CNC plasma cutter

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Project CNC plasma cutter
Status Initializing
Contact Walter
Last Update 2012-12-22

After acquiring a plasma cutter at the space, it seemed only logical to try and fabricate a CNC version eventually.

This goal is still a while away for now, but as always, we are full of Ideas and this is a convenient place to put them.


  • 3x3 m working area
  • movement speed of 1000mm/s
  • Calibrated accuracy and precision of +/- 0.1mm

Axis motors

smeding is going to design and build a proof of concept linear (synchronous) motor for use in the X- and Y-axes. This test rig will be used to determine whether a DIY LSM is at all useful for our application and to finalize the design if we choose to go with the concept. Specifically, this involves figuring out:

  • How the attainable accuracy compares to the wanted specifications
  • How the attainable movement speed compares to the wanted specifications
  • A final design for the drive electronics
  • Coil and armature geometries
  • Rail geometries (magnet size, spacing and orientation pattern and any backing)
  • Optimal control schemes

After this, we'll be ready to construct the three rails (2x X and 1x Y) that make up the bulk of the CNC machine.

Some rough ideas by Yotson

  • 1.5 x 3.0 Meter max. material size. Spec of plasma cutter mentions 12mm as max thickness.
    Table should manage to hold the weight of a 1.5m x 3.0m x 20?mm sheet of steel.
  • weight of plasma nozzle + hoses/wires?
  • length of nozzle + hoses/wires?
  • speed of nozzle over material > 10 cm per second. (non cutting)
  • nozzle placement accuracy: < 1mm
  • transportable. Able to fit through 'standard' door (on its side, obviously)
  • Maybe:

'upgradeable' by placing rotary cutting tool, pencil, knife, spray can, .... ???

Transport axes: x, y: angle iron and skate wheels + bearings?

linear motors? threaded rod, DC motors, encoders?

z  : ? + threaded bolt, manual adjustment between height of 0mm and 50mm.

Threaded rod info

ISO standard. From HTTP://

Diameter in mm. Pitch (fine) Pitch (coarse) Rotational speed 10 cm/s lin. motion (coarse) Rotational speed 10 cm/s lin. motion (fine)
20 or 22 2.5 1.5 or 40rps, 2400rpm 50rps, 3000rpm
2 66.7rps, 4000rpm
30 or 33 3.5 2 28.6rps, 1714rpm 66.7rps, 4000rpm