Up near the islands in lake superior learning something new

hi, was recommended to post an intro here. icu nurse by trade but burnout is a thing and i do a LOT of other work on the side and try to keep the icu thing part time if possible. the side stuff is mostly marine related including salvage, boat rebuilds and repair and marine canvas fabrication which is how i got into metalworking (fabricating stainless tubing frames and rails which after while doesn’t seem that far from making roll cage stuff and other custom parts… and as i’m sure you all know people end up asking for unrelated metal fab/welding etc too once they figure out you have a welder and the stuff you fab isn’t dangerous or full of bird crap welds)

my reason for getting the pro is as much personal and hobbty related as it is thinking i’d take my side business/hobby in a slightly more automated/computerized direction (including getting a practical 3d scanner for patterning of all kinds of small to midsize objects) It just seemed like a logical step to get into cnc, 3d printing, etc. considering the large number of hours i have to put in on custom work and patterning by hand sometimes, plus for automotive and tractor repairs and general stuff of my own “wood is good, but steel is real”, and this cnc plasma seemed like one of the two basic tools that really can help make you other tools (the other being a metal lathe which is a future desire)

and finally way up here in the frozen tundra there isn’t as much you can do if you don’t do it yourself…so here i am.

anyway, glad to be here, definitely a big learning curve and time investment in figuring this all out but i’ve already been thankful for the advice of a few people here just in my first few posts.

also mechanic jon suggested i come here to introduce in a different thread because i stated i can make custom covers and other canvas for these machines if anyone wants. i can pattern my own machine very easily to make a custom fitted cover for other makes and models or even different tools should anyone want something so fancy, its usually relatively easy to get some basic measurements from simpler shaped items sight unseen or with a few annotated pics if the fit doesnt need to be drum tight like an awning or bimini (i do those too)… and i’m definitely willing to help out that way but primarily i’m here to learn from all of you, and share my skills or knowledge if there’s a need.

TLDR not here to try and sell anyone on my stuff or push any products or services per se, just appreciative of the time and advice of everyone here, and will help out as time allows. thank you all in advance for reading my rambling posts. ha.


Welcome Board!


Welcome! I’m Mid-Mich myself. Have you decided on what CAD/CAM you plan on using? This will help get the folks using the same software to help out if needed. Also, what plasma cutter will you be running?

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Welcome! Assuming you’re talking about the Apostle Islands, I am very familiar with the area. Grew up around there and use to race at ABC. Been in TX for the last 10 years, got tired of working outside in the winter.

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I hear you. I got my crossfire pro delivered the very beginning of November but am just finishing setting it up mostly because I spent a few weeks finally finishing up the majority of the insulation in my shop. It was past overdue because like you say it’s all but mandatory to have some kind of climate controlled outbuilding or garage if you intend to get anything meaningful done over the winter here and I was burning wheelbarrows of wood daily to be out here and semi functional.

I’m actually very lucky that this year has been MUCH milder because there’s supposed to be my backhoe and a couple customers’ 30 foot boats in here already that are out in the yard uncovered but it’s been warm enough that there is less than an inch of melted snow one the ground… I’ve done this whole thing myself as far as insulation and reinforcing the trusses etc to handle the extra dead load, there was nothing but an old basic uninsulated post frame when I started so for me at least it’s kind of a big moment to be at this point finally after 3 years of working on it and fixing all the broken crap that was here when I got the place. It’s good to be proud of something I guess, plus I lost a lot of weight doing it . Ha Ha. Last year at this time I was getting minimum 6 inches of snow a week and had a few feet on the ground already bc I’m up about 600 feet above lake level so If the wind comes off the lake you know what happens. I’ve thought about Texas or maybe Tennessee or something but I’m just too attached to this lake and my parents are getting older now. Plus the cold keeps things toned down somewhat from a societal perspective.

Anyway TLDR diy is rewarding but difficult .


I have the latest version of primeweld cut60 with the 50:1 div pins. So hopefully it will be decent. Had been consulting elsewhere on the forum about emi and grounding/bonding/shielding before posting here. Am leaning towards going with fusion at this point… but I managed to find a student license $99 copy of solid works too if for some reason that’s a better option …I haven’t used solid works as much yet bc feels like kind of a bloated program better suited to a dedicated computer due to the SQL install that came with it. But beyond that one probably unimportant impression about SW I’m still way too new to cad/cam to know fully what’s best. Assuming most people here recommend fusion…. And then what’s next? Sheet cam? Is it called? Do I need that in addition to others or is it an adjunct? Does that just generate the paths? I read fusion does too … but would take into consideration any advice or suggestions and appreciate them… dad always says “you dont need to rediscover America all by yourself” so once again I’m thankful for all your time and advice.

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I use fusion 360 free version for both CAD/CAM. It’s a little tricky when you start out but gets easier the more you work in it. Many folks really like SheetCam but I have no experience in it. If you do decide on Fusion just message me if you need any help. I like to do Teams meetings so we can talk and share screen. GL and post some projects!

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