As you research CNC plasma tables, keep in mind that you must find some way to deal with the smoke created by the plasma cutting process. The dust is comprised of very fine metallic particles about the grain size of baby powder. If you do not do something to control it, this dust gets everywhere; on your keyboard, in your computer, in your electronics, and most importantly, in your lungs if you do not wear a respirator. The process of controlling the dust, smoke and fumes has been a tough task for CNC plasma operators, as the only affordable options are to use a water table, or build some type of downdraft system. There are advantages and disadvantages to both systems, and it usually boils down to customer preference.
The advantage of a water table is that, in addition to containing much of the dust and smoke, it cools the metal as it is being cut. Water splashes up underneath the metal, keeping it from warping and distorting as metal tends to do when heated enough. If cutting stainless, and especially mirror stainless, this water can also help prevent some of the heat discoloration around the edges of the parts being cut. It takes some practice, but with some patience, even mirror stainless can be cut without the blue and brown discoloration normally found after the process of cutting is complete. The disadvantage is that you have water splashing up all over your torch, which is still blowing air downward after the part is cut and falls into the water. Many users don’t like this, and some even think it is not good for the consumables–but in our opinion, the jury is still out on that one.
Option #1 Inexpensive Downdraft
If you are considering one of our CNC Plasma tables and do not want a water table, there is a do-it-yourself solution. We build our downdraft kits in such a way as to make it very easy for you to enclose your own table and convert it to a downdraft. Let us say, for example, you have one of our 4′ x 8′ tables. You can take a 4′ x 10′ piece of any type of metal, whether it’s steel, aluminum, or even galvanized steel, and have it cut long ways into two 2′ x 10′ pieces. Then take these two pieces and pop rivet them to the inside of the table frame. It fits perfect and you don’t even have to notch the sheetmetal around anything. Cut and install the front and back pieces, and then put in a bottom. You’ll then need to take some sheet metal and close in around the top of the table from the outside to where the grates are, this is usually about 6 inches wide or so. Then hook your choice of fan/blower to the enclosure and you are ready to go!
In order for this type of downdraft system to work, you have to have a full sheet sitting on top of the grate table so that there are no open spaces for the vacuum to leak basically. This is fine and easy to do if you are cutting full sheets all the time. But most plasma cutting shops are always needing to cut from that piece of scrap metal left over from the last job. When you are using those scrap pieces, you will have to cover the unused portions of the table with other pieces of scrap metal, so the whole table is covered and the vacuum will pull hard around the piece you are cutting. This system will work, and it is the most cost effective way to build a downdraft and control the mess from plasma cutting, but it is not the only option available now!
Option #2 Advanced Downdraft Insert
We now offer a new option for controlling plasma cutter smoke and dust. This Advanced Downdraft Insert is by far the best system you can get without spending $100,000 for a table with a moving louvered grate system. Those expensive louvered systems work great, but have a lot of moving parts. The downdraft insert that we are offering our customer base has NO moving parts (other than the fan motor you supply, of course). It is one piece and can be installed into existing PlasmaRoute CNC tables with little difficulty. You don’t have to enclose your table. AND this system allows the user to place a small piece of scrap metal ANYWHERE on top of the table. It will then pull the dust and smoke right down into the system. No need to “seal off” the unused areas on the table for this system to provide a good vacuum to capture your debris.
We are offering our downdraft insert for almost half of what some of our competitors are selling theirs for. You may order this premium downdraft system with your new PlasmaRoute CNC table, or as a retrofit for your existing PlasmaRoute CNC table. We even offer the option to powder coat the downdraft should you so desire.
Below is a short video of how well the downdraft works. Prices and sizes are listed on this page, underneath the video. When you purchase your downdraft system, we will tell you which blower/motor combination we would use, but you, the customer, are ultimately responsible for selecting and purchasing the motor/blower of your choice.
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Prices above DO NOT include the Blower and Motor needed for a complete installation!