LowRider 3 - Plasma Build "On a Budget" - Clarksburg, WV

I’m starting this thread to document my efforts toward a CNC plasma cutting table, based on the LowRider, most likely v3.

This is all a work in progress. Thanks for your patience and understanding. It will take time for me to test and prove my solutions. I am documenting as I can due to time constraints.

I’m gaining mountains of both information and inspiration from Kyle’s (kd2018’s) plasma thread here on the V1 forum:

Let me start by giving what I believe are my two to three best “budget friendly” tips, so far.

Saving $$ on Table & Water Pan (actually pans!)

I greatly admire Kyle’s welded beauty of a table (4’x4’).

I seriously considered that approach, and also considered building a table out of some 1.5" aluminum square tubes I have, using thick bolts and drilled holes. In the end I went with another approach (drum roll, please). First, a bit more explanation while I keep you in suspense.

The plasma torch and its cables are not all that heavy or hard to move around for a CNC. As one YouTuber proved, it can be done using a lightweight frame (intended for diode laser CNC) made out of 20 mm x 20 mm aluminum extrusion! NEMA 17 steppers are certainly up to this task.

However, any sheets of relatively thick steel you plan to cut are substantially weighty, and so “from the material down” your table needs to be able to hold quite a bit of weight. As the above YouTuber proved, the table to hold the sheet to be cut, and the frame for moving the torch, don’t even need to be firmly attached to each other!

So, in case you ever wondered why such a lightweight job (moving the torch) has been done by extremely thick, strong, heavy CNC tables, it’s because of holding the steel sheet, not the torch, per se.

That said, I have been operating on a tight budget. In preparation for shelling out enough dough to procure a decent plasma machine, a decent machine torch (aka pencil or straight torch), and various other needed things, such as a MESA ethernet breakout board and MESA THCAD to monitor arc voltage for enabling torch height control, an old-yet-decent laptop with touch screen, for running LinuxCNC, and various other tidbits including 24v and 5v power supplies, EMI Filter / Noise Suppressor to keep the power lines cleaner, an “Air Compressor Filter Regulator Combo, Water Oil Separator with Pressure Gauge, Manual Drain, Ball Valve and Bracket” to keep the incoming air dry, DIN Rails for mounting electronics, TB6600 Stepper Motor Drivers, and on and on the list goes…

I quickly realized I could not (at this time) even think about affording a $2,500 Hypertherm name brand plasma machine, let alone a turn-key CNC table, not even the least expensive decent ones such as from Langmuir, makers of the popular Crossfire CNC plasma tables.

I also realized I needed to save money on any plan for table and water pan(s) (for “down draft” type cutting). Also, for safety, I want the table to be metal. I also wanted something like a 30" x 60" table (inspired by Crossfire CNC table) so I could mount the LowRider and still have enough width to slide in, and cut, full width sheets of metal, even if I had to support longer sheets hanging off front and back, and potentially do “registration” cuts so I could cut longer length pieces in multiple cut jobs.

To save money and yet get a decent CNC-ready plasma cutting machine, I went with this one:

Hynade CNC Blow Back Digital Air Plasma Cutter, Non-HF Pilot Arc Non-Touch Plasma Cutting Machine, THC Torch Height Control Enabled - CUT60DN

Affiliate link: https://amzn.to/3BCjJiy

My price: $499.99

I’ve received it and it seems all as described. I have not yet had occasion to test it. Other specs/details from the listing include:





And here’s the CNC torch they recommend for those who want a “machine torch” aka pencil torch, straight torch, etc, to work with their CUT60DN:

Hynade PTM80 CNC Plasma Cutting Torch - Blow Back Straight Torch Cutting Head - For Blow Back Non-HF Pilot Arc Plasma Cutter for CUT60DN

Affiliate link: https://amzn.to/3OMfrIB

My price: $199.99

I’ve received it and it seems all as described. I have not yet had occasion to test it. More pics / specs / details:




So…my “out of the box” answer, re. table?

A stock, food-service type table made of stainless steel. I turned to the Vevor brand (no doubt a China import type company) that I’d bought from in the past and was pleased with both the quality and the price. See below.

A certain type of stainless steel food-service equipment table is lower than normal table height because of the chef’s/baker’s desire to put tall equipment on it (such as big blenders, etc), and things still not be too tall or out of reach. That kind of table is meant to support heavy loads, and while the low height is not a crucial deal breaker, if I attach heavy duty casters, it will raise the top height, and adding water pan(s) will raise it even more. To make casters work, I may well have to weld some steel plates on the bottom of the legs, but I can do that. I just recently bought a welding machine from Harbor Frieght and taught myself to weld, bare minimum skill to get by.

The price on the table was definitely attractive. Here’s the listing link, price, and pic:

VEVOR Stainless Steel Table for Prep & Work 60" x 30" Kitchen Equipment Stand

Link: VEVOR Stainless Steel Table for Prep & Work 60" x 30" Kitchen Equipment Stand | VEVOR US

My price: $259.99

Stainless Steel Equipment Table us_SBSKTBD6030INLDMMV0_goods_img-v1_stainless-steel-table-m100-1.2

Note: The splash guard is often welded onto these tables, but this one is bolted on, and thus removable. Plus, it’s height may not be an issue with the water pan(s) and may even be desirable.

The table has been shipped but has not arrived.

My out of the box answer, re. water pans?

This needs to also be metal, definitely stainless steel is preferred. Here again, I considered that there are off-the-shelf pans, perhaps half as big as I would want, available relatively affordably, intended for use as drain pans under washing machines, etc.

I found an affordable listing (below) such that I could buy two of them and place them side by side on the table above.

28" x 30" x 2.5" Heavy Duty 304 Stainless Steel Washer Machine Drip Drain Pan Floor Tray with anti-slip bottom pad, No Hole

Affiliate link: https://amzn.to/3S980OF

My price: $129.99

28" x 30" x 2.5" Heavy Duty 304 Stainless Steel Washer Machine Drip Drain Pan Floor Tray with anti-slip bottom pad, No Hole Brand- 3 BUZZLETT 61L298i-Q0L.AC_SX679

The pans have been shipped but have not arrived.

Steel Slats for CNC plasma bed

I’m taking some inspiration from Langmuir Systems Crossfire CNC tables for how they have slats in their water pan for holding the metal to be cut. Since those slats are a “consumable,” they sell them in sets of ten (10) on their site, and the price seems decent, compared to cutting my own slats from flat bar. So I bought a couple of batches:

Langmuir Systems - Steel Slats for CNC plasma bed (set of 10) for Crossfire CNC tables

Link: Steel Slats (Pack of 10) – Langmuir Systems

My price: $39.95

I want to again say how much I appreciate the great source of help that Kyle @ kd2018 has been.

I’m sure I’m leaving off a lot, but hopefully this will be a start on documenting.

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Here are affiliate links to some other items I’ve ordered for this CNC plasma rig:

6 Pieces Silver Streak Welders Pencil Carbide Scriber Tool with 48 Pcs Round Refills Silver Metal Welding Marker for Fitter Welder Steel Construction Fabrication Woodworking Glass Hardened Steel

My price: $15.99


3D Print Open GT2 Timing Belt 10 Meters (32.8 Ft) Length 2mm Pitch 10mm Width Rubber Drive Belt for Creality Anycubic Anet Series 3D Printer

My price: $14.99


Aiposen 110V/220V AC to DC 5V 5A 25W Switch Power Supply Driver,Power Transformer for CCTV Camera/Security System/LED Strip Light/Radio/Computer Project(5V 5A)

My price: $9.99


Nxtop AC 115/250V 20A CW4L2-20A-S Noise Suppressor Power EMI Filter

My price: $14.69


AVAWO® DC 24V15A 360W Switching Power Supply Transformer Regulated for LED Strip Light, CCTV, Radio, Computer Project etc.

My price: $20.98


Push Button Switch AC 400V Red Sign E-Stop Emergency Mushroom 22mm NO NC + 6pcs End Stop Limited Micro Switch for CNC

My price: $11.99


Plasma Cutting Consumables for Plasma CUT60DN Torch IPT65, Non-HF Pilot Arc Plasma Cutting Torch Consumables (IPT65 Parts)

My price: $45.99


20 Pieces DIN Rail Slotted Aluminum RoHS 8" Inches Long 35mm Wide 7.5mm High

My price: $19.48


Plasma Cutting Consumables for IPT80, Non-HF Pilot Arc Plasma Cutter Torch Consumables IPT80

My price: $49.99


x 2

Twotrees TB6600 Stepper Motor Driver 4A 9-42V CNC Controller for 42 57 86 Stepper Motor Nema17 Single Axes Phase Hybrid Stepper Motor for CNC Arduino 3D Printer 3PCS

My price (per set): $25.99

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I have a very similar plasma cutter, cut60, not the dn version. Because we have 3D printers, I would say save yourself the expense of that super long pencil torch. You can easily design a mount for the handheld (pro tip make it removable to be able to cut by hand real quick).

Two water pans in a line might not work so well unless you weld a seam around the outside of them. The torch will cut through them where they meet. Welding the seam will keep them water tight.

I have set mine up from Kyle’s perfect write up, and am very happy with it. Now that the LR3 is done I am ready to get my water table built so I can start ripping!!!

Too late, already have it in hand. My initial plan was to have both hand torch for hand cutting and be able to leave the machine torch in place, only making a connection switch at the machine.

I’m cooking up plans to attach them in a water tight way. One idea is to cut out much of the sides where they meet, but leave enough that I put a rubber “gasket” between them and bolt them together. Welding is also an option. I’m new to welding and need to see if my equipment can weld stainless, and if so, do I have the skill level yet to do that.

What are your plans for making your water table?

Just checked, and my little gasless welding machine (Titanium Easy-Flux 125 Amp Welder) says it is not for welding stainless.

Quote from Harbor Freight site:

Weldable metals: Mild steel, low alloy steel (not suitable for aluminum or stainless steel)

Well, you can weld stainless, it just won’t be stainless anymore at the seam. Even with my TIG and Argon I doubt I would be able to keep it stainless on both sides. Not easy to keep it all oxygen free.

I figure I will just fold up some sort of inexpensive sheet. Use corrosion inhibitor and drain it into a sealed tank when not in use to keep it dry.

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Here’s a rough first glimpse of my LR3 plasma CNC table. There is not to be a control box like on my LR3 router table, because this plasma table is to be controlled by a laptop with touchscreen.

Printable parts I’ve designed/remixed for this CNC plasma table include:

Printable Cable Chain for CNC, two-piece, snap-open, 20mm x 40mm, 64mm radius (v1.12)

and to mount the above:

LowRider v3 plasma CNC - Drag Chain Mount revised for large 20x40 drag chain (v1.1)

Here are some screen shots of the mount as it is intended to be used:

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I’ve been refining the 3D model for the overall build, which includes making remixes for 3D printing and some designs for new parts for 3D printing. Along the way, I’ve been printing more and more of the parts needed, while waiting for ordered items to arrive.

More screen shots are below, which update on the design refinement process.

One of the new parts I’m working on designing is the torch mount. I see basically three or four choices for it.

  1. Two-part mount in which bolts secure both parts at once.
  2. Two-part mount in which bolts secure the first part semi-permanently, and bolts secure second part to first part in a somewhat removable way. This is the current design shown below.
  3. Three-part mount in which bolts secure the first part semi-permanently, and some type of quick release secures second & third parts (and tool) to first part in a more removable way.
  4. Three-part mount in which bolts secure the first part semi-permanently, and magnets secure second & third parts (and tool) to first part in the most removable way, also allowing a “break away” feature if the torch should hit an obstacle hard enough. I’m interested in this approach, but I would probably need to order more magnets to do it.

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The off-the-shelf stainless steel table I’m using for the LR3 plasma table. Vevor website, $259.

Note: the ACTUAL dimensions of the table are not 30"x60" but rather 29 7/8" x 59 3/16" (1503mm)

…so the 30x60 was more “nominal.” Thankfully I allowed enough leeway in my plan to handle this discrepancy.

Coming soon: pics of the printed mounts I designed to position the 1.5” aluminum square tubing that I’m using for the rails of the LR3 plasma table…

Since the plasma table won’t have a vac hose, but still needs something to hold wires, I’ve designed this remix of the hose hangers. Shown in blue in first two screenshots, gray in the last one. They’re peppered with screw holes and a couple of sip ties channels in each one.

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Record of some details / key measurements:

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End Cap for 1/2” EMT Tube (v1.0)

For when using 1/2" EMT (electrical conduit from home improvement stores) in projects such as the LowRider v3 CNC, this end cap protects against snags and scrapes (v1.0). Prints with no supports. PLA. Can be scaled a bit as needed in your slicer to get a tight fit. Mine fits tight just as it is. Also, a bit of painters tape around the stub can help tighten a loose fit. Quick print. For me about 9 minutes each. Enjoy!

Download: Printables

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End Cap for 1.5” Square Tube (1/8” wall)

For when using 1.5" Square Tube (1/8" wall) in projects such as the LowRider v3 CNC, this end cap protects against snags and scrapes (v1.0). Prints with no supports. PLA. Can be scaled a bit as needed in your slicer to get a tight fit. Mine fits tight just as it is. Also, a bit of painters tape around the stub can help tighten a loose fit. Enjoy!

PS: photos show some of my build progress on a CNC plasma cutting table based on LowRider v3 platform.

Download: Printables

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Regarding my design efforts toward a floating Z base for my 3D-printed machine torch mount, I’ve decided to go with a linear rod and slide bearing, that is just like the ones used for the YZ plates of the LowRider 3, except it only needs to be 100mm tall instead of 150mm (or 200mm in my case and other’s using @SupraGuy’s design for extended YZ plate).

I’ve also decided to go with a magnetic break away feature, and then the question becomes how strong of an attraction is desirable and what magnets to use. I initially tried a design as shown in the attached images in which I used 12 of the slender “tab” style neodymium magnets, at 6 per side, and while the “star/clock hands” arrangement/configuration works well from a standpoint of self alignment, I don’t think the attraction is strong enough. The pounds of pull seem too low for the torch in hand. See more on that below the design pics.

The astute will notice that the design eventually includes a pen holder based on earlier designs remixes used for LR2 and LR3.

Again this design was done and printed, but I am redoing the magnetic breakaway for a different set of magnets.

I’m now working to alter the design to support use of a metal plate to be on one side, and on the other side two thick magnets that I just salvaged from an old PC hard disk drive, as seen in the image below. These magnets are exceedingly powerful, and with them I have the opposite concern, not too weak, but too strong. Their pull is so effective that the intended breakaway goal become a challenge as the torch tip could be damaged before the torch breakaway actually happens. So to mitigate this, I’m experimenting with how much printed plastic in a layer between the magnet and sheet metal, would be needed to reduce the pull to a more desirable range. The challenge on that end is that I’m trying to keep the thickness down as I had already drilled holes in my 1.5" square tubes based on a thinner design that did not include either floating Z or breakaway, and as this design is thicker, it’s offsetting my plasma tip from my table. I may have to drill and tap a new set of holes.

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I realize that I need a limit of movement block at the top and bottom of the linear rod. Maybe just an exposed screw head on the linear rod at each end.

I started to think that maybe the linear rod does not need to be that long, however, as I studied the spacing between the holes in the rod compared to the size of the slide bearing, I realized even one less hole gives me no range of movement, and each added hole gives 25 mm of movement, so the rod is not longer than it needs to be, and instead the distance between holes gives a minimum range of use that is perhaps double what I really want, at 25mm as opposed to about 12mm.

Could you make the two clamping pieces one piece?

Due to front clamp part also having the pen holder on it, I don’t think I could do a one piece clamp, as the slit for squeezing the one piece clamp would interfere with the pen holder. Unless you see something I’m missing.

It’s hard to tell by looking at the renderings but how much ‘stick out’ would a pen need to be able to reach the surface? I ask because if it is too long that would be problematic.

Being a magnetic breakaway mount talk about quick change! You could just print a dedicated magnetic pen holder and just swap out when needed.

Either way, you could always slide the pen holder to the side, or the slit to the side, or both.

Ultimately what you’ve already come up with is pretty damn slick so don’t pay too much attention to me.

QTPlasmac provides for air scribe, zeroing lasers, and even tool PoV camera functionality, have you thought about incorporating any of that down the road?

[edit] On second thought, an air scribe on a magnetic mount is probably asking for trouble… I suppose all this peripherals would have to somehow be crammed into the non-breakaway part of the mount.

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