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  1. #1
    zgoo is offline Hot Rolled
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    I just bought a 4 month old Torchmate 6'x20' plasma cnc set up( overall it is about 9'x22'. Has the auto height option. They where using it with a TD 101 but they decided to keep the plasma unit. I paid $7,000 for the nearly new unit with a P4 computer set up. I was think of keeping the whole thing and see if there was any money in CNC plasma. With a 20 ft table it would be easy to have two jobs on it at a time. What would one charge for this service and how would I figure cost of operating?

  2. #2
    toadjammer is offline Hot Rolled
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    I would call around to fab job shops and ask how much they charge per hour, I know the shop I work at (not a fab shop) charges for labor and machine time seperate. So this how it would be most adviseable. But there will be a learning curve and you have to do a couple of jobs to figure time for settup and everything before quoting larger jobs, because most customers are going to want a firm price in writing.

  3. #3
    Ries's Avatar
    Ries is offline Diamond
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    My guess is you gotta figure an hourly of $50 to $100, easy.
    But as always, your mileage may vary- what is your rent, for the area the machine will occupy?
    What does your power cost?
    Got a big enough air compressor? My plasma cutting table keeps a real 7 1/2Hp 2 stage 100 gallon compressor running full time when its cutting. I really ought to have at least a 10hp dedicated to it.
    Fume evacuation? you need a hood, or a bunch of fans, or a big smoke eater of some kind- otherwise you will be standing in a room full of smoke, with brown stuff coating every surface of your walls and ceiling.
    Water table? You ought to build one- plasma slag is hot, hard, and dirty, and somehow can bounce a long way from the cut, making a big mess, unless you trap as much as possible at the source.
    Consumables?
    Whatever plama power supply you use, and I would recommend only buying either Hypertherm or thermal dynamics, you are gonna go thru tips and nozzles, and they aint cheap. Consumable life is directly related to two things- clean air, and number of piercings. So you have to have a good filter, preferably a Motorguard "toilet paper" filter, and change it often.

    Labor to run it? Even CNC, its pretty much one full time position. Parts need to be unloaded and stacked, sheets need to be loaded, skeletons need to be cut up and tossed in the scrap pile. Programs need to be transferred and run. Not to mention written. Even with auto height, the occasional crash will occur- metal will warp and stick up and knock the torch out of registration, cutouts will only fall partway down and hang up and block the torch, tips will fail mid cut- it takes watching and feeding.
    I would recommend a separate, lower hourly rate for digitising and programming- otherwise you will get some jobs where they email you a dxf file, and its a snap, and other jobs where they give you a drawing on a napkin, that you need to scan, convert, correct, and often redraw completely. My waterjet place charges 35 bucks an hour for programming, on top of cutting charges.

    In addition, every single customer will want a firm per piece price- so you need to get a handle on your hourly cost, then translate that into piece pricing, which only experience with your particular setup can allow you to do.
    Waterjet cutters often price by the inch of material cut- that could be a good way to estimate prices for customers, if you figure an average number of inches you can cut per hour.
    But, of course, 1/2" plate needs to be run about 1/4 the speed of 16ga. And different metals will cut differently too.
    Be sure to allow time in your bids to load and unload material, and cut up skeletons- this can be pretty time consuming, unless you have a 40 yard dumpster outside, and just toss em in whole.
    We cut ours up to fit in a 50 gallon drum, and that means more cutting time.

    I only do in house cutting, never done it as a job shop.
    Another thing to think about is selling precut shapes- the ornamental iron guys are always looking for house numbers, alphabet letters, circles, and animals. Salmon and Seagulls ought to go ove well in PDX.

  4. #4
    Dualkit is online now Diamond
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    You need to quote a firm price per job, but of
    course your shop rate is your starting reference
    point per bidding. Most shops will charge per
    machine 2-3 times labor rate for the machine
    operated, so if the typical plasma set-up\operator makes $20 an hour in your parts
    the rate charged out will be $40-$60 an hour,
    items with expensive machinery involved will
    be more toward the 3x side. Also you have to
    consider your personal "efficiency", if you
    are on a learning curve, you have to charge
    toward the low side because it will take you
    longer than the top notch guy that has been
    doing it for years. Here is an example:

    I charge $75.00 an hour for CNC Lathe machine
    time, that is my forte, where I am top dog.
    I still maintain contact with a friend who
    works at my last employer, from time to time
    I will show him parts I run for others and ask
    him to quote cycle times, he does the shops
    quoting and their rate is $50 for CNC Lathe
    work. He will typically tell me 3 minutes on
    what I call 90 second parts, etc,etc. Even though
    there shop rate is 33.3% lower, they get things
    done 1/2 as fast due to a lower skilled labor
    force, so at $75 an hour I am cheaper than the $50 hour shop.

    On the other hand I have a surface grinder, of
    which I last used one about 3 years ago, it
    collects dust. I would not dare charge $75 an
    hour for surface grinder work, that probably
    would be charged out at $35 if I bid something,
    because I know I am not the best on a surface
    grinder.

    Hope this at least helps to confuse you more.

  5. #5
    zgoo is offline Hot Rolled
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    I have a couple of compressors... 7.5hp Ingressol 80gal and a twin 5hp Atlas units mount on 120gal tank. Also have two Refrig air dryers and a Motorguard so I got that covered. I also happen to have two Nederman smog hogs that use electric filter so I think I could use them plus a water tank under the table should help. I have to locate a space for or I could cut the table to half of it's length for now and add it back on when a new location comes up. How does one figure tip cost... pre inch cut and then there is thicker material???

    I have a small fork lift, is there a way to move plate sheets with it or is there a atachment to add to the forks to aid in loading sheets on the table?

    [ 08-13-2006, 10:56 AM: Message edited by: zgoo ]

  6. #6
    wippin' boy is offline Diamond
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    ---"I have a small fork lift, is there a way to safly move plate sheets with it or is there a atachment to add to the forks to aid in loading sheets on the table? "----

    if your asking this question
    you need a boom and a 3 legged chain system
    somthing along this line


    but then you gotta have some seriuos head room

  7. #7
    macona's Avatar
    macona is offline Diamond
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    One other note when choosing the plasma cutter you want to put on it consult the manufacture. I have found that cut thickness ratings are almost half for CNC versus hand torch usage.

    Also charge more for thicker pieces. Thicker pieces means more power and more consumabes. If you are pushing material past 3/4 or the max cut look at getting a heavier machine. It will save you in the long run with better consumable life.

  8. #8
    zgoo is offline Hot Rolled
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    Macona,

    Do you do CNC cutting, if so I would love to stop by and see your set up.

  9. #9
    macona's Avatar
    macona is offline Diamond
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    I actually repair the things (Tables and plamsa power sources), that and welders and the like. I have set up a couple of machines for people that have bought these torchmates. So far Torchmates techs have really annoyed me, but oh well.

    Was the previous owner using a hand torch on the unit or a real machine torch?

    I am building a table... SLowly...

    Actually its mainly going to be a router table. I have a Thermal Dynamics StakPak with the water cooled machine torch thats good for about an inch cut.

  10. #10
    zgoo is offline Hot Rolled
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    It came with a machine torch head.

    I think the table (20x60 is a bit too big, is it really needed? I could cut the think in have half and still have 6x10. Give me a call if you like 503-572-3845

    Dan

  11. #11
    macona's Avatar
    macona is offline Diamond
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    Yeah, you can cut it down. the torchmate moves via rack and pinion so you can cut it down without much trouble.

    I recommend going with a hypertherm if you have not bought a machine yet. I think they are the best out there.

  12. #12
    Kaliburn is offline Aluminum
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    You should buy an Innerlogic power supply. Our cut quality and tech support will blow Hypertherm away! I am just the Machine shop manager but check out our web site if you really need a power supply. www.innerlogic-inc.com

  13. #13
    macona's Avatar
    macona is offline Diamond
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    Did you guys design your supplies to tke thesame form factor as the old Hypertherms? Your 45 amp machine looks like a dead ringer to a HT 40

  14. #14
    Kaliburn is offline Aluminum
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    I think they are all box like in shape as far as the power supply goes. The difference is on the inside as well as torches and consumables. We have patent's on all aspects of our equipment, even the consumables. I think you will find that we are a much more accessible and helpfull company. But similarities between us and our competitors end at the initial shape and appearance. We supply solutions to customers not just a "cracker jack type product". Hope this answers your question, and thanks for asking.

  15. #15
    macona's Avatar
    macona is offline Diamond
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    Umm.. That torch for your 45 amp machine is identical to the ht40 torch for the old hyperthem. The patent for that torch has probably long since expired so everyone is copying it, including the chinese. The plasma power supply is nearly identical, down to the layout and functions of the switches on the control panel. Even the color of the lights and the total weight of the machine are identical.

    Now the bigger machines are a little different. Not much though, they seem to be updated variants of the Max100 and Max200 with new torches and computer interfaces installed. Thats my impression from the manuals. Althought the basic torch for the sr-100i is a near rip off of the old PAC130 torch.

    Thats probably where you guys have your patents. With the weight of the machines they must be old tech chopper/PWM based transformer designs which I believe are unpatentable at this point. That basic design has long passed into public domain.


    FWIW, Hypertherm has always helped me whenever i have had a problem with one of their machines. If you have ever popped off the cover of a Powermax 600 and up you would see they most definitly dont produce a crackerjack design. Very well layed out, well designed board, easy to work on...

    Esab is well known to have some of the best techs in the industry. Miller is good, so is Lincoln. Even Thermal Dynamics is good, although I do have some reservations with some of their sister companys. If you are going to call other companies products cracker jack toys they at least back up your claims.

  16. #16
    Kaliburn is offline Aluminum
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    For one "sir" I am not in the sales end of the business so I will leave the sales pitch to the salesman. And to clear the record I called no-ones product a "Toy". I think our competitors make a great product and that is quite honestly why they have a majority of the markets business. But just because you are unfamiliar with our company and our products does not give you the right to assume that we just copied someone elses design. I work here every day and know first hand the amount of R&D time that the owner of this company and the rest of us spend with our parts and systems. You should spend time to do the research on competetive equipment for what you have and maybe you just might find a better solution. In the machine tool business we say take the blinders off. I can assure you that we are not knockoffs and have been in business for 20 years. After all if you have torch height control on your hypertherm it is an innerlogic manufactured system. We designed and still manufacture the INOVA system. I am sorry if I seem defensive but we are quite passionate here about our companies unique products.

  17. #17
    jprobst's Avatar
    jprobst is offline Cast Iron
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    can anyone help me with cutting circles on a plasma cutter? I have a new torchmate with stepper motors and the hypertherm 1650 and cutting small circles or slots poses a problem,I am new to plasma machines, i'm used to cnc mills. also we cut some parts that have tight tolerances, what can i do to ensure accurate cuts?

  18. #18
    Kaliburn is offline Aluminum
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    Maybe contact hypertherm and tell them what you are trying to do. It might be as simple as having the right consumables in the torch. But they could give you some good advise.

  19. #19
    jprobst's Avatar
    jprobst is offline Cast Iron
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    thank you for your imput

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