LinuxCNC for hi-def plasma questions

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24 Dec 2022 01:18 #260207 by tommylight
Where i live (still) oxygen and nitrogen is prohibitively expensive, even CO2 bottles come with about 5 liters of it for the big one for 20 Euro.
And asking for a mix of say ...anything, you just get long stare's .
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If you look at my retrofits, the last machine i did, i retired a Hypertherm HT400, powering the monster was not such a big issue, but using it is a no go due to high cost of everything related to it, and there is rarely need for cutting anything above 5mm thick.
I still do not feel good having to yank all that equipment out and throwing it. And it is not mine!
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Back on topic, i would venture a guess at it not being terribly complicated, granted, first getting rid of the old RS232 comms and going bare metal.

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24 Dec 2022 08:51 #260224 by RDA
MaxPro does not have a serial com. You use just the normal digital IO for start, main arc etc.

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24 Dec 2022 08:55 #260225 by RDA
Depending on the plasma you cant just rip off the coms and use bare metal. The automatic gas consoles require you to send all the process info so that the plasma can set the correct gas types, flows, current etc.
For new HD plasmas you can get around this by using example your cell phones app to set the correct process.
But example retrofitting an old HPR with an automated gas console, you have to have a way to setup the process through the serial com.
The following user(s) said Thank You: caretech

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24 Dec 2022 09:24 - 24 Dec 2022 09:26 #260226 by caretech

MaxPro does not have a serial com. You use just the normal digital IO for start, main arc etc.
 


According to the Hypertherm brochure , "Optional serial communications allow full control of the
system from the CNC."
Last edit: 24 Dec 2022 09:26 by caretech. Reason: formatting was wonky first time

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24 Dec 2022 09:50 - 24 Dec 2022 09:51 #260227 by RDA
My apologies, I have not personally seen any MaxPros using the serial coms but have seen several without it.
As the plasma is very much like a powermax there is a high change that the protocol is the same or very similar.

Edit: And just to note, the maxpro does not require the serial com in order to work. So you can definitely make it work without the serial com and thus being very simple to use with lcnc.
Last edit: 24 Dec 2022 09:51 by RDA.

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24 Dec 2022 09:53 #260228 by caretech
No need to apologize!  Just thought I'd point it out. Can you explain to a dummy what the advantages would be of an HD system over the Maxpro? Do HD systems actually offer a better cut? The pictures & video showing MP200 cut quality look very, very nice.

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24 Dec 2022 11:10 - 24 Dec 2022 12:06 #260229 by RDA
In general consumable life and cut quality are better in HD plasmas than in the conventional ones. Even though with maxpro you can cut MS with O2/air, the consumable lifetime is quite poor (compared to air/air). As the maxpro has only 2 gas hoses from the plasma to the torch cutting with O2 means you also pilot with O2. This wears out the electrode quite a bit if you compare piloting with air.
Then also things like marking is completely automatic (switching between marking parameters).
If you google the ISO ranges between example maxpro and XPR should be a bit different.

Edit: So here are 2 examples of the ISO range (the maximum amount of angle specified by ISO:9013), seems I can’t paste from mobile… anyways at 300A XPR seems to be pretty consistent at ISO 3 and Maxpro at 2000A 12mm MS is at 4.
Price wise, expect to pay at least double for a HD compared to a conventional plasma.
 
Last edit: 24 Dec 2022 12:06 by RDA.

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03 Jan 2023 05:52 #260824 by vre
O2 N2 gas cost is everywhere big problem the solution is to produce on place...
But also this has high investment cost..
large screw compressor N2/O2 generators large storage tanks
high current supply for screw compressor
So only industries can do that not hobbyists..

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03 Jan 2023 23:02 - 05 Jan 2023 13:49 #260881 by caretech
Right, I understand that HD plasma isn't for hobbyists. But I think that LinuxCNC, especially with the excellent QtPlasmaC interface, can run with the best of them and is ready for commercial adoption. It's ready to move past hobbyists, and indeed in many cases it is already in production in shops that rely on their machines to make money.

I know of one commercial table close to me that is still quite good but its control computer is outdated and slow. The HPR plasma still works fine. This is a great example of a machine that LCNC could breathe new life into, for less than the outrageous prices charged by the big names in the industry for updated computers and software.

Too often this is the story with commercial CNC machinery. Good machine, junk computer: might as well junk the machine because it costs so much to upgrade the computer. If it was my table, I'd put serious research effort into getting HD control working with Linux. Since it's not my table, I don't want to touch it because I could sink a lot of time into the project only to fail. It is working as it is but on complex parts the computer freezes, so it's not satisfactory for all uses.

If such a retrofit could be made to work, then there is nothing stopping someone from making a commercial-grade table with a unit such as the XPR300, outfitting it with Linux controls on industrial computer hardware, and selling as a package. The computer really wouldn't go obsolete then, because it could be easily upgraded with standard hardware. Commercial-grade hardware or not, the owner can choose. The local computer shop can service it, no need for the big names that charge hundreds per hour.
Last edit: 05 Jan 2023 13:49 by caretech.

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04 Jan 2023 08:08 #260902 by rodw
As you said, its time thats stopping people. You can't just go and buy a Hidef plasma cutter. That is reserved for the big guys who partner with hypertherm. So much so these guys near me www.advancedrobotic.com/ are the distributors of hypertherm air plasma in Australia. I guess you can do that when you have tables in shipyards all round the world...

The thing is a lot of the hidef features are embedded in the front end and the gcode it generates. Linuxcnc can use a filter to achieve the same result. The Monokrom plasma config is designed to do this. It uses Plasmac under the skin and replaces any gcode cutting holes with its own version.
Unfortunately, James who did the development with my guidance got too busy to continue the project.
github.com/joco-nz/monokrom-vcp

This video I did explains how it works. Its based on some info shared with me by somebody with years of experience in the hi def industry with several manufacturers.


I did use it a bit and it worked well.

So all that needed is the weeks of work and thousands of sample cuts to develop the database we speak of..

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