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Tool Talk Discussion Forum

PLASMA CUTTER

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Phil H

10-23-2019 11:23:16




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I was wanting to get a plasma cutter and it seems like HYPERTHERM is the all around best, but also the most expensive. I know they talk about the drag and cut ability that allows you to cut nice holes with out drilling. That would be really good because I have a project that I am going to use 1/4" channel and I need to drill A LOT OF HOLES. I would make a template to cut a nice even hole about 3/8" or 1/2" and it would sure save me a lot of time, if I could just blow through the channel iron with a plasma cutter. I have a acetylene torch but they do leave a lot of slag, and the holes are jagged. Has anyone had any experience with plasma cutters, and how good are they. Thanks Phil H

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ztrmowers

10-26-2019 07:45:24




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 Re: PLASMA CUTTER in reply to Phil H, 10-23-2019 11:23:16  
I had one but only practice will make a better hole,i sold mine found out I was doing better with torch 90% of time plasma does not warp the thin stuff and till you get good at it your holes will not be much different than torch, you need get you set of good bits for the holes, I use hole dawgs think they were called they are heavy bits like hole saws style, I have them for sale now since I do not weld anymore

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Jon f mn

10-24-2019 19:12:22




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 Re: PLASMA CUTTER in reply to Phil H, 10-23-2019 11:23:16  
Real good advice here. I'll add one thing, when buying get double the capacity of the thickest material you will cut. Mine is rated to cut 1" and Pierce 1 1/4". It will cut 3/4" steel and 1/2" aluminum pretty good. Does real well on 1/2" steel and 1/4" aluminum.



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Phil H

10-25-2019 08:18:16




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 Re: PLASMA CUTTER in reply to Jon f mn, 10-24-2019 19:12:22  
Good idea, I think after I get one I will wonder what I ever did without it. I think I will get the best, that way I know it will do what they say it will do. thanks...Ö..Phil



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504

10-23-2019 20:12:50




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 Re: PLASMA CUTTER in reply to Phil H, 10-23-2019 11:23:16  
We went to Hypertherm after the other big name cutters went south on us. They changed the color and the name, and we were having them fail to the tune of sell 6 and 5 went bad in thirty days. They did not want to credit them for new ones.(they finally did and we quit them) There are kits to cut holes and shapes. Buy the air filter-dryer when you buy a machine.(it is cheaper than tips)



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Phil H

10-24-2019 05:31:56




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 Re: PLASMA CUTTER in reply to 504, 10-23-2019 20:12:50  
Thanks, it sounds like HYPERTHERM is the better machine. That is what I thought....... Phil



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JohnDeere720GA

10-23-2019 19:30:24




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 Re: PLASMA CUTTER in reply to Phil H, 10-23-2019 11:23:16  
one of the things that doesn't get a lot of mention about plasma cutters is that if the material will conduct electricity the plasma will cut it. I have cut stainless, brass, bronze and aluminum with equal ease as mild steel. I cut a hole in a friends chrome bumper and it barely discolored the chrome at the cut. He was mounting lights in the new openings, so it wasn't a evil prank. I have an ox/acetylene torch but there are cuts it just wont make.

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Phil H

10-24-2019 05:34:04




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 Re: PLASMA CUTTER in reply to JohnDeere720GA, 10-23-2019 19:30:24  
There are a lot of times I could use a plasma cutter, to do just what you said.....thanks...Phil



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Mtf

10-23-2019 15:02:23




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 Re: PLASMA CUTTER in reply to Phil H, 10-23-2019 11:23:16  
I have a Miller 625. It will cut quality hole up to 1/2. It will cut thicker, but torch is cleaner. Get you some thick washers of different sizes. Tack weld them and use them as your guide for cutting holes. I also use straight edges to get better looking cuts.



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Phil H

10-24-2019 05:35:04




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 Re: PLASMA CUTTER in reply to Mtf, 10-23-2019 15:02:23  
Thanks for the tip....Phil



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3000OH

10-23-2019 13:34:42




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 Re: PLASMA CUTTER in reply to Phil H, 10-23-2019 11:23:16  
If you donít have a steady hand and adjust your cut speed correctly, a plasma will also leave a jagged edge and slag on the backside. If you need to have those holes really precise you may not get there without a CNC table.

Have you considered a mag drill?



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Phil H

10-24-2019 05:37:07




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 Re: PLASMA CUTTER in reply to 3000OH, 10-23-2019 13:34:42  
No. I will practice with the cutter first, because I have a lot of holes to cut...Phil



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Steve@Advance

10-23-2019 12:59:39




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 Re: PLASMA CUTTER in reply to Phil H, 10-23-2019 11:23:16  
Hypertherm is probably overkill for your needs.

Sometimes welding supply shops have used ones, good name brand units.

The advantage of a name brand is readily available consumables.

Find out what is available in your area, what brands parts are stocked for.

Buy something off brand and find out parts are not available will be an ongoing hassle.

There are some 120v only units out there, they are limited in their capacity, and will nuisance trip a standard breaker. Some are dual voltage, handy for small jobs where 220 is not readily available, but capable of larger jobs on high voltage.

As said, clean air is a must. I like to put a water separator/filter quick coupled directly to the machine just in case anything might be in the hose.

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Phil H

10-24-2019 05:40:18




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 Re: PLASMA CUTTER in reply to Steve@Advance, 10-23-2019 12:59:39  
I have a dealer near me, so I can get the consumables, which is a good I idea to work with a good brand...Phil



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Janicholson

10-23-2019 11:39:22




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 Re: PLASMA CUTTER in reply to Phil H, 10-23-2019 11:23:16  
I operate, and teach using hand held and CNC systems (both Hypertherm. They are fantastic. Dry air is going to save consumable costs. Moisture in the air supply causes erosion in the tip and electrode as water is ionized to a plasma. We use a refrigeration dryer to put moisture at less than 3% humidity. Other moisture separators can help dramatically. A template that offsets the cut from the guide (like for a 1/2" hole, a 3/4" template is created) with 4 or 5 holes in a row allowing cuts to be made sequentially for 5 holes, then a recovery period for torch cooling while moving the template is a good idea. Use some scrap of the material being cut to determine the highest speed you can maintain the cut. The faster, the less slag on the reverse side. Use shade 12 or 13 lenses (I understand the tendency to use sun glasses, but don't. Look at the tip after a period of use to assess if there is grooving or belmouthing at the opening (non repairable) Fizzy cotton burns readily. I hope this helps. Jim

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Phil H

10-24-2019 05:43:20




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 Re: PLASMA CUTTER in reply to Janicholson, 10-23-2019 11:39:22  
Thanks Jim, yes,it sure does help. I will connect it to 220v. ...Phil



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Steve in VA

10-23-2019 11:38:06




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 Re: PLASMA CUTTER in reply to Phil H, 10-23-2019 11:23:16  
I have an older Thermodyne. It is a great machine and you could write your name in sheet metal with it. To make consistent holes it would be best [in my opinion] to make a template that the torch could fit inside and act as a guide. Wood would be fine. Mine is on the small size and rated to 3/8" but will do thicker if you're not in a hurry. Although I don't use it a lot, I consider it a valuable addition.

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Phil H

10-24-2019 05:47:09




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 Re: PLASMA CUTTER in reply to Steve in VA, 10-23-2019 11:38:06  
I would like to get the HYPERTHERM 45, because if I do get into some heavy stuff, I would not have a problem. ...Phil



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