminum marker
Pentel correction pen
Prismacolor verithin #753 Metallic silver
Flat soapstone
Old mechanical drawing pencil holds the round aluminum marking sticks.
Round soap stone holder
Pocket carbide spring center punch
US general adjustable center punch
Chalk
Can not find the silver sharpie as it was swallowed up in the mess on the benches.
Any metallic colored pencil will work the other colored metallic pencils contain aluminum powders to give them the look. Other than the coppers and brasses bronzes they contain both aluminum and the other metal.
[Laugh]
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#4 David S.

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 07:33 AM

Photojax,

What I do sometimes is make a paper (or whatever is handy to work with) pattern, place it down on the metal with the spray adhesive and then spray paint the area: remove the pattern and you have a clear outline to follow. Some folks claim to be able to cut through a paper pattern directly, but I've never had any luck with that: burn up my pattern before I finish. It really dosen't take anything fancy to make a line to follow with a PC, unlike an oxy/fuel torch which gets the entire area hot. Another method, which I'm favoring due to my unsteady hands (from too much typing on the internet rather than actually working in the shop) is to make a pattern out of 1/8" hardboard and just trace around that with the PC:only problem is your cutout will be larger than your pattern and you can run into problems with sharp corners, etc. Good luck and let us know how things work out for you.

Dave, fighting a summer cold (the head kind, not the 70F kind) on the Edge of America

#5 KST1

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 08:50 AM

I use the silver sharpie a lot, but unless you wipe the piece down with something afterword (acetone, lacquer thinner, etc.) it can sometimes show up under your patinas.

I also use soapstone chalk, children's sidewalk chalk, and the wood template quite often as well. The wood template is great for repetitive stuff.

-D

#6 tommyguns

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 04:08 PM

I ususally us a sharpie, but have used the paint over pattern method.

#7 Darth Pooky

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 10:56 AM

That sharpie is tenascious. It's hard to get off. I suggest if you use it often to keep a can of ether around. It's also lot's of fun at parties [Big Grin]
"A man who can't think is an idiot. A man who won't think is a fool. A man who doesn't dare to think is a coward"

"Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men."
Pr 22:29

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#8 photojax

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 06:45 PM

Thanks for the great replies. I am on the verge of ordering a Plasma Cutter. I like the Cutmaster 38 however there is no service center near where I live. A Miller service center is about 20 miles away so I am thinking about a Miller 325 Extreme. I want the kerf to be as small as possible in the 16 to 20 ga. metal I will be using the cutter on. Is there much difference in the cut and performance on the two models?

#9 photojax

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 06:49 PM

I did mean to say the Miller 375 Extreme.

Thanks for the great replies. I am on the verge of ordering a Plasma Cutter. I like the Cutmaster 38 however there is no service center near where I live. A Miller service center is about 20 miles away so I am thinking about a Miller 325 Extreme. I want the kerf to be as small as possible in the 16 to 20 ga. metal I will be using the cutter on. Is there much difference in the cut and performance on the two models?



#10 74chevygirl

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 09:53 PM

after eight years of trial and error the thing that works best for me in my metal art is drawing my design on paper the size i need. I take white powder of any kind and rub on the steel. Next lay a large sheet of carbon paper down and the drawing on top of that. Make sure you hold everything down with a magnet so it does not move. Trace over all lines, lift everything up and you should see all your marks. I then go over all lines with a sharpie. Its alot of steps but very accurate especially when you use a hand held plasma cutter like mine. I use a hypertherm 380 which cuts a very fine line and has the trigger to cut instead of the dumb ole thumb button like some have. Back to the carbon paper, I got mine at a office supply. They had to order the large size special and its black. hope this works for you as well as it has for me.

#11 trez

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 07:16 PM

I make a templet out of 1/4 plywood the distance from the cut to the edge of my drag tip is 1/4". So I make all my templets 1/4" larger than I want the finished product to be. place the templet on the metal and cut out as many as you need. No drawing or trying to see the lines while working. and you can squeeze more into the space

#12 georgiametalart

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 11:15 AM

I always use the sharpie for laying out designs on metal. My miller 375 has cut tons of stainless 20 gauge. It is best to start out with a new tip when cutting metal that thin. Once the tips start to wear I retire them to thick steel cutting. If you are doing intricate cutting it is good to look at the width of the tip on the plasma torch. Some torches have wide tips that would be difficult to use for following patterns. Just something to think about.

#13 SW Designs

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 09:36 AM

it can sometimes show up under your patinas.

Yikes! I had to read that a couple times...



I make a templet out of 1/4 plywood the distance from the cut to the edge of my drag tip is 1/4". So I make all my templets 1/4" larger than I want the finished product to be. place the templet on the metal and cut out as many as you need. No drawing or trying to see the lines while working. and you can squeeze more into the space


That's what usually do except I use an FRP material (I get lots of scraps from work) and it's about 1/4" thick. I use it for the repetitious patterns (fish heads) or shapes.
I'll also freehand it using a sharpie drawn pattern.

#14 Mikeman77

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Posted 18 October 2008 - 01:53 AM

That sharpie is tenascious. It's hard to get off. I suggest if you use it often to keep a can of ether around. It's also lot's of fun at parties [Har Har]


Maybe not as fun as ether, but denatured alcohol works also. Alcohol of some sort is the solvent in most (maybe all??) sharpies. I have found that it takes more work to clean off the silver sharpie than the black.

Mike

#15 taoshum

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 11:13 PM

That sharpie is tenascious. It's hard to get off. I suggest if you use it often to keep a can of ether around. It's also lot's of fun at parties [Peace}


Just in case, alcohol will remove it too

#16 R. McWilliams

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 11:55 PM

To wipe off the sharpies I use acetone from the can.
A little dab will do ya on a folded paper towel.

For big areas I use the carburetor cleaner in the pressurized aerosol cans.
Super solvent.

R. 
I use a hand held Miller plasma cutter.
Nothing I make is ever the same shape.
Therefore I have no templates.

I follow the silver sharpie.
The sharpie mark is sanded off in the finishing process.
Happy Metal Pounding
http://www.halberds.us/

#17 Samantha/Tillman

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 08:50 AM

:blink:
I am a little confused here... we recently bought a PlasmaCam, haven't turned it on yet, still learning stuff.... How exactly does it cut out something you drew on the metal? And all this time I thought it had to be a drawing in the computer sent to it to cut out!!!

By the way, anyone out there have any plans or pics of how to make a down draft vacuum system to go under our machine, already have a blower... any suggestions would be great [Off Topic]

#18 Naturalsteel

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 09:49 AM

:blink:
I am a little confused here... we recently bought a PlasmaCam, haven't turned it on yet, still learning stuff.... How exactly does it cut out something you drew on the metal? And all this time I thought it had to be a drawing in the computer sent to it to cut out!!!

By the way, anyone out there have any plans or pics of how to make a down draft vacuum system to go under our machine, already have a blower... any suggestions would be great [Off Topic]


I think your confusion here is because this thread is talking about hand held plasma torches, not computer driven. You're right about not drawing on the metal with your PlasmaCam. [Welcome] to MAF
Robert Carter
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The fact that nobody understands you dosen't make you an artist.

#19 PTsideshow

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 10:06 AM

[Welcome] To the forum, [Welcome] It sounds like you are in way over your head and knowledge set. I'm not being mean or anything just pointing out a fact.
If you read the posts in this thread it is talking about cutting shapes out free hand/by following a template, not by a cad/cam cutter.

It is strictly file driven output machine, meaning you will need some form and brand of CAD program to do the layouts and then convert it into the operating file system.

You have to generate the content or receive files of the parts that you want to cut out of the materials.
Good luck Posted Image

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All the usual and standard disclaimers apply. Do not try this at home, use only as directed, No warranties express or implied, for the intended use or suggested uses, Wear safety glasses, closed course, professionals only

#20 PTsideshow

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 01:48 PM

Here is some thing that is important,

You will need to provide a plasma cutter with a hand-held torch and a Windows-based personal computer (and a compressed air supply). Refer to the requirements provided in your demo video packet for details.

The above is from the plasma cam web site.

You need a plasma torch and machine, a large volume air compressor(not a home air compressor) that can maintain the output to match the plasma torch, or even the computer to operate the table system. which is as most of them are just the table and software drivers.

Was the machine purchased from the factory or from another source that no longer had a use for it, or claims to be a dealer?

We don't sell through dealers in North America because we sell the machine directly. Dealers would need added markup, making the price you pay much higher. Also, dealers probably couldn't support the machine as well as we can.

Again from their web site

Again I'm not trying to be a smart A$, but it sounds if you really didn't check out what was needed before buying the table. Or the video demo kit, or any of the info on their web site.
Here is their FAQ's on the web site

Here is the owners forum

Hope this helps, feel free to ask questions if you don't know or can't find it by doing searches on the site.

Also if you got the machine to sell art cut outs or silhouettes, mail box/yard decorations. Good luck, as the market in most locales is flatter, then the cut outs.

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All the usual and standard disclaimers apply. Do not try this at home, use only as directed, No warranties express or implied, for the intended use or suggested uses, Wear safety glasses, closed course, professionals only




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