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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by DieselMater86 View Post
    I just got a CNC Plasma to start up my small shop with a business partner.
    What make/size/accuracy is this machine ?
    and how much does it cost ?

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    SO i have a stupid question. What kind of work does a plasma table bring in? I promise I am not being snarky, I really have no clue...

    It seems like most suppliers (thinking Alro locally) have the ability to cut your stock into raw shapes by themselves so I can't imagine why I would need to go to another vendor? We used to get alum blanks from them cut with a coldsaw (I thin) and those damn things came in mostly at +.015/-0."

    Can a plasma (and i am not even remotely familiar) cut and hold tolerances like that? Is it better or faster than flame cutting, or laser (on thinner pieces)? I can imagine large pieces that don't need exterior finishing, but seems to me like it would be a small market, but I don't know...

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    Plasma is mostly used for loose tolerance and thicker stuff. Laser is cheaper to run, holds better tolerances, but is also generally optimized for sheet, and of course way, way more expensive to get into.

    Lots of sign shops and fabricators run plasma, although lots run lasers too.

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    Most plasma tables I see are making signs/artsy stuff or used in a fab business to make one off or small runs of brackets, gussets and usually some stuff that should be made on a mill or lathe, but the plasma table is what they have.

    when I started out I was doing the fab type stuff and I had a pattern torch. I think it served the same purpose as the small plasma table, just no computer involved.

    I bought a business that sold a bunch of parts they made on a 4x8 plasma table. I cleaned up the designs and sent all the parts out for laser cutting. It was stupid cheap and the quality was magnitudes better. I was blown away people were actually buying the garbage and writing good reviews, etc given the shit that they were sending out off that plasma.

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    Well I have companies wanting me to make signs, people wanting artsy stuff, brackets galore, fire pits, wine stuff, and the other stuff. I guess yeah if I had 500K I could buy a laser and make life easier, but not rolling in money. I will make anything anyone comes to me and wants. I guess my quality must speak for its self because I take the time to be OCD about my settings for the plasma as much as I have the last 10 years in Machining. I don't make crap parts with horrible finishes and out of tolerance never have never will. I love what I do and take pride in the product I'm making. maybe a Plasma wasn't the best 1st choice to start a business, but we have a pretty good market here for it. I'm not looking to be a millionaire off a plasma table alone. This is just a stepping stone to getting our business the capitol for a CNC Mill and then a CNC Lathe. Those will be my money makers into the place that will really kick start the business to where I want it. And yes I have the confidence because in the past 10 years in this area I have made a reputation on my skills, quality, and getting parts done and to customers on time. I have 5 shops waiting for me to get a Mill at least and start feeding me work as much as I can take. So, I have been working on this dream for 10 years, and now I'm just trying to make the money to buy a used machine or bit the bullet and get my 20% down for a Haas. Haven't decided the route. I'm being meticulously in every move I make. i have a family to support, and take care of like a man should. So, not going to put my house and family in jeopardy of losing what I have worked my butt off for in life.

    If most of the shops you see with a plasma are throwing out crap work then give me a call, pm, or email. I take the time in cutting, deburring, quality, cleaning, and getting my parts on time. I have gotten a lot of great things off here to sit down about, and to cover my rear with a partner. Yet at this "time" it was the best move I could make are contacts have landed us a tone of work before officially opening the doors. Now I'm taking care of big orders for some companies, before I open to general population which I get a ton of emails weekly about doing work. So, maybe the market is shifting I have no clue none of us do really. I guess its only in this area because hipster, and retro is a huge hit for some reason. I'm going to ride the wave collect my money, and come up with a new plan for when this market dies. So, they can give me their money, and I will take it with a smile taking no money from the company for a year so it all goes back into growth. I make great money working for a shop, but I'm ready to own my own and make my mark while making the money I know I can instead of being a big corporations honey hole. i'm the only machinist my normal job has in the whole worldwide corp so I make parts for all 15 location, had the machines running all night making parts. i have the drive and the know how I just needed somewhere to get my feet wet to make that extra money and not take away from my family.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garwood View Post
    Most plasma tables I see are making signs/artsy stuff or used in a fab business to make one off or small runs of brackets, gussets and usually some stuff that should be made on a mill or lathe, but the plasma table is what they have.
    Gussets, stiffeners, and wing plates is what the plasma is best at. sub quarter inch laser is faster, neck and neck up to about 3/8, and from there up plasma is the standard. Plasma's are way cheaper to run down to about quarter inch. a plasma can cut a complete hole in 3/4" plate before a laser even pierces it- and it would take a mammoth laser to cut 1" plate for hours on end... not sure I have seen a laser attempt 1.5" plate. After that (assuming you do not have the newest 300 hypertherms, which in theory do 2" at production rate) you go to flame cutting, which is squarer than either laser or plasma- of course waterjet is the best cut of them all.

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    QT Diesel [Well I have companies wanting me to make signs, people wanting artsy stuff, brackets galore, fire pits, wine stuff, and the other stuff. that sounds like you are up and running parts now...good.

    So what is the "Startup & New Business Growth Questions" just expanding with taking in a partner?

    Or all that work at your Job?

    Or interest in your knocking on doors and so not actual job orders?

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    50/50 partnership. after awhile he decides he doesn't need you. he has the money. he just contributes cash to the company which you must match. you can't match so quickly it becomes 99/01
    happened to me (luckily on a second business but a competing one)

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    I have been talking with potential customers and seeing what products they want and yes I'm fixing to open up in about a week full blast. Some places and people I have talked to are ready to start making parts right away. So we are finishing up getting all the legal things, shop, logo, WO's, quote letterheads, and pricing the next few days. It has been a slower process making sure all our ducks are in a row, and we are ready to start pumping out work. Shops is laid out everything ran, and plumbed to machines and stations. Starting to do quotes probably by Friday at the latest.

    I was asking on here to get information to make sure I didn't miss any steps that needed to be taken. Also got some good feedback on partnership good and bad actually. Then gave some background on my abilities since that was under question of what I could offer and where I was wanting to take my venture. I understand most don't like a partner, but I have explained why I had to do it. Then seems like some don't know how to read and ask the same question in different wording. i have covered my rear the best that my lawyer said I can and as the business grows I will continue that. It's all in writing, signed, and legal as any business, and partnership. I wish I didn't have to take a partner on I tried other routes but if this fails then I'm not stuck with 40-100k in debt because I took on a partner. We kept the startup cost as low as possible he did his contributions and I have done mine so in the contract is fulfilled and both parties are happy. There are opts for buy out and assessment at by outs so its completely fair.

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    My point is not that you should get a laser. My point is that the fucking nightmare of owning that machine is that you have to deal with big heavy steel sheets all day and the big laser places will cut your shit beautifully for less than you can buy the material for let alone store it or feed the forklift or buy the finger racking and suction cups and magnets and glommers and whatever else you need.

    I ended up with a laser as part of a partnership that de-materialized. My laser isn't for anyone elses stuff but mine (I cut blanks for a press). I could use a plasma, but the laser was basicly free and I can mark stuff with it.

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    Well I have been keeping my eyes open for one i let a sweet deal pass me up a few weeks ago on a Laser. Yet if I have to move metal around for either machine so I don't mind the hard work it comes with the territory. I grew up in a shop and living on a farm just because my age they call me a Millennial doesn't mean I am at all lol. I have 2 contacts that if I need something Laser Cut they will hook me up. Yes it will cut my cost down but I will make a Customer happy and get return business. i know I can't do everything on a plasma

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    Agree, a good connection with a laser shop would be good with you making 5% or something to cover your time and sales Commission. Yes with intention to get your own if that seems good. Connection with a machine shop also a good idea.
    A one or two man shop has a high percentage out to pick-up and delivery and knocking on doors so thinking your bid price may only equal 60% of that in real dollars.
    I knew two guys who were making big bucks with each having only a drill press. one doing very small drill & tap parts with a feeder set up so doing many an hour, and the other doing fiber/rubber parts few would touch because rubber needs odd/special cutters. Yes he got the parts finished to size and shape with only needing the hole. I made some of the rubber guy's special cutters.

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    Yes I have a couple contact with small Job Shops near me. Of course once I'm up and going and actually get my machines they will be my competitors in some aspects of the business. Yet if I make good contacts out of them and keep good graces. Possibly at the time I get to that Phase of growth we can bounce work to each other also. A lot of the shops around here I know the owners or an Employee that has been there a long time. So, my name is kind of well known already in the Machine Shop around here.

    That's why I take pride in my work and always put my best toward every part. It took a while being that I have learned everything on the job in my career, but I think that is what has earned me the respect. Plus I don't burn bridges with places I have work for or done work for in my career. This has been a 10 year journey that still has many more to go.

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    Odd that everyone is jumping on the laser bandwagon. You can get beautiful cuts with a high-def plasma. You’ll go through torch tips and piercing is always hard on a machine but if you have a good set up and understand the nuances as an operator, you’ll do great work.

    As for the guy who said torch cutting isn’t square- really? Again, a good set up and operator can CNC flame cut as square as you can band saw it. Some people do know what they’re doing. If you’re cutting a taper in 3” plate, man you’re lacking in experience and skill.

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    I agree you can do great work on a plasma with the right setup for sure. I have been cutting everyday and honing my skills and the machine with every pass.

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    Still if you are making 18 to $30 an hour..it may take a time to average that good in your own shop.

    I found that when sharpening.. The pick-up and deliver, along with customers who wanted to chat away my time and average return..

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    Quote Originally Posted by michiganbuck View Post
    along with customers who wanted to chat away my time
    amen to that!

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    What make/size/accuracy is this machine ?
    and how much does it cost ?
    Quote Originally Posted by RC Mech View Post
    Odd that everyone is jumping on the laser bandwagon. You can get beautiful cuts with a high-def plasma. You’ll go through torch tips and piercing is always hard on a machine but if you have a good set up and understand the nuances as an operator, you’ll do great work.

    As for the guy who said torch cutting isn’t square- really? Again, a good set up and operator can CNC flame cut as square as you can band saw it. Some people do know what they’re doing. If you’re cutting a taper in 3” plate, man you’re lacking in experience and skill.
    Quote Originally Posted by DieselMater86 View Post
    I agree you can do great work on a plasma with the right setup for sure. I have been cutting everyday and honing my skills and the machine with every pass.
    All true, but with different plasma machines.

    I have read everything after my query, and have yet to see an answer.

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    I have a custom built machine its not a 15-20k machine I bought the frame kit 4x8 and then went in doing research on servos. My servos with Mach 3 running my setup. The servos say that its .002", and I know they love to make their numbers look good so who really knows.. I am in the stages of testing the accuracy and its very good for what I need. Been a lot of growth over this year building this machine because I couldn't afford to dump 20K all at once. My partner stepped in and we finished the machine up a month ago and have been Cutting non stop dialing everything little detail in before we say what we can offer. I have a Hero Plasma that is spec'd to cut 1" thick, but really when will I cut that thick it has done great on 16ga to 1/4" so far. I'm pleased with my setup and the people that have received parts from me letting me grow have loved everything and the quality

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    Quote Originally Posted by RC Mech View Post
    As for the guy who said torch cutting isn’t square- really? Again, a good set up and operator can CNC flame cut as square as you can band saw it. Some people do know what they’re doing. If you’re cutting a taper in 3” plate, man you’re lacking in experience and skill.
    Torch is far squarer than plasma or laser, and cuts shapes. Saws (production, not ability) cut straight and square, If you push a saw you should be within 1/100 over 10", the gauges are harder to read than ability of them. Water is the obscene abilities.

    doug, we run a controlled automation multi-max- bought well used - 50g, we built the water table to oem specs, but lower to run beam saddles for pipe and wt's. 260 hd hypertherm, 3 smith torch heads with gas innovation tips. can only run 2 simultaneously on small plate (1.25 to 1.5") because o2 delivery issues.
    plasma holds 1/32 production (1 inch at 63 ipm), and a fat 64th if you fiddle with it for special parts. table is 25x14, serviced with 10 ton bridge crane. the purchase price was almost trivial compared to set up. the torch height controller I want to throw far away (hyperthem brand) and I do not like running it, boring and knee breaking work (I have really old man knees).


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