The CNC Projects


January 11, 2015
My son, Chris, is building a CNC Plasma Cutting Table for his new busness. He decided to buy a turn key solution for the electronics where as my project will be running LinuxCNC. But I'm building a 2' by 3' table for milling and 3d printing. I have 20mm ball screws and linear bearings for that project.

Chris is running with a Hypertherm 65 and a CandCNC BladeRunner. This is what it looks like so far:

plasma table one

Yesterday we had finally gotten to a first cut test!

The First Cut

Yea, that's just not right. The torch head did not come down from the piercing height. The cutting voltage was reading 32, so I'm assuming from here that we have a divider in hardware or software that is wrong. But it was the end of the day, I said I would would check with support. Hay, we got this far on our own. He will be fabing a Z axis home system this week and we will hit it again next Saturday. This is about a water bath away from being done. (He plans on remaking the gantry out of aluminium using the existing gantry; but that's later.)


Jan 12, 2015
I got these photos yesterday afternoon, Chris is moving right along:




Also, I checked the latest candCNC manual and the g-code in the example is way different than the code we were generating in our test run. I'm still not clear why the voltage was so low with the torch so far away from the work....


 Feb 9, 2015
We have only been able to work on this one day a week. Saturday I put a water holding system together for a first run test. It really works very well. I'll clean up the long hoses and fix it up with a regulator so we can just hook the air up and go. I also plan to put them on wheels. For now I just used an air nozzle with a regulator to push some 2-3 scf of air into the top of the barrels to fill the table. It takes about 5 minutes to drain or fill the table.

water system

That first Z system was just not right. Chris ordered a couple of 16mm linear bearings and we reworked it. We also put decent switches on the system.

New Z

The second switch goes to the E-Stop so the cutting head can't be forced into the work if something goes wrong. And, of coarse, stuff does go wrong. Chris wants to make a new gantry out of aluminium, at that point we will clean up the wiring.

We tried it out on some half inch plate. That still needs dialing in.

Half Inch Plate

Cut some tombstone plates on the back side of some really rusty old diamond plate.


It should not be long and this thing will be ready for some real work. The water table slats are next.


Feb 19, 2015
We did not work on this last weekend. Chris will be here tomorrow for more. I did work on the water system, it should be good as done now. I put the barrels on wheels and cleaned up the plumbing.


I took an old propane regulator and set the spring up for about 26" of water pressure. It works extremely well, I'm pleased.


The table fills in less than 10 minutes. When the water gets to the bottom of the barrels, it just stops as the pressure is balanced. That means the barrels don't burp like when I was filling with an air nozzle. Just plug in the air and walk away. Yea, I threaded the copper tubing to 3/8" pipe. I just need to fab a plate to bolt it up under the table.

Feb 22, 2015
We worked on the table yesterday. We cut three slat keys for the middle and the sides and installed them. We had enough material to put four of them in.


The new gantry is next, all aluminium. We cut the new motor mounts from 1/4", it cuts so nice. The center strut will be a 2" x 6" square aluminium tube. Here is the drawing for the side runners. We should get it done this weekend.


March 1, 2015

Chris came by this morning to do some work. First we cut the pieces for the Gantry.

New Gantry 1

He took it home to cut the ends and tig it up. A piece like this has just a few hours of work with the plasma cutter. He also cut up a sheet of plate for an art project.

Art Cutting

Art Work 2

We've had issues but it is all part of learning to use this tool. So far, it has been a great experience. Oh yea, yesterday I cut this up for a friend.

Pet Allies

I created it from a jpeg logo. I used this jepg to svg converter: Online SVG Converter, Then QCAD to convert to dxf for sheetCAM. It is 5" by 8", just big enough for the details to show well.

March 5, 2015

I made a new battery holder for our travel trailer. The back brackets were cut on the plasma table.

battery 1

Battery 2

March 30, 2015
Saturday Chris came over and we swapped the old gantry for the new one. This one masses a little over 40 pounds less than the steel gantry did. Also, the cutting head is now out in the open. I'll clean up the top mount for the cable carrier and the wiring this week. I'll be adding the soft touch circuit also.

New Gantry

I've also finished the pumbing for the air so there is one connection for the water and the plasma cutter.

New Air Plumbing

Here is a video from the very first test with the table. No plasma but it is routing!

Here is a video cutting metal.

 Thanks, Dan. (



Copyright 1996 - 2015, Highlands Electronics All Rights Reserved.
Page created: 11 jan 15   rev: 30 mar 15