“Custom Built Fab-Cut® CNC Modular and Prefabricated Plasma Tables to Meet Your Growing Needs”
Frequently Asked Questions
What is your smallest plasma table available?
- It is the Compact series which is available as a table top model where you can fabricated your own machine and install this on top of it
What plasma machines do you sell with your machines?
- For the air plasma systems, we have the Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster series and also the Hypertherm Powermax series.
- For production cutting we offer the AutoCut 200/300XT systems which offer oxy/air cutting on steel and secondary mist cutting for non ferrous metals cutting.
- For Hi-definition cutting we offer the Thermal Dynamics UltraCut series in in 130 amp up to 400 amps capacity. For super high quality cutting we offer the Kjellberg systems (Q Series, Hi Focus, Smart Focus and Fine Focus) which are manufactured in Germany.
- The Lincoln Electric Air Plasma cuts with speed and power.
How much input power do I need to run a plasma machine?
- The power requirements are determined by the amperage size of machine you choose. You can download the equipment brochure from our website and it will provide you with all of the power and air requirements
What size of air compressor do I need to operate my plasma properly?
- Most plasma systems use between 6.5 – 10cfm to allow them to cut properly. You also should have your low end start of your compressor to be set at least to 95 – 100psi. We suggest that you have at least a 60 gallon tank with at least a 3 – 5 hp motor running your compressor and an output of 10 – 12+ cfm on your compressor. This will ensure that you will no interruptions when running your CNC plasma. On larger production and hi-definition plasmas, you will require between 120 psi and 160 psi air pressure depending on the manufacturers brand. We do suggest for the larger plasma systems to install a refrigerated air dryer which we offer from Atlas Copco and this will guarantee better cut quality and longer consumable life.
Do I really need to install a separate grounding rod for my plasma table?
- Yes, it is very much needed in order for your auto torch height control (THC) to work properly on your plasma table. It is “Not” acceptable to simply ground to a building ground.
How difficult is the software to learn?
- We use the Flashcut CNC 3in1 CAD/CAM/CNC software which is much easier to use than most systems in the marketplace today. From designing to nesting to cutting is a simple continuous process that can easily be understood.
- We offer on our website under the Support link the Fab-Cut University section where you can access 30+ videos and documentation to learn how to operate, maintain and take care your machine. Once you purchase a system, we will provide you a password to access this section. The software also has a 205 page instruction guide to help you learn all aspects of this powerful program.
- We offer the MyCNC software in our Fab-Cut in-house-designed controllers, which has many options and is also easy to learn.
- We then back that up with direct log in telephone/internet support provided by our tech team at Fab-Cut Systems.
- We now include a complete binder with all the information you will need to understand your system better and to take care and troubleshoot if required. Included is the software manual as noted above
Should I install some sort of air dryer on my compressor?
- It is very important to use very dry air as your plasma torch parts will last longer and your cuts will be better. We do offer to include a Motorguard M-60-R air filter and pressure gauge set with all our air plasma systems which works to remove fine particles and oil. We still suggest that you add in a water trap that will get the bulk of the water out of your airline feed to your plasma. This should be installed close to your plasma just before the M-26 filter.
What else would we need to make our system complete?
- We always suggest that you purchase a UPS (uninterrupted power supply) to protect your computer and controller. These can be purchased at a good electronics supply store or online. Make sure that it has at least 4 receptables and most importantly has surge protection.
- We recommend that you purchase a start up package of consumables with your system as well as at least 1 spare replacement air filter for your M-26 filter.
Why would I want to consider purchasing a gantry system instead of a complete turnkey system?
- We offer gantry systems for customers who are trying to find the most cost-effective way to get into a new plasma cutting system and if they are capable of fabricating their own tables.
- Our gantry systems are also great for companies who have an older plasma table that has seen it best days and its time to upgrade. The gantry package comes with 2 rails that can be easily mounted on to an existing table and then completely assembled gantry can easily be mounted on the rails and with a few wiring hookups and adding the side cable tray on the table you will be up and running.
Where are the Fab-Cut systems manufactured?
- Currently all of our Fab-Cut plasma and router systems are 100% manufactured in our 25,000 sq/ft facility in Kingston, Ontario. We are looking to expand our manufacturing into New York State but right now with the Covid-19 pandemic, that has been put on hold.
Where can I purchase spare parts and or replacement parts for my Fab-Cut plasma systems?
- We carry over $100,000 in spare parts at our location and usually can ship out the parts the same day all over North America.
What can I expect for tech support assistance from Fab-Cut?
- Currently we have 3 – 4 technicians available to provide direct phone and internet support from 8:00 am – 4:30pm M-F. One of our technicians is bilingual for our French speaking customers.
Does Fab-Cut offer packages to upgrade my existing CNC plasma table?
- Yes we offer many different options when it comes to retrofitting your older system.
What payment options do you offer?
- E-transfer, certified and bank draft cheques, Visa and M/C (3% surcharge added for credit card payment)
- We also offer Lease Purchase Financing for all new and retro upgrade systems
Can I use my existing plasma and computer on your systems?
- Yes, you might be able to use your own plasma machine as long as there is a way to connect your system to our plasma controller for a 50:1 voltage reading and torch control. Some of the systems in the marketplace were never designed to operate with a CNC plasma table.
- You can use your own computer if it is a newer more powerful system. The CAD/CAM/CNC software is very powerful and requires good computing speeds.
Do you offer custom systems for your customers?
- We can offer custom systems, and we enjoy the challenge. Currently we have manufactured special gantries up to 10’ wide and 50’ long. Bring us your ideas and let us help you acquire what you need.
How do I pick the right amperage and consumables?
Cutting your parts with the correct set up is key to achieving a high-quality part. To determine what to use for the material type and thickness you are cutting you should reference the cut chart associated with your plasma unit.
The closer your thickness sits towards the midrange of the cut chart, the better you quality will be.
For example, if you are cutting 1/4″ mild steel with a Powermax 65, you will find 1/4″ lands right in the middle of what a 65A set up will cut. Therefore a 65A setup will give you great cut quality.
Low end of cut chart = Faster cut, worse quality.
Middle of cut chart = Ideal cut, normal speed, great quality.
High end of cut chart = Slower cut, decent quality.
Should I use downdraft or water as fume control?
Both systems work well for fume control on CNC plasma tables. There are a few things to consider when making your choice.
- If you are using a high-def plasma like a Hypertherm XPR or Kjellberg Smart Focus, you will get slightly better edge cut quality with downdraft.
- Water beds are dirtier and require a little more maintenance, but will help cool your parts, save you money in electric and HVAC cost, and will not effect any conditioned air in your shop.
- Downdraft beds are easier to maintain, collect dropped parts, and are cleaner vs. a waterbed, but will use electricity and take a little more work to get set up because of the ducting.
- If you are cutting a lot of aluminum with a waterbed, be careful. Cutting aluminum on top of water created hydrogen gas and can be explosive. Make sure you lower your water level or use a water additive that helps eliminate hydrogen gas prior to cutting.
What kind of air do I need for my plasma?
Typically an air plasma will need a minimum constant airflow of 85 psi while cutting. A high-def plasma requires around 110 -115 psi.
The most important thing to keep in mind when setting up your shop air for plasma cutting is to make sure it is dry.
Clean, dry air is a key component to good cut quality. The cleaner and dryer, the better.
Most people use a desiccant air dryer, other use a refrigerated air dryer, and some use a combination of both.
If you are in an area that is already dry, a desiccant air dyer should be fine.
If you are in a humid environment, a refrigerated air dryer is best.
If you are in a very humid area, we recommend you use a combination of both air drying systems.
What are common checks to make each day before cutting?
Most on-site service calls are caused by improper maintenance. Each plasma system should have a routine maintenance plan to keep the system running as long and reliably as possible.
Besides the recommended routine maintenance, you should be checking the following items each day before your first cut.
- Make sure nothing is blocking or can collide with the bridge during its movements.
- Check that nothing is clogging or pinching the cable track so it is not damaged while moving.
- Check gas pressure to ensure you have a good minimum required constant flow.
- Check the edge of the table to make sure there are no leaks or loose metal pieces
- Make sure you have clean, dry air.
- Check the torch lead and wiring near the head to make sure there is no risk of it getting caught.
- Check your consumables and ensure that the correct consumables are installed for the intended use.
What are the most common causes of poor cut quality and table issues?
The most common cause of problems on a CNC plasma table is improper and irregular maintenance.
Take some time each day to look over your table and schedule some time each week to perform preventative maintenance. You will give your system a longer, more efficient life, and will reduce your downtime.
The most common issues which cause poor cut quality are ground, consumables, and gas.
When seeing chatter, positive/negative bevels, and misshaped cuts, check the following:
- Check your consumables. Make sure the orifice in your nozzle is round (if it’s not, your flame will shoot off at an angle instead of straight). Make sure you have a good electrode and that the rod of hafnium is not worn down more than 1/16″. Check that nothing is clogged or blocked and that all the consumables are seated correctly.
- Make sure you have a good work lead ground and a good earth ground. If you have dirty/rusted material or your slats are chewed up, you could be getting a bad ground through there. A quick test is to take your work lead ground and connect it directly to the material. If you have the ground directly on the material and are still getting poor cuts, you at least know it is not a ground issue.
- Make sure you have clean dry air. Check your filters and make sure you are able to get the minimum constant airflow required. Most plasma units have a gas flow test you can perform. If you are under the required pressure you will see chatter, bevels, torch height control issues, or the plasma may not even cut.
When do I change my consumables?
We recommend, at a minimum, checking your consumables between each job. Pierces kill consumables faster than cutting, so it is especially important to check your consumables when running a high pierce volume job.
You will be replacing the electrode and nozzle more often than the other components. As the electrode is used, the rod of hafnium in the center of the electrode will wear down. When using torch height control, a worn electrode will cause the torch to cut closer to the material.
Once the rod of hafnium is worn down about 1/16″, it is time to change.
Torch height control and cut quality
Most CNC Plasma systems use a form of torch height control, where the plasma torch will read voltage while it is cutting and adjust the torch to work distance to keep it at the cut chart requirements.
The flame of a standard air plasma is shaped like an upside down Christmas tree. A high-def torch will have a similar shape, but not as drastic.
Because of the shape of the flame, your goal is to have the center of of the flame to be at the center of your material. The more centered you are, the more square your cut will be.
If you are cutting too high you will see a negative angle in your parts. Cutting too low will give you a positive angle.
Always check your setups. The most common causes of Torch Height Control issues are worn consumables (specifically the electrode), bad ground, or low input gas pressure.
Do I need to use water additive?
Water additive is highly recommended when using water as fume control. The main point of the additive is to prevent rust and kill bacteria, but most additives has extra benefits like the ability to go straight from cut to paint without doing any special wash.