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plasma cutters
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BabyHuey
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11 09 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another vote for hypertherm! Hypertherm only makes plasma cutters. I was told by a Miller dealer that Hypertherm designs miller plasma cutters and when you look at them comparitively you will see they are very similar.

For my shop at home I have a Miller Spectrum because consumables are easier for me to get, and they were what my dealer carried at the time. But, my next plasma cutter for home will be a hypertherm, because my local dealer now carries them. Not because I have had problems, but because I think the Hypertherm is a better machine for the type of work I do.
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mrcustomsteel
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12 09 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will speak up for ESAB. I am happy with mine. Plasma cutters are finiky machines and easy to screw up if you use them with the slightest sign of a problem. EG worn consumables.

Also, price and availability of consumables is a huge consideration.

I highly recommend getting one that a welding supply store will stand behind.
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Bushbow
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12 09 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Miller in the shop I work in has been cutting for years w/o any trouble(my best friend is and Iron Worker and owns everything Miller ever made).

Don't know much about the others but I do know the Miller I use see's hard hard use almost daily and keeps on cutting.

Anyway you go a plaz will be a huge asset and improvement over a grinder and wheel or a torch.

Bob Urban
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Smoked Up
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12 09 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hypertherm and ESAB are both good machines. When I was in the market for a plasma cutter, I went with Miller. I bought the 375 and have been happy with it. It is hard to go wrong with any of the three mentioned.
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purplewg
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12 09 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SmokedUp, I was looking at the 375 but I see the cut speed is not all that great when compared to the 625 for a couple hundred more. Now I am leaning towards the 625.

Any opinion on this?
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smokin ernie
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12 09 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I am reading through all these great responces I have come up with a few questions.

What is the difference between 110 vs 115 and 220 vs 230?
I know 110 is normal house plug and the 220 is one use for clothes dryers.

I have notice some machine come with air supplies built in is it better to get a compressor by itself?

When something says the recommended cutting is say1/4 it will make good cuts on smaller materail?
I would think that you will be able to and the cutting inch per minute will go up.

Thanks again I am learning alot!
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Black Pearl
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12 09 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smokin Ernie - 110-115 as well as 220-230 are interchangeable. All outlets vary slgihtly depending on how your house is wired, how close it is to the main powerblock in your area, etc. My 220-230, actually runs at 232 when I stick a voltmeter to it. Nothing to worry about. What you do need to worry about is low voltage, thats what burns stuff up. Older homes are more likely to have these issues.

Built in air supplies are only on the small machines (rated 1/8") and under. These machines are great if your cutting ductwork and other small thing gauge stuff. Bad idea if your looking to cut 1/4" and things of that nature

If it is one of the name brands, TD, Miller, Hypertherm, ESAB, Lincoln, and it says rated for 1/4" it will cut quater inch just fine, on thinner material is will still cut good, just a lot faster, unless you turn the amps down. Now if you get rediculous and buy the huge machines like a Powermax 1000 or something, they are so big sometimes they get grouchy when you try to cut very thing stuff. You can adjust their amperage output down, but it is not as fine an adjustment.

If your looking to do 1/4" and stuff along those sizes here are the ones I recommend.

1. Hypertherm Powermax 30
2. Miller 375 xtreme
4. Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 52 (I think thats the correct model number)
5. Lincoln Procut ( Im not sure their model number off the top of my head, I have herd mixed reviews about the older lincolns, and I havent reseacrhed them recently.)
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mtrammel
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12 09 9:28 pm    Post subject: PSI Reply with quote

smokin ernie,
I bought a seperate air comp. and learned something I will pass on as well. The notes all talk about minimum PSI and thats what I went shopping with. Luckily I caught a sales guy that new what I was doing as he told me there is another number as important...Cubic feet per minute or CFM. The compressor has to be big enough to sustain that PSI at a cetain CFM. Make sure you match both numbers to the cutter you select... I downloaded the manual and found the specs I needed.
Sorry if you already know this...
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BabyHuey
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12 09 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

a little more info on 110 vs 220. The Spectrum 375 extreme is dual voltage. I have this machine and it is handy. It cuts the same whether using 110v or 220/230, the duty cycle is just reduced.

No matter what brand you choose, make sure you have a filter and DRYER on your air lines. You will go through double consumables, plus damage your unit running dirty wet air through it.
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smokin ernie
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12 09 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mtrammel thanks I did not know that. I was thinking having a separate compressor would be better. That way I would be able to use and get some air tools as well.

Babyhuey thanks would never have thought of using a filter and dryer.

black pearl thank you I mostly looking to work on smokers and trailers so my guess of material would be 1/8 to 1/4 so that would fit into what you recommend.

Thank you to everyone else that has joined in.
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Black Pearl
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12 09 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

purplewg- the 625 is a larger machine, and will cut faster. The only thing I would say is, the 375 xtreme is dual voltage 110/220. It has both plugs, you just put the adapter on. The powersupply handles everything inside the machine. If thats of no interest to you, go for the 625!
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istock74
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12 09 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mrcustomsteel wrote:
I will speak up for ESAB. I am happy with mine. Plasma cutters are finiky machines and easy to screw up if you use them with the slightest sign of a problem. EG worn consumables.

Also, price and availability of consumables is a huge consideration.

I highly recommend getting one that a welding supply store will stand behind.


We have an ESAB PCM-1125 in our shop. It's about five years old and other than consumables we have had zero problems with it. In fact, I just cut up some 1" Thick HR Plate with it yesterday. When it was new they told us it would cut up to 1.25" thick on HR steel. That seems a stretch but it is at least good up to 1".
Like was said above, regardless of the brand you choose, it should be one that your weld supplier carries and works on as well as has consumables in stock.

What amazes me most about plasma cutters is how much more powerful they have become all the while getting smaller and smaller. The first place I worked out of HS had an old cutter that was so big it about took two guys to move it and it wouldn't cut 1/2". Here I am today with an esab that is about 20" long x x16" high x 12" wide and it will blow through 1" plus.
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istock74
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12 09 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BabyHuey wrote:
a little more info on 110 vs 220. The Spectrum 375 extreme is dual voltage. I have this machine and it is handy. It cuts the same whether using 110v or 220/230, the duty cycle is just reduced.

No matter what brand you choose, make sure you have a filter and DRYER on your air lines. You will go through double consumables, plus damage your unit running dirty wet air through it.


Cosigned. Good that you brought that up. Very Happy
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smokin ernie
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13 09 4:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was looking up filter and dryers and came across this. It is about true horsepower and CFM ratings. Just thought it was interesting.


http://www.truetex.com/aircompressors.htm
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smokin ernie
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13 09 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mtrammel,

Just curious if you are still expecting to get the longevity cutter for tomorrow?
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mtrammel
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13 09 10:50 pm    Post subject: plasma Reply with quote

Yes, According to UPS, its supposed to arrive tomorrow...I'm waivering a little after reading these posts but still hoping it comes out ok.
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purplewg
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13 09 10:59 pm    Post subject: Re: plasma Reply with quote

mtrammel wrote:
Yes, According to UPS, its supposed to arrive tomorrow...I'm waivering a little after reading these posts but still hoping it comes out ok.


Try to get us some good pictures of it and if you get a chance over the weekend to make some cuts with pics, let us know what you think. Thanks
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mtrammel
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14 09 1:48 am    Post subject: Will do Reply with quote

Heck yeah! I'm working from home tomorrow!
(mainly because I have to sign for it or wait til Monday)
I already ratted the scrap bin at the steel yard at lunch, but no 1/2 inch... Mad
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mtrammel
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 15 09 11:37 am    Post subject: plasma Reply with quote

The UPS guy brought the cutter about 7pm tonight. I have it assembled but its so late I wasnt able to test it out very much, my husky compressor would summon the police without the neighbors calling anyone. You guys that live out in the country have me on that one. A nice size barn with 220...sorry day dreaming for a sec...
The unit came well packed. Its a 110/220 unit and I will be using 110 for now. (My current projects are drums) Its auto sensing on the voltage, but you have to swap out the plugs and they are not quick connects, you actually have to remove wires and rewire the new plug...wont be swapping on the fly unless I find an after market quick change kit. 110 suits my current needs so I'm good for now. May be normal but I didnt pick up in the manual I'd looked over that the unit does not ship with the actual plug...so after unpacking, I had to run to Lowes to get the proper plug end. (power cord yes, end plug no) Man did that slow me down AND the first one didnt work (one of the terminal screws would not tighten) so back to Lowes to get another.
Once I had all the parts, assembly was easy...cables that only fit one place one way so little you could foul up. The air regulator worked and I'd bought a disposable inline air dryer as recomended above.
Flipped on the power and the front indicates 120 volts and shows the amps. I dialed it into about 25 amps and put on the #5 green shade and cut into some expanded metal I'll need tomorrow. I got about 6" in when the compressor kicked in and I quit and cut off the machines. I will crank back up in the morning.
The unit "feels" solid and balanced. Everything is tight fitting and I didnt feel like I was going to easily torque off anything as I tightened it. The torch is a standard PT-31 torch (I think these series are found on ESABs as well?)
Here are a few pics. Didnt get any money shots of it in action...spent most of the evening waiting on UPS and going to lowes..
Heres hoping I've not gone wrong on the brand choice. My inital feeling is its better than what I'd expected. Tomorrows cuts will tell...






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BabyHuey
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 15 09 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mtrammel - Congrats on the plaz! Why is it the UPS guy always show up at 2:00 in the afternoon when he's delivering stuff you could care less about, but when a new tool is coming they show up at 7:00 at night?

Anyway, I am sure you will be happy with your purchase! I don't get why it didn't come with the plugs, but then again that really isn't that big of a deal. One thing I do like is the tip design for function. I do alot of metal art and cutouts. For me I look for a tip design that has a long and small diameter. This helps to see your lines if you draw something to cut out. I am not sure if that tip is supposed to be used for cutting 1/2" thick material, but I guess it's possible. The spectrum 625 has a few tip sizes to choose from. Anyway, Good Luck with your cutter and keep us posted.
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