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Help with Plasma Cut Aluminum

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  • Bert
    replied
    Finally got it!!!

    Well, had time to run some tests, short of changing my tank to nitrogen, buying a new HC filter (might do that soon though if you still think I have to from the pics)
    and MAN OF STEEL WINS THE PRIZE!!!!!!!!!!!
    My tip still looked really good, but since it WAS used, I changed it anyway...
    well....it worked better I made a LOT of practice cuts, all the same swiggle
    (is that a word?) moving fast, as how I want to cut my leaves. My torch is 60amp with the shielded drag tip and I went from the lowest 20A to the highest 60Amp in 5 degree increments. Each of those increments on the amp setting, I went through 65psi to 80psi in 5psi increments. Believe it or not, 60A at 80psi worked best!!! (ok Man of Steel, you can gloat) I tried the unshielded lower amp tips like JWSREP and SundownIII said and it worked as good at 40amps and 65pse, but since it is unshielded, HOW THE HECK AM I SUPPOSED TO HAND HOLD IT AT 2mm???? I just dragged that sucker, worked good, but I'm afraid I'll ruin that tip fast!!! Below are pics of my worst and best and my filters on my plasma cutter.
    I'll practice later when I have to move slower, to find what the best amps and psi I will need...
    THANKS GUYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    bert
    Attached Files

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  • Bert
    replied
    Originally posted by SundownIII View Post
    Bert,

    I have used regular carbide bits in my table mounted router to trim thin (up to about 1/4") aluminum with great success.

    What I have found though, when the bit is fully buried (ie. drill a 1/4" hole and try to mill a slot--even in 1/8" material) it gets dang hairy. Don't think I'd want to try it with a hand held router.

    Just based on my own experience.
    Thanks Sundown, yeah, I only have a handheld router, and the thought scared me too!!! Actually, I think I'll stay away from that idea after all...
    My other patterns have more tight curves in it, I'd hate to lose a body part with a flying router or material!

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  • SundownIII
    replied
    Bert,

    I have used regular carbide bits in my table mounted router to trim thin (up to about 1/4") aluminum with great success.

    What I have found though, when the bit is fully buried (ie. drill a 1/4" hole and try to mill a slot--even in 1/8" material) it gets dang hairy. Don't think I'd want to try it with a hand held router.

    Just based on my own experience.

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  • Bert
    replied
    SundownIII and dbcfr, thanks for the tips
    Sundown, I'll try the fine cut tip this evening. I'd rather NOT use nitrogen if I don't have to and exhaust all the other resources/tips everyone else gave me, but I'll put that one in my books if the others fail...I forget the name of the filter I bought and hooked up, I'll get the name later tonight. I'll check out the CH combo filter later also! Sounds like a good thing to have

    dbcfr, are you talking about a regular/normal router with a metal cutting bit?
    thanks again guys, and all the rest: KEEP THE TIPS COMING!!!
    BERT

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  • dbcfr
    replied
    Cut with Router

    Bert - Have you thought about cutting out a templet of wood and cutting the alum with a router with a fine down cut bit and a collet?... If you try it let me know how it works for you...
    Just a thought but it would leave you with a very fine finshed edge...

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  • SundownIII
    replied
    Bert,

    Campbell Hausfeld makes a nice combo Air Cleaner/Dryer (Model PA208501) which is a nice little unit. Includes both a filter element (replaceable) and a desiccant element (replaceable granules). I had my local hardware store (CH Dealer) order one for me. Runs about $100 retail.

    I use this unit at the plasma cutter and it seems to work fine. My air is filtered by a Binks (Paint Grade Filter) prior to going into the 50' 1/2" line feeding the plasma.

    If you're using the Motorgard filter (I think that's what Hypertherm recommends), I can't imagine that moist air is what is causing the problem. For 3/16" material, I would try the fine cut tip.

    Although I have never used it, several posters here have used Nitrogen rather than compressed air. It's about the cheapest gas you can buy and supposedly, works great with a plasma cutter. I can definitely see the advantage in portable work.

    Hope this helps.

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  • dabar39
    replied
    Bert, are we frustrated? or is it that time? Dave

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  • Bert
    replied
    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

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  • Steve
    replied
    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, 08:23 PM. Reason: Spelling Spelling Spelling

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  • TS-Off-Road
    replied
    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.

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  • man of steel
    replied
    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

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  • jwsrep
    replied
    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.

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  • HMW
    replied
    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

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  • aametalmaster
    replied
    You should see the dross when cutting 1" thick alum, what a mess....Bob

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  • dabar39
    replied
    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

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