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  #1  
Old January 14th, 2016, 09:47 AM
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fabricators, which plasma cutter?

with the addition of a new welder, i'm looking to get a new plasma cutter. So:

which ones are you guys using?

do you like it?

do you wish you had another cutter?
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  #2  
Old January 14th, 2016, 09:51 AM
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Hands down hypertherm
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Old January 14th, 2016, 10:09 AM
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I feel like I have an opinion on everything nowadays and I hate myself for it.

At the risk of propounding idiocy, I'll say this:

The model of any tool makes no difference in this declining order: Plasma cutter, TIG welder, MIG welder

In the Plasma Cutter's case, the model is almost totally irrelevant. The Plasma Cutter just provides an air inlet via solenoid, an HF igniter, and then a constant current source. This is done by almost every plasma cutter on the market down to the most take-out chinese-y variant every made.

Therefore, the only thing that differs between models is the torch itself. The torch itself, its consumables, and its internal design, are the only things that differ.

The main models that I have seen are:

1. Trafimet torches
2. Nutec
3. Binzel
4. ESAB / China long-biznizzle (not the real name, just used to denote long electrodes)
5. ESAB / China short-biznizzle (not the real name, just used to denote short electrodes)

Then the individual "big name" manufacturers have custom made torches with custom made consumables, which are designed to lock you into their expensive pricing schemes.

And yes, you can use an expensive-a$$ torch on a cheap-a$$ power supply.

I believe hypertherm uses China biznizzle torches, although they are some kind of funky ISO design. Again, even a poor man's plasma is almost identical to a rich man's plasma. So buy whatever is in your budget and just cut stuff and enjoy.
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Old January 14th, 2016, 10:15 AM
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I went for Hypertherm and really like it. Consumables can be purchased at most any respectable welding shop. Once you settle on the capacity of machine you want, I would suggest you buy the next bigger one.
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Old January 14th, 2016, 10:19 AM
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What are you are cutting, what kind of air source and do you have a 220 power source?
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Old January 14th, 2016, 10:19 AM
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I have a hyperthermia 35. It's a beast of a little machine.
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Old January 14th, 2016, 10:43 AM
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I run Miller products, mig, tig and plasma. They're the primary equipment used at my govt shipyard employment. Costs to get into these isn't horrible considering the long term investment aspect. I've certainly gotten my money's worth out of it all.
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  #8  
Old January 14th, 2016, 11:00 AM
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What are you planning on doing with it? General 4x4 stuff or are you starting a shipyard? For 4x4 stuff I would way Hypertherm Powermax 30 is your best bet.
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Old January 14th, 2016, 12:02 PM
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One of the biggest problem I've seen with home plasma cutters is not enough voltage for consistent clean cuts and bad air…low PSI, low air volume and wet air will destroy the cutter and leads to poor cutting.

Miller Extreme 375 ran at 220 is plenty of machine for home use. Needs 90psi and a compressor that can maintain a healthy volume air. I use a Ingersol single stage 60gal compressor, and that's barely enough.
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  #10  
Old January 14th, 2016, 12:27 PM
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I used to have a Parker Plasma cutter that I bought when they were selling them on Pirate for like $300. I had zero complaints with it. Worked every time and the cuts were always good as long as the tip was in good shape. I have a 60 gal Ingersol Rand compressor.
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  #11  
Old January 14th, 2016, 12:35 PM
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I've been using a Miller Spectrum 375 Extreme for 10 years now. No complaints, other than it's best suited for 3/8" and smaller metals. It'll do thicker, but requires multiple passes.

It's dual voltage, but I rarely use it on 110v.
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  #12  
Old January 19th, 2016, 01:27 PM
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Thanks guys, lots to consider. I don't see myself cutting anything thicker than 1/4.

Seems like the usual suspects.
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  #13  
Old January 19th, 2016, 02:37 PM
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Something to keep in mind. Many of us that use plasma cutters also have a horizontal band saw like you can get at Harbor Freight. Way more useful for the most part, great cuts, easy to set up. Often times people are totally enamored with a Plasma just to find out they rarely use it.

It really depends on what you want to cut. If it is straight metal like tubing, I would rather have a band saw, at least have it first...
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Old January 19th, 2016, 03:24 PM
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I have a Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 42.


I have not had it long, but it's a great machine.......will cut up to 1/2". I run it on 220V, but it will run 110 just fine as well. Make sure that if you are using the correct consumables with whichever power source you decide on.


Anyway, the TD machines are really nice and are what a lot of good fabricators in my area use.
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