Thursday, December 27, 2012

GoTorch - PlasmaCam Review

I owned a DHC Plasmacam table but sold it to purchase PlasmaCam's larger Samson 5' x 10' table.
The Gotorch is PlasmaCam's smaller table 2' x 2'. And YES all 3 tables are manufactured by Plasmacam, but they want people to beleive they are not? Even Shop Outfitters is connected with the PlasmaCam. All located in Colorado and American owned and made.
Why they want buyers to think they are all seperate is unknown, but maybe they feel its a better sales pitch? I can't imagine who would really care as long as the product is quality, and my personal opinion is that they do make quality equipment and their new software, DesignEdge is top notch!
They do have their faults as all companies do but I really don't care for deception!
When GoTorch first came out the website listed positive buyers and all had only good things to say, and I really don't expect to have them list a unhappy customer! Except the table hadn't even reached the market and these claims of how easy it is, and the person wished they knew about this before sinking their money into a competitors table that they couldn't learn to operate, and the GoTorch has already paid for itself the first week they owned it?
After googling the peoples names and those listing a business, not one person came up nor did their business? Ironically the names did sound familiar as they had names within Plasmacam?
Plasmacam has one of the best sales marketing out there, so really didn't expect any less from GoTorch either!
Why does this matter? Well for the new person especially in this economy where money is short and almost any person unable to find employment will venture into trying their hand at owning their own business, I feel its necessary to inform them what I learned from my business adventure with Plasmacam. Though I purchased my tables used except for the Gotorch, I didn't feel that the warranty justified paying full price! Your support is through Plasmacam Owners Community forum or PlasmaPig which just recently was transferred to Plasmacam, and prior to that was owner operator owned and policed. Only owners of these 3 tables are allowed to join and the people connected are very helpful. There is an awful lot of people who also post on youtube and their videos can help out a lot. This brings me back to GoTorch, where your only support is the forums. Supposedly to keep cost down. Since I have been on these forums for a few years now the people who are giving the GoTorch rave reveiws on their website have never signed onto the forums? All names of owners are listed so it wasn't rocket science these are not real owners! My owning 2 tables prior still didn't help me with the new GoTorch as the software that it comes with for the basic price is junk! So the few people who do own the GoTorch have signed onto the forums and have been asking questions of how to get it to cut?
And other questions related to that table? Most are confused that there are something like 4 different verions of DesignEdge software, and you only get BASIC DesignEdge unless you upgrade to other versions. But on the website they say for the sale price its all you need right out of the box? I  questioned their saying all you need is the table and a plasma cutter?
Let me tell you it is just the start of what you need!
You will need an Air compressor large enough to keep up with the demand of cutting, and a Refrigerated air dryer to keep the cutting air dry so your consumables last longer!
And plasma consumables, especially fine cut, ohmic cap etc. A good ground rod driven into the ground close to where you set the table up.
A good size downdraft exhaust fan or water table.
220 volt line or two and some 110 volt lines. A basic computer with a parallel port.
Then what I have been reading is almost everyone ends up purchasing the upgrade to Advanced designEdge software, that will add about $2,000.00 to cost of table. PlasmaCams old software 3.11 was better than the Basic DesignEdge software so if you could get a hold of an old version you might be happy with that version as some still are using it and never upgraded to even basic!
I will say that their video manual is getting better but not yet to have any new owners be able to operate out of box without asking questions on the forum?
Almost all new owners need help even after watching the video and some give up and sell their table?
That's who I bought my tables from!
Then almost everyone including myself get sold on how easy the sales video makes it look!
An the dollar signs in your eyes on all those neat artsy craft objects you'll be making?
Except every craft show you go to has someone already selling these art craft items already and now i see them from China and are already painted etc.
Oh yeah, I forgot, you will need grinders, sanders, paint and paint guns to get your item looking good? And most will need some way to bend their items or tack them together like welding etc.
Then you realize you will need to pay to get a spot at a vendors like area so the public can see your stuff and have to sit there while they pass by for the cheaper junk!
Upon realizing that you branch out to making parts for people or mass producing parts if your lucky to get a contract?
I am not here to discourage you but inform you that they are trying to convince you to buy their product but if you were able to visit the forums prior to purchasing you might think otherwise, but that is one reason why only owners are allowed? To be fair, they did allow anyone but most people asked the same question over and over, is plasmacam worth it....and instead of doing a search where it was answered already, everyone new would just ask and it got to be old quick! Especially back when the forums were run by owners and not the company.
So I have to honestly say that if I was to buy a table again it would be the 4' x 4' DHC2 table and get the Advanced everything software. The Pipecutter is OK and so is the 3D but not really necessary or a big ticket selling item maker. For me since I have the Advanced software total package I can use that software with the GoTorch so its just a smaller table for me than the samson, and if needed I could take it with me if needed. Not easily, as it would still need a large capacity air compressor, air dryer and plasma cutter along with a 220 volt generator!
There was a question posted on the forums asking who uses the plasmacam for business or just hobby and almost all said hobby. Bought as a business but soon realized there wasn't a need for this.
Most large companies have the money to purchase a professional table or a laser or water jet!
Just do some research prior to buying especially because this is a big investment and make sure there is a need for what you plan on cutting?
If you do decide it is what you want then my personal feelings is the PlasmCam table is well designed and the Advanced DesignEdge software is worth the price!
Just be prepared for a long learning curve even if your computer savvy and know CNC, as most people think its as easy as the sales video and it isn't!
Sales won't be very helpful either as what I have read on the forums from new owners is they will just sell you the table and not advise you if paying more to get the better software, or the larger table, but they just want you to buy anything and will worry about your complaints later..
My advice if buying one is to pay with credit card even if you have the money, as your credit card will fight for you if there is any issues after paying.
Like any major purchase and in any business, get it in writing your concerns and later it won't be "I didn't tell you that?"
Example: Ask in writing if all you will need is a plasma cutter? If they write yes, and later you need to buy an air compressor etc., then you can return the table for a full refund for them lying to you and your credit card company will do all the fighting for you..
Get it all in writing like you would when you do your first business transaction making something!

In closing, there will be some saying that I just like stirring up crap? I wish I would have been able to read someones view on this prior to buying my first table! Even though I didn't pay full price I wouldn't have bought it. I paid less than $7,000 for the 4 x 4 with a Hypertherm 1000 and over $1,000 worth of Plasmacam's art discs and free shipping to my house! After a year owning it I still could not operate it to its fullest especially the DHC or digital height control?
I sold it and bought a used Samson 5 x 10 for $7,000.00 an extra controller and cables from a company whose employees could not figure out how to operate it?
So I don't have nearly what others have invested and if need to could sell the Samson 5 x 10 easily and get my money back.
I just this years learned how to operate it to its full potential and can say it is an awesome table when you know how to use it! Being retired its not there to make money for me to live off of, but have not yet made enough money to even pay off what I paid for it? I would be really upset if I would have paid $16,999.99 full price and not been able to pay it off yet.
That is why I feel it necessary to tell you to make sure there is a need for what you intend to make?
Good Luck...
I Will answer questions but must tell you that I am not always on my computer as I enjoy doing other things also.

12 comments:

  1. Before someone makes a comment about my Harley. I did the drawing for my fairing and had it painted on by a professional painter.
    There were a few comments about it being racial.
    I was one of the children back 1960 when integration was implemented. By random order children were chosen by lottery to attend school in a neutral school. Also the black children were randomly chosen to have equal numbers of whites and blacks learning together. I was in the fifth grade. All my neighborhood friends went to their normally neighborhood school while I was bused to a school in a rough neighborhood. It was the best thing that ever happened to me! I met some of the nicest kids that I wouldn't have if not for this. Some black kids to this day are my friends and learned we all bleed red!
    My fairing has the American flag with the confederate flag intertwined as one. It is made to look like it is flapping in wind and fraying on the end like our relationship with each other. The 2 white horses charging out in the center are highlighted in black also showing that white needs black as black needs white. A little deep for some but for those of us who actually participated in history can relate. My black friends have no hard feelings for this painting and are not offended. Ironically they needed no explanation, but whites who see it, giggle and think its racial?
    Amazing how we think!

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  2. Hi Ronald,
    Is it possible to use the old version 3.11 with gotorch controller?

    ECY

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    1. It is possible to use the 3.11 but when installing the software you will have to select DHC2 for your table as the GT wasn't out when 3.11 was being used.
      Also you won't have the ability that the software recognizes the table size as it will think your table is a 4x4 table.
      But you can utilize all of 3.11's ability and when you want to cut you will have to import into software at the lower left bottom corner or where home is.

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    2. I have to update that answer on using the 3.11 software.
      As of today, 9-03-2013 Plasmacam has tweaked their controller they sell on the new tables to NOT run the original software 3.11 but only the Design edge software.
      If you have a version 1 controller or one made in 2012 early that controller will work.
      Plasmacam did this to make people buy the Design edge software. It wouldn't be bad but it adds almost $3,000.00 to the price of the table.
      Its why they sell the table withe the Basic Design edge.
      If they sold it with the full version it would scare people away from buying even the Go torch 2x2 table.
      It sell for $2,999.00 but if it came with the Full Design edge Software it would cost $5,999.00!
      What a gimmick or sales trick!
      But it works as everyday on the Owners Forum (which is your only support for getting help, as they don't lifted phone support) there are new owners asking why the video manual shows one thing but their software doesn't?
      Why is so many things grayed out on their software screen but the video manual shows it not grayed out?
      Oh, you need to cough up $2,000.00 to get that to work?
      And still don't get any phone support!

      Don't feel bad as they don't have instructions on their 3D software! And have been saying they will soon for the last 3 years! Or any instructions on their nesting software either!
      But they keep selling the upgrades as their sales videos keep sucking everyone in.
      They are not me members of the BBB either and I'm know why!

      Buy used as everyday someone gets frustrated and sells theirs.
      Check your area for how many plasma cutting table owners are in your area if your starting a business. If you are selling artsy stuff and there is already a few cutting and selling forget about doing so as they don't sell for a lot of money those artsy things and will be a flooded market.
      Nowadays you can see Chinese metal art already powder coated for pennies so how are you gonna make any money?

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  3. I just wanted to let you know that the names of the people and businesses on the Plasmacam site were changed because they were getting too many phone calls and questions about owning a Plasmacam. That is why you cannot find them anywhere. However, if you look at PlasmaCam's facebook page you will see all kinds of real people and business owners that LOVE the machine. I know it has changed the lives of many people. PlasmaCam should be proud of that.

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    1. Lindsey,
      That might be true but not before the Gotorch even came out?
      I viewed the Gotorch web site as soon as it came out and the people commenting couldn't have been contacted by anyone as I tried? I wanted to speak with at least one of those people writing raving reviews on a machine that is basically a starter unit that comes with even less basic software than the first original plasmacam table?
      How could something this basic could make a lawyer more money in the month he has owned it than the 3 years he worked as a lawyer?
      Or a company that denied it had any connections to Plasmacam besides purchasing some components from Plasmacam?
      Marketing should not be lies!
      If you take that $2995.99 table top unit and add tax or even shipping then a Plasma cutting machine, with a good size air compressor, and a air dryer along with some sort of exhaust system to get rid of the smoke and metal particles you have added probably anothe $2,995.99 and only to find out you get the "Basic Software" (why don't they tell you this prior to purchasing?)( almost everyone on the forums that bought this table said nobody told them the basic software was worthless) so another $1,995.99 to upgrade to advanced designedge software!
      Ron c

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  4. Anyone looking to buy a Plasmacam should check craigslist or eBay if not some equipment trader magazines for used tables.
    Not only will you not pay full cost but will get told how to work it. If the person can't show you how to operate the table it will explain why they are selling it. Its usually the main reason people sell them. Not all is true in their sales video making it look so easy.
    Remember if it was easy, everyone would do it.
    A brand new Samson 5x10 table is $16,999.00 with just basic design edge software.
    Add in the upgrade to get it to run will cost $1,995.00
    Its worthless with the basic software but keeps price low.
    Add in the large capacity air compressor $1,000.00
    A refrigerated air dryer $400.00
    Exhaust fan, electrical work, duct work etc. And your in for at least $30,000.00
    That's a lot of artwork at $40.00 a item you have to sell.
    The Go torch is $2,995.00 but only comes with the basic software also.
    Add all above extras to that to get it operational.
    Now its at $12,995.00!
    A used table is usually only a year old as the original owner gets frustrated quickly. Support is usually in the way of a owners forum run and owned by Plasmacam so don't expect much one on one time.
    Ask a question and sit and wait until someone answers. If they answer it right the first time great!
    But usually two days later your not even sure the person knows what you asked themselves is correct or if the person even has operated one of the tables as some haven't but answer anyways.
    You have a better chance getting the answer by using the search button and entering your question there but almost nobody does that?
    Why I have no idea but laziness.
    In all I still like the product but would never buy a brand new one when there are so many used ones for sale.
    And the only thing that might need replacing is the control box but even that can be rebuilt.
    The little guides etc need replacing at times anyways so its no big deal or expensive.
    Ron C.

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    1. Thanks for your helpful comments and review. I am thinking of getting into this as a hobby. So appreciate the time you have put into this.

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  5. I just ordered a GoTorch, do you know if anyone has tried other software with it?

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    1. I have to apologize for not answering right away or so it seems. I replied using my iPhone but it has never showed here that I have?
      As I posted above, the only software I know would be Plasmacam original and last updated 3.11 software, and you need to do what I stated above for it to work.
      That is if you can find someone to sell it to you.
      Bite the bullet and upgrade to advanced, its worth it, and you'll probably end up buying it even if you try other software. So don't waste your money and stick with Design edge advanced. Save your money and don't buy their 3D, or pipe cutter either. Nesting really isn't needed with the small table.
      Stay with the hand torch. You don't need the Snap n Cut if you learn to use height control so save your money on those also.
      Good luck

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  6. If you will start all over again , what brand will you buy Samson or Plasma Cam or gotorch? I noticed the resolution its the same, nobody wants to deal with hidden costs or big surprises hobby or not. I like your article, I was very close to buy the gotorch, but now I dont know, it is almost as buying the plasma cam at the end with the upgrades, my very small welding shop I have most of the equipment needed except the dryer for now, and I need to cut straight lines or geometric shapes, and worst case scenario only letters and numbers. What decision will you take if you are in my shoes.?

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    1. Same as above, that I answered by iPhone yesterday and it never showed here?
      I would say the original Plasmacam table, the DHC2 or 4x4 table.
      Unless you plan on cutting a lot of full sheets then the Samson 510 would be right.
      You can always index your sheets on the DHC2 4x4!
      The Go torch is to small and those on the owners forum are already talking about making it larger, so just get the DHC2 4x4 table.
      I only bought the Samson 510 because I got it so cheap! I see the 4x4 table on eBay all the time and usually at half price and barely used! And at times you can get the computer, art discs and plasma cutter for cheap. I usually type in cnc plasma table. If you type just Plasmacam you limit your search.
      You can get a dryer from Harbor Freight most times on sale. And you are ahead of the game buying a Hyper therm Plasma cutter!
      I've said before that your not getting anymore from buying new! Most don't utilize phone support because they feel after calling a few times they feel stupid, or don't want to keep bothering support?
      You paid for support ( unless you bought the go torch, then you didn't) so until you can operate the table they sold you that was so easy to operate, then let them explain how easy it is! And if it takes calling over an over then done it, it was part of the price.
      If your not going to call then buy a used table.
      Warranty or parts coverage I can honestly say that the table is solidly made and usually only the minor things wear and need replacing and usually the controller goes bad by something you might so but they repair yours and send it back usually for not much money.
      Most used tables haven't been used much as the person is selling it because they never were able to operate it, so its like new! Their just cutting their losses. Good luck

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