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Just the facts...about plasma cutters

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  • flukecej
    replied
    Thought I might have a machine warranty, but...

    I really only had a bad ground.

    I was doing some salvage work this morning. I was scrapping out some transformers from a IBM AS400 Server and a Phone System power supply. The steel went to the scrap can and the copper went into the copper can. I had to use a combination of things to get the steel cut to where I could get the copper out, windings can be a pain. I had used the plasma to gouge the metal ends of the winding away to expose the copper windings. The smaller transformers weren't that big to cut away and were salvaged quite easy. I had one big one that was a challenge.

    The bigger transformer had thicknesses that approached the limits of the Hypertherm 1000. Needless to say, I did have sparks and oxide flying while cutting through the laminations. Blow-back and varnish flare was a big problem. Smoked the end of the torch some, discoloration from the varnish burning and had to keep a wire brush handy to clean slag off the torch drag tip. As I was nearing the completion of my cutting, the plasma started show fault indicator and would not fire. OK, lets check things.
    1.) Check Air supply. OK, clean and dry, no moisture in the trap and nothing collecting in the filter on the back of the machine. Regulator Set and Machine set to continuous cut.
    2.) Check torch. Drag tip kept clean with wire brush. That's OK. Check nozzle and electrode. Nozzle looks good, not bad compared to new. Look at electrode. Has a small pit in the end. Consult manual. Doesn't look like 1/32" deep. OK, change nozzle and electrode to be safe. Hmmm, need some silicon on the threads, get the lube out. OK, gun looks good. Try it again.

    WTH, still doesn't fire. Check air, OK, check torch, OK, oops, I reassembled the swirl ring backwards. Fix that. Try again. Still no worky. WHAT IS GOING ON!?! Recheck air, recheck voltage, consult manual again. Follow troubleshooting chart for every scenario. Air OK, Voltage OK, Torch Handle OK, attach clamp to clean piece of metal, drag tip across and pull trigger...
    HOUSTON WE HAVE PLASMA!!!! Whewwwwwwww!!!!!!!! This thing is more finicky that the MM200 on ground.

    Lesson learned and finally remembered reading it somewhere at one time... Make sure to have a good ground when using the plasma.

    Leave a comment:


  • USARMY44B
    replied
    Originally posted by Rvannatta View Post

    If you are trying ot make a straight cut, a straight edge and a drag tip
    will do wonders.
    i did use a stait edge but it wasnt as thick as it should have been and as i cut the arc would waunder and make an angle when the tourch was vertical

    Leave a comment:


  • Rvannatta
    replied
    Originally posted by USARMY44B View Post
    ok ive got some ?'s in the shop i work at we have 2 plasma torches an esab and the biggest darn thing ive seen what is a good psi for the esab?(not sure of the model) i made 3 cut of 3/8 plate all three were 120" mostly none stop it cut ok for my skills had the feed regulator at 120 psi and the machine set to 100 and the machine set bout 3/4 of the way up. the air supply is bout 300gal tank and a german compresser (dont know the specs on it)with 1/2 line or am i wronger then well...
    Well you aren't too far off. looked at the ESAB spec sheets and it speaks of air at 75 PSI. This is usually a working pressure on the guage on the front of the machine while you are using it. The standby pressure has to be somewhat higher to get there. On thet Lincoln they have made it fairly easy---they have a green area on the guage where the needle should be when you are using the torch.

    If you are trying ot make a straight cut, a straight edge and a drag tip
    will do wonders.

    Leave a comment:


  • USARMY44B
    replied
    ok ive got some ?'s in the shop i work at we have 2 plasma torches an esab and the biggest darn thing ive seen what is a good psi for the esab?(not sure of the model) i made 3 cut of 3/8 plate all three were 120" mostly none stop it cut ok for my skills had the feed regulator at 120 psi and the machine set to 100 and the machine set bout 3/4 of the way up. the air supply is bout 300gal tank and a german compresser (dont know the specs on it)with 1/2 line or am i wronger then well...

    Leave a comment:


  • Rvannatta
    replied
    Originally posted by flukecej View Post
    Our air compressor is a 1 1/2 HP 230V 2 cylinder Dayton that we got from WW Grainger in 1988. The twin hotdog tanks rusted out and now it sports an estimated 15 gallon tank made from 8" sch 40 column pipe with pipe ends welded on. It is also plumbed into an old butane tank from an Oliver tractor, about 60 gallons on it. We have our water seperator we use with our binks paint gun connected in and using the supplied seperator/filter that came on the 1000. I have not had any ill effects to the plasma so far. It is also connected by a 20' 3/8" air hose. The cfm this compressor is around 9 cfm at 90 PSI from want I have found. I cut two 1/8" thick 6 5/8" diameter plates for lids the other day before it cycled once. That also included tinkering and setting the air pressure on the plasma before I started and some adjustments while cutting. What I may lack in actuall CFM from the compressor, I can make up for with system storage capacity. I haven't put the cutter through its paces yet, but that is coming. I will update further when I do more with it. That and take some pics of my running gear I built for the machine to post for everyone to see.

    You give me the shivers. I wouldn't want to be on the same farm with a home made air tank. There is no way to tell how or why they might fail,
    and a failure of one (an air tank) is a great way to get killed as they go off like a bomb, and if in an enclosed building can be expected to collapse the building in the process.

    Over all you are on the right track with the plasma cutter. We use standard compressor and a good filtration and water removal system to clean up the air.

    ----I've been using our plasma for scrapping (i.e. cutting up old logging machinery for scrap iron). that is far more difficult than working on things you have described.

    I've found a couple quick ways to toast the consumables:
    a) let the fire blow back onto the torch --- often in issue trying to cut off a large bolt head or making a plunge cut at or near the cutting capacity of the machine.
    b) Using a screwed up drag tip. My torch at least offers a 'drag tip' which is a copper muzzle that slips over the end of the torce to space the tip the proper distance from the work.---allowing you to just drag the torch down the work, but the tips can be abused, melted and get out of shape. when they do, they may deflect some of the fire back against the tip resulting in the destruction of a tip in just a minute or two.

    Another no-no --- and don't ask me how I know, is to cut into a steel hydraulic tube full of oil. --- a lot of air and a good ignitor and you can blow fire all over the place.....

    Leave a comment:


  • flukecej
    replied
    Our air compressor is a 1 1/2 HP 230V 2 cylinder Dayton that we got from WW Grainger in 1988. The twin hotdog tanks rusted out and now it sports an estimated 15 gallon tank made from 8" sch 40 column pipe with pipe ends welded on. It is also plumbed into an old butane tank from an Oliver tractor, about 60 gallons on it. We have our water seperator we use with our binks paint gun connected in and using the supplied seperator/filter that came on the 1000. I have not had any ill effects to the plasma so far. It is also connected by a 20' 3/8" air hose. The cfm this compressor is around 9 cfm at 90 PSI from want I have found. I cut two 1/8" thick 6 5/8" diameter plates for lids the other day before it cycled once. That also included tinkering and setting the air pressure on the plasma before I started and some adjustments while cutting. What I may lack in actuall CFM from the compressor, I can make up for with system storage capacity. I haven't put the cutter through its paces yet, but that is coming. I will update further when I do more with it. That and take some pics of my running gear I built for the machine to post for everyone to see.

    Leave a comment:


  • jackflash
    replied
    what compressor ?????

    why doesn't anyone mention what compressor they're using!!?

    I have a Hypertherm 1000 - tried the oilless porter-cable job-boss (rated at 6.7 [email protected]) but it couldn't keep up on Very Short cuts.. took it back -

    Can anyone suggest a kickin' compressor? is oilless necessary (hard to find w/ lot's of cfm..)

    (suggestions on dryers would be great too!! : )


    Thank You in Advance!

    Jack

    Leave a comment:


  • Wicked one
    replied
    cuttin

    Hypertherm is probably the closest to their rated output compared to the other's.I've used them in pipe shop's side by side with miller's and we had less problems with the hypertherm's.

    Leave a comment:


  • flukecej
    replied
    Images of first plasma cuts

    I took some pictures of my first plasma cuts with the new machine. I have an older torch cut by way of comparison. The cuts are rough, time and technique will only improve what I have started at.

    1/4" Steel: New plasma cut


    1/8" Steel: Old torch cut


    1/8" Steel: Straight cut with plasma


    1/8" Steel: Circle cut with plasma

    Leave a comment:


  • flukecej
    replied
    Finally fired the plasma today

    I used the Hypertherm 1000 for the first time today. Boy is it sweet. Like first using stick and mig, it is going to take some getting use too and learning how to set for various cuts. I cut a piece of 1/4" this morning first. I had the air set right but the power was low and didn't blow through just right. I adjusted the power and got a clean cut. I need to fix some smooth guides for cutting with; I hung on some splatter ***** on the pipe I was cutting around and messed up my cut some. However, my plasma cut was much cleaner and quicker that what I hade been able to do with O/A.

    Next I tried some 1/8" plate that I make steel riser lids with. Keeping the drag tip flat on the metal makes a wonderful fast clean cut. I did goof and moved too quick in a spot and lost my blow through. I had to go back and recut that spot. I also didn't keep my drag tip flat like I should have and wound up with a bevel cut instead. I just need to work on method and technique.

    Dross wise, way less that what I had with O/A. What was there could be knocked off easily with a hammer or dressed quickly with my Bosch grinder. The smooth clean cut made all the difference. In the future, I think I going to get the Hypertherm Circle Cutting Guide, the Fine Cut Starter kit for the T-60 handle, and the Gouging Nozzle and Sheild also for the T-60 and the Hand Shield for Gouging. After the rain over the weekend, my dad wants to get the machine cover for the plasma also. Hail damage from years ago has left the tiniest of holes in the sheet metal and we do go some leaks in the shop is some places. Also, West Texas is known for its dirt and dust.

    As I do more with the machine, I will let everyone know how things go. Now I just need to figure out how to post pictures on here to show how things are going.

    Leave a comment:


  • Sberry
    replied
    My cutter sits in the shop and I have a 50 ft torch, for the most part it has its plusses, its bigger but the reach comes in handy. Saves a lot of effort. I read thru this thread, glad to see you went bigger, you needed a minimum 40A thats for sure.

    Leave a comment:


  • Rvannatta
    replied
    Originally posted by flukecej View Post
    That is what I have done. My dad agreed with me about standardizing the MM200 plug with the Hypertherm have both use the same style plug thus allowing use with the Bobcat. My dad already had a 50' power lead to the MM200 and was planning to cut it off short and use the balance for an extension cord anyway. I need to pick up another NEMA 14-50P to make that change. The current 6-50P that is now on the MM200 will go on to the Marquete because its old plug is starting to deteriorate. If the cord is bad on it, I have some #8/3 SDT (THHN jacketted PVC) cable to replace the #8/3 Type SOO (Rubber Neoprene) with. The Marquete already has a 30' work and 60' electrode cable, so it can stay put. The MM200 and Hypertherm need mobility. For outside work, we have 50' work and 75' electrode cables for the Bobcat.
    I'm a strong advocate of 50 foot umbellicals for plasma cutters for the same reason (mobility). We have an old truck to haul the welder around the ranch and the plasma cutter lives on it. With a 50 foot umbellical it has never had to get off the truck.

    Leave a comment:


  • flukecej
    replied
    As a matter of fact...

    That is what I have done. My dad agreed with me about standardizing the MM200 plug with the Hypertherm have both use the same style plug thus allowing use with the Bobcat. My dad already had a 50' power lead to the MM200 and was planning to cut it off short and use the balance for an extension cord anyway. I need to pick up another NEMA 14-50P to make that change. The current 6-50P that is now on the MM200 will go on to the Marquete because its old plug is starting to deteriorate. If the cord is bad on it, I have some #8/3 SDT (THHN jacketted PVC) cable to replace the #8/3 Type SOO (Rubber Neoprene) with. The Marquete already has a 30' work and 60' electrode cable, so it can stay put. The MM200 and Hypertherm need mobility. For outside work, we have 50' work and 75' electrode cables for the Bobcat.

    Leave a comment:


  • Rvannatta
    replied
    Originally posted by flukecej
    The Powermax 1000 has Autoline Voltage hookup. It can be hooked to any source 200-600V single or three phase without having to rewire the machine inside. The machine comes with 4 wire cable lead, user must supply plug. The book recomends that on single phase, the user can change out the 4 wire for 3 wire, but it is not manditory. We have 230V 1 Phase in the shop and can run this unit off the Bobcat as well. This unit is rated at 3/4" but will never see anything thicker than 5/8", most of the time 3/8" and less.
    I would standardize on the 50 amp pllugs like on the front of the bobcat.
    That has become a very popular plug. Now I think any welder that comes with a big plug has that one---

    You will likely sooner or later make up an extension cord and having that 4 wire would be a good thing---profoundly if ultimately it is used so the generator can be standby power.

    Leave a comment:


  • flukecej
    replied
    The Powermax 1000 has Autoline Voltage hookup. It can be hooked to any source 200-600V single or three phase without having to rewire the machine inside. The machine comes with 4 wire cable lead, user must supply plug. The book recomends that on single phase, the user can change out the 4 wire for 3 wire, but it is not manditory. We have 230V 1 Phase in the shop and can run this unit off the Bobcat as well. This unit is rated at 3/4" but will never see anything thicker than 5/8", most of the time 3/8" and less.

    Leave a comment:

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