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  • Cutting guide

    Got a new Cutmaster 52 and tried it out. Works great! But, cutting freehand, I can't cut a straight line. The manual says for a straight-edge cutting guide or a pattern, use a "non-conductive" material. I can't tell from their videos what material they use. I tried a 1x2 wood board and that worked, but I'm afraid of setting it on fire. Any suggestions?

    Thanks,
    GS
    I live in my own little world. That's OK, they understand me here.

  • #2
    try some copper

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    • #3
      Wood works fine, but I prefer masonite if the pattern isn't straight. The masonite will ride under the insulated section of the plasma torch and allow you to use the narrow tip section to allow a tighter, more precise cut line on a non-linear cut. If you do use wood, make sure the edge is smooth or you'll telegraph the wood grain onto your cut line. I don't know how your plasma torch is set up, but I've never had a problem using a section of 10 ga. plate clamped to the workpiece as a straight edge guide with mine.
      Miller 251, Lincoln PrecisionTig 275, Miller DialArc 250 AC/DC, Hypertherm 900, Bridgeport J-head, Jet 14" lathe, South Bend 9" lathe, Hossfeld bender with a collection of dies driving me to the poorhouse, Logan shaper, Ellis 3000 bandsaw, Royersford drill press and a Victor Journeyman O/A.

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      • #4
        I've used wood and steel. With the way I was doing it, a non-conductive part of the torch was riding along the steel anyway.

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        • #5
          If you are welding or cutting either plasma or torch you should have a fire extinguisher at hand just in case. It may save your house or garage.
          Unless the wood you are using is soaked in a flammable fluid I don't think it will turn into a raging inferno. a bucket with H2O and a old towel has always worked for me.
          glen, been there, done that and probably broke it!If you aren't on the edge. You'r taking up to much room

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          • #6
            all good responses, except for DannyK (shame on Dan), the reason you want a non conducting guide is to prevent double arcing (clamping a conducive to the work and runnig your tip against it is the same as running the tip on the work. double arc=short consumable life)

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            • #7
              I have used up a number of yardsticks...but my favorites are the large paint stir sticks. You'll be moving so fast it will only scorch the wood. I've yet to set one ablaze. When one side gets used up, just flip it over and use the other. Cheap...free...works....I have use all sorts of scrap at times, even cardboard (but, you reallly gotta boogie with that!!).
              "Good Enough Never Is"

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              • #8
                Yea,

                I was beginning to wonder when copper was declared "non-conductive".

                For a straightedge, I use a piece of maple which I ran thru the jointer to establish a true straightedge. I then ran it through the router and cut a 1/4"x1/4" dado on the bottom edge. That little relief seems to help prevent searing the wood.
                SundownIII

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by SundownIII View Post
                  Yea,

                  I For a straightedge, I use a piece of maple which I ran thru the jointer to establish a true straightedge. I then ran it through the router and cut a 1/4"x1/4" dado on the bottom edge. That little relief seems to help prevent searing the wood.
                  SHOW-OFF!!!

                  like they said in school, "did you bring enough for everyone?",

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                  • #10
                    I use a yardstick and paint sticks as well and do a lot of it freehand. My guy gas made some patterns for circles in 1/4 luan, cuts them with a hole saw. All these are simple and fast, especially the ability to follow a line.
                    http://www.facebook.com/cary.urka.urkafarms

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                    • #11
                      Thanks!

                      This place is fantastic! I have learned so much here.

                      I have some 3/4 red oak that would be perfect. A pass across the jointer for a true edge, and I'll try SundownIII's suggestion for the rabbet.

                      Fire is fearsome. Do most of my stuff in a dirt area beside the garage. I keep it free of weeds, grass, and keep both a dry chem extinguisher and a bucket of water nearby.

                      My first quick attempts were freehand drag cutting. Just wanted to get a feel for it, since this is my first plasma cutter. Air pressure too low, travel speed way too slow. I'll try it again with the straight edge and the standoff guide. Should work a lot better.

                      When I get a chance, I'll try patterns out of masonite or luan. My scroll saw will let me cut patterns more intricate than the torch could follow.

                      I feel priviledged. Looks like some of the top experts imparted their knowledge. I love this forum!

                      Thanks, guys!
                      GS
                      Last edited by GilaSlim; 10-22-2008, 02:43 PM.
                      I live in my own little world. That's OK, they understand me here.

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