I don’t normally review cnc plasma cutting tables, mainly because they are out of the price range of many, but Torchmate has introduced a new robotic cutting system that makes quality cnc plasma cutting accessible to smaller shops, and even the garages of hobbyists. I’ve recruited a good friend of mine named Bill, who owns a small fabrication shop containing multiple plasma tables, to share his thoughts on the Torchmate with me. He is currently in the market for a new cnc table and is strongly considering this very plasma table. I thought this would be a good opportunity to let him get a feel of the Torchmate, and for me to get a second opinion of the performance of this system.
Before we get started, lets go over some of the features of the Torchmate 2×2. The 2×2 was designed with the small shop in mind. In weighs in at just 100 pounds, which is quite impressive for a plasma table that provides the ability to CNC plasma cut, CNC Routing, CNC drilling, CNC milling, and CNC engraving . All in one lightweight portable package. The Torchmate 2×2 works with just about any plasma cutter and robotics software available. The table is a multi-use platform which means you have the ability to mount secondary tooling.
One important feature that Bill needed for his shop, was to be able to use the Torchmate 2×2 with multiple Cad programs, and the 2×2 made it as easy as could be to transfer from one program to another. The machine comes with Torchmate driver software that import your CAD program file within just a few clicks.
I paired the Torchmate 2×2 up with a Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 52. Using the supplied adapter plates, the Cutmaster gun fit perfectly in the Torchmate table, and after a few leveling tweaks I was ready to cut. I’ve been using the Cutmaster 52 for a few months now and am very used to its cutting performance, so if the robotic system of the 2×2 can’t make a clean cut, then I know it’s not because of the Thermal Dynamics machine. Bill has experience with very high dollar cutting systems so he is expecting whatever machine he goes with to provide excellent quality.
Bill loaded a template of an intricate decorative star design that he uses to test out his other plasma systems, and we fired up the Cutmaster, turned on the Torchmate and let her run.. While watching the the first few passes of the robotic arm, I couldn’t help but notice how smooth it’s movement was. I was a bit concerned with the 2×2 only weighing a hundred pounds, because even though the table is secured, the weight of a higher end cnc plasma table provides a lot of stability. This allows the robotic arm to make precise cuts, without interference from the motors controlling the robotic arm. Seeing the Torchmate in action, put all of those worries to rest. The table was stable though all motions of the cutting arm. Bill also remarked on how stable the Torchmate was compared to much more expensive machines. The star design came out very good, with very smooth edges and uniform cuts. So far so good.
The Torchmate performed great when cutting the star in a small area that didn’t require much cross table movement of the robotics, but how would it do with a larger template? I loaded a project I’ve been working on the requires a very intricate, large cut. If the 2×2 was going to show any weaknesses, it would do it with this design. I turned on the Cutmaster 52 using the relay that Torchmate supplies (nice bonus), and watched as the machine got to work on my project.
The robotic arms were just as smooth covering large areas of a cut as they are on smaller ones. The machine made smooth cuts from each side of the table to the other. Never any jitter or movement issues with the robotics or the table. It made stable smooth movements that allowed the plasma cutter to make very precise clean cuts in all aspects of my design. I was impressed.
Have a look for yourself:
I could tell you what Bill thought about the Torchmate’s performance, but instead I will just tell you that he is in the process of asking his boss (his wife) for permission to go ahead with purchase of a new Torchmate 2×2.
If I don’t have much need for such a system in my shop, but if I was in the market for an entry level CNC plasma system, the Torchmate 2×2 would be my choice without hesitation. Now if your a larger shop, with a more industrial business model, the 2×2 may not be as heavy duty as you would need. But if your a smaller shop looking for a plasma system that provides quality cnc cuts, without breaking the bank, the Torchmate 2×2 may be just what you were looking for.
If your also in the market for a plasma cutter to go along with the Torchmate 2×2, then check out the Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 52, the two worked flawlessly together and the Cutmaster plasma cutter provides plenty of power to take full advantage of your new CNC plasma cutting table.
WMR Rating 9.6
Based out of Reno, Nevada, Torchmate has been innovating the consumer-level machine fabrication industry for over 30 years.
To find out more visit: http://torchmate.com/
While doing some research on the Torchmate 2×2, I came across an incident on a fabrication forum that demonstrates the kind of superior customer serviced that is far too uncommon, and it deserves to be recognized: Off-Road Fabrication Forum