View Full Version : Plasma cutter rocks!

12-19-2005, 07:48 PM
I finally quit playing with the plasma cutter today and actually used it for something. I'm building a steel tank for my tig cooler out of 16 ga steel and this thing beats any method I've used short of a shear. It's the first time I've fooled with one and it's awesome for this kind of stuff.

12-19-2005, 08:26 PM
NOW, think on this friend...

take a plywood, sheetmetal pattern.. offset the size by the radius of the tip and cut size.

I made them for Nematron CPU monitors in the 80s.. lay it on a stainless cabinet, clamp it. Take the plasma (was as big as a truck then) and trace around the pattern.. Nematron fit without filing or anything..

I made a pattern to cut tattoo machines from sheet, lay cutter in pattern and trace, drill holes, then fold in break.. yep..

Cutting a straight line? easier.. use a piece of angle or flatbar, clamp it to your metal, drag beside it, no wobble.. as staight as a shear, and faster..

LOL.. fun fun fun...

Your Old Dog
12-19-2005, 08:36 PM
****........you got me wanting one and I don't know what I'd use it for http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif Sounds like something I should be yearning for!

12-19-2005, 08:41 PM
I have been wondering? the flex magnets you pinstripe with.. do they hold well enough to use as a trace for a plasma cutter?

Cutting out old rusted sheetmetal without overheat warpage is what they shine the most at. They will dessimate a old car.. chop job, quarter panels, used all the time in the shop.

12-19-2005, 09:10 PM
Hey Hoffman, What is the limitations of the unit? What size and type did you buy? I have Been Looking at those myself (imports) and wondered how they compared to Lincoln or Miller? Any body have any Ideas?
These things sure beat hell out of The RED ax......
Good Luck.

12-20-2005, 02:32 AM
I had to cut some panels about 12" square and until now it was always the hand-held jig saw which is noisy and a PITA.

I just used a regular framing square and clamped it to the piece with some of those big clothes pin clamps and ZIP, done. I made a little gauge for offsetting the square .150 so the cut would be on the line. I have several sheet metal projects that have been holding because I dreaded the jig saw...

Now I'm looking at getting a scroll saw for cutting out patterns.

It's one of the 40 amp 220v import deals that are all over ebay right now.

I was a little spooked about getting one because I can't get consumables locally but there are tips all over ebay right now for pretty cheap. I've cut a butt load of stuff with it just playing around and the tip looks the same as when I took it out of the box so I'm wondering why all the fuss about how they eat so many tips... It cut through 1/4 steel without much fuss and the cut was clean but I'm guessing 3/8 would be about the thickest stuff practical.

Good to see ya back Dave!

[This message has been edited by hoffman (edited 12-20-2005).]

12-20-2005, 10:25 AM
I noticed the starts and stops have a lot to do with the tips lasting.

BLOW holes seems to kill them. (starting in the pierce) As a artist, that is half the fun.

The first thing years ago when I got mine, I did was write my name in stainless in a flowing script.

Wanna build a cnc table for that puppy? I got plans for one less than $500... I got mine about 1/2 built.. Preliminary assembly is on Adrians site.

cam m
12-20-2005, 10:48 AM

I have a plasma cutter and an old laptop. What else do I need to CNC my plasma? Do I need a different "gun?"

12-20-2005, 02:43 PM
I've looked at your CNC plasma and I've given it some thought. The HF start on this thing is pretty rough though. It makes the lights /radio flicker worse than the tig welder... I'm just about tooled up enough to pull something like that off.

12-20-2005, 06:33 PM
Alright, hoffman! Congratulations on getting a rust-free tool through the shop door. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

You realize that you're contributing to the economy, right? Now we're all gonna have to get one. Post some pics, dude. I wanna see what a "rank beginner" (like myself) can do with the new tool. This is your first crack at plasma cutting, right?


12-20-2005, 06:48 PM
Yea but it took 3 weeks , It could have rusted in that amount of time.

The tame Wolf !

12-20-2005, 07:06 PM

The torch assembly for the 95 model cutter I have is over $350.. A cnc torch would be outrageous.

No, you do need to open up the case, find the switch and parallel a relay with it. There is also a "ready light" contact and a torch on contact that would be nice to read and not let the cnc do it blind.

The gantry machine I have not finished yet? it runs on channel, roller blade wheels carry the weight, and uhmw steering bumpers to keep it from wobbling. I have some cheap servo motors/gearboxes I bought off ebay, some gecko drives I bought from Mariss and chain drive. I have the desire to cable drive the floating gantry to save on inertia.

Nothing building this is beyond anyone here.
All it takes is money, time and desire.

Pictures of what I have done so far is posted http://www.bbssystem.com/viewtopic.php?t=411

I wish I was able to build it right now.. Kinda aggravated and need something to keep me busy. My eyes are still bothering me.

12-20-2005, 08:26 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by IOWOLF:
Yea but it took 3 weeks , It could have rusted in that amount of time.


Actually it took about 2 months after the auction ended to get it http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//rolleyes.gif

I plan on doing a little web page/review of it because while I was waiting for it in the mail I searched all over the net for info on them and mostly came up nil on the hobby class machines except for the harbour freight and homier cutters.

I did open it up to find out which wire was ground and it looked like ALL the components were chinese http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//eek.gif

I've been looking at these things for quite a while and I noticed that the boards were marked "CHIRY". Wasn't there a plasma cutter by that name being marketed a few years ago? Sort of like tracking down the makers of 9X20 lathes and 4x6 bandsaws...

12-20-2005, 08:38 PM
This might be a place to start looking.

"Wenzhou Chiry Welding & Cutting Equipment Co., Ltd"

12-20-2005, 08:41 PM
Plasma on!

I bought mine (Pak 50) about eight years ago to dismantle a car then remake it. Beats the heck outta Ox/act for discriminating cuts on a car you wanna keep from flamin up completely.

I ended up making numerous panels for the car and needed a good guide cause I'm as shaky as a new leaf in a storm.

What works for me is poster board. It's basically a thick paper product. I can cut the board out to varying shapes and tape sections together with a butt seam to produce larger shapes.

I then tape the board to the sheet metal in a couple of spots. Because the board is fairly thin (14 to 16 ga?) the tip only increase the overall size by about a 1/16" so I can account for that.

The board can be used a couple of times if I stay off of it during the cut.

Dont forget the other, sometimes more important use for plasma. Stainless (my fav. metal) and al-you-min-eeum.

12-20-2005, 08:51 PM
I know what plasma cutting is, but don't know that i've ever seen it up close. can you guys in the know talk a bit about what type of finish you get? similair to laser cut, or closer to an O/A torch?

12-20-2005, 08:54 PM
Hey Hoffman, does your's look like this?


12-20-2005, 08:55 PM
I started cutting electrical panels out for new auxillary relays and other instruments at TVA in 2000 At Nickajack Dam, since then it seems they all want it done.

No hammering, no jigsaws to "operate" relays by imparted inertia. (did you say you accidently turned off the lower city's power?) You hang a piece of A-cloth curtain inside the electrical enclosure, have a man watch for spraying sparks, burn away. Hopefully all the minor smoke dust just wipes up.

When I'd mark and cut my own templates out, I didn't even have to file to fit.

I'm far away now at home, someone else has the reins. Making the money, cutting the line out.

12-20-2005, 09:14 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by CCWKen:
This might be a place to start looking.

"Wenzhou Chiry Welding & Cutting Equipment Co., Ltd"

"Spring flowers and fall fruit, after the wind and rain course of 15 years, we have found the first brand in welding industry - CHIRY and got the happiness of success. Secondary, Wenzhou Chiry welding equipment Manufacture Branch will keep the dreams in touch with reality. Facing incomparable business opportunity which it comes into being with joining WTO, We have make a ripe developing plan, we will strive for ahead times and leading the future."


Thanks for the poster board tip J! I tried some freehand with it and it's impossible to get a straight cut. I was thinking about getting a scroll saw and some 1/4 masonite for cutting out patterns.

Mine looks a lot like that one Ken but it doesn't have the plastic on it and it has an amp gauge on the front. I'm not sure why you would need the meter?

Oh yea mcgyver, I mainly got mine to cut sheet around 14 ga. My only other options before were sawzall/jigsaw (wavy cuts, broken/dull blades) or cutting torch ( poor cuts, warps all to sh!t) The cut with the plasma is really smooth and the metal doesn't get hot enough to warp.

[This message has been edited by hoffman (edited 12-20-2005).]