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New Plasma Cutter

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  • New Plasma Cutter

    Just bought a Hypertherm 30 - plasma cutter.
    Nice little rig weighs about 20 lbs. - Capacity 3/8".
    Looking through the owners manual and watching the DVD that came with it, I noticed that several times it was stated to "Drag the torch over the material to be cut". This implies contact between the torch and the material.
    The DVD shows this method.

    On the Plasma cutter that I've been using for years, if you did that, debris from the cut would "spit" back into the nozzle and eventually render it useless. The torch even come with a replaceable stand-off to keep the torch slightly above the material.

    Have things changed? I'm afraid that dragging it will in fact clog the nozzle.
    Anyone have any insights?

  • #2
    The Miller plasma cutter at the school has a drag tip and another tip that has to be held off the surface.

    The drag tip can be used on steel quite a bit before clogging, and wiping with a old leather glove usually gets it clean enough for a lot more cutting. Cutting aluminum will clog the tip sooner, and it's harder to clean.

    I haven't used the other tip enough to comment on it's characteristics.

    Any products mentioned in my posts have been endorsed by their manufacturer.


    • #3
      Drag Tip

      If you use the drag tip then it should be no problem - it makes it a bit easier to get a nice edge without having to practice a lot. (a LOT) If your height is constant you will have a more consistent kerf width and less clean up of the cut. Now you just need to hook it up to a small CNC table and you will be able to make anything...


      • #4
        Most plasma cutters up to about 40 amps are designed to dragcut. machines over that need to have standoff to prevent double arcing and buring out the nozzle.

        Smaller esabs will only run drag. The hypertherm and millers will work either way.