Not sure if I need Water Table

When do you use a water table and how do you determine that - What things will tell you if you need water ?

The smoke that fills your garage. Thin material warping all over the place. Dust and debris on the floor under your machine.

If any of these irritate you then I would look into getting a water table.

I use my water with every single cut.


so does the water help with smoke because its cooler or is more that the debris is all over that is smoldering? or both? also, how thin do you have to be to warp? cant that be dealt with by increasing the feed rate? or lowering the ampage? or other adjustments with air – torch height etc?

The water catches a majority of the smoke and debris created from cutting metal, I would say at least 90% of it. It also helps keep your part cool by splashing water on it from underneath. Personally I won’t cut anything under 16 ga if i don’t have a water table. Yes, you can play with feedrates and amperages but heat is heat and it has to go somewhere. Your torch height will pretty much stay the same for all thin sheet material.


I’ve used the crossfire both with and without the water table. Simply put, use a water table.


I HIGHLY recommend a water table. I honestly wouldn’t want a plasma table without one.


Water Table is an absolute necessary item. I tried to cut without one in my 40’x60’ shop with 16’ sidewalls and I had a 14’x14’ door open and the smoke was unbearable. I put a water table in and I cut in the shop all winter long with no issues at all.


The water table is well worth it, for all reasons already mentioned. Plus you can keep your cutter underneath and prevent a tripping hazard.

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you NEED the water table.

I ran the table without the water table for the first few months I had it because winter happened here. Once I went to the water table I’m never going back. If I kill this one I’ll order a new one… but it will always have a water table from here on out.
Reasons to have the water table.

  1. less smoke
  2. no fine slag over everything in a 30’ radius (not kidding I have found a fine black dust over everything in the shop)
  3. less warping (when I was doing a lot of cuts in 1/4" plate dry it would distort. Wet it stays true. Less time to get thing to fit)
    4)less hot things to burn myself on!

(now I have the MKI aluminum table so I have to drain it each time I finish. but even with that it’s worth it!

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Two normal methods of fume control for plasma cutting are 1. A water tray or water table. 2. A downdraft air blower system. Properly designed each is very effective in controlling fumes and smoke that are the byproduct of plasma cutting metal. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. 1. Water table is simple and inexpensive (a tray of water 3" or deeper that traps and cools molten metal particles, the particles then become heavier than air and sink in the table or tray of water. Some have pneumatic raise / lower mechanisms that allow you to rapidly lower the water for easier cleaning or to retrieve parts that may have dropped. Water touching the bottom of the material produces the best results in terms of fumes, however water affects cut quality (rougher cut edge, higher probability of dross). Water will also splash on moving parts of the machine and will stain some materials. 2. Downdraft systems use a blower or fan that creates a vacuum under the material, adequate flow and a fan with high static pressure is needed in order to get downdraft velocity high enough to pull small and large fume particles downward from the cutting process and then outside or through fire resistant filtration. Downdraft has the advantage of better cut quality (smoother edges, less dross). A drawback with downdraft that blows the fumes outside is that shop heating systems or cooling systems have to work harder to keep the shop cooled or heated. It is not recommended to build updraft systems as these will pull the highly abrasive particles from cutting (which vary in size from very small to larger) up through the moving parts of the machine , causing wear, damage and poor performance. There are cnc plasma machines in large manufacturing operations (think steel service centers or shipyards) as large as 50’ wide by 350’ long using either downdraft or water tables, designed right both are effective at controlling smoke and fumes. On my home shop machine I use downdraft, because of the superior cut quality. Some mention warpage (that can be controlled by water in contact with the material)……warpage is generally not a problem if the correct cut speeds are maintained on thin materials, unfortunately there are a lot of cnc plasma machines that cannot cut accurately at speeds of 300 to 400 inches per minute, so water tables are sometimes used to help control warpage. Jim Colt

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Thanks for responding Jim,

Yeah, I am not churning out so much product that smoke or debris is a problem. However, It is a bit of mess - i am guessing the water is messy too. I would definitely thinking about using water if doing more than an occasional piece, But with the little bit of cutting I do, I find in the smaller detail areas, I get such overheating that it is a problem for the detail and dross. So, even though I am not cutting like crazy , I need to move to a water table. I would move to a down-draft or even up-draft ventilation - if just worried about dust and fumes - I just dont think its sufficient for the heating i am experiencing.

This is what I needed to know. I have some flat 16 gauge mild steel that would work great with a water table. But I also have an electrical enclosure that is 8" x 8" x 4" that needs some holes cut in it. So I could build a real deep water table 8" deep so I could cut this part. Or I could go with the down draft system. I don’t own a crossfire yet. I was looking at every method of cutting holes in metal. Even was considering the Milwaukee ForceLogic M18 Cordless Knockout Tool Kit. But spending 1,400 dollars on a knockout tool does not make sense when I could cut it with the plasma cutter any size hole I want.

Not having the crossfire yet I wonder if the part being cut has to be held in place by a water table or whatever that is hanging from the crossfire table. Or could the part be supported by the floor. Or would there be movement of the table relative to the floor as the plasma torch moves. Most people cut flat metal but I need to cut the sides a box shape.

It seems to me that you would get far more useful information if you had just started a new thread asking for advice on cutting your electrical box.

Water Table or not is not really the issue here and this is a 3 year old thread