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Plasma-- Dry Air?

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  • Plasma-- Dry Air?

    We are looking to purchas a plasma cutter to chop welder certifcation coupons into test strips. As we've seen for requirements for several, they need "clean, dry, oil free air" or nitrogen. We are leaning toward using a compressor, since the quantity of cuts may be considerable. Can we get "dry" air from a normal off the shelf compressor, or do we have to install a dryer system other than a standard moisture trap? If so what are decent systems that can handle about 400 scfh?

  • #2
    VENEGASQUAL..........Typically the air line (toilet paper canister type) filters the painters use are quite adequate to trap oil and moisture. Both of those components will erode your consumables twice as fast as normal........If you stopped by a paint distributor or paint gun distributor they should have the replacement cartregas and assemblies in stock...........Good Question...............Rock...
    [email protected]
    ROCK

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    • #3
      Do you have a dedicated airline for the plasma? Do not use one that has been used for air tools because the small amount of oil contamination in the line may cause the cutting tip to pop or explode leaving you very upset over a damaged torch and worse possibly injured

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      • #4
        Thank you Rock; Very helpful

        To answer Hawk's question, We don't have the compressor yet. We were looking to find out our requirements so that we could get proper bids before we sent it up to our parent company. I think that this compressor will be specific for this job and shouldn't be contaminated.

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        • #5
          My concern about using a plasma for cutting coupons is that the cut piece has an edge that may or may not be smooth due to the operator. It also has an angle at the cut line called the kerf. As your tips wear, this kerf angle grows and the coupons loose uniformity.

          Why not get a job shop to cut up scrap or drop off with a shear?
          This would also be a bunch faster.

          A-

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          • #6
            We are going towards plasma since the contract we've recieved will have us perform an estimated thousand welder cert's over the next year. Most of the coupons are Sch. Std 12" dia. 0.375" wall butt welds. A couple have been 0.500 wall. The other is going to be for 12" 0.375" branch tee--- that may be difficult to cut with shears. (certifcation per API 1104)
            After talking to some of the welders who dropped off coupons in the past, they said that if they had one, they used plasma to cut and cleaned up with a grinder.
            In the quantity that we are looking at, having the welder cut his own coupons on top of the certifcation would drive away clients from the this bulk deal.
            Looking at the shops local (half hour drive or less), only one of seven available had plasma set up in shop.
            We've looked into flame cutting, but from what I understand, getting fire permits for acetylne is a pain.

            To Ask Andy:
            Is there ways to minimize the kerf? Could just grinding the unwanted portion off likely meet our needs? We were going to see if we could come up with some sort of jig, to speed up cutting vs. free hand. Do you have any other tips for the unexperienced?

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            • #7
              You're right. Not a shear job!

              A grinder would clean that up just fine. A clamp-on jig would be the way to go. Cut and slide it down to the next length.

              A-

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