A Brief Overview of CNC Plasma Machines and the CAD-CAM Software They Use


Over time, CNC Plasma machines have rapidly evolved from their 2 Axis machining capabilities to more sophisticated Multiaxis CNC machining capabilities of 4 & 5 Axes. This progression is primarily thanks to the technological advances of CAD-CAM software in the last 20 years or so. Originally pioneered in the 1950s, Plasma Cutting quickly evolved to replace much of the oxyfuel-based steel cutting done into the late ‘70s. As we rolled into the 1990s, Plasma machining became more of the process that we know, use and understand today. Currently, most Plasma machines work by using a torch composed of gas or air that is ignited with an electrical arc to create the plasma. Plasma is then forced through a small nozzle, capable of cutting steel up to several inches thick.

CNC Software for Plasma Cutting
Powerful CAD-CAM software becomes less of a luxury and more of a necessity when dealing with CNC Plasma machines nowadays. Efficient CAM software allows shops to do their work in a fraction of the time and check for errors with state-of-the-art simulation functions. Machinists can import various shapes and program them out using the profile Toolpath cutting feature. Their CAM software will then provide simple 2 Axis profile Milling capabilities that can be turned into Toolpath for posting to your CNC Plasma machine. Lastly, your machine code (G-code for Plasma machines) will be generated by the CAM software and that’s what ultimately directs your machine to cut the desired finished part(s). Many CNC Plasma machines vary, so they will generally have different post processor configurations that will be needed. If you have trouble with your M-code, CAD-CAM technicians are available to help shops set the specific variables needed by the controller to ensure the program works as originally intended.
Users who are looking for a more user-friendly, powerful and efficient CAD-CAM software to pair with their dynamic CNC Plasma machines should look no further than BobCAD-CAM V30. Download a free demo HERE and experience the difference!

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