Plasma cutter compatable frame?

I have a kit w/ Z-axis and want to build a non-standard frame for it. Although I initially plan to use the Maslow for plywood, I have a plasma cutter and am thinking about making a frame that would be forward compatible with playing with the plasma cutter. [e.g. steel support grid with some type of deflector behind it, casters so I can roll it outside, etc.]

I’m looking for pointers or advice from anybody who has gone down this route, and/or things to watch out for.


You’ll have problems with electrical noise and arc control. It would be great if you could get one to work, please let us know

Is the speed appropriate for plasma cutting? The only time I’ve ever used a plasma cutter (CNC) it seem to fly across the sheet at speeds rivaling even that of large CNC milling machines. I ruined a bit of material, actually, because I initially had it moving too slowly and kept getting globs all over the back of the sheet. One of the guys at the makerspace came over and cranked up the speed and then it cut beautifully.


Ok, I’ll have to electrically shield everything ( having the motors at the top corners should let me route wires and control boxes well away from the plasma head…)

I’ve seen some plasma cutters going at 20-40 ipm, which is under the 48 ipm speed of the maslow.

I’m not quite sure what you mean by “arc control”. I have the Z-axis kit but for the plasma cuter I would probably just set it to a single height for the entire cut.

To be clear, I’m primarily planning on using it with a router on plywood, but if I build the standard frame out of wood I know that wouldn’t work for playing around with the plasma cutter. I figured if I built a metal frame with a “grid” to support the working material I could easily put a piece of sacrificial OSB/plywood on top of the grid and then use it with plywood and a router while still maintaining the ability to try out plasma cutting…

Has anybody built a steel frame?

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Would pulsing the arc on and off work to allow slower travel speeds ?

a couple people have built metal frames, some have mimiced the stock frame, some
have built the top-beam style frame, I think one built a wall style frame

I’ve made a frame from Unistrut, but this one by @mexicomillionaire is much more impressive:

Ah, gotcha. My plasma cutter has no way to adjust the current easily under computer control, so I basically have to just maintain a consistent distance by hand now. Frankly, I’d expect a CNC system of any type to do a better job than I do by hand myself, so I don’t think arc control will actually benefit from having the gun mounted on the sled.

I made a steel frame myself. It’s 1 1/2" steel box tube and angle iron welded into a “top-beam” style frame as @dlang called it. Maybe I should start a thread on steel frame designs, as this is not the first time someone has asked about it. I am aware other people have steel frames as well, could be a good way to collaborate.

I posted images of my frame in this thread: Metal Top Pantograph kit available

I had similar thoughts in building it, that I wanted to be able to switch it between router and plasma cutter. I think that switching between the different machine types is alright for testing, but long term I’d rather have a second, dedicated machine for plasma cutting. At least the Maslow has a smaller footprint than most CNC’s.