The project I’ll share this week is still ‘in-progress’. As opposed to so many of my other projects, this one was a project for me. In another eBay ‘deal’ I picked up a larger old cast - steel Vee Block on the cheap. The seller did not have any of the accessories, the elevated side/step Vee-ledge, the top clamps, etc. I told myself that I’d just make new heavy duty clamps for it and some day I’ll even make remake the elevated side/step Vee-ledge. I’ve used this massive Vee block up on my mill a few times already with a lot of 1/2-13 clamping hardware and some larger bars clamped diagonally across the stock and anchored down to the sides of the mill table and works well, but propper Vee-Block clamps are definitly needed.
I started this project last summer and I haven’t quite finished it up. There are just so many projects that keep interrupting it. The part that might be of interest to people here is the thickness of the material I am working with on the AVIDcnc. I’m using a Hypertherm-45XP and although Hypertherm calls it severing not cutting in 1in thick steel, I’m managing to puch parts out of 1in thick steel bar stock.
Here is a photo of the Vee-Block. Notice the size of the diet coke can in front of it for scale. This beastie is something like ~8"x8"x8". I’m going from memory there, that might be a little off, but it feels even bigger when one goes to lift it up onto the mill table.
In making these parts I decided to expirment so I did one on the band saw and one on the plasma cutter. Lesson learned, I should have saved myself the grief and knocked them both out on the plasma cutter.
This is how it came out on the band saw. I didn’t notice the slip when the saw started in on one of the cuts, but you can see one diagonal ‘leg’ came out too fat and the other too thin. There is not enough material there to clean up:
Mentioned above, one leg was cut undersized, so I had to go back and weld it up. I set things up for spray transfer mode with 90/10 gas and 0.030 wire and everything worked perfectly.
Everything worked perfectly because I was starting on an outside corner and working across which the welder sensed as a thinner piece of material on that first pass, so it got a decent bite/penetration.
After that was welded up I moved out to the garage and cut the 2’nd one on the plasma 1/2 of my AVIDcnc.
For 1in thick steel this cut is run while feeding at only 4ipm. Hahaha, I’m laughing at how fast that is compared to how slow that would have been on my mill, or how slow it was on the band-saw. Also, interesting to see, since it is cutting that slow, the plasma arc puts a significant amount of heat/energy into the part. Notice that pice curving away to the left is ~0.200in wide and it just peeled itself away and deformed. In the stop frame animated capture above, you can actually see the steel peel away.
The part came out great. There was a truly massive amount of dross on the bottom of the part that had solidified in the water tank and I had to use a cutting wheel in the grinder to remove it before I could ‘pop’ the part out. It took a good 8~10mins before the stock let go of the part.
I captured this quick image of where this part will go when I get it completed.
Next up, some 1/2in steel bar-stock was sliced up on the chop saw.
I took these parts to the 2x72in belt grinder and put a bevel on them to accept a full weld in addition to that needed by some of the joints themselves.
A quick layup.
I had pictured the ends of these being round and I was just going to grind them round on the belt grinder but for some reason, I can’t recall, I opted instead to throw them up on the mill and machine it in. If I had been thinking about it, I would have dropped these 1/2in thick parts on the AVIDcnc and knocked them out in a hury with plasma as well.
While I was at it I put both the plasma cut and bandsaw cut thicker parts up on the mill and took a skim cut around the exterior to get rid of the draft and leave them looking ‘purdy’.
I’ve got to say, the photo below made me pretty happy to see how these were shaping up.
When it came to the next step I ran into problems. I laid in a ‘heavy hot weld’ and had to grind it out. I did this 3x different times in total and after grinding away that much weld I realized, my welder doesn’t quite have the punch to do 1in thick steel properly unless workin on an outside edge.
After welding it up, realizing I had failed and gridning it back 3x full times I realized it was time to call in the big guns. Luckily one of my neighbors 2-blocks over owns and operates Snohomish County mobile welding. I dropped the parts off at his place and he hit an absolute home run with these! Normally, I try to do all of the work on my own projects myself, but in this case I was happy to have him do this part for me! Thanks Eric!
I’ve still got to punch some clearance holes for 3/8-18 bolts and drop in some threaded holes for 1/2-13 into these and then power coat these but that is the easy part of the project.
So this week I decide to share one of a small number of projects that I am currently “working on” at present.
How about it, anyone else out there cutting thicker steel on their AVIDcnc. I am interested to see your votes?
- greater than 1in