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Plasma cutting guide for door?

 
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GoCoogs
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Joined: 05 Jan 2010
Posts: 26
Location: Houston, TX

PostPosted: Wed Mar 17 10 3:08 am    Post subject: Plasma cutting guide for door? Reply with quote

Hi, All,

Anybody have any tips on what to use as a guide when cutting out the main door on your cooking chamber?

I'm using a plasma cutter, and for cuts on my flat pieces I use either plywood templates or steel with stright edges.

I'm trying to figure out how to make the radius cuts on my main cooking chamber door. Plywood is too stiff and won't bend around the radius. Maybe I could bend some metal into an arc, but this seems like a lot of trouble.

What do you use as a guide to rest your plasma cutter tip against? Cardboard? melamine? A bunch of layers of tin foil folded up?

Any tips?


--Coogs
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JimmieOhio
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Joined: 11 Mar 2008
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Location: east side of Cleveland, Ohio

PostPosted: Wed Mar 17 10 3:18 am    Post subject: Re: Plasma cutting guide for door? Reply with quote

GoCoogs wrote:
Plywood is too stiff and won't bend around the radius.

Score the plywood with many parallel cuts to a depth of about 1/2 the thickness. It will bend easily.

That's what I did when I made my kid's playground slide before covering it with roof flashing.
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pyronoel
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Joined: 29 Jan 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17 10 3:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For the strait cut, any wood, or 1/8" steel works great. I used a 1/2"x1/8" trim strip.

for the curve...I used cardboard, and it worked, but the edge behind me was smoking. Looking back, I think if I had taken some foil tape over the edge, it would have helped a lot.

I bet a good stiff leather belt would be good.
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killswitch505
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17 10 6:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use 1 x 1/8 strap as well they make a roller attachment for most cutters I would like to get one just never got around to it yet
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seattlepitboss
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17 10 7:13 am    Post subject: Re: Plasma cutting guide for door? Reply with quote

GoCoogs wrote:
Anybody have any tips on what to use as a guide when cutting out the main door on your cooking chamber? What do you use as a guide to rest your plasma cutter tip against?


You need to bend some thin strap to fit the curve of your tank. There are many ways to do this, so how you proceed will depend on what is available to you. I scrounged a short section of heavy-wall 24" pipe which is the same diameter as my cooker and bent it using a hydraulic portapower, securing the part with C-clamps. After I finished, the strap fit pretty well. Here's another pic of the strap just lying on the tank. It fits pretty good, certainly good enough. To use it for a plasma torch guide, I will tack it down lightly.

You can also (painfully) bend by cut/try using a crude bending jig in a shop press.


To do this, I drew an arc the correct radius using a CAD tool and printed it out, and compared the bent piece to the paper drawing.

The spendy way to solve this is to find a rolling shop in your area and pay them to roll you a piece of strap to use as a guide. This will likely cost you $50-75.

It might also be possible to go buy a cheap 3' aluminum ruler and find a way to hold the ends down, and simply bend it around your tank. In the shipyards we would have held down the ends using dogs & wedges, but lots of guys aren't equipped to use those.

Finally, you could get one of those plasma guides with training wheels and freehand the cut if you have the courage. That would cost you a lot but you can also use those attachments to cut circles so maybe it would be worth it.

seattlepitboss
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Brians_45
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Joined: 12 Oct 2009
Posts: 44
Location: Maurepas, LA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 17 10 7:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are flanging the outside of the door, you can probably freehand it if you brace yourself off well enough. The flanges will hide any small movements. That is how I did mine.

If you need a nice neat line, I'd get some 1" x 14ga flat strap and bend it as needed. It should bend fairly easily.

-Brian
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dodis
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Joined: 09 Mar 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17 10 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

GoCoogs,

If you plan to flange the door, and the material you choose is not over the capabilities of this http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=36790, use it to roll your strap, then use the strap as your guide, then weld it on later as your flange.

And, get a 20% off coupon for Harbor Freight here... http://www.harborfreightusa.com/usa/common/displayPage.do?pageFile=magurl1.html and save $14. Smile
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k.a.m.
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Joined: 12 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17 10 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can go to your local welding supply store and get a wrap around. You might also want to buy one of those roller skates like Slapout bought for his torch. Let the skates roll beside the wrap around. Or just free hand the cut, that would be my choice.
Here is a link to his build it shows his adapter.
http://thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=32886&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=slapout&start=20
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