Dave, a member/educator, is restoring his 1978 Jeep CJ7. He has already reworked the roll bar some of the fabrication tools including the tubing notcher, tubing bender and the welding equipment. Next on his list was the dashboard. Over the years it has had a number of holes added for various switches, lights and gauges. Dave decided it was better to just start over.
He designed a new dash panel in CAD software and saved it as a .dxf file. We worked with him to show him how to turn his CAD file into G-Code using SheetCam. It is surprisingly easy to do once you have know how. There are preset tools in the software that help you choose which nozzle/amperage you need based upon the type of metal and thickness you are cutting. When you make this selection it automatically sets the parameters; speed, voltage, amperage, etc. that are passed to the plasma control software through G-Code. The software even compensates for the kerf width, moving the cuts outward or inward to make the dimensions of the finished piece very accurate. You open the G-Code file using the Mach 3 software that drives the motors and plasma cutter. A few more clicks and sparks start to fly.
In just a few minutes the plasma table cut out all the new holes and shapes and Dave had designed. Finally it cut out the outline of the panel and the job was done. The cuts were clean with very little slag. Dave then moved into the metal shop and used the “Green Monster” put a bend along the bottom edge. The bend added rigidity to the panel and a rounded edge to protect his passengers when he goes off roading.