Small format, entry level, hobby class…the list of names for air plasma tables goes on and on. The main thing that differentiates an air plasma table from others on the market is price. A typical air plasma table will cost less than $20,000. In addition to a low price (compared to larger industrial systems) these tables have the following characteristics:
– Lightweight construction with off-the-shelf structural tubing or aluminum extrusions
– Delivered unassembled to keep shipping costs down
– Motion control guideways made of low cost V-rail / rollers, flat bar with cam bearings, or simple cam bearings on tubing
– Stepper motors used for the drive motors
– Operating software is universal motion control software (found in CNC applications like routers, CNC mills, lathes, etc.)
– PC or laptop used as CNC
Though you won't get the highest levels of productivity with these machines, the capability and cut quality of these machines is surprisingly good, especially on steel. This could be why these machines are showing up in garages all over North America.
If you're interested in learning more about these types of CNC systems, join us for "What to consider when choosing an air plasma system," part of the 2014 Hypertherm Webinar Series. This free webinar takes place this coming Thursday, June 12 at 2 p.m. eastern time.
EDITED TO ADD: A recorded version of this webinar is now available for on-demand viewing at What to consider when choosing an air plasma table.