Under Construction …..


In this installment, I will be covering the installation of these two side dust guards.

The help keep the plasma dust (and milling dust) off the linear rails and out of the shop.

They were designed in such a way that you can still install a milling table without removing them. They work especial well of keeping dust and chips out of the shop, even without a dust shoe.

The Components

To make the guards, you will need four pieces of 26 gauge galvanized sheet metal.

They should be cut to 19” x 5-3/4”.

You can pick up a 24” x 36” sheet of 26 gauge sheet metal at most home center for $10-$12”

Bending Components

I used my Harbor Freight 3-in-1 Shear, Break, Roller, to cut and bend the pieces that make up the guard.

There are many ways to bend sheet metal, especially 26 gauge.

Here is a hand held bender, that many HVAC folks use to bend 26 gauge sheet.

You can even use a couple pieces of wood or MDF and some clamps to make the bends.


Cutting the Components

If you don’t have a shear, there are a number of scissor type cutters that will work on 26 gauge sheet.

Here are a couple air powered sheet metal cutters.

Marking the Components

Mark the four components as shown here.

Note that you will also need to transfer the lower mark to the reverse side of the part.

Cutting the Holes

Drilling a hole in thin sheet metal can be problematic. This is especially true of larger holes like these.

The easiest way is to use a punch and die set like the one shown here.

I purchased this one from Amazon here:

Punch and Die Set

The punch and die set creates a very clean hole.

You need to cut the two holes in each of the four parts.

First Bend

The Bend the part at the 4” mark as shown here.

Second Bend

Bend the part at the 5” mark as shown here. Note that this bend is done from the reverse side.

Make the bends on all four parts as shown here.

Cutting Front Left Part

Select one of the bent pieces that will be used for the front left guard.

Mark the cutout as shown here.

Using some snips cut the guard as shown here.

Cutting the Front Right Part

Select the part that will be used for the front right guard.

Mark and cut as before.

Note that this part is a mirror image of the left part.

The cut front guards.

Installing the Front Right Guard

Slip the right front guard over the two studs described that were installed earlier.

Note that these were detailed in this article.

CNC Tables

Secure with a 1/4” washer and 1/4-20 nut, as shown here.

Push the the lower flap against the side of the side frame component as you tighten the nut.

Don’t place any hardware on the the other stud.

Installing the Rear Right Guard

Take one of the non cut guards and place it over the two rear studs, as shown here.

Secure with two 1/4” washers and nuts.

Tape the Two Guards Together

Place some metal HVAC tape on both sides of the seam, as shown here.

Install the Left Guards

Repeat the process on the left guards.


Make sure that the Y-carriages don’t catch on the seams. Bend the guards as needed.

While the tape will help, it is important that the carriages don’t rub against the seam.

On the Everlast build you will loose 2.5” from the X-axis travel.

This happens because the Z-carriage can hit the guard. To remedy this you can a longer extension for the torch holder.

This is not true for the Hypertyherm build as the machine torch is long enough to be lowered so that the Z-carriage does not hit the guards.

While a front and rear guard will not effect the rails, they can help keep dust and sparks out of the shop.

Here is a simple rear guard I created. Its a piece of 26 gauge sheet metal cut to 20-1/4” x 6”. It has a bend at 2”. The bend has holes for mounting to some inserts I added to the T-slots.

I used 1/4-20 knobs to secure this rear guard as, it must be removed if you want to install a milling table top.

Here is a very simple front guard. It is held in place with magnets.

Note that on the Everlast build it will need to be low enough so that the torch handle can clear it.

I am still working on the front and rear guards and will post some updates to this article when I get them worked out.