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So, I have decided to go with the Bladerunner system so that I do not need to make any further upgrades down the road. This should be the end of the line for an electronics/motor package for the plasma table. I wanted the adjustability of the digital torch height control, and after factoring in costs of all the individual components, it was only a little more expensive to go with the Bladerunner system. I chose the 100 pound gantry setup because I want to get a little fancy with the gantry.
I also began designing the Y axis carriages. The initial ones will be a mockup made from 11ga steel and will have multiple bolting locations for the gantry to mount up, because I am not sure the offset from the gantry to the torch yet. The final carriages will have only a single bolt pattern, and will be made from either 3/16″ thick steel, or 1/4″ aluminum (if I am feeling brave… I am still a bit rusty with my aluminum TIG welding).
One side will have 2 bearings on the left and right side to restrict motion of the gantry in the X axis, I will refer to this as the leading side. The opposite side will have only bearings on the upper and lower sides of the rails so that there is not redundancy in bearings trying to locate the gantry in the X axis. I learned with my first machine that by having bearings to locate in the X axis on both sides can lead to the machine going out of square and it was very annoying. I removed the bearings and everything was great from then on.
I will be adding areas for motors and gearing later
Here is the leading side carriage:
Here is the following side: