Plasma Cutting Module

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cweierstall
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Plasma Cutting Module

Post by cweierstall »

Has anyone at Vectric considered making a plasma table cutting module? I have yet to find a software package for my plasma CNC table that is anywhere close to the quality and ease of use as the Vectric products. Seems to me that Vectric could own that market if they wanted.

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Adrian
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Re: Plasma Cutting Module

Post by Adrian »

It can already be done with the standard software. It just needs a post processor with the correct commands to control the tool.

You have to make sure that you specify lead-ins and lead-outs on the profile toolpath as well so that the edges of the cut aren't overcut as the torch turns on and off.

cweierstall
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Re: Plasma Cutting Module

Post by cweierstall »

Thank you for the reply. I understand that a part can be drawn using Vectric software and then exported as a drawing file and then imported into a post processor to create the G code file. I guess a more accurate statement would have been, I wish Vectric would consider offering a module to perform the post processing inside of Vectric, much like it does with the G code processing for the CNC router. That would streamline things as well as give you the chance to run the tool path to check for problems. I teach students with intellectual disabilities and eliminating the extra post processing step would help my students. Do you use a post processor? Which one?

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Adrian
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Re: Plasma Cutting Module

Post by Adrian »

No, I'm not talking about exporting it as a drawing file although some people do do it that way. The post processor I'm referring to is the Vectric post processor that creates the g-code when you save toolpaths.

If you do a forum search you'll find many posts about it. Lots of people are driving plasma machines directly from Vectric software.

There are plasma post processors for a couple of machines supplied with the software.

Greolt
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Re: Plasma Cutting Module

Post by Greolt »

Did not realize there were some plasma PPs provided. Had a quick look at them and as expected they rely on specific M codes from within the controller software.

It may seem a little daunting but writing or modifying an existing PP is not that difficult.

You must understand the steps required to probe the material surface and initiate the correct pierce delay and cut height.

These you will understand if you are using your CNC plasma.

Mostly the PP requirements are based around the "Plunge' and "Retract" commands.

I use a couple of my own M codes that are called by the "Plunge" command. M commands are placed within your controller software.

No doubt you could do it all with Gcode inserted by the "Plunge" command but that is not the way I chose to do it.

kyeakel
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Re: Plasma Cutting Module

Post by kyeakel »

I defined a plasma tool which is available in aspire but it will not allow me to select it when defining a tool path.
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Adrian
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Re: Plasma Cutting Module

Post by Adrian »

What did you define it as and what toolpath are you using? Some toolpaths will only allow certain tool types to be selected.

kyeakel
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Re: Plasma Cutting Module

Post by kyeakel »

Not sure what you mean by what did i define it as? It is in the end mill section of the tool database.
I tried both pocket and profile paths, would have thought profile would have been possible.
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Adrian
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Re: Plasma Cutting Module

Post by Adrian »

I meant what type of tool did you define it as. An end mill should be fine. Could you attach some screenshots of what you're seeing?

All I can think is that you haven't completed the tool setup form but I wouldn't think it would let you save it in that case.

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Re: Plasma Cutting Module

Post by kyeakel »

Was using 10.22, have now upgraded to 10.5 and getting same result. Here is the screen shot. The plasma tool does not show up in the list when choosing a tool in the profile cut section.
2020-09-05.png
Thanks,
Kipp
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Adrian
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Re: Plasma Cutting Module

Post by Adrian »

I think you'll have to contact Vectric over that. I don't know what the intention for a plasma tool definition in the software is. If you define a laser tool then it can be used in the two laser specific toopaths (if you have the add on module) but that doesn't work for a plasma tool.

Before the laser module was added the way people used to use lasers was with specific post processors and dummy tool definitions which is the way most people do plasma cutting with the software to my knowledge.

kilrabit
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Re: Plasma Cutting Module

Post by kilrabit »

list it as an Endmill Plasma .040 dia, or whatever the cut size of your plasma width for that cutting tip and amperage.,

Since Vectric is a pixel based program, you will not be able to see your cut on a larger piece that is cut because the line is too small. You will have to shrink the size of the piece to see your cut or use a larger endmill size for the preview, usually this is no problem because it is a profile cut., You have one toolpath at .040 endmill and another preview toolpath with a larger end mill plasma to see your cuts.

I only use Vectric to draw the dxf's, then I import it to another program to tool path the plasma cuts.

kyeakel
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Re: Plasma Cutting Module

Post by kyeakel »

I also have been using aspire to make the dxf files which get exported to my plasma software. I was trying to get the plasma tool to work so I could use the preview to show customers. I’ll try the 0.40 endmill and see if that gives me what I want.
Kipp
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kilrabit
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Re: Plasma Cutting Module

Post by kilrabit »

Depending on the size of the preview you want you might have to use a 1/8 endmill or even larger to have vectric remove the cut portions of the preview. You will have to adjust as necessary to be able to view. You can adjust the scale smaller sometimes if it is a complicated design.

Greolt
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Re: Plasma Cutting Module

Post by Greolt »

I made a video explaining how I go about using Vectric software for plasma toolpaths.

It might help anyone looking to do this .


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