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Thread: Recommend a small plasma cutter

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    3,064

    Default Recommend a small plasma cutter

    I'm in the market for a small plasma cutter, at the best price I can squeeze out.

    Minimal capacity necessary- true cut in 1/4" is plenty, as it'll mainly be used for sheetmetal. Light and portable is handy, and inexpensive, common, easy-to-find consumables.

    I've used a Thermalarc with a 3/8" capacity, and it worked fine, but local price is over $1400. Anything of similar quality in the under-a-grand range?

    Doc.
    Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    northwest wisconsin
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    1,175

    Default

    let your local welding supply shop of your needs. they will probably take someones trade-in thats up-grading to something bigger. i don;t think the consumables are cheap for any of them. i had a thermodynamics 1/4" one and sold it for 700 bucks a year ago. it was not easy to sell so they are out there for a reasonable amount of $$$$.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Edison Washington
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    Default

    I would stick with either Hypertherm or Thermal Dynamics.
    They are the two manufacturers who specialise in plasma.
    Everybody else dabbles, with no committment.

    Macona, who will no doubt chime in soon, says Hypertherms are better built.
    I see a LOT of them in commercial shops, beat to death, used every day, lasting a long time.
    I have had good luck with my Thermal Dynamics machine- close to ten years now, running a 4x8 plasma cutting table, with no breakdowns of any kind.

    All of the consumables are expensive- they are made of expensive materials, precision machined. Usually a hafnium insert in the tip, which sells for between $100 and $500 a pound for the raw metal.
    It aint easy to stand up to 40,000 degrees farenhieit.

    I have found that all the welding supply places in my area stock the standard consumbables for Hypertherm and TD. And then, maybe a bit for newer models of Miller or Esab. Beyond that, it thins out.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Liberty Mo.
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    81

    Default

    I would shop Craigslist. You can find all kinds of good brands and sizes of Plamsa Cutters for sale by home shop or small shop owners. I prefer Craigslist over e-bay any day. Find someone local within driving range and try it out before you buy it. Sometimes even Barter for what you want. I have bought and sold stuff on Craigslist and never been done wrong. My company trades in its old stuff and I know the Vendor sales that stuff dirt cheap. May even find someone selling off an Ex's tools with a big discount.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Beaverton, OR
    Posts
    7,208

    Default

    I would say the best machine for what you want to do would be the Hypertherm Powermax30.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Central Iowa
    Posts
    620

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by macona
    I would say the best machine for what you want to do would be the Hypertherm Powermax30.
    I would second that, had one for 3 - 4 years, just used it and blew out the dirt once in a while.
    Retired - Journeyman Refrigeration Pipefitter - Master Electrician - Amateur Machinist

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Regina and Assiniboia, Saskatchewan
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    5,950

    Default

    I had a Lincoln Procut 25 for 5 years...used the snot out of it.
    Cheap consumables compared to most others and they LAST!
    I needed more capacity so I bought a Hypertherm 600. It cuts ok but it's way harder on consumables than the lil' Lincoln was.
    I also liked the narrow curf better on the Lincoln. I liked the torch far better as well.
    But.. the Hypertherm is now much cheaper than the Lincolns... and really has the capacity hands down.
    I have tools I don't even know I own...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    175

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Nickel
    Minimal capacity necessary- true cut in 1/4" is plenty, as it'll mainly be used for sheetmetal. Light and portable is handy, and inexpensive, common, easy-to-find consumables.
    I've used a Thermalarc with a 3/8" capacity, and it worked fine, but local price is over $1400. Anything of similar quality in the under-a-grand range?
    Doc.
    I have owned a HTP Microcut 625 for 8 years now and it is a perfect machine. This model is an inverter weighing only 39 lbs and will cut 1/2 inch material easily and smoothly.
    Htp has smaller models, and one larger. They provide very good customer service and stock the parts. Check them out at: http://www.htpweld.com/products/plas...ters/index.htm
    pg

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Central Iowa
    Posts
    620

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by piniongear
    I have owned a HTP Microcut 625 for 8 years now and it is a perfect machine. This model is an inverter weighing only 39 lbs and will cut 1/2 inch material easily and smoothly.
    Htp has smaller models, and one larger. They provide very good customer service and stock the parts. Check them out at: http://www.htpweld.com/products/plas...ters/index.htm
    pg
    What I like about it, only draws 40 amps on high setting. I see Hypertherm has dropped the 380 like I have. In place they have a Powermax 30 which looks like a Inverter drawing much less amps than my old 380.
    Retired - Journeyman Refrigeration Pipefitter - Master Electrician - Amateur Machinist

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Europe-Asia border aka somewhere on the Saros
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    Default

    Ummm it's worth asking who makes which machine... Just because there's blue paint on a Miller doesn't mean Miller built it. When I bought my Hypertherm 380, I was told by a Miller rep that the equivalent Miller machine was built by Hypertherm so why pay a premium for the blue paint?!!?? In light of that, does Lincoln really make their own Plasmas or are they built by others and rebranded?

    I can't compare between machines, but I do know I'm very happy with my Hypertherm. I did put oil/dessicant filters on it as recommended by the retailer.
    Cam

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