Plasma cutter info

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xtreem3d

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i'm not positive this was the correct forum but i wanted some info on purchasing a plasma cutter for fab work ect. do any units self contain the air supply so i don't need to be right by my compressor...and anything else you can add. i wouldn't be cutting steel thicker than probably 1/4 " thick, thanks, steve
 

Tazza

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I believe you can get units with a compressor built in but they would only do small jobs. When the machine is working it does use a fair bit of air. Do your self a favor, hook up a good sized compressor to it, it will save you having to wait for the compressor to catch up before resuming the cut.
Remember plasma cutters are VERY power hungry. Make sure you have enough power to allow the cutter to work and the compressor to cycle on and off without interrupting the plasma flow. My cutter and compressor are on the same circuit. I need to shut the compressor down before a cut or i trip the fuse or the compressor kicks in and my arc stops (just for a second).
Plasma cutters work best on flat sheet, different thicknesses in one cut gets a little tricky same with round bar.
With that said, i love my plasma cutter, its fast and you can weld rite over the cut unlike oxy/fuel cuts and it is a bit noisy.
 

OldMachinist

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I believe you can get units with a compressor built in but they would only do small jobs. When the machine is working it does use a fair bit of air. Do your self a favor, hook up a good sized compressor to it, it will save you having to wait for the compressor to catch up before resuming the cut.
Remember plasma cutters are VERY power hungry. Make sure you have enough power to allow the cutter to work and the compressor to cycle on and off without interrupting the plasma flow. My cutter and compressor are on the same circuit. I need to shut the compressor down before a cut or i trip the fuse or the compressor kicks in and my arc stops (just for a second).
Plasma cutters work best on flat sheet, different thicknesses in one cut gets a little tricky same with round bar.
With that said, i love my plasma cutter, its fast and you can weld rite over the cut unlike oxy/fuel cuts and it is a bit noisy.
If 1/4" is the max you'll cut and your usage is only occasional then Hobart makes a 115v unit with a built in air compressor. See the link below. It will cut 1/4" metal but its duty rating is only 35% which means you can only use it 3.5 minutes out of every 10 minutes. It will cut 1/4" mild steel at 3" per minute and 1/8" steel at 10" per minute.
http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_6970_200336604_200336604
 

Tazza

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If 1/4" is the max you'll cut and your usage is only occasional then Hobart makes a 115v unit with a built in air compressor. See the link below. It will cut 1/4" metal but its duty rating is only 35% which means you can only use it 3.5 minutes out of every 10 minutes. It will cut 1/4" mild steel at 3" per minute and 1/8" steel at 10" per minute.
http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_6970_200336604_200336604
Depending on how much 1/4" plate you expect to cut i would go larger. Mine is rated at 40A and they say it will cut 16mm, it will only JUST do 16mm, 1/2" is no problem sheet metal is a breeze. Get something over rated, you don't want it to be struggling. The more powerful the machine the faster it will cut and with less effort. The one OldMachinist posted puts out only 12A, that would have a hard job cutting 1/4". I'm waiting on getting my digital camera repaired, i could show you how well mine cuts sheet metal and even 1/4" plate. For light gauge steel that machine would be ideal! Even with that duty cycle, you would be amazed at how much you can cut in a few minutes :)
 

modus5

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Depending on how much 1/4" plate you expect to cut i would go larger. Mine is rated at 40A and they say it will cut 16mm, it will only JUST do 16mm, 1/2" is no problem sheet metal is a breeze. Get something over rated, you don't want it to be struggling. The more powerful the machine the faster it will cut and with less effort. The one OldMachinist posted puts out only 12A, that would have a hard job cutting 1/4". I'm waiting on getting my digital camera repaired, i could show you how well mine cuts sheet metal and even 1/4" plate. For light gauge steel that machine would be ideal! Even with that duty cycle, you would be amazed at how much you can cut in a few minutes :)
I have a Thermal Dynamics cutmaster 38. I doesn't have a built in compressor. It is 110/230V, but it comes with a 110V plug. You have to cut it off and attach your own 230V plug. It senses voltage input and adjusts automatically. I really like this unit. I have a Hypertherm at work, and I actually prefer the Thermal Dynamics even though it is a smaller unit. I have cut 3/8" plate with it no problem (I run mine 230V). The key to any plasma cutter is air quality. Make sure you filter it properly. I use a standard 5 micron air filter into a .1 micron coascaling filter to get the cleanest air possible.
 

Tazza

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I have a Thermal Dynamics cutmaster 38. I doesn't have a built in compressor. It is 110/230V, but it comes with a 110V plug. You have to cut it off and attach your own 230V plug. It senses voltage input and adjusts automatically. I really like this unit. I have a Hypertherm at work, and I actually prefer the Thermal Dynamics even though it is a smaller unit. I have cut 3/8" plate with it no problem (I run mine 230V). The key to any plasma cutter is air quality. Make sure you filter it properly. I use a standard 5 micron air filter into a .1 micron coascaling filter to get the cleanest air possible.
It must be DRY too, any water makes the electrode and tip burn away faster, or so my manual tells me.
 

modus5

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Dec 22, 2007
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It must be DRY too, any water makes the electrode and tip burn away faster, or so my manual tells me.
Yeah thats exactly the reason why I use the coalscaling filter in conjunction with the standard filter. It removes moisture and oil down to .1 microns. It's something like 98% efficient, however if you use it without a standard element you will have to replace the coalscaling element very often. I have had good luck with this combo.
 

modus5

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Dec 22, 2007
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It must be DRY too, any water makes the electrode and tip burn away faster, or so my manual tells me.
Yeah, thats exactly why I use the coalscaling filter in conjunction with the standard filter. It will filter moisture and oil down to .1 microns. It is something like 98% efficient, however if you don't use the standard filter before it, you will have to replace the element often. This combo has worked well for me.
 

modus5

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Dec 22, 2007
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Yeah, thats exactly why I use the coalscaling filter in conjunction with the standard filter. It will filter moisture and oil down to .1 microns. It is something like 98% efficient, however if you don't use the standard filter before it, you will have to replace the element often. This combo has worked well for me.
Sorry about the double post. It timed out on me when I hit the post button the first time and I didn't think it went through.
 

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