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April 09, 2020

Benefits of using a CNC plasma water table

By scribe

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CNC plasma machines are proven to deliver widespread advantages in fabrication shops, autobody shops, industrial construction, and more. From versatility and efficiency to precision and reduced cost, a plasma cutting table boosts the production process to help professionals and hobbyists achieve better results.

Many plasma cutting tables include a feature known as a water table, which can build even further on these benefits to help users control fumes and streamline their end-to-end process.

Here’s a breakdown of how a water table works and how it can improve the overall quality of your production process.

What is a water table?

A water table – also occasionally referred to as a waterbed or water pan – consists of a tank of water (ranging from 3-24 inches deep depending on the application) that sits beneath the cutting surface. Above the tank are several vertical metal bars known as slats that support your material during cutting.

The water level typically comes up to .25-.125 inches below the bottom of the piece you’re cutting. Some machines have pneumatically controlled valves to adjust the water level, and some users may even submerge the plate and plasma torch under water during the cutting process (HD Cutting Applications).

Benefits of a water table

The proximity of water to the cut serves several important purposes in achieving a better end result.

The benefits of using a water table in CNC plasma work include:

  • Improved fume control (often reducing smoke by 90-95%)
  • Reduced plate warpage (water cools the material)
  • Reduced upfront cost (no fans or filter costs – no power costs)
  • Reduced noise (no fans)
  • Ready-to-use parts (reduces slag)

During cutting, the water traps fumes and cools smoke particles that sink into the water, reducing pollutants in the shop and saving on ventilation costs and filter needs.

The water also reduces the heat level of the cut and the material, which in turn reduces warpage and ensures parts cool more quickly to the touch and are ready to remove and use immediately after cutting.

Water tables typically come with a reduced upfront cost compared to alternative options, as well.

It’s not uncommon for water to splash during the cutting process, especially near the edge of the table. ShopSabre offers splash protectors in several different lengths that are easily movable and removable to combat this issue. We also offer a Plasma Defender water additive to prevent rusting of your table’s components and the workpiece.

Water table vs. Downdraft table

Water tables and downdraft tables are two commonly compared forms of functionality, both with their own advantages.

There are a wide variety of water tables, some with the ability to pneumatically raise and lower the water level and some with removable slat frames and slag trays. As mentioned, they use water to control fumes and reduce warpage during the cutting process, among other benefits.

Rather than trapping fumes in water, a downdraft machine uses a fan or blower to pull smoke particles and dust from the cut material down through the bottom of the table, then funneling it outside or through a filtration device. This may be more common when working with aluminums where hydrogen gases may be present.

Both methods work well and are capable of setting your work apart when operating a CNC plasma cutting table. ShopSabre’s CNC plasmas are available with either water table or downdraft functionality. Contact our team today for expert support in choosing the equipment best-suited for your application.

Add a water table to your arsenal with ShopSabre

ShopSabre’s industry-best CNC machines provide precision, efficiency, and total versatility to help aspiring hobbyists and full-time commercial shop owners alike produce truly outstanding results with a fraction of the labor. Shop our unmatched collection of CNC routers and plasmas today to take your shop’s quality and productivity to the next level.

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