What led to your success with CNC Plasma cutting?

Disclaimer: I borrowed this idea from another thread that discussed concerns of how to help new users.

I will admit that I am no where near the top of my game with my Langmuir table but I can make it do what I expected. I thought it might be interesting to note three things that helped each of us through the learning curve so that new users might have a better understanding of what to expect. Some may wish to share some things that nearly derailed their efforts along the way.

  1. I never expected this to be easy and borrowed from my previous encounters with adversity and how I eventually succeeded.

  2. I do take pride of problem solving and trying to figure things out on my own.

  3. I made no promises to anyone of what I was going to be able to accomplish with the table. I had no obligations of delivery so this minimized my anxiety and frustration.

Special mention: I have a very supportive wife!!!

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I am far from being as successful as some, but am learning every day. After teaching school for 22 years I think what success I have had is due to the following.

  1. Research before purchase, and while waiting on delivery.

  2. Lots of YouTube videos using this machine as well as the others.

  3. Asking questions of those who know.

  4. Not accepting failure!

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@DrWard @ChelanJim I love both of these posts, and will add one more thought:

  1. Take ownership of your success AND failures. This equipment works well when operated properly. If you’re not succeeding look at what you are doing rather than blaming someone else!
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I’ll agree with what everyone said above. In addition I’ll add:

  1. I don’t consider myself a success, I’m still learning and getting things dialed in, however I do consider my progress to date to be a success. That distinction is important. Judging yourself solely based on your ultimate goal is rife with opportunities for disappointment and frustration. Setting mini goals and ramping up the difficulty slowly and learning as I go is my mantra.

  2. I do have plans to produce something marketable, whether it’s art/sign based or parts for other fabricators or both is yet to be determined. But I gave myself an indefinite time frame to get ‘good enough’ to where I felt confident I could produce a product before I made any promises. Laying out a business plan before I’m at that point is frankly ludicrous. There’s being optimistic, then there’s just plain foolishness.

  3. I understand the reality of YouTube. By that I mean you have to take 99% of what you see with the proverbial grain of salt. A ten minute video of a perfect design and cut montage could have taken days with an untold number of errors edited out. Rarely is anything as easy as YouTube makes it look. My favorite YouTubers keep the mistakes and show their own learning process. I learn as much or more from how they overcome problems as I do when things go perfectly.

  4. Above all Research, Research, Research! I try to figure things out on my own first, but when i do need to ask for help, I go hat in hand and be respectful of those who are volunteering their time and experience to help for no other reason than they want to.

Thanks to everyone on the forum, I appreciate everyone who sticks it out here, even amongst all the ‘noise’.

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This forum

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First of all I’m still a work in progress and learn something new from you all every day.

1: I spent allot of time researching before I ordered the table. I spent allot of time in the forum reading the success and failures which helped me set reasonable expectations regarding the learning curve ahead of me.

2: When I ordered my table there was a 7-8 week lead time which gave me allot of time to learn the programs and continue study and read the forum. With all the extra time I still didn’t have my air system ready when my table arrived.

3: I had already purchased and been using a hand plasma for a year or two before I purchased my table and had some knowledge about the process.

4: As a structural engineer I have used CAD software throughout my career. Even with that it has taken me allot of time to adjust to fusion with all the constraints ect. I had to change how I approach laying out my sketches.

The absolute key to my success has been ALL of YOU! Those asking and answering questions on this forum teach me something new every day! Truly a group of top notch individuals on here. I would list names but you all know who you are!! Can’t thank you enough!!

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It’s Great to hear about everyone’s experiences with CNC plasma cutting! Success is never easy, but it’s great to see that everyone has found their own paths to get there. As @DrWard mentioned, research is key, both before and after purchasing the equipment. And as @ChelanJim noted, a supportive environment, whether it’s from family or a community of users, can make all the difference.

I particularly appreciate @Martorious perspective on mini goals and learning as you go. It’s important to celebrate progress as it comes, rather than just focusing on the end goal. As the saying goes, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

And speaking of journeys, the use of this forum is a great example of the democratization of information. The right to repair movement, which seeks to empower consumers to repair their own electronics and appliances, is part of this trend towards making knowledge and resources accessible to everyone. By sharing our experiences and tips on this forum, we are helping each other navigate the learning curve and achieve success. As Benjamin Franklin said, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

Keep up the great work, everyone! Success may not come easily, but with perseverance, problem-solving, and a supportive community, anything is possible.

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I would say that you are a big reason for early success for many of us. Thank you @TinWhisperer for all of your help. It has not only benefited me, but also the students I teach.

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Yeah, but… he’s an Orthodontist’s nightmare!

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I’m with Erik on this:

But I will say, Tin would be the easiest to pick out of a crowd!

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You made me laugh out loud! Thanks!!

You always have some great one liners!!

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I worked on many metal projects where accuracy wasn’t important. For example, Jitterbug Perfume Garden Sculpture - YouTube and Zee's Rose - YouTube. These home projects gave me the experience with my CPro. I then played with scrap one afternoon trying to cut accurate 1" x 1" squares. This solidified my understanding of kerf width, stock thickness, machine behavior, etc. If I need to, I can make accurate cuts. For the most part, I’m welding my cut pieces which is quite forgiving. Good luck and hug your wife.

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Your comment about cutting 1" squares is a good one. I still cut a simple square piece with a smaller square hole cut out of the middle of it to check my kerf settings. With it you get outside and inside dimensions (in both x and y) in one go.

This forum is the best.

Another comment I read mentioned right to repair. This is an aspect of the XR that worries me a little as I do not recall any documentation that breaks out stepper controllers, stepper amplifiers, etc., in the event one of these needs replacing. I have not opened my Langmuir control box to see what is inside, but maybe I should! Having a list of available components (even aftermarket equivalents) would be nice to have in the future some time.

In closing, I have had mostly success in cutting everything I have tried to make so far. I remain largely impressed with Langmuir and the quality of the system.

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  1. Be persistent and methodical when fine tuning the process settings. Take good notes.
  2. dry air, dry air, dry air. If your electrodes are darkened/stained with swirl tracks, and pilot arc marks are pitted and raspy, you probably have moist air and its affecting quality of cuts and shortened consumable life. [edit] IMHO, the biggest issue with moist air is that it makes for very inconsistent cutting results, which of course makes accomplishing #1 very difficult if not impossible, as I learned the hard way.
  3. learn and understand THC theory and use an anti-dive circuit or sw when XY cornering.
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Totally agree with #1 and #2 but I am not familiar with:

I might agree with you but plasma cutting and CNC is relatively new to me. What is “sw”?

Ah, full disclosure, I don’t own a Langmuir machine :frowning: , I built my own (with some help from mfg) by converting a CNC router machine to also run plasma process. I like following the folks here because you guys and gals know what you are doing, so perhaps #4 on my list is to follow this forum :wink: I thought I read that the Langmuir THC has Z anti-dive software (sw) that can be activated. THC anti-dive is in reference to disabling the THC from moving Z while XY is decelerating and accelerating through a sharp corner, since those 10 - 100+ms (depending on programmed feedrate and acceleration value) is when the plasma jet eats more steel due to the slower speeds and as a result ramps the arc voltage, so having either an electronic anti-dive circuit or smart software prevents the THC momentarily from doing its job, aka the torch is NOT lowered due to slightly higher arc voltage. I ended up building a digital circuit I named “THC Z STEP Suppressor” to do that before I discovered the more widely known term “anti-dive” and that some controllers had this built in. This eliminated the 0.1-.2mm torch height I lost in sharp corners, and when cutting many short line segments like text shapes, those losses in cutting height are not recovered fast enough to prevent an eventual torch collision with dross or material.

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Okay. Thanks for verification. You are correct that when the speed falls below 85% of the cut speed, the THC shuts off automatically. :slightly_smiling_face:

Well, that what my THC Z STEP Suppressor circuit does too :slight_smile: then enables Z steps again when feedrate is > 95%. I get the feedrate % from the Spindle PWM signal.

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It sounds like you really know your stuff and I can now say “I agree 100% with you points of success with CNC Plasma cutting!” I am very impressed that you built your own system and have that knowledge.

My dad was an electronic technician and I feel he would have loved this type of thing. He worked at NASA (Sandusky, OH) and FAA (Alaska) most of his life. I understand physics and basic electronics. You guys are so far above my head that I just get lost sometimes.

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Would love to see pictures of your table. I really want a xr don’t want spend the coin. I have been meddling finding someone to make me longer lead screws and building a modified pro.

@ChelanJim that is kinda cool about your dad I have a great uncle that worked for NASA. We would ask him all the time if the government had aliens hide in area 51. You should have heard some of this answers.

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