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Old June 13th, 2010, 12:54 PM
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Plasma cutter recommendations

Looking to purchase a plasma cutter and wondering if the guys that own and use them on a regular basis could give some recommendations . (I will most likely always be cutting less than 1/2" steel, probably 1/4 and below ) I have been reading up on the Hypertherm powermax 30 and the Miller 375X.
any input would be appreciated.
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Old June 13th, 2010, 02:59 PM
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For the at home user not doing real production the Hypertherm powermax 30 works great.
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Old June 13th, 2010, 06:54 PM
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I've got a Miller Spectrum 375 X-Treme. It's great because it's roughly the size of small car battery, is portable, and runs on 110v or 220v.
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Old June 13th, 2010, 07:51 PM
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I have a Miller 375 that I picked up for $500 and works quite nicely, but the Hypotherm units are the shit. Period. The Hypotherm 30 is an amazing little machine, and definitely worth every penny. I would have preferred that machine to the 375, but the deal I got on mine was too good to pass up.
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Old June 13th, 2010, 08:48 PM
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I enjoy my Powermax 30, but after 2 years, I have only used it about 7 hours. It has been flawless, but the trigger requires firm constant pressure or the arc will drop out. I strongly recommend it.
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Old June 13th, 2010, 09:24 PM
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Hypertherm

I've had a hypertherm 600 for a few years and have been happy. Its close in size to the powermax 45. I would recommend the brand. Like a lot of things, buy a little bigger than you think you'll need.
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Old June 13th, 2010, 10:10 PM
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Trevor want to sell yours ?
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Old June 14th, 2010, 05:52 AM
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Funny, every now and then that idea passes through my mind, and right now I need $1500 to fix my a/c recovery machine, but I know as soon as I sell it, I'll need it for something! Did just use it this weekend to cut out the remains of the auxillary battery box on a S2.
And mine's a 600, not a 35. See, I don't look at it enough to remember what it is!
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Old June 14th, 2010, 06:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolf Fabrication View Post
I've got a Miller Spectrum 375 X-Treme. It's great because it's roughly the size of small car battery, is portable, and runs on 110v or 220v.
2nd this, a very nice compact unit...
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Old June 14th, 2010, 12:34 PM
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Anyone ever own/ use a Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster True 39 ?
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Old June 14th, 2010, 12:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Velardi View Post
Looking to purchase a plasma cutter and wondering if the guys that own and use them on a regular basis could give some recommendations . (I will most likely always be cutting less than 1/2" steel, probably 1/4 and below ) I have been reading up on the Hypertherm powermax 30 and the Miller 375X.
any input would be appreciated.
I cut 1/2" steel easily with my 40 amp Plasma. The material I had the hardest time cutting was 1" thick 1018 plate - kerfing was unacceptable and the cutting rate was too slow. You will find that 1/4" will cut very easily.

If you are dead-set on name brand equipment (I used the cheaper import machines, and mine have been working fine for 3+ years of hard use.) - both of the 30 amp (27 amp) machines you are looking at will cut 1/2" with no problems.

My recommendation from my experience with plasma cutters - all else being equal - pick the plasma that you can get consumables (tip, swirl ring, and nozzle) for the cheapest/easiest. Some days, depending on the humidity of your air and what you're cutting - a tip will last you a week - or about 3 seconds!
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Old June 14th, 2010, 01:21 PM
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The only thing I fear from non brand name equipment .. is how to judge their reliability ? I've had some Chinese stuff last long enough to make them worth buying and others we not even worth using once.
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Old June 14th, 2010, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris Velardi View Post
The only thing I fear from non brand name equipment .. is how to judge their reliability ? I've had some Chinese stuff last long enough to make them worth buying and others we not even worth using once.
I think that's a reasonable fear. Buy only name brand unless you are willing to take a risk.

FWIW, my import equipment is re-badged Chinese from a company called Riland. The reason I took the risk is because nowadays the components in all the Chinese welders/plasmas are all pretty much the same. If these were transformer devices, I'd be worried, but with these solid state IGBT supplies, there's not a lot that goes into "construction" aside from the boxes and switches. There's no core or copper winding, just several discrete components.
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Old June 14th, 2010, 02:48 PM
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What is the deal with the Ebay units that do Plasma cutting . tig and arc welding (all in one ) ? reliable ? as good as separate machines ? I currently have have a mig but not a tig unit .
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Old June 14th, 2010, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris Velardi View Post
What is the deal with the Ebay units that do Plasma cutting . tig and arc welding (all in one ) ? reliable ? as good as separate machines ? I currently have have a mig but not a tig unit .
Unfortunately, I don't know the answer to this one, as I do not own an all-in-one machine. However, from a EE perspective, I would imagine that these all-in-one devices do not differ much internally from dedicated devices in that they are all basically just DC power sources with gas solenoids. (For example, if you contacted Miller to purchase just the "handle part" of the Plasma Cutter, you would find it would cost more than half the cost of the entire Plasma Cutter itself.)

I personally bought a dedicated TIG welder because I needed AC-welding capability and there was no all-in-one machine (at the time) that had AC capability. Dedicated welders also give you more welding control, for example, adjustable purge, warm-up, cool-down, and postflow. I do not believe any all-in-one machines give you those abilities.

Now, whether or not you feel the need for all those adjustments, I leave up to you.

Oh! I also forgot one thing - very few chinese welders (if any) have finger-adjustable or foot adjustable heat. Some name-brand welders give you the ability to set the max amperage on the box, then adjust the actual amperage at the torch from 5 amps up to the max you set. This is one feature that is very useful, as the amount of power you have to put into a piece to weld it when cold is totally different than when it is hot and it's easier not to have to stop welding just to adjust the heat. Something to think about.
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