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plasma cutters - what one?

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  • kvom
    replied
    All I can tell you is that the users on pirate4x4.com who have reported on this unit do a lot heavier work the OP is planning, and have mainly had good experience. In addition the warranty work is carried out in the US.

    I suggest looking at the thread on Pirate before discounting it completely.

    If budget is not an object then certainly the Lincoln and Hypertherm units should be considered.

    Leave a comment:


  • platypus2020
    replied
    Originally posted by macona
    I would really recommend agianst buying that machine from Parker. Its the same Chinese machine as sold in ebay. Torch is a copy of a 20 year old ltec design.
    I have some pictures, I was asked to check out a 3-in-1 tig/stick/plasma cutter, from China, for a welding supplier, I plugged it in and turned it on, within 20 minutes, it had burst into flames, had to use an extinguisher to put it out, call the wholesaler and asked what to do with it, they said after 2 weeks of dead silence, throw it away, it wasn't worth paying the return freight.

    jack
    Last edited by platypus2020; 05-26-2008, 06:54 PM.

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  • macona
    replied
    I would really recommend agianst buying that machine from Parker. Its the same Chinese machine as sold in ebay. Torch is a copy of a 20 year old ltec design.

    Really the hypertherm 30 is the best machine for what the OP wants. It will cut to half inch if you take your time. Also they figured out how to get rid if that annoying sticky tip action that previous drag plasmas had. also the machine will run off of 120 or 240 so power is not an issue.

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  • kvom
    replied
    For the size material you're going to be cutting you might look at http://www.parkermetalworking.com/. If you call and say that you're a member of pirate4x4.com you'll get a discount.

    I will be buying one of their machines once my shop build is finished.

    Leave a comment:


  • oldtiffie
    replied
    More plasma cutting uses??

    Originally posted by macona
    You can cut non-conductive materials with a plasma cutter, Lay a thing piece of sheet metal over what you want to cut. The resultant plasma stream will cut through most materials.
    Well I'll be damned!!

    Thanks heaps macona - that opens up a whole new world!! I will try it out - eventually!

    Just what sort of non-conductive materials does that cover - and what thicknesses?

    I had thought about cutting multiple layers of similar conductive materials with my plasma cutter but didn't try it as I just presumed that I'd get the same or similar effect as cutting laminated/multi-layered steel with an oxy/acet torch - ie not very successful at all. This is the effect used in steel safes to prevent or minimise cutting without an oxygen lance as the heat dissipates at the layer junctions - ie as for a heat-sink.

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  • macona
    replied
    Hypertherm makes the best plasma out there hands down. Thats what we sold the most of.

    The Hypertherm 190C and Hypertherm 380 were both made by Miller. At the time Hypertherm had deemed not enough demand for them to design a small machine like those two so they had miller OEM them. Internally they are the same as the Miller 125 and 375. Just different tin. And the consumables are slightly different so they wont be interchangeable.

    The newer Miller 380 Xtreme was built on the same tech as the Maxstat 150 welder. it was designed in response to the Powermax 30 coming out. Miller wanted to license the PMX30 from hypertherm but HT said no so they rushed to get the 380 out. There were quite a few failures on the 380 after it came out.

    The Esab machines are a mixed bag. The smaller machines like the 125, 25, 550 are all made in Italy and are total crap. The mounts holding the main circuit board are very flimsy and easy to break. The self contained 125 is worthless.

    The larger esabs with the molded round fiberglass cases are derivatives of the old ltec designs and they are pretty decent machines, although the torch sucks big time.

    The thermal dynamics machines are so-so. I have had a LOT of bad boards out of the 38's. Never the same problem too. They replaced all these machines with newer ones with a blue bezel but I never got a chance to look at one before I got canned. The torches are pretty nice though, one problem I found was the joint between the torch head and cable can come undone and ruin the whole torch assy. It is designed for no-tools replacement but just comes undone too easy. As far as I know TD has always designed their own machine. I have one of the old Stak Paks here at home. Bad thing about TD is parts for older machines are unavailable or insanely priced.

    The lincoln machines like the Procut 55 are typical lincoln shoddy design inside. Wrong materials and fittings used internally for the air line make leaks common. Odd torch design is overly complex.

    Most newer plasmas are designed to be drag cut under 35 amps or so. Only when you get to higher currents do you have to worry about double arcing whch will toast your tip. Most machine want about 5 to 6 CFM at about 90 PSI to the machine. The machine have a regulator that is adjusted to a specific pressure for the process with the gas flowing. Air plasma machines will run on nitrogen with a better cut quality and better tip life. Do not use oxygen with a plasma cutter not designed for it. Bad things will happen.

    You can cut non-conductive materials with a plasma cutter, Lay a thing piece of sheet metal over what you want to cut. The resultant plasma stream will cut through most materials.

    If you are cutting aluminum buy a bigger machine than what you thing you need. Aluminum cuts differently for two reasons. First is the thermal conductivity. Heat leaves the cut very fast compared to steel and stainless.

    Second is there is no chemical reaction that occurs like when you cut steel or stainless. When you cut steel or stainless the iron and other elements combine with the O2 and N2 in the plasma stream and burn like cutting with a OxyFuel torch. With aluminum the reaction is minimal and the plasma just melts the metal and blows it away. Copper is similar in this aspect.

    Did I leave anything out?

    Leave a comment:


  • BobWarfield
    replied
    Hypertherm is the one I hear about all the time. Everyone seems to love 'em, especially the CNC plasma table crowd.

    I've got a big ESAB that I got cheap. It was a sales demo unit, and they were selling them from the factory on eBay. Don't know if that still goes on.

    It's a real nice unit, cuts well, and is easy as heck. Book says it'll cut over an inch thick. I've had no call to do that, but it cuts 1/2" like butter.

    Cheers,

    BW

    Leave a comment:


  • platypus2020
    replied
    Originally posted by macona
    Hyperterm Powermax 30.
    I have had one for about a year and a half, great machine, cheap consumables, a nozzle and an electrode cost about $7 a set, and with clean dry air, they last a long time.

    Jack

    Leave a comment:


  • motomoron
    replied
    I've picked up a like-new Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 38 from the local Craigslist for about $800 with a pile of consumables and the matching cutting guide attachment kit.

    After I sorted out that the torch was fitted with contact type tips, and that the clip-on metal guide that the previous owner had on the torch wasn't to be used, I've been quite impressed with the ease of operation.

    It will run on 110 or 220V power, but works ~much~ better on 220. I have a 5hp-60 gallon quad cylinder Speedaire compressor and use a refrigerated air dryer, but it's not absolutely necessary; I happened across it and it followed me home. More for painting than cutting...

    Leave a comment:


  • oldtiffie
    replied
    More info

    Perhaps this information might assist.

    http://www.lincolnelectric.com/knowl...ent/plasma.asp

    http://www.millerwelds.com/education...article97.html

    http://www.millerwelds.com/education...rticles17.html

    http://www.millerwelds.com/education...rticles55.html

    Leave a comment:


  • RetiredFAE
    replied
    I have a Hyper Therm Max 42 I picked up for $300 4 years ago. It was a show room demo model, but looked like new. Came with 6 extra of each of the consumables, I still have 4 each of them left.
    Has had lots of use since I acquired it, zero problems, and gets pretty long life out of its consumables. For a dryer it came with a filter/dryer that uses a roll of toilet paper for the element. Have heard that this is not the best (by far) for a filter, but 4 years of use and as
    I said, zero problems. It might be because I live in the desert and our humidity never gets very high. It takes about 6 CFM at 70 PSI if I remember correctly, and will cut a bit over 1/2" if I go slow. Parts seem to be readily available, judging by what I have found on the web.

    Leave a comment:


  • Rookie machinist
    replied
    I have a thermal dynamics cutmaster 50 and it works great. I run it off a 60 gal. upright compressor and use a cheap air/water seperator. I don't think you can go wrong with thermal dynamics or hypertherm. Beware of the cheap cutters, my first plasma cost $1200 and was a total heap wish I could rember the brand.

    Leave a comment:


  • torker
    replied
    I have a Lincoln Procut 25 that's been a very good machine. Cheap consumables.. a very nice sized torch.. all in all a good machine but it was pricey when I bought it(7 or 8 years ago??).
    I then bought a Hypertherm 600.
    Uses a lot more air than the Lincoln. I don't like the torch compared to the Lincoln.
    However.. it's a lot more powerful machine and the price is lower than what I paid for the Lincoln.
    The Hypertherm uses consumables a bit different than the Lincoln.
    The Procut needed both parts replaced as they wore.
    The Hypertherm uses the outer part the most. You get about 4 to 1 so it's fairly cheap to use.
    Russ

    Leave a comment:


  • piniongear
    replied
    [quote=snowman]
    Max size for plasma cut, 1/4" steel (absolute maximum, very rare)
    Average cut, 12 gauge mild steel
    Who has the most affordable consumables in the name brand companies?
    /quote]

    My plasma cutter is a HTP brand. The model I have is a 625. The air supply takes 70 psi at the machine.
    The cutter is a 220V single phase machine with an output of 50 amps.
    This machine is reasonably priced compared to a Miller. The customer service is excellent and parts are in stock. HTP is located in the Chicago area I believe.
    The 625 will cut up to 5/8 inch thick cleanly, and sever cut 7/8 inch. On 1/8 inch steel plate it cuts like you would draw a pencil line, just as easy and just as quick. Check them out before you decide to buy some other brand. I have owned mine for 10 years now and never had a problem with it........pg
    www.htpweld.com

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  • JRouche
    replied
    I have had a Thermal Dynamics Pak Master 50 for about twelve years now. Now problems at all. Consumables are plentiful and priced about the same as all the rest. It cuts 1/2" stainless with a thin 1/16" curf. Slices up 16ga cold rolled steel like butter, just about as fast as I can sweep through the cutting template. I use thin cardboard for my templates. If Im going fast enough and dont jump onto the cardboard I can reuse the templates, doesnt burn it. I dont take any extreme precautions for dry air. Just a small drier mounted on the inlet side, small cheap one. JR

    Oh, I gotta add though. The newer homeshop type units from TD appear a lil "cheaply" made. Not that looks are anything but I wounder if they have outsourced the manufacturing for some of their boxes. And mine wasnt cheap, bout 2500 twelve years ago.
    Last edited by JRouche; 05-21-2008, 10:02 PM.

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