I was shopping for a Pro and because it was half of new cost and already in Alaska with zero waiting time for delivery, I Just bought a used Crossfire I found on marketplace. It’s a basic model with the water table. It looks like the slats are original and maybe made only a hand full of cuts!
I think I would like to get the THC upgrade and probably the expansion kit.
Can I get the new software? Are updates free?
What I got was just a table / tram w/motors / torch holder and the control box. No computer stuff.
My recommendation to get everything setup and do some cutting. People struggle with designing so get some cut time before you go on shopping spree. I also go my table used about 6-8 months ago without THC. Always learning new stuff. Fusion 360 is free for home version for desigbning.
First thing to consider is whether your new-to-you machine is a 1st or 2nd generation Crossfire. 1st gen Crossfires used Mach 3 as the control software and I don’t think they are capable of having THC added(edit, see below), plus you would have to buy the Mach 3 software($179), there is a trial/free version but I’m not sure what the limitations on it are. 2nd gen machines use Firecontrol as the control software and it is free from Langmuir. I think that you can upgrade a 1st gen machine to a 2nd gen machine, but it would require a new control box or at least a new motion control board that will integrate with Firecontrol. I know people have gone this route and if your machine is 1st gen you’re going to be spending money one way or the other and you expressed a desire for THC so it may be the best way to go.
Still, if it is a first gen machine you can download the free version of Mach 3 and at least make some cuts before you spend any extra money and see what you think. There are many people using the OG Crossfire without THC and it doesn’t slow them down.
Edit: I just went and looked at the THC add-on and it does work with the Gen 1 machines, although it is $200 dollars more, so maybe it comes with a new control board?
Edit 2: I really need to scroll down when researching before I post. lol. The THC kit for the gen 1 machines does include the complete upgraded electronics package that is compatible with Firecontrol, so if you go this route you don’t need Mach 3 at all, It’s just you have to drop another $750 for the THC kit.
If you’re not really cutting anything but flat parts would you really need a THC? Seems like you can just set it for the job and go? All I know was watching it on the videos I’ve seen, it seemed like really made the unit work well.
I took Autocad 12 - 30 years ago. Never used it in real life. So I def need to brush up on cad stuff. I am not in a big hurry to get cutting but would def like to get it working asap. I have a small machine shop and fabricate a lot of my own widgets or brackets or off road parts. So this will come in super handy.
Like I said above, lots of people don’t have THC and cut okay. But it helps if you’re cutting stock that is not very flat or thin material that tends to warp from the heat of the plasma cutter. THC will move the torch up and down to follow the warpage. Also since the Crossfire’s gantry is cantilevered THC can adjust the torch height if the gantry isn’t exactly level when the torch is moving in the x-axis.
Keep in mind that I have a Crossfire Pro and have no experience with the Crossfire, but you should be able to open the electronics enclosure and look at the motion control board. If it has an empty IC socket for the THC chip (you can check the installation instructions for THC to see pics of the motion control board) I’d be 99% sure it is a Gen 2 machine. You might be able to look just at the connections on the outside of the electronics enclosure and tell them apart, but like I said I have no actual experience with an OG Crossfire so not sure I could tell you the difference.
Also check out the assembly manual Langmuir has online for the Gen 2 Crossfire (it’ll be under the support tab), particularly the section on the electronics box. Comparing the pictures to what you have should also help you determine which one yours is.
In addition to what @Martorious already mentioned, I’ve noticed as my slats get more crusty from usage, my metal is not sitting flat due to slag buildup. I can use the “Dry Run” feature in FireControl and watch the gap between the nozzle and the metal and even when a sheet seems to be sitting flat, that gap will vary.