Plasma cutting is a technology that, like routing and milling, can be made far easier and more accurate with the help of computer numerical control.
If you’re considering purchasing one of these machines for the first time, it’s important to ensure you go with an entry level CNC plasma table that’s suitable for beginners.
So, what does an entry level CNC plasma cutter look like and what are the top models? That’s what we reveal in this guide, where we explain what to look for in a beginner CNC plasma table before reviewing the top machines on the market.
What is a CNC Plasma Table?
A CNC plasma table does what a regular plasma table cutter does – cut metals using ionized gas torches – but with the added use of computer numerical control (CNC).
So, instead of manually cutting metal using a plasma cutter, with a CNC plasma table you create your designs first using software, send them to the machine, and then operate it through your computer.
The big advantage of using a CNC plasma table over a traditional one is that it removes the need for manual cutting, which achieves two things.
First, it makes the process much easier and less work, but more importantly, it can greatly improve the precision of your projects by removing human error.
Of course, there’s a bit of a learning curve with the software and CNC plasma tables are significantly more expensive than manual cutters, but if you’re looking for an easier, more accurate way to cut sheet metal, then it can be well worth the investment.
Now, let’s take a look at the best CNC plasma tables for beginners.
The Best Entry-Level CNC Plasms Tables & CNC Plasma Cutters
Langmuir Systems Crossfire
- Price: $1,495
- Working area: 2ft x 2ft
Nicknamed the “Garage Warrior” by the manufacturer, the Langmuir Systems Garage Warrior is designed for hobbyist home setups and is undoubtedly the cheapest CNC plasma table out there.
This is largely due to its incredibly low price, which is significantly cheaper than virtually every other model on the market. So if you’re looking to get into CNC plasma cutting on a budget, you can’t go wrong with the Crossfire.
However, while it may be cheap, it’s still an impressive table and offers high-quality plasma cutting.
The Crossfire has a working area of 25.3”x23.3” (2ft x 2ft), which makes it one of the smallest plasma cutter tables on the market, but it’s ideal if you have a small home workshop where space is at a premium.
If you want a slightly larger cutting area, there’s the option to add an expansion kit for $150 which takes the total space to 25.3”x33.3”.
There are several other add-ons available, including a drop-in stainless steel water table and a laptop stand.
The Crossfire comes with FireControl software for operating the machine, and Langmuir Systems provides a library of free designs you can use to test your cutter out. It also provides a subscription to the free version of Autodesk 360 for creating your own designs.
While it’s not necessarily the finest model out there, the unbeatably low price means the Crossfire is the best budget CNC plasma table.
- Price: $3,995
- Working area: 2ft x 2ft
The GoTorch is another of the more affordable CNC plasma tables on the market.
This is also one of the easiest CNC plasma tables to use, thanks to its ease of assembly, convenient size, portability, and intuitive software, making it a perfect entry level machine.
For starters, it’s really quick to get this cheap CNC plasma table kit setup – less than an hour.
Other CNC plasma tables can take significantly longer to assemble, and in some cases, you need to order additional components separately when you get started.
You’ll get a detailed video instruction manual that contains all the information you need on setting up and using your GoTorch.
Another benefit of this beginner CNC plasma table is that it’s compact and portable – far more so than many of the more expensive tables out there.
It can easily fit in small home workshops and be stored away when not in use, and it’s even small and light enough to be carried by one person, so you can transport it as required.
Despite it being aimed at beginners, the GoTorch still offers impressive plasma cutting capabilities.
It uses high-quality servo motors rather than stepper motors, which is pretty impressive considering many other more expensive CNC plasma tables use steppers.
The manufacturer claims that this helps the GoTorch cut up to twice as fast as some other cheap CNC plasma tables.
You get a subscription to the DesignEdge software when you purchase a GoTorch.
This is a really intuitive and flexible software that makes it easy to import designs from external programs but also has its own advanced drawing, editing and machine operation controls.
So, it’s a great choice for beginners but still offers advanced features for when you gain more experience.
StyleCNC 4×4 CNC Plasma Table
- Price: $4,280
- Working area: 4ft x 4ft
StyleCNC is a well-known and respected manufacturer of hobbyist and mid-range CNC machines, and its 4×4 CNC plasma table is one of the top beginner models you can buy.
This cheap CNC plasma cutter ticks about every box you could want as a novice.
It’s easy to install, use, and maintain, it’s made using top-quality components for great reliability, and is able to cut both ferrous and non-ferrous metals quickly and accurately.
In terms of software, the StyleCNC 4×4 plasma table comes with FastCAM, which is based on AutoCAD drawing. It’s a really intuitive software that automatically converts AutoCAD designs into a g code file that you can then transfer to your plasma cutter via USB.
The base machine costs $4,280 but there are numerous add-ons available that can take the price up to $12,000. These include servo motors, a rotary component for cutting cylindrical objects like steel pipes, a flame cutting head, and a water table.
There are a number of positive reviews of this beginner CNC plasma table on the StyleCNC website that prove it’s a popular machine among hobbyists. People have praised the high-quality packaging, value for money, cutting speeds, and power.
For example, one user states that the machine effectively cuts 3/16 steel for 5-6 hours a day with high precision, while another says that the StyleCNC plasma table cuts 1/4 plates fast and effortlessly.
Premier Plasma 4×8 Table
- Price: $5,180
- Working area: 4ft x 8ft
Premier Plasma CNC offers a variety of CNC plasma tables, but the 4×8 model is notable for being one of very few on the market that offers such a large working area at a budget price.
It’s constructed using a steel frame that’s extremely sturdy with no wobble or movement, which means you can achieve really accurate cutting.
All the components are of high quality, with high flex shielded stepper motor cables, 420oz NEMA 23 stepper motors, and a ball and screw Z-axis as just a few examples.
One of the most impressive things about this entry level CNC plasma table kit is that it comes with a laptop included that has everything you need to get started preinstalled, as well as a wireless mouse and keyboard.
This includes Inkscape and ViaCAD software for creating your designs, as well as Mach3, which is one of the highest quality CNC control software with plasma cutting functionality you can use.
You also get a free trial for SheetCAM, a CAM software dedicated to plasma cutting.
STVCNC SparX 4400
- Price: $5,449
- Working area: 4ft x 4ft
Another high-quality yet affordable CNC plasma table is the SpaxX 4400 from STVCNC. This is a 4ft x 4ft table with a sturdy, heavy-duty build that enables you to cut up to 1.5” steel plates with precision and speed.
One of the highlights is the high-performance torch height control (THC).
This uses advanced processor technology to respond to cutting conditions and provide excellent control and accuracy.
Other high-quality components include the linear guide rails on the Y axis, which are built with ball-bearing dual carriages on both sides for great fluidity, while the precision ball lead screw on the Z-axis allows the THC to move rapidly and with great maneuverability.
You also get a magnetic breakaway kit included.
This prevents discarded pieces from your workpiece from getting in the way of your plasma torch, protecting the Z-axis from damage and helping to maintain gantry calibration.
The SparX 4400 has a smart module design that makes it easy to assemble, and unlike some other plasma tables, it comes with a waterbed included alongside your first set of replaceable flat bar slats.
Finally, STVCNC is known for its great customer service, and the SparX 4400 comes with a one-year warranty and lifetime support.
- Price: $7,799
- Working area: 2ft x 2ft
If you’re looking for a slightly higher-quality beginner CNC plasma table, I recommend checking out the Baileigh PT-22.
This is smaller than the likes of GoTorch and the StyleCNC plasma cutters, with a 2ft x 2ft working area, but its high-quality components and smart build mean it offers great reliability and high-quality metal cutting.
One of the best things about this entry level CNC plasma table kit is that it comes fully assembled, so you can get started right away.
The steel frame makes it super durable and sturdy, which in turn helps you achieve really precise cutting. There’s also an industrial-grade cable track on the X-axis to ensure super-smooth cutting movement.
Another thing I really like about the Bailiegh PT-22 is that it comes with some things that you often have to buy separately with cheaper plasma tables, such as a water bath.
It also comes with a license to the BobCAD CAM software, which is a powerful yet intuitive software with easy-to-use toolpaths. You can use this program both to create designs and convert them into g code for running on your plasma table.
Choosing an Entry Level CNC Plasma Table
Now let’s take a look at the factors you should consider when choosing an entry level plasma cutter to help ensure you pick the right machine for you.
It’s always important to pick a CNC machine that provides a large enough working area for your needs, but you also need to make sure it fits inside your workspace, particularly if you’re a beginner with a small home setup.
CNC plasma cutter tables can vary in size from 2ft x 2ft all the way to 5ft x 10ft, so you need to make sure your machine is a suitable size for your workshop.
Most novices go for machines ranging from 2ft x 2ft to 4ft x 4ft for beginner CNC tables.
Cutting speed & accuracy
Perhaps the most important factor to consider is the speed and precision with which a plasma cutter can cut different metals, as this will have a defining impact on the quality of your work.
Manufacturers don’t always make this information easily accessible, so the best way to get a good understanding of an entry level CNC plasma cutter kit is by reading reviews, blog posts, and forum discussions.
There’s a lot of variety when it comes to software setups for CNC plasma tables.
Some manufacturers have their own proprietary software, some machines come with third-party programs, while in some cases you may need to purchase a software subscription yourself.
You’ll need software for creating designs, converting them into g code, and operating your machine. Some packages tick all three boxes, while others only perform one functionality.
Different CNC plasma cutting software can vary a lot in terms of functionality, usability, and power, so make sure you weigh up the software packages of different machines before taking the plunge.
CNC plasma tables are some of the most expensive types of CNC machines on the market, with only a few models costing under $5,000 and most retailing for over $10,000.
So, make sure you carefully consider the qualities of different machines to ensure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.
What does a CNC plasma table cost?
CNC plasma tables don’t come cheap – the most affordable entry level model, the Langmuir Systems Crossfire, retails for $1,495. Some other models are available in the $2,000 to $5,000, while higher quality CNC plasma tables typically cost well upward of $10,000.
How do I choose a CNC plasma table?
There are several important factors to consider when choosing a CNC plasma table, including size, power, accuracy, software, and price. I strongly recommend reading our guide to the best entry level CNC plasma tables to help you make an informed decision.
What should I look for in a plasma table?
It’s important to consider a range of factors to ensure you find the right plasma table for you, including price, cutting speed, precision, usability, software, and size. To learn more about when to look for and to check out some of the top machines, read our guide to the best entry level CNC plasma tables.
What size plasma table do I need?
This depends entirely on the space you have and the projects you want to work on. Tables can range from 2ft x 2ft to 5ft x 10ft, with larger tables costing a lot more, so beginners and casual hobbyists often go for 2ft x 2ft or 4ft x 4ft tables.
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