Plasmacam and artsy stuff
Close
Login to Your Account
Results 1 to 17 of 17
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Western WA
    Posts
    120
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    0

    Post

    http://www.plasmacam.com/index.php

    Came across this thing the other day. Does all this metal artsy stuff really sell?? What's the market like for this stuff?

    I'm not the type to sit in a booth at the jewelry show in the parking lot or at the fair on weekends, so that angle would be out.

    Is there any sort of intermediate market for this type of thing?

    Of course the cost of raw material is, well, depressing as well.

    Wayne

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Pacific NW
    Posts
    5,118
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    8
    Likes (Received)
    834

    Post

    There may be a limited market for high end custom work.

    At one time I thought about doing some metal "garden art" which is becoming popular. Taking a look at the import stuff coming into the local garden stores changed my mind real fast. Some of it's retailing for less than my local cost of material.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Houston, TX USA
    Posts
    29,761
    Post Thanks / Like

    Post

    I talked them once about their machine - seemed like real jerks to me.

    John

  4. Likes greggv liked this post
  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Asheville NC USA
    Posts
    8,871
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    3599
    Likes (Received)
    3023

    Post

    Ditto what John O said about Plasmacam being a bunch of jerks. "Jerk" gives them far too much credit IMO. In addition to the "attitude", they're peddling a seriously rinky dink backyard "engineered" contraption that will cost you upwards of $10K. Much like the similarly overpriced Shopbot contraptions, for this amount of money you're buying something with a purposely proprietary programming system, built that way so they can get a lock on you and sell you CD's of artsy stuff to burn out for a few hundred bucks apiece. Catchwords like "menu driven programming" and "shape libraries" mean quick and easy programming of common shapes when applied to a control that can also run g code, but when hucksters use the same phrases referring to their proprietary programming, it means there's no practical way in the world to easily scan some shape, run it thru a raster to vector program, and have something that a cam program can generate the cutting code for in a simple manner. Make it virtually impossible to automate the programming by commonly used means, and they gotcha right by the wallet.

    Rant over for now. One practical piece of advice regarding any and all mechanized burning machines regarding their physical design. If a machine has side rails that extend above the cutting bed, forget it. This reeks of a total lack of engineering and disregard for operator useability. If anyone doubts the truth of this, just grab yourself half a sheet of 11ga and slide it onto a table, and then take the same sheet and try to cram it across the side rails of a utility trailer and lay it down on the trailer floor without dropping it or getting a hernia for your efforts. These machines represent the absolute cheapest and easiest way to cobble something together, and probably produce more profit for the builder at their so-called cheap prices than would a well engineered burning machine with a $35K pricetag.

    Yeah, as you might have guessed, I don't like them or the clowns that cobble them together and peddle them

  6. Likes digger doug liked this post
  7. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Post Rock country, Lacrosse Ks
    Posts
    936
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    3

    Post

    Hello,
    A place that I worked at tried one out. Pure crap! The thing didn't always cut though the metal so you had to go back with a hand held PT and catch the spots that didn't get cut by the machine! When you did that you'd invariably goober up the nice straight edge you where trying to make. I'd run the other way before I'd buy one!

    Thanks
    Richard

  8. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    2,188
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    57

    Post

    I'm not the type to sit in a booth at the jewelry show in the parking lot or at the fair on weekends, so that angle would be out.
    Not in the business myself, but I've got friends in it, and I've been to the big trade shows where producers and intermediaries meet. In a nuthsell, I'd rather be hawking stuff in a parking lot.

    There are a zillion people producing artsy "gift" items, and it's a real slog. A friend who has been successful in this business for 25 years and employs ~40 minimum-wage Los Angeleno workers in his factory is now trying to move production to China. At USA minimum-wage salaries he'll go under within a few years.

  9. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Western WA
    Posts
    120
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    0

    Post

    Alrighty then, thanks for the input. I shall delete plasmacam from my favorites post haste!

    The first red flag for me was no posted prices on their site... I hate that.

    Thanks again
    Wayne

  10. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Edison Washington USA
    Posts
    10,348
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    966
    Likes (Received)
    5355

    Post

    Two things- First, plasma cutters- Metalmuncher has it right on- those things are cheezy and have numerous design flaws which will drive you crazy from the get go. Bad motors, bad frame design, woefully underbuilt, crummy software, no real machine torch, no decent feedback circuit for auto height adjust, and on and on.
    A decent machine will cost real money, unfortunately-
    I have a nice cantilever style machine that was originally designed to cut 4'x4', which I have since enlarged to 8'x8'. Mine is just optical trace, no computer, and it was around 10 grand for an industrial quality machine- figure a minimum of 25k to 35k for a decent 4x8 industrial quality cnc machine.

    Second- arty cutouts- I have made some portion of my income from arty cutouts for over 20 years now, and I would not recommend it to the sane.
    As mentioned, there are tons of people cutting out patriotic eagles, fake Hopi indian designs, flowers and animals. Most of these are very low quality, poor fit and finish, and sell for under 10 bucks. There is now way any one with any self respect can compete with this crap. More and more of it is coming from offshore, and of course its even cheaper and crummier.

    Being a real artist or craftsman, and being self employed and self motivated in doing so, is a disease which you either have or you dont. The people who succeed at this are driven, maniacial, and never take no for an answer. They work endless hours, are constantly thinking up new designs and ideas, and will sit at craft shows, cold call stores, badger gallery owners, shamelessly hustle friends, co-workers, relatives and strangers, and try to get their children to shill for them as well. If you arent already doing all this and more, there is no way you could make any money selling arty stuff. In fact, you must first resign yourself to spending years working two jobs to subsidise selling arty stuff at a loss.
    It doesnt sound like this is you.

    I know some of the most amazing craftsmen and artists in the country- people who routinely craft stuff that the average person is completely convinced nobody has known how to make for 100 years. And everyone of them is a stone cold madman, or woman. They are driven people who would gladly pay to do what they do, but because they have been doing it with such fanaticism for so long, they actually get so good at it that people pay them. But there is no class you can take to learn this- you gotta be born with it.
    A good example would be the amazing Rivett and his minature roller skates- if you asked, "is there a market for perfectly made minature roller skates?" most sane people would say no, and yet Rivett sells em out in advance.

  11. Likes dalmatiangirl61 liked this post
  12. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Southeast Michigan
    Posts
    6,559
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    241
    Likes (Received)
    1459

    Post

    Ries....good response as usual.

    I have sat through many a craft show. Did stained glass for a while.

    People will walk up and balk at the fact that you are charging 150 dollars for a piece of glass. Never mind that it has 150 intricately cut and ground pieces of glass, all soldered together with perfect joints. I think I ended up making around $.50 / hour. I got burnt out on the glass anyway...too many days of having little tiny splinters of glass embedded in my fingers.

    Then I blew glass for a while...that's a medium you can make money at if you have the desire and the marketing skills...and just a little bit of ambition. All you have to do is copy Daly Chihuly's work....good luck making it if you want to do your own thing though. I know a couple guys that do AMAZING work, but people simply dont want to pay for it...they'll stare at it, but pay for it is not likely. You can get a lot of good artwork in trades...however trades dont put food on the table.

    I still make pottery, but it's mostly for myself...I'll probably start selling once I build a wood kiln, but it's mostly just to reduce the amount of items that the cats can knock off the shelves. I dont like brooms all that much!

    I have a friend at the art supply store I work at that is always looking for that "get rich quick" scheme. One week he's going to sell little wire wrapped rings, the next he's going to sell designs cut into matboard. Right now, he's planning on selling glow sticks and necklaces at fourth of july festivities. I personally can't wait for the next scheme.

    Then there's the other guy I work with. He makes one of a kind jewelry out of leather, scraps of fabric, etc. Charges between 5 and 50 bucks each. I just taught him how to do hammered tube rivetting and copper etching so he can start adding etched copper pieces to his leather work. I asked him one day if he made money doing them...his reply was simply that he's afraid to add it all up and find out because he enjoys it.

    Right now, I'm lucky to pay for the electricity or gas used in kiln firing, let alone the clay or equipment costs. Some day maybe...

    -Jacob

  13. Likes dalmatiangirl61 liked this post
  14. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Hotchkiss, CO USA
    Posts
    1,828
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    123
    Likes (Received)
    53

    Post

    I spent a weekend 30 feet from someone selling this cutout art at a gun/knife show. Their stuff was mostly $10-20. They did sell a few pieces but would have to sell lots more to cover the cost of the machine, show table(s), travel, etc. All the stuff off the machine seemed cookie cutter like without any blemish anywhere.

    I've bought a few cutouts that looked more hand done with salvaged material from the junk yard & do like original pieces.

  15. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Coastal Dogpatch, SC, USA
    Posts
    51,311
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    2801
    Likes (Received)
    5617

    Post

    Cliff, I always assumed that since the Shopbot was designed as a wood router, that the lesser stresses of plasma cutting would be such that even with seemingly flimsy contruction, if rigid enough for light cnc router work, it might work perfectly well for plasma work. Is that not the case, and if so, what exactly are the physical issues with the Shop Bot in that regard ?

    Also, I assumed Shopbot was not so propriotary regarding programming...yea or nea ?

    This is of vague interest to me, as I actually purchased one of the first Shop Bots ever made...back when the whole shebang cost only 2000 bucks ! I bought it for one job and had thoughts of turning it into a plasma cutter even way back then (1997 maybe) but never got around to assembling the thing and eventually sold it to a friend of mine. [img]smile.gif[/img]

  16. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Southeast Michigan
    Posts
    6,559
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    241
    Likes (Received)
    1459

    Post

    the shop bot i worked on had it's own form of G code, and control box. I never really got into it much, so i dont know if it could have been retrofitted with mach2 or something. i sorta doubt it though.

    -Jacob

  17. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Pleasant Hill La
    Posts
    225
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    0

    Post

    I looked at the Plasmacam units back in 2001. I finally bought a Torchmate System. I run a Hypertherm Powermax 900 torch with it. Although the torchmate is not an industrial type of machine it does have a machine torch and height controller. The height controller was built be Leon Drake of Alabama. He is a sharp guy and very helpfull. Since mine was built, they have started putting two motors on the X drive instead of one. The newer software also has a go to command that makes things work better. The signal generator and driver is built by Flashcut CNC. It is fed from the serial port.

    I too had these bright ideas of making a lot of money cutting decorative art. One problem is that I do oilfield consulting and have not had the time to pursue the business until now. As for cutting metal art and trying to sell it via a flea market type business, I don't think so.

    What I think I have found out is that people do not know what they want. Everyone wants to tell you what you should cut, but they are not the buyers. Cowboys are the worse. I am now finding that custom cutting is the only thing interesting to me. The last two sheets of 10 gauge I cut brought in some $680.00 and took me some three hours. Letters and numbers are the best sellers. I do some yard signs, etc. and these do well.

    Recently I built a cnc wood router. I love it. It is inexpensive to build and run compared to the plasma cutter. Had I known what I know now, I would not have invested 12k in the plasma cutter. I would have taken a shot at building my own and used Mach 2 Programming.

  18. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    California
    Posts
    1
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    0

    Default

    Thanks for the input all of you, it was very useful to read!
    I had some issues with expert plant man but this did help me to know more about plants and stuff.

  19. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    15,107
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JessicaDonna67 View Post
    Thanks for the input all of you, it was very useful to read!
    I had some issues with expert plant man but this did help me to know more about plants and stuff.
    Nice spamming job Jessie

  20. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    15,107
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dick Shuford View Post
    I looked at the Plasmacam units back in 2001. I finally bought a Torchmate System. I run a Hypertherm Powermax 900 torch with it. Although the torchmate is not an industrial type of machine it does have a machine torch and height controller. The height controller was built be Leon Drake of Alabama. He is a sharp guy and very helpfull. Since mine was built, they have started putting two motors on the X drive instead of one. The newer software also has a go to command that makes things work better. The signal generator and driver is built by Flashcut CNC. It is fed from the serial port.
    finally, a name to put against the POS known as torchmate…..

    Worst controller, and THC too.

    I fixed a couple of them, and each revision gets worse.

  21. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Northern califorina, usa
    Posts
    171
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    4
    Likes (Received)
    50

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by johnoder View Post
    I talked them once about their machine - seemed like real jerks to me.

    John
    Yup, very light duty with goofy overhead cabling system.
    Early owners were left in the dust then the factory stopped software support and won't even provide support over the phone for there early machines.
    Hand held plasma torches should be for just that hand held plasma cutting, CNC need to have a machine torch.
    You can never get a true to the work vertical cut with a hand torch strapped into some kind of holding apparatus.
    This is greatly amplified when cutting thicker plate, the more the torch is out of 90 degrees to the plate the more the torch will cut on a bevel.


Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •