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Thoughts on Plasma Cutters?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by alha
    I have been looking around at Plasma cutters, and think they could be a pretty handy tool. I know this is a Miller forum, but is the consensus that Millers units are up there with other mfg's in terms of price/performance? Just trying to gather info at this point, for future reference. I can't imagine I would need anything bigger than a 1/2" rated cut, so for example, the Spectrum 625 would be the unit from Miller. Thoughts/comments/suggestions? Thanks!
    Well, my take is that all brands of plasma cutters are overrated. It's not that they technically won't cut what they say they will--- they do, but at a speed lower than in real life you can tolerate.

    They are also rated at a fairly low duty cycle.

    I continue to feel pretty strongly that unless you work in a muffler shop, that
    you ought to be looking at a 50-55 amp model.

    we started out with a Miller 375 and were serioiusly disappointed with it, not because it was defective, but simply because it wasn't hefty enough to cut things we wanted to cut with it.

    Having been to artillary school, I was determined not to undershoot the traget twice, and our second shot was a Lincoln 85 amp machine.
    It is clearly 'big enough', but can present logicstical problems for many people because the power requirements on the input side exceeds what most people have available. (3 phase power or a remarkable 1 phase circuit).

    by contrast the Miller 2050 or competitive 55 amp machines and generally usable on a standard 50 amp single phase plug---the same one you might already have for a buzz box, and won't disappoint you when you actually try to cut something half an inch thick.

    I am also a great fan of models that have removable umbellicals so if the umbellical heads for umbellical heaven replacing it is not a problem.

    Also understand that if you have one of these you will use it a bit differently than a traditional OXY ACY outfit. With the latter you saved up all the work for cutting and then turned on the tanks etc. ---

    The plasma cutter is so convenient that you want it right on the welding job where you can reach it for a cut and fit----implying that you will swap from cutting to welding far more often. This also implies that the torch needs to reach where you are welding. Duh!.

    Don't buy a plasma cutter with a 25 foot umbellical if you use 50 feet of lead for your welder......

    Perhaps you are such a good fitter that you can cut pieces one day and weld them up the next, but for me, when I get one to fit I am so excited that I want to weld it down that very second before the piece changes its mind and decides not to fit. --- or I forget what I made it for and cut it up for something else before I get it welded in
    rvannatta
    www.vannattabros.com
    Miller Bobcat 225G
    Miller Big 40 ('79 gasser)<gone>
    Miller 375 Plasma cutter<gone>
    Lincoln Vantage 400
    Lincoln Pro-Cut 80

    Comment


    • #17
      Ct416 Multipurpose
      PLASMA CUTTER / TIG WELDER / ARC WELDER

      If the above also welded aluminum on AC, I would be all over it.

      As it is, its a plasma cutter, and DC welder, it also can do AC spot welds!

      $1250.00!!!!

      If it could only weld 1/8th aluminum, sigh....

      for the pennyless. www.rilandusa.com

      I'd be content to cut 3/8th's with it, 1/2 is a rarety for me.

      There is another model,

      RilCT416ACDC Multi

      I don't know if it has real AC capability for AL.

      Comment


      • #18
        The Riland says high-frequency start on the plasma cutter. The Miller, et. al. advertise that they start without the use of high-frequency. This leads me to believe that without is more advanced technology. Does it really matter? Seems like the less HF in your shop, the better, though if you do a lot of TIG, you're likely already set up to deal with it. But it sure looks like they do NOT have comparable technology yet.

        Comment


        • #19
          Slightly off topic, but looks like New Zealanders are offering something too.

          http://www.weldnz.com/

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by MAC702
            The Riland says high-frequency start on the plasma cutter. The Miller, et. al. advertise that they start without the use of high-frequency. This leads me to believe that without is more advanced technology. Does it really matter? Seems like the less HF in your shop, the better, though if you do a lot of TIG, you're likely already set up to deal with it. But it sure looks like they do NOT have comparable technology yet.
            Mac,
            just remember all the top of the line high output plasma cutters
            still use HI freq start. Nothing wrong at all with the way it works.
            I bet the Riland has no real hi freq and is a contact hi voltage
            start. (which sucks on expanded metal)

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by MAC702
              The Riland says high-frequency start on the plasma cutter. The Miller, et. al. advertise that they start without the use of high-frequency. This leads me to believe that without is more advanced technology. Does it really matter? Seems like the less HF in your shop, the better, though if you do a lot of TIG, you're likely already set up to deal with it. But it sure looks like they do NOT have comparable technology yet.
              I've noticed the term HF (high-frequency) used in a number of posts, and it seems that it always is associated with bad things such as noise, interference, etc. Could someone give me the lowdown on the effects I would experience in my shop if I used a HF welder? It might allow me to mitigate the effects before I button up the walls, if I knew what the issues were, and maybe even some possible solutions. I remember a thread about not having HF on while doing aluminum and being able to hear the radio, are things like that to be expected? Thanks!

              Comment


              • #22
                Consider if you want to drag ...

                Another thing in selecting plasma cutters: Some brands will allow "dragging" the torch tip at over 40 amps, some won't.... a worthwhile consideration.

                I like being able to clamp just about any kind of straight edge to the work - allowing for 3/16" for the nozle radius - and dragging the torch tip right on the surface of the work.... no need for special guides or rollers.
                Dynasty 300DX & 200DX
                MM251 & MM350P + 30A
                HT1000
                Diamond Ground Piranha II
                :eek: Windywestenkansas

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by gascart
                  Another thing in selecting plasma cutters: Some brands will allow "dragging" the torch tip at over 40 amps, some won't.... a worthwhile consideration
                  Yes, being able to drag at 100 amps is nice.
                  Just as inportant is to have the ability to use
                  a exposed nozzle and drag cut for really detailed
                  work.

                  A fold back circuit is nice if you touch the plate while cutting
                  with a exposed tip at over 40 amps.
                  Attached Files

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by gascart
                    Another thing in selecting plasma cutters: Some brands will allow "dragging" the torch tip at over 40 amps, some won't.... a worthwhile consideration.

                    I like being able to clamp just about any kind of straight edge to the work - allowing for 3/16" for the nozle radius - and dragging the torch tip right on the surface of the work.... no need for special guides or rollers.
                    yes, both the LIncoln 55 and 80 amp machines (which use the same torch---but different consumables) allow dragging by documentation up to about 40 amps. beyond that you need to be worried about melting things down, though the solution is a 'drag tip' which is really just a copper mask that slips over the endof the torch and spaces the actual tip away from
                    the work--but lets you 'drag' ifyou want to.

                    the drag tip is NOT suitable for use for gouging or any operation where you
                    are not cutting all the way through because under those conditions the fire blows back and melts the drag tip out of existence PDQ. (don't ask me how I know)
                    rvannatta
                    www.vannattabros.com
                    Miller Bobcat 225G
                    Miller Big 40 ('79 gasser)<gone>
                    Miller 375 Plasma cutter<gone>
                    Lincoln Vantage 400
                    Lincoln Pro-Cut 80

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      What About Air Requirement?

                      A plasma machine like the Spectrum 375 requires 4.5 CFM of compressed air. That's easily within the output range of most 115V/15A compressors.

                      The Spectrum 625 requires 6.0 CFM of compressed air. Are there any 115V compressors that can handle that load, at least for a short amount of time? Or does the greater air requirement dictate a 230V air compressor?

                      If you want to keep it all portable, can the 625 and a 230V compressor both run off of a 10kw welder/generator?
                      Scott

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by houlibar
                        A plasma machine like the Spectrum 375 requires 4.5 CFM of compressed air. That's easily within the output range of most 115V/15A compressors.

                        The Spectrum 625 requires 6.0 CFM of compressed air. Are there any 115V compressors that can handle that load, at least for a short amount of time? Or does the greater air requirement dictate a 230V air compressor?

                        If you want to keep it all portable, can the 625 and a 230V compressor both run off of a 10kw welder/generator?

                        You will probably find when the compressor kicks on the plasma kicks off.
                        I bet with a air tank and a smaller 120 compressor and 625 it would
                        work ok. That is really why a Thermal drag gun plus with a 35 amp output
                        (down from the spectrum by 5 amps) but has a built in air compressor to
                        balance it out, is a good unit for some. They use the older surloc torch to
                        get around some of the air issues.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          To Teeps

                          Originally posted by Teeps
                          Ct416 Multipurpose
                          PLASMA CUTTER / TIG WELDER / ARC WELDER

                          If the above also welded aluminum on AC, I would be all over it.

                          As it is, its a plasma cutter, and DC welder, it also can do AC spot welds!

                          $1250.00!!!!

                          If it could only weld 1/8th aluminum, sigh....

                          for the pennyless. www.rilandusa.com

                          I'd be content to cut 3/8th's with it, 1/2 is a rarety for me.

                          There is another model,

                          RilCT416ACDC Multi

                          I don't know if it has real AC capability for AL.
                          I send you a email,Jack!!!!Yes full aluminum capability!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            To Hank

                            Originally posted by hankj
                            Thoughts on plasma cutters? Yup, I'd sure like one! I'm trying to figure out how many 1.75 litre Vodka jugs I won't be able to drink if I want to get one.......

                            Hank
                            Hi Pal,,,Just have to change brand of Potato Juice,,,,Jack,I can testify to it,,,

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by houlibar
                              A plasma machine like the Spectrum 375 requires 4.5 CFM of compressed air. That's easily within the output range of most 115V/15A compressors.

                              The Spectrum 625 requires 6.0 CFM of compressed air. Are there any 115V compressors that can handle that load, at least for a short amount of time? Or does the greater air requirement dictate a 230V air compressor?

                              If you want to keep it all portable, can the 625 and a 230V compressor both run off of a 10kw welder/generator?
                              I have a Spectrum 625 and a Craftsman 22 gal 5 hp compressor and the plasma cutter works ok. I have cut 1/2" steel with it at about 2 foot long and the compressor did keep up but if i would of went much longer i think i would of fell short of air .No problem with steel 1/4 and under with air. My compressor is rated at 8.6 cfm @ 40 psi OR 6.4 cmf @ 90 psi . I would still suggest going with a bigger compressor if you have nothing now. I am getting the IR 2 stage 5 hp 80 gallon @ 175 psi . Dont think I'll ever have to worry about air after that. I wasnt thinking about plasma cutting , sand blasting and such when i bought my oilless craftsman compressor back 14 years ago , but the darn craftsman compressor wont die. ( even tho it sounds like it is )

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Scott V, Roospike, thanks! I appreciate your thoughts and views on the air compressors and air required for plasma cutting.
                                Scott

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