A CNC plasma cutter would be a handy thing to have for cutting intricate shapes.
I often use a pantograph with my router to do things
that would normally require a CNC router, so I figured, if it works for a router,
why not for a plasma cutter?
I started with some boards of silver maple that I milled on my own sawmill a
few years ago, and it's been drying in my basement since. I'm confident that it's stable.
I jointed, ripped, and planed it it to get the pieces of
the appropriate size.
Building the pantograph
Making sure I have all the parts cut out by stacking them how they will be in the
The large piece of wood in the long link in the back needs to be just
wider than the links that fit with it, so I measure the stack then trim
the part of the link half a millimeter wider.
The holes need to be precisely drilled. I used my callipers to score
lines from the end, setting it to half the width of the parts and
scoring from both sides. Then punching a divot at the intersection with
The point of a brad point drill naturally aligns itself with the divot,
even if the drill bit wobbles a little.
I trimmed a 45 degree angle on the ends of all the links. There was
enough of these that it was worth setting up the table saw
(normally, I'd just mark them and cut them on the bandsaw)
The torch part of the plasma cutter needs to mount in the middle of this
link. I made it wider so I could drill a hole large enough without
drilling it apart.
But I want the ends of the link only as wide as the rest of the pantograph...
... so I set up the table saw to cut away parts towards the ends,
then finished the cut on the bandsaw.