How CNC plasma cutting changed the way i build things – Jim Colt

Come meet me in the MaverickCNC booth at SEMA 2020

For the third straight year I am planning on attending with my friends from MaverickCNC by working in the show booth at this years SEMA (still scheduled!) show in Vegas. I have been working at industry trade shows that are related to metal fabricating for around 40 years, and I must say the world’s best hot rod show is my favorite. I thoroughly enjoy talking to all of the car people that come through the booth from the younger “wannabe” hot rod fabricators through some of the best known custom designer fabricators in the world. We always have several celebrities stopping by the MaverickCNC booth to talk about their highly capable, Hypertherm equipped CNC plasma tables.

Jim Colt - Tips & Tricks

CNC Plasma Cutting changed the way I do things at my small shop

I was in my small shop in New Hampshire this week where I have done a wide variety of metal fabricating projects for a few decades. Everything I build seems to have some plasma cutting applications, almost always cut on a computer-controlled CNC plasma, though there always seems to be the need to do some hand held plasma cutting as well. The Hypertherm Powermax plasma as used on the MaverickCNC plasma table allows for CNC plasma cutting, and by just unplugging the machine torch with the “no tools required” quick disconnect I can use the hand torch for cutting virtually any metals in my shop either freehand or by using a template or straightedge. 90% of the cutting I do is done on the CNC machine which involves CAD drawing the proposed part, loading the appropriate material on the cutting bed, tweaking a few settings, and pushing the cut button!

From an idea to a finished product in less than 15 minutes

A good example is with this bracket cut from 10 gauge steel. A friend of mine was building a custom truck with a V10 engine. He somehow misplaced one of the two ignition coil brackets that he needed to finish up his engine compartment. He brought me the one bracket that he had, which I placed on my standard office printer/scanner bed. This was saved as a picture file jpeg and imported into the MaverickCNC CAD/CAM software. A bit of touchup work was done to the scanned file and within about 10 minutes we were cutting this part on the CNC Plasma table. Total time to do the CAD touchup work was about 10 minutes, cutting time was about 40 seconds. A quick hit with a flap disc on the grinder and my friend took the part home added paint and installed the missing part for his build! The MaverickCNC plasma cutting system makes jobs like these very easy, and you now have this file ready to cut again if the need arises. Worried about learning the CAD drawing or operating the machine? This is where the easy to use machine excels. Granted, there is a bit of a learning curve with CAD drawing, however MaverickCNC provides turnkey installation and training to get you started in just a few hours.

plasma cut parts

The MaverickCNC Plasma Table is worth the purchase price for the time saved alone

An example of why the MaverickCNC system is worth the purchase price in a metal fabrication shop or hot rod shop where the work is often “one of a kind” parts shows clearly in parts like these!  The 12 gauge steel part to the left is a custom exhaust hanger that would be welded to the cars frame. Typically a part like this would have been made from 3 pieces (2 sides and the back) and you would spend some time laying these out on a bench, perhaps drawing the 3 parts with a soapstone marker then cutting with a cutoff disc, an oxyfuel torch or a hand plasma torch. Some grinding with an angle grinder would be necessary to make it look nice and a trip to the drill press for the bolt holes would be needed. Then…. you would somehow hold the 3 pieces in the right position and weld them together….with maybe more grinding if your welds were not as nice as you desired! I would estimate roughly an hour in your shop to make this part. With the CNC plasma cutter, the part is drawn in CAD in about 5 minutes as one piece…..with “stitch cuts” to make the bending easy (you can see stitch cuts in the aluminum piece in the pic). About 35 seconds to cut the part, bend the sides by hand and verify squareness, then weld in the stitch cuts for strength and appearance. Maybe 15 minutes to do the whole part, and again, you now have the cut file if you ever need the same part again! The coins in the pic show relative size of these parts, and indicate the relative cost for materials and cutting on a project like this!

plasma cut parts

MaverickCNC has the best mechanical machine design, software and after sale support and training that are second to none

So, I occasionally get a little sidetracked! Here are a variety of parts laying around in my shop, from a simple washer (cutting a simple washer including dimensioning and drawing takes seconds….and how many times could you not find the right one in your shop!) to suspension brackets, dash panels, alternator brackets (stainless steel) wheel spacers and anything you can think of made of metal can be done with the MaverickCNC plasma table. What makes it a better CNC plasma machine? There are several lower cost options in the market, however MaverickCNC has design roots from high end industrial CNC plasma, fiber laser and waterjet machines. It has the best combination of mechanical machine design, software and after sale support and training that are second to none. Come to the 2020 SEMA show in Las Vegas and visit with us at the MaverickCNC booth, South Upper Hall #36225, I will be there and look forward to chatting with all of you! See you in Vegas, November 3, 4, 5 and 6!

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