2019 Team11

Project Overview  |  Proof of Concept  |  Final Design  |  Fabrication  |  Testing and Results  |  Meet the Team  |  Acknowledgements

Project Overview

Team 11 is tasked with designing a modular fluid filtration system for Lincoln Electric’s Torchmate plasma cutting tables. The fluid filtration system needs to filter the cutting fluid of particulates and plasma cutting byproducts to improve the longevity and efficiency of the cutting fluid additive. The system is to be marketed around $1500 dollars so the cost needs to be around $750. This filtration system will need to be scalable in order to be compatible with all current Torchmate water tables. Due to it being used on existing tables, it needs to be freestanding and meet Torchmate specifications.


Proof of Concept

The product being developed belongs to a manufacturing industry that focuses on industrial filtration. Due to the fact that there are no specific CNC water table plasma cutter filtration systems on the market, the competition in this industry is centered around individual producers who create their own homemade filtration systems as well as major industrial filtration system producing companies.  As a team, Plasma Pumps by working with Torchmate, will more easily enter the industry by designing the filtration system specifically as an add-on accessory for Torchmate Tables. Pairing with an already established, large company such as Lincoln Electric and their Torchmate division, means a slightly lower barrier to entry because Plasma Pumps has their assistance in bringing the project to market. Plasma Pumps has also created Product Design Specifications, Functional Decompositions, Design Concepts, and conducted Patent and Literature searches to prepare for the projected industry. Even though there is no direct, specific competition in this industry, there are competing companies. These companies primarily consist of Eaton, Filtrasystems, and Keller Products. These companies specialize in producing filters for the manufacturing industry. Eaton for example had $20.4B in sales in 2017. Through research conducted by Plasma pumps, there are no definitive numbers for buying patterns regarding machining equipment filtration, only that there is an inherent need but with no single specific solution. Despite the large competition, Plasma Pumps seeks to design a filtration system utilizing off the shelf parts. The competing companies products could be utilized by Plasma Pumps’ filtration system as components to an entire system for future usage.

Team Plasma Pumps created a scaled, slightly simplified model of the proposed final design. A water pump, scaled piping, water jets, and correct specification filter bag were all utilized during testing. A submerged water pump was utilized to pump water through a jetted section of PVC pipe in order to measure the velocity and flow rate out of the system, which is a major design consideration for the filtration project. By completing testing, the team is able to determine the validity of the Matlab model they created in terms of velocity output, volumetric flow rate, head loss and horsepower required. A valid Matlab model means that the initial conditions can be changed and selecting the correct water pump will require less or no trial and error. The engineering concepts and calculation methods apply to scaling any fluids system. Proving that the Matlab model is relatively close to experimental data means that any future projects regarding filtration systems and general pumping systems can be accurately modeled before components are bought and tested. Lincoln Electric is hoping for a successful product at the end of this process that can then be expanded upon for their future products. The current project may be an add-on accessory but could potentially be successfully implemented as a built-in component of future CNC plasma cutting tables.


Final design

CNC Plasma Cutting is a highly useful and cost-effective method of cutting metallic parts.  Water-table style plasma cutters are highly effective at cutting parts, as well as retaining the fumes and waste particulates released while plasma cutting. The water table on the plasma cutters utilizes water additives such as GreenCut to prevent corrosion and bacterial growth in the plasma cutting water. The water used in the water tables must be periodically maintained to clean the water of particulates in order to operate at peak efficiency. Cleaning the water requires the contaminated water to be removed from the water table and replaced with fresh water. The cutting water commonly has to be disposed of through hazardous waste which can be costly. After draining the water table of contaminated water and removing heavy particulates, the table must be refilled with new, additive-mixed water before operation. This process costs the operator down-time on the cutter, as well as expensive water additive. Filtering the plasma cutting water to remove particulates will increase the longevity and efficiency of the table water, resulting in a lower cost of operation for the user. The problem statement is to design a modular water filtration system for the Lincoln Electric Torchmate water table plasma cutters, to filter the cutting water of particulates and improve the longevity and efficiency of the cutting water additive.

Plasma pumps is creating a modular filtration system for Torchmate’s plasma cutting tables. The filtration system is designed to remove the small particulates using a two filter system. The system contains a 1/30 horsepower pump to cycle the water through the system. The filters are arranged in sequence. The first filter is designed to remove 25 microns and the second filter is designed to remove 5 micron particles. The water is removed from the table using the drain hole that is already incorporated in the table. This allows for easy access to the unfiltered water. The drain hole will be protected by a strainer with 1/8 inch holes to protect the filtration system from large particles. The system includes a tee pipe and valve under the tables drain hole so the table can be drained without removing the filtration system. The system returns the filtered liquid to the table using a long pipe that runs along the side of the table under the liquid. This pipe has holes in it to return the water to the table and creates a slow circulation in the table allowing more of the liquid to be passed through the system.

The project benefits customers and end users because the filtration system would save money on maintenance expenses by improving the longevity of the GreenCut and reducing the long term cost of replacing the fluid. The filter reduces labor costs by decreasing the frequency that the table needs to be drained increasing the uptime of the table during business operations. By saving both time and money the product would be a great add-on for a plasma cutting table.



Team Plasma Pumps’ plasma cutter water filtration prototype was fabricated over the course of one week, after all parts had been received.  Fabrication began by measuring the dimensions of the water table. Measurements were made with a standard tape measure, on the UNR Machine Shop Torchmate 4400 table.  After the dimensions of the table were measured, the lengths of pipe that would be directly inserted inside the water table were cut. Cuts were made using a hacksaw, and rough edges were filed down with a variety of round and flat files.  Measurements were then made starting with the output of the filtration system, and worked backwards through the system, measuring the required length of each section of pipe.  After each measurement was made, the corresponding section of pipe was cut and temporarily assembled into the system, providing an assembled reference from which the length of the next section of pipe could be measured.  This process continued until all required lengths of pipe were measured and the prototype was temporarily assembled.

After temporary assembly, the prototype was disassembled.  The disassembled prototype made for easier transportation and it was noted that while permanent assembly would be required eventually, testing would most easily be done if the prototype were permanently assembled into several manageable segments.

The in-table output section of pipe required holes to be hand drilled into the sides of the pipe, in a linear pattern fashion.  This was done in order to jet filtered water out one side of the pipe, back into the table. The holes were drilled every 8 inches in order to ensure that the filtered water would be jetted out into the table where there were gaps under the table slats. After the holes were drilled, the lengths of pipe were permanently assembled with red hot pvc cement into the determined manageable segments. The prototype was then taken back into the UNR machine shop and tested on the same 4400 that the measurements had been taken on.

Fig: 1: Pre assembled parts

Fig: 2: Shows the pipe that the filtered fluid exits


Fig: 3: Shows the T-connection that connects to the drain on the table and then leads to the pump

Fig: 4: Shows the pump with some fittings that will connect to the rest of the tubing. Inlet is to the left and outlet is on top.

Fig: 5: Connection that leads from filtration houses to the outlet tubing.

Fig 6. Full assembled prototype presented at the front of the table for demonstration purposes. The prototype, when finalized, will sit in the back of the table, out of the way, with all components along the back wall.



Testing and Results



Meet the Team

David Hughes

David Hughes is a fourth year Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Nevada, Reno. David was born and raised in Fallon, Nevada. During his time as a student, David has developed skills in Solidworks and using FEA analysis in it, Matlab, and is Autodesk Inventor professional certified.  Using his analytical techniques, he developed a worksheet for his father to use after he came to him for his “math skills”. Instead of it being a one-time solution it turned into a long-term solution that can be used even when David is unavailable with minimal user interaction. One thing he is proud of is giving back to the wrestling community by refereeing high school wrestling here in Nevada. David’s goal is to finish his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in the Spring of 2019. Following graduation, he plans on pursuing a career as a design engineer for a company located in Northern Nevada.





Dylan Koppenhoefer

Dylan Koppenhoefer is a senior Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Nevada, Reno. He was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. While progressing through his academic career, Dylan has learned how to effectively use Matlab, design control systems and record data in Labview, as well as use manufacturing equipment in the UNR Manufacturing Lab. Dylan was involved in an engineering project in another state that required the design of a sliding motor mount to engage a smaller motor with an antique engine flywheel for ease of starting. He, with the help of 2 previously retired professional engineers, developed a mount and sliding system that could handle the immense forces generated between the heavy equipment and could withstand the environmental elements of coastal california. Outside of school and work, Dylan is proud to volunteer at a therapy horse ranch that assists all age groups with mental, physical, and emotional needs as well as returning soldiers with PTSD. After graduation, Dylan’s goals include working as a design engineer for a manufacturing company and possibly working on with Boeing or Lockheed Martin on their defense aircraft.




Mitchell Van Patten

Mitchell Van Patten is a senior Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Nevada, Reno.  Mitchell was born and raised in Nampa, Idaho. Mitchell has developed several technical skills throughout his academic career including MATLAB and LabView.  Mitchell also attained SOLIDWORKS CSWA certification in October of 2018.  Mitchell has worked as an intern for Outerimpact where he operated a CNC mill.  Mitchell also worked as an intern for Southwest Gas in Carson City, NV where he worked in code compliance operating Field Office Management Systems software, Excel, AutoCAD, and collaborated with professional engineers to design natural gas meter sets and new business distribution plans.  Mitchell is the team captain of the UNR NCAA Rifle Team and has earned many national and conference titles through his collegiate shooting career including All-American and All-Conference honors. After graduation, Mitchell plans to work as a Mechanical Engineer, potentially in the energy, defense, manufacturing, automotive or utilities industries.







Justin Fisher

I am a fifth year senior at the University of Nevada, Reno. Engineering has been utilized in designing stereo systems for people. Making sure the cable is the right size for current to be passed through, calculating what kind of breaker the amplifier needs if there is too much voltage being supplied, and assuming the safety of the amplifier. This is just a portion of what goes into some of the systems that I’ve built but this was some of the hardest things to do. Conceptualizing these systems is  hard because electricity is a very problematic subject for engineers due to all its variables that need to be considered. I had to use my knowledge of systems and elecrical engineering to overcome the problems of the stereo systems I have designed. The use of analytical engineering has saved my clients and myself a lot of money. My academic career has taught me most about evaluating a situation and how to overcome problems from a thorough analysis of them. My electrical knowledge also grew due to the curiosity of the systems that I have built. Having to be a role model my whole life for my younger sisters is an accomplishment. Being a role model has shaped the way I think about my choices and grown into the hard working person that I strive to be everyday. Being a role model that my sisters can look up to is something that I am proud of. My goal right now are to get a internship. After graduation my goal is to be the hardest worker, best attitude person, and be the best at whatever I do or wherever I work, utilizing all of my knowledge to better the company and society.


Nathan Rodrigue

Nathan Rodrigue is a senior Mechanical Engineering student  at the University of Nevada, Reno. Born in Reno, Nathan is a 6th generation Nevadan and is the second generation  in his family to attend UNR. Nathan has worked with the city of sparks Parks and Rec department to improve the quality of local parks. Nathan uses his knowledge of Matlab, AutoCad, and solidworks to design small personal projects. Outside of school, Nathan works part time at a local bar and grill and is actively works during local events such as the Reno Rodeo. Nathan’s goal is to work for an engineering company in Northern Nevada or Northern California.