How to Build a CNC Plasma Cutting Table

CNC plasma cutting tables give you the power to make precise, computer-controlled cuts in thick metal sheets. Cutting tables often come with price tags of $20,000 and up, making them inaccessible to many home machinists. By building your own frame and installing purpose-built cutting components, you can create a custom table at a fraction of the cost.

How to Build a CNC Plasma Cutting Table

Purchase a CNC gantry kit that fits within your budget. The size of the gantry determines the width of the table, so it is important to choose a model that is large enough for your cutting needs. Assemble as much of the gantry as possible without the table.

Plan the CNC Plasma Cutting Table

Based on the gantry size and style, create a design for the table. Determine the size of the cutting bed, the top frame, and the vertical supports. Decide whether the frame is partially supported or fully supported. Choose the type of linear motion system, drive motors, controller, and software. Create your design in a 3-D rendering program, and mark the sizes of each component.

Build the Frame

Choose a size for your CNC plasma cutting table. Using 2-inch square lengths of cold-rolled steel tubing, fabricate a table frame to your selected length and width. Use a welder to perform full-penetration welds at each seam to increase the stability of the table.

On the top of the table base, make the X-axis frame to hold the cutting bed. Install cross-supports that run across the width of the table. Lay the cutting bed on top of the frame.

Install the Linear Motion System

Install a linear motion system that is compatible with your gantry. Bolt rails to the inside or outside of the X-axis frame to allow the gantry to travel the length of the table. If you are using a rod system, install the rods on the underside of the X-axis frame. Place bushings on either end to create stopping points.

Build the CNC drive system and CNC motors. If you use gears, select the correct gear ratio to ensure precise movements. Alternatively, install a direct drive system. Align the system.

Add the Gantry and Cutting Components

Install the CNC gantry onto the rail or rod system. Bolt the sides of the gantry down firmly to avoid vibrations during the cutting process. Test the gantry's movement along the frame of the cutting table, and make adjustments as necessary.

Select a plasma cutter based on cutting capacity, strength, price, and noise level. Mount the router to the gantry, with the cutting tool facing down. Install a cooling system to prevent the spindle and cutting tool from overheating.

Install Electronics and CNC Controller

Choose a CNC controller. Wire the controller into your CNC system, making sure to run cables away from all moving components. Install an emergency stop button, a home switch, a limit switch, and proximity switches. Add MPG wheels, a jog wheel, a breakout board, and a stepper motor driver. Finally, connect the controller to your computer and install your preferred CNC software.

How to Buy CNC Plasma Cutting Table Supplies on eBay

On eBay, you can shop for most of the tools and materials for a DIY CNC plasma cutting table, from steel tubing to gantry kits. Begin shopping by typing the name of an item you need into the search bar at the top of the page. Click on the Search button to display relevant products, and use the filters on the left side to refine the results.