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  • Help with Plasma Cut Aluminum

    Hey guys with all the plasma cutters!!! Need a lot of help
    I'm cutting this 3/32" aluminum with my G3 Hypertherm 1000. Cutting leaves from my mom's plants/garden, cutting ok, but WAAYYYY TOO much dross!! I've tried with different amp settings, and air pressure. Went down on the air pressure till the red light came on. I know I should be able to cut with little or no dross, just can't dial it in right! HELP PLEASE!!! I don't want to be hand filing this for weeks!!!
    THANKS,
    bert
    Attached Files
    I'm not late...
    I'm just on Hawaiian Time

  • #2
    oh, sorry guys and girls...I had trouble following my lines. I used my other hand to brace myself, but as you know with plama cutters, breathe wrong and you just made yourself a new cut that wasn't planned...Any way for me to be more steady following my pattern? (I laid the leaf onto the aluminum and traced it with a black felt pen.
    thanks,
    bert
    I'm not late...
    I'm just on Hawaiian Time

    Comment


    • #3
      Well, I am most definitely not the most qualified to be giving advice, I have been cutting quite a bit of 1/8" aluminum (mostly straight strips using a guide). From my experience it seems that the balance between amps and travel speed is key. Basically you want to move the torch as fast a possible without moving so fast that the arc does not penetrate the material.

      Are you sure that the material is 3/32" - it looks somewhat thicker - I could be wrong since such things can be deceiving in a photo. Any way, considering that you are free handing it (following a pattern, not a guide/template) I assume that your travel speed is rather slow. From the picture of the cutter it seems that you are running it at 40 amps (difficult to see in the picture - I think you resized it too much ). I would say the 40 amps with 3/32" material and a slow travel speed is too high. I would drop the current down to the minimum you can get away with at the speed you are moving the torch. When I was cutting 1/8" material using a straight edge, the machine was set to 35 amps. My travel speed was pretty quick since I was using a guide.

      Also, I noticed that one side of the cut would have some slag (very minor and easily removed) and the other side would be nearly completely clean. I think it has to do with the direction of travel. So, if you move the torch in the correct direction to cut out the pattern, any slag that you do have will be on the scrap metal and not the finished piece. I am not really sure if it will work the same way while cutting out something more complicated.

      Finally, have you considered cutting a template out of wood that you could trace with the torch? I have used wood straight edges, but I the near future I will be need to cut out a more complex shape, and I was considering trying cardboard – it might just burst into flames, but it could be worth a try. Also, are you using a drag tip – a drag tip is probably a necessity if you are going to be tracing a template.

      Hope this helps.
      Dynasty 200DX
      MM252 w/ Spoolmatic 30A
      Spectrum 675

      Comment


      • #4
        thanks grumpy, yes, I was using a drag tip. Yes, I went down to the minimum 20 amps, thanks about the resizing, I'll try the "medium" next time. I actually thought about making a 1/2" to a 1" wood template so I can hug the wood with the torch head...and yes, my travel speed was quite fast!!! Little faster, and I was gouging, not cutting through. I was tryind different dragging speeds and the dross looked all the same...
        thanks grumpy
        bert
        I'm not late...
        I'm just on Hawaiian Time

        Comment


        • #5
          That last thing that comes to mind that everyone seems to mention - are you sure that you have a clean dry air source (any air filters/dryers between the compressor and plasma)? I just noticed that your location is Hawaii. Your proximity to the ocean probably makes an air dryer a necessity.

          Other than that I am stumped

          I guess it's time to get out the grinder
          Last edited by grumpy42; 09-11-2007, 03:11 AM.
          Dynasty 200DX
          MM252 w/ Spoolmatic 30A
          Spectrum 675

          Comment


          • #6
            I have an auxillary air filter that Hypertherm offered (wasn't cheap!), 'cause I know how important clean air is.
            thanks,
            bert
            I'm not late...
            I'm just on Hawaiian Time

            Comment


            • #7
              Bert, I have run into similar problems in the past and found that it was a ground issue that was my problem, just something to think about. Dave
              If necessity is the Mother of Invention, I must be the Father of Desperation!

              sigpicJohn Blewett III 10-22-73 to 8-16-07
              Another racing great gone but not to be forgotten.http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...modified&hl=en

              Comment


              • #8
                You should see the dross when cutting 1" thick alum, what a mess....Bob
                Bob Wright

                Comment


                • #9
                  I try not to use the plasma to cut aluminum if I dont have too. Seems no matter what I do, it doesnt cut as nice as mild steel. Always have some clean up and somebody mentioned already but the thicker the worse. A blade cut is also nicer to weld on, but I know sometimes you ahve to use the plasma. So when you get it mastered let me know
                  Scott
                  HMW [Heavy Metal welding]

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hey Bert, are you using shielded or unshielded front end parts? When you turned down the output did you change to a lower amperage nozzle? Believe it or not it makes a huge difference in the size of the kerf, which in turn will dictate the amount of dross. Just a thought.
                    Rich Ferguson
                    Sales Technician
                    Jackson Welding Supply Co.
                    "Keep America Strong.....Weld It"
                    www.jacksonweldingsupply.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      hey bert question?Is the tip clean (try a new one and your travel speed.Try a flap sander disk to clean it up,itll save you time on filing and if you use a fine grit it wont mar the surface too much

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Bert View Post
                        I have an auxillary air filter that Hypertherm offered (wasn't cheap!), 'cause I know how important clean air is.
                        thanks,
                        bert

                        There are filters and there are dryers. If it's just a filter then it is probably letting too much water vapor past. For example I had 3 $100+ filters in the system before my plasma and was still having moisture getting through. I added a desiccant dryer to the system and that stopped ALL moisture. Tips are lasting longer and cuts are much better.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thats what my cuts on Al look like with a pak 38 and air from the compressor run though a filter water separator. I am wondering since AL only likes itself and inert gases if the cut would be better when an inert gas was used instead of air. Maybe query the cutters makers for an answer.
                          Last edited by Steve; 09-11-2007, 09:23 PM. Reason: Spelling Spelling Spelling

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Dabar: yes, changed the ground a few times-no difference
                            Bob: If this is the way 3/32" is, NO WAY I'll do 1"!!!
                            HMW: I used a really nice jigsaw before, cut was super nice, but slow. If I
                            have to do this much hand filing, I'll go back to the jigsaw
                            JWSREP: Using shielded parts and drag tip. I didn't change the nozzle for the
                            lower amperage though...I have the fine cut kit, I guess I should
                            try that, eh?
                            Man of Steel: Tip was still good, but I guess I'll try a new one anyway!! I had
                            tried different travel speeds with the same results, but I notice
                            when I pulled, it was easier to get a smoother cut along the line
                            TS: Where can I get a desiccant dryer, how does it look and how do I hook
                            it up?
                            Steve: Hmm...never heard of using inert gas instead of air...won't hurt to try
                            that also!!!
                            Guys, I will try ALL these recommendations and will let you know what happened and what works, if it works!!! thank you very much!!!
                            aloha,
                            bert
                            I'm not late...
                            I'm just on Hawaiian Time

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Bert, are we frustrated? or is it that time? Dave
                              If necessity is the Mother of Invention, I must be the Father of Desperation!

                              sigpicJohn Blewett III 10-22-73 to 8-16-07
                              Another racing great gone but not to be forgotten.http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...modified&hl=en

                              Comment

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