Proper way to check actual cut height

is there a proper way to check actual cut height? i mean other than pausing mid cut. on my old torchmate you used to be able to turn the plasma cutter off and there was a button that literally said “plasma on” and it would drop the torch, touch the material, raise to pierce height, then drop to cut height without ever firing the torch. I can basically do the same thing now to check pierce height in firecontrol but it stays at pierce height… wasnt sure about cut height…maybe if i turn off smart voltage it will drop down to cut height? any input would be great. thanks @langmuir-daniel @langmuirsystems

It would be trivial to edit an existing cut file and delete everything after the first move to cut height. (Be sure to remove any M3 code before it).

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Be awesome if there was a button on the main screen that said “initial cut height check” that would drop to torch to cut height that way you could do a quick check before running a program.

I like the idea but it would only give you an initial height check.

As soon as your torch height control took over it could very well go up or down from the initial cut height point.

Correct but doesn’t “smart” voltage base its initial reading off the initial cut height? Given if you are inputting your own voltage yes it would be pointless. But if you knew your initial cut height was set correctly would it not make the “smart” setting a little more accurate and dependable?

Yes after about a quarter inch of movement at your initial cut height the smart voltage will take that voltage measurement and use it for the rest of the cut.

Would you want to measure your cut height after it went through its Pierce height routine and before your torch height control took over?

I always use nominal voltage and almost never use smart voltage.

For checking your cut height with using smart voltage , having it programmed correctly is great but you would think you’d run about 6 in of cut and then pause it in the middle of the cut and then check it to see if the smart voltage was doing the cut height Justice.

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true. but regardless of which method you are using manual entry or smart your initial cut height is gonna start wherever the program tells it to correct? the torchmate to verify your voltage you would turn off the height control all together, it would come down, touch off, pierce, drop to cut height you had input, and then make a 6" cut and visually see the voltage read out. then set your voltage based on what it was actually reading while making the cut at that fixed height.

Yes it mechanically it’s going to go to my .06 or whatever I have it set for after the Pierce.

If everything goes good with the smart voltage when it’s making its reading in the first quarter inch then it should try to maintain that voltage for sure.

And it’s expected that that voltage should relate to the cut height.

But if there’s any other type of resistance it gets added to the circuit during the cut it doesn’t care what your cut height is it’s just going to try to maintain that voltage. So if you’re consumable gets fouled or you got a wonky ground it’s going to rise right up off the table.

If you’re using nominal voltage and I have the voltage set incorrect again it doesn’t care what my initial cut height is it’s going to smash that thing right into the plate or rise it right up as high as it can go chasing that voltage that you set.

All I’m trying to say is after the initial mechanical setting of height it’s just chasing voltage after that and it doesn’t care what the height is. they should relate but it’s not always the case.

I think at least part of the point is to see what the actual height of the torch is with the IHS backlash and springback figured in. You may have programmed it for .06" cut height, but the springback calculations may put that at a different actual height. In fusion, you can change the value for the IHS backlash and springback. In Sheetcam, it is set by the post processor at .02", so that may result in a .08" cut height if the material doesn’t have any springback.

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That’s good to know I take for granted the sheetCAM point of view sometimes.
I really should force myself to do a few projects without Fusion 360 so I can get a better idea of the other pathways to getting the job done.

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right. i guess it what im getting at is it would be nice to have a way to check quickly to see what the actual initial cut height is compared to what the initial backlash/springback settings that were input into fusion and that way changes can be made in those settings to get it closer to where it needs to be. i understand the chasing voltage regardless that you are saying @TinWhisperer but say your first cut in a part is a hole and not a perimeter cut. i feel like in that situation which is usually the case, you are relying more on that initial cut height setting than you actually are the arc voltage.

If you’re using smart voltage and you’re cutting a very short cut like let’s say 1/8 inch hole. You’re right you’re solely reliant on your initial cut height because by the time smart voltage is registered and applied the cut is done.

But if you’re using nominal voltage it will *instantly"start using it because it doesn’t need to take the time to establish a “smart voltage”

I do agree with you knowing where you’re at mechanically off the bat would be a great thing but I think you’d have to go through the full Pierce height cycle and then check it to get a reliable reading

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As these settings can differ per program, this check would require a program loaded. This fits into our FireControl Roadmap as we move towards being more interactive with cut settings.

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so is there a right way to verify actual cut height?

There is currently no way in the software to have the torch move to this height to manually verify. We have added it to the roadmap.

What the machine does when the plasma cutter is off differs by machine.

On XR, the machine will stop at Pierce Height as the M3 will wait for arc voltage which never comes ultimately resulting in a timeout. If you trust the Z Axis moves are accurate, you can use this to determine Cut Height as the probe sequences have been run and the only thing left is the known distance move to Cut Height.

On Pro/CrossFire, the machine will get to Cut Height and then fail at THC voltage with THC toggled on. With THC Toggled off, the machine will run at Cut Height and simply needs to be paused (quickly) to verify this height.

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