Plasma Cutter Generation 2 – Part 15: Rack and Pinion Drive

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So, quite a bit has gone down with the machine since my last post. I spliced together the racks, referencing the teeth with a third piece to make sure they mesh up exactly as needed. Then I TIG welded the two together, sanded flat, and attached it to the underside of my rails.

To attach the racks to the rails, I used double sided tape made by 3M for auto body molding. I have seen this done on a number of machines, including popular brand name kits. I was skeptical, and was ready to TIG them on if it failed. However, these things seem VERY sturdy. We will see how it plays out and go from there. Anyway, with the double sided tape, the installation was insanely easy. I didn’t take pictures of the install. I figure it’s pretty self explanatory.

I attached the torch using the U-bolts I mentioned earlier. Off the top of my head, I think they are 1-3/4″ U-bolts with some 5/16″ fuel line spliced down the length and slipped over them. It is quite snug, and worked well for me on the last machine.

So far the machine has been cutting well, though I think if I lower the Z axis motor closer to the X-axis V-rail, and invert it, using a pulley to connect the motor to the Z lead screw, I can reduce shaking at high speeds. Sitting up as high as it is makes it act like a large counterweight slinging around. Regardless, I have been cutting like a madman with this machine this week!

Here is a fun little project I did. A “zombie mace” which is one of our more popular items.

Also, the gentleman who runs The Flats here in Marion, NC asked me to make him some trophies for his upcoming Mudsling event for the weekend of October 17th. Here is what we came up with!

Next up on the to do list is clean this machine all up, build a new water table (been using my old one for testing), paint it all, add cable tracks, build a computer cart (I may just snag a black HF tool cart), and then run this thing!