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Another Plasma Cutter Question or 8

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  • Another Plasma Cutter Question or 8

    I am trying to determine what plasma cutter I should get, and if I can swing one for Christmas.

    My first question is, if I were considering a Thermal Dynamics would the cutmaster 38 do or would I need the 51. The 38 is 3/8" genuine cut, 1/2" quality cut, 5/8" severance and the 51 is 1/2" genuine cut, 5/8" quality cut, 3/4" severance from TD’s advertisements.

    Next Q, are theses numbers reliable? I have heard that some brands are significantly overrated.

    I will generally be cutting sheet steel/aluminum that is آ¼ inch think or less. Occasionally something as large as آ½ inch (steel).

    Now, the duty cycle of the 38 is 35%. I know how the measure works, but what is the standard operating range of time before normal machines need to cool? I don’t want to be cutting a 6 inch piece of آ½ inch think steel and have to stop every minute for a rest break.

    Another question is given proper use, how often to do you have to replace the consumables? Does it depend on the type or thickness of the metal. Would it help to buy/build a roller attachment to maintain proper offset? I am pretty clueless. I have had the opportunity to use a plasma cutter in the past, but I have never had to worry about maintenance or consumable use.

    Finally, I know you need a good clean supply of air. How important is they type/brand of air filter? Is there a specific one that I should get.

    Thanks for the help

  • #2
    It just so happens that I bought a Thermal Dynamics cutmaster 38 just a few weeks ago, was just using it just 30 minutes ago. I was also undecided between it and the 51 but decided on the 38 because I seldom cut anything over 1/2". I think it is just great, I had never used one before and have found that it takes some practice, not much, to get good cuts. I find it so much better that using a torch for stuff 3/8 and less.
    You probably know that it can be used on 110 or 220 without changing anything, no switching, just plug it in and it know what voltage it is using. Nice feature. I haven't used it on 220 yet but will soon.

    Bottom line is I am very happy with it.

    Paul G.
    Paul G.


    • #3

      I appreciate your response. I saw your post in another thread, and it got me looking at the TD plasma machines.


      • #4
        I bought a Hypertherm 380 last summer. It is rated similarly to the 38 you describe. I can cut 12"+ in 1/2" MS plate without stopping. I don't run it more than 75% output because I have it plugged in to the same 220 outlet as my compressor. The 15 amp circuit will run both without tripping the breaker at that setting. As far as learning to cut with it, as long as you have a steady hand, a good ground, and watch the spark flow to gage the speed of travel it is an easy switch from oxy-acet without flame setting or preheating - pull the trigger and ease into the cut. I did spend $150 cdn or so on airfilters.

        [This message has been edited by cam m (edited 11-30-2005).]


        • #5
          And I have a new Cutmaster 51, great machine.
          Hypertherm or Thermodynamics are the field leaders.
          I also got the circle cutting kit, will be very useful.

          This is a great company to do business with.

          [This message has been edited by PSD KEN (edited 11-30-2005).]


          • #6
            I would go with one size bigger than you think you need, and definitely hypertherm or thermal dynamic. I recently got a hypertherm 1000 which works great for the fab work I do but is probably overkill for sub 3/8" work.
            I'm running one moisture trap near the compressor, and an 85$ cartridge filter-moisture trap mounted on the machine. Your dealer will recomend a good filter to use. The tip I'm using looks like a castle nut, and is designed to be lightly drug over the work. Makes it easy to drag it past a straight edge or use a circle cutter.



            • #7
              Duty cycle on welding equipment is based on 10 minutes. I would expect the same for plasma cutters.