Cheap laptop to run plasma table?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
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    Long Island, NY
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    Cheap laptop to run plasma table?

    Any recommendations for an under $400 laptop to run a cnc table?

    There’s tons of options on amazon at that price I have no idea what to go with.

    I considered buying a nicer laptop i could use for other tasks but i feel like having a nice laptop in a shop environment is a mistake...
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  2. #2
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    Re: Cheap laptop to run plasma table?

    $400 should get you something to run the table easy, I just bought dedicated small form factor pc's for my tables and cnc things... while laptops may seem great they are more susceptible to the dirt and dust I think... at least with my 200 dollar standard pc's I can quickly change out parts and pieces when something goes **** up on my older tables of course it requires a parallel port to operate and I doubt you'll find any new laptops with one.... and the converters don't cut it...

  3. #3
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    Re: Cheap laptop to run plasma table?

    My garage Laptop I believe was about $200.00 from newegg.com
    It was a refurbished unit, but I have had good luck with it ..... a few years now.
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  4. #4
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    Re: Cheap laptop to run plasma table?

    Better see what operating system your CNC requires. A lot of systems require older software and archaic things like parallel & serial ports.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Cheap laptop to run plasma table?

    I too would go with a desktop or subcompact Computer rather than a laptop. If need be you can buy a parallel port board. Just try and keep dust and crap out of the computer.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Cheap laptop to run plasma table?

    I'm running a miniPC desktop. 4GB ram, 250GB SSD, decent processor and about $175 after buying ram and HD. I keep two identical setups as I've had PC death visit and screw me. Running a Smoothstepper for PP emulation and Mach3.

  7. #7
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    Re: Cheap laptop to run plasma table?

    In running an old desktop, Windows xp. Shop is dusty near the plasma table. This one is the second Pc in 8 years.
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  8. #8
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    Mar 2011
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    Re: Cheap laptop to run plasma table?

    You aint a kidding about dust!!! here is a 125$ refurb HP I keep on my table for cutting ears for buckets and thick stuff, it's got torchmate usb controls and one of those floppy waterproof keyboards... went through 3 regular keyboards in the first year so finally put this thing on it...don't really like the keyboards feel but then again you can dump dirt on it and it still works
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    Most of the other cnc setups have controls requiring a full bidir pport so for now they have regular older pc's on em' and I have plenty of old PC parts laying around so no fears of them leaving me high and dry ..... yet.....

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
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    On the side of a mountain, PA
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    Re: Cheap laptop to run plasma table?

    I have a used Panasonic toughbook for my shop laptop. It's not the highest performing computer out there but you shouldn't need too much. It's dust proof water proof run-overable

    I got mine from a friend that does IT for a .mil contractor and takes these out of service occasionally. I see them on ebay in your price range.

  10. #10
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    Nov 2009
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    Pensacola , Fla
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    Re: Cheap laptop to run plasma table?

    I have built 7 Plasma CNC table and bought the PCs I used from overstocked.com, if you need a parallel port check only Dells. Make sure to read the description and view the PC back to be sure. These run about $150. with operating systems on them (some win 7 or win 10).
    https://www.overstock.com/Electronic...Y&searchidx=38
    I build a roll around cabinet for all the electronics with a fold down cover for the keyboard and mouse, have a USB extension for loading G-codes. I did strip them down and mounted the Motherboard and HD but the last on was a small form PC and I just removed the outside covers and mounted the PC frame inside the cabinet. I have filters for air in and fans for air out cooling.
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  11. #11
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    Mar 2011
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    Re: Cheap laptop to run plasma table?

    Quote Originally Posted by JJLContracting View Post
    I have a used Panasonic toughbook for my shop laptop. It's not the highest performing computer out there but you shouldn't need too much. It's dust proof water proof run-overable

    I got mine from a friend that does IT for a .mil contractor and takes these out of service occasionally. I see them on ebay in your price range.
    While I know nothing about CNC or plasma cutting, I was going to suggest this very same line of appliances as soon as I read dusty, harsh environment. I have a CF-18 with a homebrew car support (machine gun style!) for my trips to Morocco (to run GPS and such). It does what it is supposed to do. For a non-portable application, bigger models might be advisable. And they are bulletproof. But search for a used one, those are not cheap.

  12. #12
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    Feb 2009
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    Chicago
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    Re: Cheap laptop to run plasma table?

    You can run mach3 on about anything. I have a dell 11" netbook that I got for $90.
    But if you want to run fusion360 for your cad stuff you need a little more power. Whatever you do make sure it has an SSD drive.
    My last bunch of computers have been dell refurbs and I'm happy with them. I am considering a Microsoft surface next (cheaper or used one, not a $899+ one)
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  13. #13
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    Oct 2013
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    Re: Cheap laptop to run plasma table?

    I found a used HP laptop for $250 i might pick up tonight with good hardware.

    I’d like something i could potentially use for other things.

    A desktop is out of the question I don’t have the space... need compact as possible unfortunately.

    As far as the toughbook goes, i used them at work for a while and they might be the lost overpriced trash ever built. The case is good and nothing else...
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  14. #14
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    Re: Cheap laptop to run plasma table?

    No pics. What I use in my other shop is an Acer " desktop". The old flat kind, non tower.Remember when the monitor sat on top of the machines ? Pre tower nonsense ?
    Inside I put a coolermaster fan and mounted it under a workbench( slides into a 2 inch angle iron bracket) with a 15 foot or so HDMI cable. The 30" flat screen cheapo is on a wall with a close-able curtain for when not in use. USB Logitech wireless mouse and keyboard...store " wherever". Laptops suck for cad stuff. Too damn small. Get a kid at one of the little computer places to take an old crappy desktop(flat style) and build you a machine with a " gamer" fan and heavy duty motherboard ( $200 or so) Mine are all Gigabyte extremes with a cheapo Intel core i3 processor...2.7 gig or so ??/. 8 MB memory.I recall the monitor/tv make is TCL was about ? $90 or so.
    Windows are all garbage but get the kid to use Win 7...Win 10 is pure garbage.
    The thing will last you a decade or better.

    This is in the office inside my shack
    Same Idea and parts, but a souped up version on Linux MX17
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