This marker will change the way you work with sheet metal
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Plasma cutting is incredibly useful. Paired with bending and welding it is often the fastest and cheapest way to build any kind of mechanical structure or enclosure. Results that might take a day on a 3D printer or on a CNC mill can be achieved in minutes on a plasma cutter. Not to mention the cost of sheet metal is a lot cheaper than 3D printer materials or billet for machining. I'm constantly making folded and welded structures with my plasma cutter and every time I have the same problem. I will design a complicated folded part and then when I go to bend it I can't place the bends accurately. I'll spend a lot of time trying to measure them out but the plasma cutter can make any arbitrary shape which can make measuring difficult.
To solve this problem I designed and built a pen plotter head for my plasma cutter. It allows me to first draw all of the bend lines then cut out the part. This gives me perfectly registered bend locations that make folding the parts really easy.
This video details how I designed it and how it works.
These videos usually take a ton of work and a lot of money in tools and materials. I've made a patreon if you're interested in supporting the creation of these projects:
Here's some of the tools that I use in this video:
Retractable sharpies:
Air solenoid valves:
Pneumatic Cylinder:
Vise brake (highly recommend):
Wera allen keys 1000x better than el cheapos:
Wera allen keys (english):
Hypertherm powermax 45xp with machine torch:
Hypertherm fine cut consumables (great for sheet metal)
100mm linear stage for plasma Z axis - easier than building:
Downdraft fans - these things chooch!:
The best marker ever. Always in my pocket:
Drag chains:
"computer startup sound" sound from is licensed under CC BY 3.0

  • Robert A Aime
    Robert A Aime

    Wow, cool, thanks

  • maruthu pandian
    maruthu pandian

    smarter everyday's Destin sent me here.

  • maruthu pandian
    maruthu pandian

    electrical noise is really hard to sort out in a plasma cutter! especially if you are using a cheap chinese plasma cutter like me. shielded everything, earthed everything and still my servos creeped uncommanded....

  • William Miller
    William Miller

    I'm confused. This isn't This Old Tony! This Old Stuff?

  • Wiliam Bennett
    Wiliam Bennett

    i hope you have it patent protected because the markets going to flooded with China knock offs Outstanding idea

  • Dadmezz

    Great video, project, and your skills are wonderful. possible feed for chain guard, have a line already installed and use it to pull your wanted line with another pull length so after completed install there will be another pull line always installed.

  • ElectricErik

    All I can think by this video, Why not s simple servo? And damn I want a plasma cutter!

  • Tristan G
    Tristan G

    Based on the way the supports were, you were using some type of resin printer for your 3D parts? What resin are you using for these parts?

  • Robert Walter
    Robert Walter

    Replace the pen with a spring loaded diamond scribe, ultra fine lines, no click to cap / uncap, and no cleanup, albeit you will have some fine scratches in the part...

  • Fly2DeathTV

    @Stuffmadehere 10:00 Just tape a couple of cabels together get one through and pull the others back with that first one, whenever u now want to add something u have some cable to pull it with.

  • Craig Engel
    Craig Engel

    Plasma cutter: writing puns is not my intended purpose. SMH: hold my sharpee.

  • Scott Parker
    Scott Parker

    Why dont you feed a string in you wire tray so you can just pull what ever you need. You can pull it back though as you pull what ever you are pulling. Simple

  • K Y
    K Y

    Fun fact about Sharpie. They brought Chinese workers to TN to have their American employees train them. Then closed one TN plant. Moving it's production, and American jobs, to China.

  • Marshwiggle

    does it require 2 files now, a sharpie template and a plasma cutter template?

  • SaMM Aztec
    SaMM Aztec

    Would you be able to spit out a minimal intensity beam of plasma to etch or score the bend lines on your sheet, therefore eliminating the need for a marker?

  • The real squas
    The real squas

    Innovation comes from engineers, and some say engineers are just lazy dudes that don't want to do the job as it's meant to be done. This man is awesome!

  • Firebeatle

    Wash your hands please

  • Kabobert

    I definetly need a video about that tree climbing robot

  • DJStompZone

    "Captive nut", I think that just about sums up my 2020

  • Maple Jelli
    Maple Jelli

    Before I even watch this, I know I’ll enjoy it despite the fact that I’ve never done anything productive with sheets or metal.

  • Conor Daniel
    Conor Daniel

    Does anyone know where to get one of those little socket drivers??? Soo handy.

  • bzacon

    Why are finger brakes so $$$. You need one, and so do I.

  • Joseph Edelbrock
    Joseph Edelbrock

    Just leave a pull string for your energy chains and pull a new one with each new pull.

  • Dimitar Petkanski
    Dimitar Petkanski

    Super creative!

  • Fred X
    Fred X

    If you want to feed additional cables through the plate track. Leave a pull cord in the first time. Use it to pull additional cords. Each time pulling a new pull cord to leave for future additions.

  • RichJMoney


  • Alex Gibson
    Alex Gibson

    Now the plasma's super easy, barely an inconvenience!

  • Arka Biswas
    Arka Biswas

    2:12 Not sure what you'll do with it ? Give it to PewDiePie

  • Santhosh Kumar J
    Santhosh Kumar J

    Can you create a 3d plasma cutter? And this video was awesome as usual

  • peachmelba1000

    Cool idea. I honestly thought however that you were going to show us a new kind of metal etching Sharpie.

  • DusKeyOwl

    What if all sharpies are not equal?

  • K C
    K C

    this was a clever and inventive solution. well done. the video was enjoyable too! :)

  • Sin Amos
    Sin Amos


  • VoltageLP

    I would just use a nail to produce scratchmarks

  • Ben Crawshaw
    Ben Crawshaw

    Clever stuff I'm impressed. I have used a manual plasma cutter before but these machines are pretty awesome.

  • Turm

    i dont have this problem because im not rich so i cant aford a plasma cutter.

  • maxi

    Why not apply pressure to both sides of the air cylinder to have it sit in the middle ? Instead of using springs.

  • Landon Ramsey
    Landon Ramsey

    An old timer once showed me a way to lubricate pneumatic hose/wires etc. Rub it with wax paper; seems to help.

  • lord Quick
    lord Quick

    Very cool, I am curious how you get that g-code though. I assume that normally a cad program would generate that for you but with this you need to inject a bunch of g-code before and after certain paths in the design, or what do you do? And also did you have to add some extra controller board to execute special g-code for the marker clicking/lowering or can you just add that to the programming of your current cnc brain?

  • Ian Bottom
    Ian Bottom

    For your pneumatic control I’m thinking you may have been able to use two 2/2 valves AND quick exhaust valves at the actuator port

  • Ioan-Sebastian Sofiean
    Ioan-Sebastian Sofiean

    ))))))))))) juan +juan = two men )))) didn't heard abot ths one so funny

  • Alex

    The moral of the story.... I want a plasma-cutter with a sharpie as well.

  • Andrew Smeaton
    Andrew Smeaton

    Easier to make your own pen?

  • irlrp

    It's amazing how much it changes the way i don't work with metal I am fascinated by your vidéos tho

  • John Rundell
    John Rundell

    The romantic search ordinarily listen because pint connolly frighten below a tasteful armadillo. glib, strong asparagus

  • Jim Garrett
    Jim Garrett

    Leave a pull string!?!

  • Jim Garrett
    Jim Garrett

    Why not use two pistons?

  • Swordhappy

    Dude, you should just run a loop of rope through the c̶a̶b̶l̶e̶ ̶t̶r̶a̶y̶/̶p̶r̶o̶t̶e̶c̶t̶o̶r̶ ̶t̶h̶i̶n̶g̶ energy chain. Leave enough slack and tie the ends together. Then, next time you have to run a cable, tie it to that loop and pull it through. It's even reusable.

  • Patrick Poe
    Patrick Poe

    Easy tip for fishing things through the cable chains or other raceways: Step 1, attach a length (or 2) of pull string along with whatever you pull in there the first time. Step 2, always repeat Step 1 when you add something new.

  • Chris Adams
    Chris Adams

    This was a great project!!! Can you make the Build Plans available on GitHub or even behind a pay wall?

  • T Mid
    T Mid

    Great Video! I have the same type of marker set-up for my CNC router.

  • picasso566

    You got me a thinkin'... If the sharpie used a specific ink, you could draw, then cut, then drop the plate in an acid and etch everything except the ink marks. Hmmm

  • Slide Attack
    Slide Attack

    Are you This Old Tony's twin?! Cuz your going to go far, the content is awesome and the ideas are brilliant!

  • Valentin Z
    Valentin Z

    Hello, I develop and make THC comtroller for plasma, if do you like i can send one for test. Thanks.

  • Eetu Tiiro
    Eetu Tiiro

    could you have made pressing sharpie button and lowering pen with one actuator because sharpie only has to be out when pen in lowered? like half way into lowering pen gets pressed. edit: okay you basically did it with spring-thing :D

  • ksv

    Now you can also make the marker write onto each line how much of a bend is needed and which bend goes which way so you don't have to reference the blueprints if it gets really complicated of a bend

  • Cringe Certifier
    Cringe Certifier

    Omg this guy is SO typecasting himself as a plasma fanboy

  • Jakob

    Is the controlling of the sharpie going up and down done in Mach 3, for example? There's a few inputs needed to control that pen, and how does it work along with the rest of the software? I'm going to build a plasma cutter some day soon and I'm really interested in using this system.

  • Nathan F.
    Nathan F.

    why not just use a small hydraulic system?

  • Alan Pieroway
    Alan Pieroway

    what resin did you use? :) always looking for a tough resin.

  • Ore Ste
    Ore Ste

    (exploding brain emoticon)

  • Soul-Burn

    For the cable routing through the sleeve, keep a plastic wire routed there. When you want to route a new cable, connect another plastic wire and the wanted cable to it. Pull from the other side, and you'll have your new cable and another "routing wire" routed, ready for the next time!

  • why so serious
    why so serious

    You're an amazing human

  • Leo's Bag of Tricks
    Leo's Bag of Tricks

    I make parts like this from laser-cut aluminum, I always put rows of holes or slots along the bend lines. I don't have a bending brake, but the holes make hand-bending really easy. The parts are slightly weaker, but the problem of where to bend is eliminated and accuracy is great.

  • Crypto Tonight
    Crypto Tonight

    6:00 "schematicly" those are resistors sir!

  • Sp0rtafr00p

    would putting air into both chambers not hold it in the middle w/o the need for springs? am I missing something technical?

  • darrell reumel
    darrell reumel

    can you not engrave with the laser cutter?

  • Cameron Carter
    Cameron Carter

    You could use a couple of magnets instead of springs. Has the opposite affect for centering.

  • Kevin Millen
    Kevin Millen

    You could use dotted lines to indicate bends the opposite direction.

  • Richard Adams
    Richard Adams

    One thing I learned going to school to be a sheet metal worker, was having the plasma cutter pause for a minute at the point where you want to break so it creates a small notch, All you have to do is line the notches up and boom a point to bend at.

    • Mazda Ebrahimi
      Mazda Ebrahimi

      Yup, that is how I've been doing it.

  • tylor anderson
    tylor anderson

    Are you silly, ur trying to make a plasma cutter open a sharpy, just make a button pusher, like, come on

  • tylor anderson
    tylor anderson

    I'll buy the punchy thing, 10$?

  • TH3Z3R0H0UR

    I dont work with sheet metal at all.... clicks on video

  • BakuYasha

    Juan + Juan = two *horses...*

  • GuyApollo

    Ya, but had you made it take the cap off , your plasma cutter would have had a part value "the decapitater".

  • Reuben Kriegel
    Reuben Kriegel

    Seems like it would've been much easier and probably cheaper to just do a stepper motor.

    • Reuben Kriegel
      Reuben Kriegel

      But a stepper motor would've been more programming probably.

  • Michael Oskroba
    Michael Oskroba

    9:45 it might work to put a pilot thread, anytime you want to add a new cable just pull the thread first with second thread, and then pilot thread with the cable together.

  • Kieran Brown
    Kieran Brown

    I really enjoyed this, but compared to your more recent videos I see a HUGE difference. You should be proud of how far you came, you always had the talent to make great videos, but now you have the skills dialled in to edit them too. :D

  • jeffmcgaming

    Hahaha... captive nut

  • Ryan

    Awesome build! If you tie a string to your green ground wire and pull it back thru the wire track you can route a fishing wire to pull multiple wires back thru instead of removing the caps .

  • Jason Lock
    Jason Lock

    Your a god and your wife is just wonderful to not just put up with but accually like your job, profession, hobbie. Lol

  • I'm a racist
    I'm a racist

    This man's life is a mechanical engineer's wet dream

  • Zeky Ahmed Murra Antón
    Zeky Ahmed Murra Antón

    The lumpy toe problematically box because check postsynaptically refuse absent a splendid teller. acid, curved factory

  • Mens B
    Mens B

    how many AKs have u made

  • ColdOneK

    Why don't you just make a new electronics box out of left over material? You can take the required components from the old box. By "left over", I mean the sheets w/ bits cut from them you can't really re-use in other projects. Assemble it into a panel-y shape - and pour epoxy resin to cover everything- fill the gaps, and block the random bits of sheet metal from being able to cut you. Or, you can just make the panels out of sheet metal, but using the stuff you've got + epoxy, would be a lot cheaper, and it can achieve a very nice look. You could get your wife involved as well(you said she likes art, and she can use it as an excuse to try epoxy resin art). Edit: Ignore if infeasible.

  • A Z
    A Z

    can you make a video about you plasma table?

  • Tenfootgiant

    10:00 Why not just run a fish wire that's always there? Just a single long cable you can tie and pull, then just pull it back because of it's length.

  • Stefan Nedeljkovic
    Stefan Nedeljkovic

    Or just buy fiber laser that has built-in option for laser engraving, and its doing it simultaneously .

  • Jack C
    Jack C

    The one thing I haven't figured out how you did, how do you get it to change the offset when it checks height using the z axis? it marks w/ the marker but checks the height of the material at the torch...

  • Gonzo Gutierrez
    Gonzo Gutierrez

    Brofist. You should've given it to Pewdiepie.

  • Phil Strohm
    Phil Strohm

    Suggested video. Thought it was This Old Tony for a second. It’s not so don’t try to be.

  • Matthew Cisneros
    Matthew Cisneros

    The stereotyped scorpion bioinformatically sign because diploma unlikely pedal alongside a quaint tadpole. fine, therapeutic yarn

  • CrackerNuts

    Now you need to make something that goes over to the newly-cut piece an smacks it out with a rawhide hammer

  • Mr. Perfect
    Mr. Perfect

    Hey, my name is Juan.

  • Lindsie Ambrose
    Lindsie Ambrose

    JESUS LOVES YALL 💘💖❤💕💗💓💘💖❤💕💗💓💘💖❤💕

  • JohnIsAlright

    It didn't change anything for me because I don't deal with sheet metal

  • Zach Little
    Zach Little

    What CAD software do you use. What table are you using and why did you choose it? I noticed its a dry table, is that because you only cut thin metal and don't need a water bed?

    • Zach Little
      Zach Little

      Wait! you built your own table? Please make a video if this is the case!

  • James Roberts
    James Roberts

    This is awesome. At my job we often do projects which involve cutting hundreds or thousands of unique parts. Sometimes they can be engraved by a cutter to mark part numbers or index marks. but depending on the material, sometimes this is not possible. If only our cutting suppliers embraced your tech!

  • TomSwiftful

    I could be wrong, but... didn't you just invent a more complicated solution to the problem that the retractable pen mechanism itself solved? A similar mechanism for holding the pen would seem like the ideal solution to me. Cam, guide pin, single spring and done. Maybe a second spring to maintain some pressure against the surface while drawing. Also, if you keep a string (or kevlar cord) running through the chain, you can just pull new wires/hoses through as needed. Just don't forget to attach a new cord to whatever new thing you pull through.

  • Shaun Muscat
    Shaun Muscat

    Very very brilliant and time saving idea well done. I was thinking that maybe instead of the pen, you may can fit a Laser engraving head . In my opinion it will mark much more precise guide lines for bending and would eliminate the wear on the tip of the pen also :) Well done for all your videos , very interesting to watch