Table maintenance 36 days in

I just wanted to reflect on the table maintenance I performed today and give a little report after having my table cutting for 36 days now.

At 36 days I have cut through 6 (4’x8’) sheets. 2@ 14 gauge, 2@ 16 gauge and 2@ 11 gauge. I have sold just under $4,000. Not everything I cut or attempted to cut survived. I did come into this with a year of prior CNC experience. I ran my brothers granite shop, programming and operating a 3 axis router and 5 axis saw. I have a degree in petroleum engineering and learned basic solidworks in college.

Biggest seller without a doubt is trailer hitch covers. Makes sense though because everyone here in Texas has trucks but not everyone has a trailer. I like cutting these out of the 11 gauge material because it’s more forgiving when I weld them onto the square tube. I just learned to weld from YouTube 2 months ago, I’m getting better every time though. I usually have about $8 dollars worth of materials and 30 minutes worth of labor. I sell the non-personalized ones for $40 and the personalized ones for $50-$100. It’s certainly not a home run but I’m getting my product on the streets and I’m learning as well as gaining experience.

I have a job coming up that is more in line with my goals. I’ll be cutting small rectangles with 2 holes in them for mounting. It’s for a large commercial fence company and the material is provided. I’ll make $300 on each sheet I cut. They have an initial order for 8 sheets. Again, not a home run but it’s a hit.

Problems, my machine torch died on Christmas weekend. Hypertherm was very easy to deal with. I told the tech what I had done for troubleshooting and he said my torch lead was bad and he overnighted me one. Last weekend my table quit working and a quick call to Langmuir on Monday, I put the new power supply in today (Tuesday). I expected issues, it’s just the nature of CNC machines. You have to be willing to work on things.

Now to the maintenance. I’ll post about it a little later. Gotta eat


I learned while working in the granite shop “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” If you want to use your machine for production, you have to keep it in good shape. I have about $18k invested in this and I value my money. It doesn’t matter if you are a one man show or you have a 20 machine production facility, it is paramount to establish a good maintenance schedule.

I’m off the soapbox, that shit sucks. I don’t think I would want to wait any longer between cleanings. After 6 sheets, it was very manageable. Here’s some things I learned.

Harbor freight is my friend. I found a magnet with a handle that would allow me to get all the drops out and then release them into a bucket.

My nice Dewalt shop vac hates me. After I removed all the metal with the magnet, I used a brush to agitate the black shit and then added a small amount of water from my water hose. This was easily vacuumed up with the shop vac leaving the table clean enough for me.

The surface conditioning tool from Harbor Freight is a necessity. I was able to clean my slats pretty efficiently. I’ve used that tool many times now and it is still impressing me.


yeah, my shop vac hates me too now.