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Which Inexpensive Plasma Cutter?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Dan Dubeau View Post
    I bought a Herocut Cut55 from amazon a couple years ago and am pretty happy with it. My decision was based on the torch design. I wanted a pilot arc start not high frequency start, as I wanted the option to build a CNC table at some point in the future (it has a CNC port also). The dual voltage option was also pretty nice, and not something often found on other cheap models. I use it on 240v at home, but have taken it to work a couple times and run it off 120v. It's easier for me to get full sheets delivered to work, and chop them up to bring home, so that was a big plus.

    The one thing I was ignorant on was that the torch is not a drag tip. It's not a big deal depending on what you're doing, and you CAN buy drag tips for an ipt-60 torch, but the stock tips that come with it are meant to be used with a non conducting stand off (included). The only plasma cutters I'd used prior to purchase was an ESAB and Hypertherm, both were drag tips and I thought they were ALL like that. The stock torch tip and stand off it pretty big and awkward to use with templates if that something you foresee doing. Something to consider.

    I know that didn't really guide you towards one brand or another, just outlined some choices I made when picking mine. I just looked on amazon now while typing this and there are so many more options now than there was 2 years ago. I don't have any specific brand advice advice other than to say they're fun to use . They're probably all pretty similar in construction and function now. Pick one that matches the colour of your welding gear and go for it .

    I was probably one of the first buyers of the cut55 on Amazon as there were no reviews at the time and they had very limited stock. Normally I research stuff to death, but I rolled the dice and gambled. I was pretty close to buying a Hypertherm, and after missing out on a used 45xp for $1000 I pulled the trigger on the import one and haven't regretted the decision. Almost bought an Everlast too, but it was twice as much money. If I used it everyday I might sing a different tune, but for the once every few months I fire it up my limited shop budget could be better spent elsewhere.

    I felt compelled to leave a review on amazon, and was the first to do so for that item. I've bought many things off amazon over the years, and one of the best things about it is the reviews although I've never left one before that (or since).
    Yes those standoff legs on the torch head limit visibility and are useless for template guides. I found that cutting off one of the legs of the standoff makes template use feasible. Recently bought the Lotos 5500 through Amazon. Reports on it were good and i like mine. Cuts 1/2 inch steel plate at 60% duty cycle fairly well but you really need a water tray to prevent excessive heat buildup which causes the dross to stick to the metal. Any dross that does hang on breaks away easily. I have a current project that calls for a steady diet of 1/4 inch plate cut to non-repeatable complex shapes. The consumables are holding up well, but avoid piercing cuts as the back blast can blowout your nozzle. I find drilling a 3/16ths pilot hole solves that.