Electronics > Mechanical & Automation Engineering

CNC Plasma Table Motor/Electronics/Interface parts, in 2020? ........

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Smokey:
I'm building a small cnc plasma table of my own design (about 24in x 24in work area) .  The mechanical aspects are mostly finished, and now I need to select the motors, drives, and interface components and integrate those into the system.  I only need 3 axis now, but I may want to add another 2 axis at some point. 

Since this is a plasma table, not a router, there is essentially no cutting force so the motors don't need to be nearly as big.  I'm looking to go as inexpensive as reasonable since this is for my personal garage use, not a 24-7 business type use.  I'm totally willing to do my own integration, but I don't want to reinvent anything I don't need to.  Given the maturity of the tech and widespread use of similar components in lots of systems, there should be lots of good options now that may not have existed at a reasonable price before. 

What do you guys recommend now in 2020? 
What have you used? 
Any luck with cheap import ebay stuff?
Does it make sense to look for a cnc machine stepper package or part out the motors, drives, and interface separately? 

Thanks!

Smokey:
I also need a Torch Height Controller.  I have a Hypertherm Powermax30 that has no THC support at the moment, so I would need a universal controller.  If I had to I could upgrade but that would suck.

rvalente:
IN the DIY field you've pretty much all possibilities, there is also the good and the better.

First things firsts, what would be your CNC controller? Mach3/4?

These usually runs with controller boards, usually ethernet is better (smoothie board) + stepper drivers, I would say for you the cheap toshibas based are just fine.

Recently, ethercat has been leading the way, check leadshine drivers, there is no interface board, just a daisy chain ethernet cable.

As for the torch height, sorry, never made a plasma cutter before

Smokey:
Getting ready to post a dump of the research and options I've been finding for stepper kits for plasma tables. 

I've been in automation for a while now, and if I was going high end build for a real production type machine I would totally put together a brushless servo system and I agree that especially for something like this, EtherCat would be really nice.  Problem with that option is the cost vs performance.  I feel like, especially with a plasma table, the motion requirements are so low that the advantages of a servo over stepper are really small and the size of the machine and number of axis I'm talking about won't make quite the rats nest of wiring that makes Ethercat really attractive.
I have this conversation with one of my friends periodically.  When he wants a new piece of equipment he just goes and buys the low end pro gear and gets working, but I spend a considerable amount of time getting to the bottom of all the options to find the most cost effective solution even if that means making large parts of it and spending more time getting it working.  I try to justify it by saying I'm learning more along the way, but he's probably the smarter one in the end.

Smokey:
Kits with motors and drivers:
They are not all equivalent.  The motors are different and some have components the others don't, like controllers and interfaces and more axis.  This is more of an overview of options than a direct comparison.
I also haven't used any of this stuff yet, so I can't attest to the quality or functionality. 
From Higher to Lower Cost:

1) CandCNC BladeRunner Dragon Cut 300-4 (Bundle) = https://www.candcnc.net/store-home/bladerunner-dragon-cut-300-4-bundle/
$2,525.00


2) CNCRouterParts 4-Drive DIY NEMA 23 Electronics Kit = https://www.cncrouterparts.com/4-drive-diy-nema-23-electronics-kit-p-75.html
$765.00


3) Probotix 3-Axis Monster Hybrid Stepper Motor Driver Kit = https://www.probotix.com/CNC-CONTROL-SYSTEMS/CNC-CONTROLLER/3-Axis-Monster-Hybrid-Stepper-Motor-Driver-Kit
$499.95


4) BuildYourOwnCNC 3 Axis Electronics Combo = https://buildyourcnc.com/item/electronicsAndMotors-3axis-425-elcombo
$390.00


5) HobbyCNC HobbyCNC Combo Kit = https://hobbycnc.com/product/combo-kit/
$310


6) OMC-StepperOnline 3 Axis CNC Router Kit 3.0Nm(425oz.in) Nema 23 Stepper Motor & Driver = https://www.omc-stepperonline.com/3-axis-cnc-kit/3-axis-cnc-router-kit-30nm425ozin-nema-23-stepper-motor-and-driver-3-dm542t-23hs45.html?mfp=16o-ship-from%5B59%5D
$188.42

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