Some Interesting Common Cold Statistics For The New Season

Common cold statistics provided by government agencies indicate that on the average children have six to ten colds per year, but some children have as many as twelve. Seeking treatment for a common cold is one of the leading causes of doctor visits, though doctors can do little to treat the illness. Antibiotics are ineffective and should not be taken for common cold prevention or treatment. Over use of antibiotics is believed to be the cause of an increase in more resistant strains of bacteria.

What to take for a common cold is a matter of some debate. Practically everyone has there own home remedy and researchers have studied many of these for effectiveness and safety. Over the counter drugs such as antihistamines have been evaluated for their effectiveness in treating common cold symptoms and while research indicates that these products are safe when used as directed, many of them may be ineffective. One study showed that the most effective of these over the counter drugs is one called guaifenesin, an expectorant.

Common cold statistics relating to lost days of school indicate that 22 million school days are lost each year on account of the illness. However, many products should not be taken by children. The directions for a common cold remedy will typically say “not for children under 12” and may advise doctor consultation. Additionally, parents should not give child aspirin or products that contain aspirin because of the established link between aspirin use, viral infections and Reye’s syndrome, a rare, but sometimes life threatening disease than can follow viral infections in children. A number of infant and toddler deaths have been associated with overdoses of over the counter cold remedies. When treating your children, read directions carefully, age and weight are factors. Those products that are designed for “children” are usually not safe for infants. Always check with your doctor before given any over the counter medication to a child.

Adult common cold statistics vary greatly. On the average, most adults have two or three colds per year, but some people have none and some have more than three. Those who care for school age children probably have more than the average. People who have asthma are more susceptible to colds. Scientists studying asthma patients found that they produce less than average anti-viral proteins. Anti-viral proteins, produced by specialized blood cells, can prevent a virus from being able to reproduce and can destroy viruses by attaching to them and causing holes in their cellular walls. Products that stimulate immune system function are sometimes recommended for a common cold, for this and other reasons.

Most immune system stimulants contain vitamin C. During an infection, vitamin C levels in the bloodstream decrease dramatically. Vitamins A, E and the mineral zinc are also necessary for proper immune system function. Other nutrients, such as calcium and magnesium are needed so that the cells of the body can easily absorb vitamin C. In other words, a good daily multi-vitamin, in addition to a well balanced diet, rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains can be good for a common cold and for overall good health.

The latest common cold statistics from Reuters Health Information concerns a study performed at the University of Virginia, in which researchers enlisted 15 people who were infected with the rhinovirus (the virus that causes the majority of common colds) to stay in a hotel room overnight alone. The objects in the room that the participants reported touching were swabbed and tested for active rhinovirus on the next day. The researches concluded that the virus remained active and capable of infected others for a day or longer. Previous information for a common cold causing rhinovirus indicated that the virus could remain active on surfaces for as long as three hours. What this new study means is that the virus remains active longer and is more easily transmitted than previously thought, making good health habits to prevent   transmission  even more important. To learn more about the common cold and natural products that may help reduce the number you get every year, please visit the Immune System Booster Guide.

Using Pictures to Teach Narrative Writing with Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Subject: Sixth Grade Language Arts – Segregation and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Time allotted: 90 minutes

Organization: large group

Objective: Students will demonstrate the understanding of the components in a narrative by using pictures about segregation to write the narrative.

Student worksheet available at http://www.trinaallen.com/rollofthunderstudent.html

Teaching Mode: Direct

Provision for Individual Differences: Students are heterogeneously mixed. The combination of modeling by the teacher and students will help to meet the needs of the varying abilities in the classroom. This assignment is open-ended enough for all students to find success “where they are” (Gardner, 2004).

Teaching Strategies: Some lecture, dialogue, modeling, discussion, group critique, planning.

Teaching Behavior focus: Focus will be as facilitator. Students will direct the lesson by creating the model used to demonstrate narrative writing.

Materials needed for this lesson:

oOne copy of a picture depicting segregation for each student– ideally with larger copies available for fine details.

oPaper- pencil

ooverhead, board and markers, or chalk

oGeneral classroom supplies

Lesson Activities:

Step 1. Anticipatory Set: (Motivation)

oAs review, ask students to write a definition of segregation. Volunteers will state their definitions. Write the definition on the board for students to refer to as they write their narratives. (Students should have read and discussed segregation and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry prior to this lesson).

oDistribute pictures depicting segregation- one to each student. Or ask students to bring pictures from magazines that demonstrate segregation or reverse segregation. Hang several larger pictures on the wall so students can use them for greater detail.

oStudents will examine their picture individually for five minutes, writing details on the worksheet.

Note: Newspapers and magazines are good sources of pictures for this lesson as well as the following online museum Web sites.

Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State http://www.ferris.edu/htmls/news/jimcrow/index.htm

Norman Rockwell Museum http://www.nrm.org/

Online Tours of the National Gallery of Art http://www.nga.gov/onlinetours/index.shtm

Web Museum, Paris http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/

Step 2. Objective (Overview of learning outcomes to pupils):

Students will use pictures about segregation related to their unit of study for Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry to:

odemonstrate knowledge of the characteristics of narrative writing by writing a narrative.

odemonstrate connections between images and words by using narrative writing to build understanding of content.

ouse detailed vocabulary in writing their text.

Step 3. Presentation (Input) of information:

Students will review the following characteristics of narrative writing as a whole class: developing plot, character and setting using specific detail and ordering events clearly using chronological order.

Direct students’ attention to one picture on the board. As a whole class have students brainstorm possible events and characters this picture illustrates about segregation. Place the words or phrases under the following headings on the board as students share their ideas. Have students fill this information in on their worksheets.

Characters Setting Situation Feelings Vocabulary

Step 4. Modeling/Examples:

Use one character from the class table. Model writing a narrative on the board from the character’s point of view by calling on students to give the details. Encourage students to describe the picture and to invent an original story related to the segregation illustrated in the picture. Decide as a class whether to tell the story that leads up to the picture, or to narrate the events that follow the picture. Write events in chronological order on the board as well as including the character’s feelings and thoughts.

Step 5. Checking for Understanding:

Have students evaluate the story written on the board that they created by checking the blank before each element of narrative writing that they find in the class story about segregation.

1. _____ One character’s point of view.

2. _____ Details about the character .

3. _____ Details about the setting.

4. _____ Details about the situation.

5. _____ The story was in the correct chronological order.

6. _____ The narrative contained feelings and thoughts.

Circulate as students work to check for understanding. Call on students to share their evaluation to be sure all students understand the content.

Step 6. Guided Practice:

Using the picture that they were assigned (or the one they brought from home) students will brainstorm possible events and characters by filling their ideas in the same table used in step 3:

Characters Setting Situation Feelings Vocabulary

Circulate to check for understanding.

Step 7. Independent Practice:

Have students choose one character from the table and write a narrative similar to the one modeled for them in step 4 from that character’s point of view. Students will invent an original story related to the segregation illustrated in the picture. They will decide whether to tell the story that leads up to the picture, or to narrate the events that follow the picture. They will write events in chronological order and write about the character’s feelings and thoughts.

Step 8. Closure:

Students will be evaluated using the same rubric used in step five, Checking for Understanding. Refer students to that evaluation rubric and ask students to give the example from the story previously written on the board to illustrate each area from the rubric. The stories can be assigned as homework or completed as class work as per the preference of the teacher.

Note: This lesson is modified from Gardner, T. (2004). A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words: From Image to Detailed Narrative, from http://www.readwritethink.org/lessons/lesson_view.asp?id=116.

Heartburn Can Be Easily Cured

Do you suffer from heartburn, reflux or burping? Perhaps you rely on a medicine to help settle your tummy. I have written on digestive disorders on several occasions previously, but this time I would like to write specifically on a little bacterium called Helicobacter pylori. Helicobacter pylori bacterial infection is recognised as the most prevalent bacteria to infect the human population in the entire world. You may well identify the following problem, and if you do, don’t despair. It actually is possible to free from heartburn, reflux or a low grade queasiness, which affects so many people.

Helicobacter is a clever little bug

In 1982, when Australian Dr. Barry Marshall identified a new bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (HP) as an infectious agent responsible for peptic ulcer disease, it completely transformed medicine’s understanding of the microbiology and disease of the human stomach. Your stomach is protected from its own gastric juice by a thick layer of mucous that covers the stomach lining. HP takes advantage of this protection by actually living in the mucous lining. Once this clever little bug is safe in this mucous, it is able to fight the stomach acid that does reach it with an enzyme it possesses called urease. Urease converts urea, of which there is an abundant supply in the stomach (from saliva and gastric juices), into bicarbonate and ammonia, which are strong (alkaline) bases. This creates a cloud of acid-neutralizing chemicals around the H. pylori, protecting it from the acid in the stomach. This cloud is also part of the reflux and burping process that occurs, which many HP people complain of.

Contributing to the protection of HP is the fact that the body’s natural defenses cannot reach these bugs in this mucous lining of the stomach. The immune system will respond to an HP infection by sending “killer T-cells”, (white blood cells), and other infection-fighting agents. However, these potential H. pylori eradicators cannot reach the infection, because they cannot easily get through stomach lining. They do not go away – the immune response just grows and grows over time. White cells die and spill their destructive compounds onto cells lining the stomach lining. More nutrients are sent to reinforce the white cells, and the H. pylori can feed on this. Within a few days, gastritis and perhaps eventually a peptic ulcer results in the lining of your tummy. And of course, the person who suffers is often blissfully unaware, takes an antacid or an acid-blocking drug long-term, and continues to eat and drink foods which only aggravate the healing process long term. So they go back to the doctor, only to be told to stay on the medicine. After a few years, the person resigns themselves to the fact that they will always require this “medicine” to cure their condition. Yeah right, and Alice lived happily after in Wonderland.

To confirm that HP caused the gastritis and peptic ulceration, Marshall swallowed cultures of the bacteria and contracted gastritis (inflammation of the mucus membrane of the stomach). He then underwent endoscopy (internal examination of the stomach), and provided biopsies from which the suspected bug was re-isolated.

Changing medical belief and practice takes time. For nearly 100 years, scientists and doctors thought that ulcers were caused by lots of stress, spicy foods, and copious alcohol. Treatment involved bed rest and a bland and boring diet. Later, researchers added stomach acid to the list of causes and began treating ulcers with antacids when they became fashionable.Unfortunate for poor Barry, nobody believed him. In fact, he was actually treated with ridicule and disdain when he first proposed the idea that a bacteria actually lived the hostile environment of the stomach. Before 1982, the accepted medical paradigm was “no acid, no ulcer”, and that stomach ulcers only occurred when excess acid damaged the stomach wall and that all treatment should be aimed at reducing or neutralising all that bad acid. Surely you remember the advertisements on TV with the man drawing on his tummy with a felt tipped pen, telling you that the acid has to “stay down there”. These commercials generally came on after dinner, the time when your tummy is most likely to play up, I can’t help but thinking how many of those sufferers possibly have an undetected H.pylori infection. There is still a lot of drug promotion regarding this acid reflux problem. Unfortunately, many such patients today are still seen as having “too much stomach acid”, and treated with antacids or stomach-acid blockers as front-line therapy, when in my clinical experience actually the opposite applies, they don’t have enough or have an infection which needs sorting. Gastric juice is composed of digestive enzymes and concentrated hydrochloric acid, which can readily digest food or kill microorganisms. Low levels of stomach acid increase the chance an organism’s survival. It used to be thought that the stomach contained no bacteria and was actually sterile, and it took an Aussie GP to prove all the world’s experts wrong.

It seems pretty silly to treat the acid problem perpetually, without enquiring into actually why this burping, reflux and upper abdominal discomfort is occurring in the first place. Albert Szent Györgyi, (1937 Nobel Laureate in Physiology and Medicine) said that: “Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.” Today it is an established fact that most cases of peptic ulcers and gastritis, diseases that affect millions of humans worldwide, result from this HP infection, and not “too much acid” in the stomach at all.

“Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.” Albert Szent Györgyi

HP infection and prevalence

H. pylori is believed to be transmitted orally. Did you wash your hands? Many researchers believe that HP is transmitted orally by means of fecal matter through the ingestion of tainted food or water. In addition, it is possible that H. pylori could be transmitted from the stomach to the mouth through gastro-esophageal reflux or belching, all common symptoms of gastritis. The bacterium could then be transmitted through oral contact.

HP infection remains a huge problem, is extremely common and infecting more than a billion people worldwide. It is estimated that half of the American population older than age 60 has been infected with H. pylori at some stage and the economic effect of ulcer disease in the US (as measured back in a study of 1989 data) showed that the illness cost then nearly $6 billion annually. ($2.66 billion for hospitalisation, not including doctor ‘s fees), outpatient care ($1.62 billion), and loss in work productivity ($1.37 billion).

One in five Aussies and Kiwis have HP, according to Dr. Barry Marshal, infection usually persists for many years, leading to ulcer disease in 10 % to 15% of those infected. H. pylori is found in more than 80% of patients with gastric and duodenal ulcers. You can imagine what this common complaint in NZ and Australia is costing, in terms of medication, doctor’s visits and lost productivity at work. Early research on HP characterised much of the work to come, the data that emerged from the study of all these samples was quite unexpected. It showed that HP is actually a common bacterial agent and that an amazing 30-50% of the world’s population are colonised with it.

How do you know if you have the HP bug?

The infection manifests differently in different individuals. In some people, it produces more acid in the stomach, and ulcers may result. In others, stomach acid suppression or complete lack (which we call achlorhydria) may result, and these people may be at a greater risk of gastric cancer. It is unclear why some people respond one way or the other.

Typical manifestations of a Helicobacter pylori infection:

· Nausea, or a low-grade feeling of being queasy. Could be vomiting.

· Avoidance of chilli, garlic or a specific food which “does not agree” with your tummy.

· Bloating worse after meals. Feeling worse after meals or certain foods.

· Recurring abdominal pain, intestinal cramps.

· Peptic or duodenal ulcers (over 90% of all cases have HP)

· Burping, this can be pretty bad. The person may have developed a reputation!

· Heartburn, and perhaps reliant on Quick-Eze or Gavascon, Losec, etc.

· Diarrhea or constipation after several years of infection.

· Disturbed sleep, perhaps waking up with a hollow feeling or heartburn. I have known some patients to prop up the head of the bed with a few bricks even.

· Symptoms worse at night, or worse lying down.

· Vitamin B12 deficiency. Have your practitioner test for this, you may well be deficient.

· Altered appetite, some times you may feel like eating, other times you don’t.

· After being infected for several years, you may have develop mineral deficiencies which can lead to a myriad of health problems.

· Helicobacter pylori is implicated in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

· Migraine headaches (40% of migraine sufferers are positive, and eradication subsides the headaches).

· Acne rosacea. Helicobacter pylori is suspected of causing rosacea (eradication of HP often results in a significant reduction in rosacea symptoms).

Is it any wonder how an ailing stomach is supposed to do its job, i.e., digesting and absorbing foods efficiently when a bacterial infection is causing such dysfunction? Your doctor may have initially prescribed a medicine such as Losec, Gavascon or Mylanta for your stomach, serving to block acid or dilute it. How is your tummy supposed to work at all now? Then you go back and complain that the symptoms are unchanged. What then? You can see what I mean, after many years of this infection you can feel quite unwell. I see one person or more each week like this, and have done so for many years. When I wrote an article to our local newspaper several years ago regarding HP, I received nearly ten calls. And almost al these patients had a HP infection, all were on either Losec, Quick-Eze, Gavascon or Mylanta.

Conventional HP Therapy

Please note that it is extremely important to obtain an accurate diagnosis before trying to find a cure of your heartburn or reflux. Many stomach or digestive diseases and conditions share common symptoms: if you treat yourself for the wrong illness or a specific symptom of a complex disease, you may delay legitimate treatment of a serious underlying problem, yes even stomach cancer. In other words, the greatest danger in self-treatment may actually be self-diagnosis. Always work with your health-care professional, preferably one who is experienced in gastrointestinal disorders. If you do not know what you really have, you simply can not treat it!

I have always had a great concern regarding the extensive use of antibiotic drugs required to treat HP infected individuals. The conventional medical clearing of HP from the stomach requires therapy from 10 to 14 days with multiple drugs. My concern is that prolonged or recurrent antibiotic treatment alters the normal microbial population of the entire gastrointestinal tract, eliminating many beneficial bacteria as well as HP, allowing the sufferer to develop a gut environment which may contain bugs like Candida albicans, proteus, or a whole host of other undesirables. You get rid of one problem, only to create yet another.

Triple Therapy

The use of only one medication to treatH. pylori was never recommended by Dr. Marshall. At this time, the most conventional treatment is a 2-week course of treatment called “triple therapy”. It involves taking two antibiotics to kill the bacteria and either an acid suppressor or stomach-lining shielding drug. Two-week triple therapy reduces ulcer symptoms, kills the bacteria, and prevents ulcer recurrence in many patients – but the recurrence can be as high as 75%. Complete eradication is difficult, I have had many patients who have come to me after having had triple therapy many years ago with average to poor results, and were placed on an acid blocker for many years after.I do recommend this for some resistant cases, and have been know to send some patients to a GP for triple therapy, then follow-up with natural treatment for 6 weeks. I have found that some patients may find triple therapy complicated because it involves taking 3 kinds of drugs, and as many as 20 pills a day. Also, the antibiotics and bismuth drugs used in triple therapy may cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dark stools, metallic taste in the mouth, dizziness, headache, and yeast infections, particularly in women.

HP Testing

The diagnosis of H. pylori infection has traditionally involved endoscopy with biopsies of the stomach’s mucosa. There are three ways to test for HP currently in NZ. To be honest, I only occasionally authorise a HP test these days, and generally have a “gut feeling” a person has this bug once they come into my room and complain of the above mentioned symptoms. Common sense – the patient will soon tell you if they are or are not improving, and it only takes about three to four weeks to really know what is going on. Just because the test results come back negative, you could still have this bug. You know me by now, please don’t get paralysis from analysis! If you feel significantly better after a HP treatment whether it be pharmaceutical or natural – you probably have HP regardless of what the test results say. Remember – up to one in five New Zealanders have this infection, so the odds are reasonably high you have it.

· The Urea Breath Test method of diagnosis relies on the Urea reaction being present, as mentioned earlier. This is a sound test – 90 – 95% successful in picking up the HP bug.

· Blood tests measuring HP antibody levels have been developed. However, these tests have suboptimal sensitivity and specificity (85% and 79%).

· Stool tests for antibodies – again, many factors can affect the outcome of this test, stay with breath testing. Many experts say that the fecal antigen test is bullet proof, but in my experience I have seen many “false negatives” with testing. That is, the results come back all ok, but the patient responds dramatically after HP treatment.

Natural HP Eradication

No clear indications exist for specific treatment of each and every individual case of HP associated gastritis. I have found the following treatments to be effective, and employed many different therapies over the years. Here are some treatments which I have found to work in various HP cases. Remember, recurrence rates are quite high, so you may want to persist with treatment until you feel much better, then hang in there for a few more months (lower grade treatment) to be absolutely sure. I recommend treatment in blocks of 6 weeks, then wait 2 -3 weeks, then another 6 week period of treatment. A good clinical tip for you: always treat this infection by taking something with meals, and also something in-between, or away from foods. This is designed to really drive the “kill” treatment home, and lets the treatment have access to the HP bugs in the gut with as well as away to some extent from foods and gastric juice involvement. I have a saying in my clinic: persistence breaks resistance. Remember Winston Churchill? – never give in, never give in, never give in.

· Manuka honey, which has high levels of hydrogen peroxide and has been shown in studies to be active against H. pylori. Go for the Comvita high UMF factor Manuka honey.

· Propolis works really well for some, but is dismal for others.

· Vitamin B12 – get this checked in your blood! You may well be deficient here.

· After antibiotic treatment is finished, (triple therapy) it makes sense to rebuild the gut flora with lactobacillus species. They won’t cure the condition, however. (A 2002 trial demonstrated that a mixed acidophilus preparation failed to eradicate the H. pylori infection in the patients upon whom it was tried).

· DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) – you can get this in capsules or liquid.

· Aloe Vera helps to heal the mucous lining of the gastrointestinal tract.

· Berberine is found in the herb Goldenseal, and it may be used as a natural herbal antibiotic.

· Eat grapefruit seeds, for some this is very effective long term. The extract is even better.

· Digestive enzymes may also be useful – especially with achlorhydria (low stomach acid)

· Gum mastic is a natural substance from the sap of the Mediterranean evergreen tree, Pistacia lemniscuses. Mastic gum has been shown to be effective in protecting the digestive system, healing peptic and duodenal ulcers, and eradicating H. pylori from the gut. I use this a lot, and give two capsules twice daily in between meals.

· Bismuth. It displays anti-inflammatory action (due to salicylic acid) and also acts as an antacid and mild antibiotic. Don’t freak out – It can also cause a black tongue and black stools in some people who take it, when it combines with trace amounts of sulfur in their saliva and gastrointestinal tract. This discoloration is temporary and absolutely harmless.

My favourite HP treatment regime? I would have to say gum mastica between meals, and with meals a preparation of Bismuth,deglycyrrhizinated licorice, grapefruit seed extract and goldenseal. I often recommend aloe vera and activated charcoal as well.

Do you get that annoying heartburn, and want to try and find a cause and ultimately a cure? Consult your naturopath or nutritional-friendly doctor who can check you out carefully and thoroughly and who will actually treat the cause, not the symptom. They should generally recommend a course of treatment and a specific diet designed for the individual, with promising results for many patients. And what a relief, to be free of heartburn, bloating and that “awful feeling in the tummy” again!

Motorcycle Gas Mileage

With insane gas prices, people are looking at motorcycle gas mileage. More people are considering motorcycles to reduce their gas costs. I’ve gotten over 50mpg on my 2004 Road King Custom, which has the five speed   transmission . The new six speed will no doubt give you better mileage.

As you can see by the list below, Harley-Davidson motorcycles get great gas mileage ranging from around 53mpg for the big Screamin Eagle Ultra Classic and the Screamin Eagle DYNA, both with the 110 cubic inch engine to around 60mpg for the 883 Sportster.

If you’re considering a motorcycle to lower your gas costs, keep in mind the type of riding your going to be doing. If you’re thinking about an 883 Sportster to commute to and from work, remember the types of roads you’ll be traveling on. The Sporster gets great gas mileage but I would not want to spend a lot of time on the highway with it. If you are going to be doing a lot of highway riding, I would consider something bigger. Either way, you’ll be saving money on gas and having fun doing it. Here is a mileage estimate list for Harley motorcycles.

Sportster 883 models: 60 HWY/45 CITY

Sportster 1220 models: 57 HWY/42 CITY

DYNA Super Glide: 54 HWY/35 CITY

DYNA Super Glide Custom: 53 HWY/34 CITY

DYNA Street Bob: 54 HWY/35 CITY

DYNA Fat Bob: 53 HWY/34 CITY

DYNA Low Rider: 53 HWY/34CITY

DYNA Wide Glide 105Th Anniversary: 53 HWY/34 CITY

Screamin Eagle DYNA: 53 HWY/36 CITY

VRSV V-Rod: 42 HWY/34 CITY

Night Train Softail: 54 HWY/35 CITY

Softail Custom: 54 HWY/35 CITY

Fat Boy: 54 HWY/35 CITY

Rocker,Rocker C: 54 HWY/35 CITY

Softail Deluxe: 54 HWY/35 CITY

Heritage Softail Classic: 54 HWY/35 CITY

Electra Glide Standard: 54 HWY/35 CITY

Road King, Road King Classic, Road Glide, Street Glide: 54 HWY/35 CITY

Electra Glide Classic: 54 HWY/35 CITY

Screamin Eagle Road King: 53.5 HWY/37.7 CITY

Screamin Eagle Ultra Classic: 53 HWY/36 CITY

What is CNC?

CNC is the acronym of Computer Numeric Control and it is often associated with plasma cutting as in CNC plasma cutting. A plasma cutting unit that is controlled by CNC is controlled by a computer. There are two basic classes of controls, industrial PC-based control systems and hobbyist/artisan PC-based control systems. The industrial CNC systems, such as the ones produced by Hypertherm or Burny, are robust enough to stand up the harsh production environments. They have a touch screen that can be housed inside of a heat shield for additional protection. The industrial CNCs are very costly, but they come highly recommended for any application because they are not vulnerable to typical PC problems meaning they have very little down time. Due to the high cost you will not often find industrial scale CNCs in a hobbyist’s garage. The artisan and the hobbyist plasma cutter use standard PC-based controls with I/O cards for controlling the plasma systems and the drives. Since these are regular PCs they are prone to an array of computer problems, but none that cannot be fixed.

If you want to use a CNC for your plasma cutting there are some things you will need. You will need a table for the cutting to take place on. On each side of the table you must have a rail that the drives can use to move the plasma systems; we will call this the x-axis. A bridge or gantry must span the table and each end must rest on the rails. The plasma system must be attached to a rail on the bridge which will allow it to move back and forth; the y-axis. Industrial strength set ups us fabricated steel for the construction of the table, rails and bridge. On the other hand, extruded aluminum is used for the hobbyist and artisan CNC plasma cutter set ups. The difference is that the steel is more robust and will withstand constant use whereas the aluminum can only withstand occasional use. If building one of these machines sounds a little scary to you, there are lots of kits that you can buy or you have the option of buying ready built CNC plasma cutters.

If you cruise the web you will be able to find many videos showing CNC plasma cutters in action. It is not the easiest topic in the world to explain and I suggest you check out some videos if you have not seen a CNC plasma cutter before.