The Right Tool for the Job
Not long ago plasma cutters were priced right out of the range of the average shop worker or hobbyist. The technology has advanced so rapidly these last few years that you can find plasma cutters for less than a few hundred dollars. On top of this price drop, plasma cutter distributors and manufacturers have moved most of their sales out of shops and onto the internet, making the purchase of a plasma cutter even cheaper and easier.
The major factor in buying a plasma cutter is not the price, but first choosing the category that best suits your specific needs, and then shopping around the different brands and reviews to find the best price and quality match that suits you from that category.
Below is a brief guide to finding the right category of plasma cutter for you.
Duty cycle: the longer the cutter is in continuous use, the higher the cut rating based on the amperage needs to be. Cutters cannot continuously cut at their ideal rating for extended periods, so you need to buy a higher rating if you plan to use it for long periods.
Input power: All cutters require a lot of power; most are rated for either 110 or 220 volts. The cutter you buy needs to have a minimum voltage that can be run by the outlets where you will use it. Do not forget that any other equipment running on the same outlet will reduce the output of the cutter.
Cutting speed: Cutting speed is one of the most important factors. Most cutters will have three cutting values: rated cut, quality cut, and sever cut. These values determine the speed and cleanliness of the cut at the different thickness values, with rated being the fastest and cleanest, and sever being the slowest and messiest. Choose the highest values that you will need the matching quality cuts for.
Start: All cutters have a contact start and a high-frequency start. A high-frequency start can interfere with the electronics in your shop.
Air supply: All cutters require an air supply. Some will use different gases and others will have built in air supplies. The built in air supplies can increase the price significantly.
Environment: Depending on the environment where the cutter will be used, you need to decide if you need to purchase a built-in fan. Cutters used in dirty environments without a fan will have a much shorter life and will require more maintenance.
Control Panel: Be sure that you can understand and interact with the model's control panel. Some advanced models can be quite technical, and the inexperienced user will find it difficult to use.
Built-In Inverter: Some plasma cutters come with built-in power inverters for use in places without proper power. This feature adds extra portability, but can be very expensive.
Portability: Some users will rarely move their cutters, while others will carry them to different jobs regularly. Cutters come in all shapes and sizes, and the more portable models will have significant extra costs.
Determine Your Category, Find a Price
Now that you have figured out exactly which features you want and do not want, it is time to start comparing prices and reading the reviews online. The price for most of the cutters in the same category will vary so even after narrowing the field it is still worth taking the time to shop around for the right price and quality combination. Good luck!
The installations costs of plasma cutters have plummeted over recent years. This has seen these powerful cutting devices now being available for many technical machinists, ranging from the general hobbyist through to small scale auto shops. Despite their hi-tech power it's still essential that plasma cutter operators still follow the basic rules of cutting materials to size; and also appreciate the power of the tool in their hands. In this guide we'll run through the most common plasma cutter problems, the majority of which all come down to sheer maintenance and adhering to good practice.
Replacements & Upgrades Are Essential
Many proud owners of a plasma cutter seem to overlook the fact that this is still a device that needs occasional replacement parts. Like many high performance machines the longer these are dismissed or overlooked the worse the performance. In the worst case scenario it can lead to damaging the machine - resulting in expensive repairs when the problem could have been entirely avoided for the sake of a small part replacement.
It can be tricky to spot when a part is beginning to fail, as initial signs can be very subtle. As a rule of thumb an evident decline in cut quality is a sure-fire suggestion that parts are starting to fail. A common mistake is to place these below par cuts down to operator neglect, and in 90% of the time this isn't the case. Check:
The Nozzle: Internally any signs of oxide residue are a clear indication that the nozzle ought to be replaced. Look out for both internal and external gouging too.
Electrodes: Inspect the pitting of the element. Carefully measure the depth depending on what gas is being employed. Any more than 3/32 inch for oxygen or air or 1/8 inch for argon or nitrogen should suggest it's time for a replacement.
Gas Swirlers: These are easier to spot issues with. Signs of basic material degradation such as cracks, burns or residue. These do need to be replaced more often than many plasma cutter's would like!
General Good Practice To Avoid Common Plasma Cutter Problems
Like many workshop machines it's ever so easy to become complacent or overconfident. Remember that plasma cutters are high performance machines that need regular checkups.
Always make sure the appropriate parts are being used for a specific task. This basically sums down to ensuring that the appropriate plasma gas and cutting amperage are being employed. Likewise gas pressure needs to be set up right in order to prevent hard starting, maintained at a consistent an steady flow. This is a very common plasma cutter problem that is easy to fix yet difficult to diagnose for inexperienced operators.
It's important also not to get carried away with using O level lubricant. Using too much will burn out the torch, and whatever you do never apply any lubricant to the torch itself. It never needs any. Another factor to always bear in mind is that lubricant conducts electricity, so when splashed on too thick it can attract counter current and damage the torch.
Last but not least for general good practice: make sure it's properly assembled! Not too long ago plasma cutters were very complicated - nowadays they should be assembled from the crate in less than an hour. Ensure that components are slotted together uniformly and without any contamination of dirt, or in the case of second hand machines metal rust.
Simple Tips For Getting Great Results
1) Avoid over stretching the arc. This places undue pressure upon consumable parts and even the best configured set-up will deliver poor results. If you need to move the metal to make a cut, do so.
2) Never 'hammer' with the torch. This is lazy and will cause the torch to fail much quicker.
3) Avoid torch collisions. Most modern machines are set up with fail safes and alarms to prevent this from happening, but always double check as variations in height can still cause this to happen. There's simply no swifter way of destroying a torch!
4) Ensure that the standoff is appropriate to the thickness of the metal. Programmable machines will usually automatically configure gas flow, handhelds usually require this to be done manually. Using too much or little gas will cause problems to equipment and material results.
5) Clean the plasma cutter after every use. This is especially true of the torch itself.
For the sake of a little practice, planning and adhering to routine for every task it's possible to avoid any issue that may arise from using a plasma cutter. Torches and components are expensive to replace and their longevity can be massively enhanced by following these simple rules.
Check our website for Best Plasma Cutter Reviews.
Plasma cutters come in handy, not only to those working in the welding industry, but also for any household. It is a tool that can do multiple jobs at once hence eradicating the need to fumble around with many tools at once. It does the work quite well and gets almost anything fixed. Here are some of the best plasma cutters you can find in the market.
Miller spectrum 375 xtreme plasma cutter
This cutter has incredible features including a torch handle as well as a case to carry it. Multiple plugs also come with the cutter to enable one use different voltage levels for different purposes.
Lotos LTPD5000D Pilot Arc Plasma Cutter
One is able to select to voltage levels with which this machine works. This cutter can withstand even rusty items and cut through them with so much ease. It has enough power to cut through thick and thin materials.
Hobart Airforce 40i – 230V
Hobart is known to produce the best cutters in the business and this model is nothing short of one’s expectations. It uses the inverter technology to make it highly capable of cutting almost anything, including all conductive metals. Its design makes it portable as compared to most other plasma cutters.
This cutter offers both high quality and performance at a go. This machine can make exact cuts as one needs through a half inch of steel without underperforming. The good thing with hypotherm is that its packages come along with a good customer service. What makes it more incredible is that its price is less expensive compared to other models that could do the same work it does.
The above mentioned machines are powerful and highly reliable. They are some of the best plasma cutters in the market.
Do you want to buy portable plasma cutters? Portable plasma cutters are devices that you use to cut through various metals and materials. They are ideal as you can carry them from one point to another. In this guide, we look at how these devices work and what to look out for when buying them.
How Portable Plasma Cutters Work
- Portable Plasma cutters work by sending an electric arc through an inert gas stream that’s high speed, For example, compressed air, oxygen or nitrogen. These gases pass through a narrow opening. The gas temperature gets elevated to a 4th state extent that's known as Plasma.
- This hot plasma state is what you use to cut metal. The electric activity in the Plasma makes the arc transfer the work while you are cutting the metal or material. You should understand that the nozzle causes the gas in the plasma cutter to pass at high speed, enabling you to cut the metal.
- The gas concentrates at the cutting area, as the plasma shields the cut. Best portable plasma cutters integrate a pilot arc between the electrode and the nozzle for better plasma generation and gas ionization before the arc transfer.
Advantage of Using Portable Plasma Cutters
- As the name suggests, you can carry them around. That enables you to perform your metal cutting activities around your home, or for trade’s people such as plumbers, to do their jobs quickly.
- Portable plasma cutters are cleaner for metal and material cutting than saws.
- They enable you to cut through metal without emitting too much heat and in fine lines.
What to Consider When Buying Them
Portability and Cooling
- You should purchase portable plasma cutters that you can carry around. You should also look for those with handles that enable you to move them from sites, homes or even plants.
- Best portable plasma cutters also have inbuilt storage facilities that you can store essentials such as repair parts. That’s because you may use them far from your home or workplace.
- They should also have cooling features. That’s because you may need to use then for long hours. Since its center is where hot air builds up, you should buy those with quality cooling systems. That helps to prolong their usage.
- The whole idea of buying portable plasma cutters is to use them away from the workplace or your home, so you should invest in those that have inbuilt inverters. They enable you to use them even when you don’t have power around.
- That’s by using Direct Current DC power through a transistor inverter. This inverter should be of the high-frequency type. For example 10 KHz 200 KHz. Depending on your budget, these inverters add costs to portable plasma cutters, but they also increase its usage and portability.
Duty Cycle and Input Voltage
- You should ensure that your portable plasma cutters wiring comes configured. Depending on your budget, most portable plasma cutters get wired at 110,120 and 220 volts.
- Depending on the level of your voltage outlet, you should choose a portable plasma cutter that can handle high voltage. You should also look for plasma cutters that come with a dual meter. That enables you to adjust amperage according to your needs.
- You should also check out its duty cycle. That’s because longer duty cycles allow you to cut metals for more extended hours. This duty cycle gets determined by the amperage output. The more, the better it is.
- Depending on your budget, you should choose plasma cutters with greater cutting thickness. You should check out the material or metal you intend to work on before the purchase of a portable plasma cutter.
- Severance cuts of 5/8 and 1" can be carried out by a majority of plasma cutters, but they need patience and steady hands. Clean cuts of 1/2" can be done quickly without much effort.
- You should choose portable plasma cutters that can cut metals below 2". That's because they perform better than oxyfuels.
Arc and Torch
- You should choose portable plasma cutters that have pilot arcs. This arc prevents contact between the material that you will be cutting and the torch.
- That prolongs the life of the nozzle. You should also look for those with starter sets that allow you to position the light. That enables you to see the arc accurately.
- You should also consider brand torches, which you can move their triggers as you prefer. Their head should also be able to go through small positions.
Purchasing the best portable plasma cutters should be easy using the above guide. The key points to remember is buying those that adequately suit your needs and budget requirements. You should also check online reviews about these portable plasma cutters before buying.
Skill With Plasma Cutters Knowing how to earn money with plasma cutters can help the people who have invested in this sort of equipment. Plasma cutters are highly specialized. A lot of people don't actually know how to use them. The people who have taken the time to learn how to use them have a degree of specialized knowledge. One of the ways to get ahead financially is to be a specialist. There are lots of generalists out there. The people who can do something that few other people can do are the ones who will tend to get ahead economically in most cases. Plenty of workers should be able to earn money with plasma cutters.
Read more about plasma cutters here. Industry There are lots of specific industries where skill with plasma cutters can truly make all the difference in the world. Plasma cutters are very useful in industrial CNC applications. People who work in this industry may be able to make a lot of money just using their plasma cutters all day. Plasma cutters are able to make very precise cuts. They're able to do this at a fast rate. In many cases, they will be able to do so without a lot of associated costs, especially compared to many similar cutting tools. It isn't surprising that a lot of industries can use them. People who work in the metalworking industry and who can use plasma cutters should be able to get a lot of work in many cases. Contract Work Plasma cutters are able to slice through a wide range of different materials. They can cut through steel, brass, aluminum, copper, and many other common metals. This makes them diverse in terms of their functions and capabilities. Contractors who are familiar with using them will be able to find a lot of work on that basis alone in plenty of cases. Contractors should make it clear that they can use plasma cutters in their resumes or on their websites. They should be able to get a lot of people specifically interested in their skills. Hobby Shops There are lots of hobbyist shops that can employ metalworkers. The metalworkers who know how to use plasma cutters should have an easier time when it comes to finding work in related hobbyist shops. Many of these stores are trying to save money in whatever way that they can. They can certainly do this by making use of plasma cutters rather than some of the other tools that are on hand today. Almost any hobby shop that sells a lot of metallic goods or that focuses on modifying metallic products of any kind might be able to employ people with plasma cutting skills. Plasma Cutting Manufacture Of course, there will be some people who will make money with plasma cutters by manufacturing them. For these people, the plasma cutters themselves are the important part of the equation. They might demonstrate how to use them in a series of how-to presentations. Other people will just try to make it clear how useful plasma cutters really are through strong marketing efforts.
Artworks that are performed with a plasma cutter and grinder can unleash artist to create a metal art that is unique. The best way of doing the artistic cutting of plasma is by the use of a CNS plasma cutting table and an art file that is computerized. In giving the artwork a dimensional, sign, you need to pull the logo out from the background. The artwork with plasma cutters need to look broadly and have a heavy duty feeling. The background should be created by welding a 148cm wide and 12cm tall steel that has 3/4 inches square for the frame tubing. After that you need to attach the logo by the use of tubing and bolts that are threated.
The plasma art software will make your work easy in designing it.It takes many years in learning the design of the plasma cutters and drawing the art from scratch. Bobcard plasma is one of the plasma software and it is the art package. The software has a CD package that have different designs. This is a software that is easy to find what can suit you to make the customers smile. Plasma art for making deck railing inserts steel art for your entrance drive way can be made from the artwork with the plasma cutters.
The tools that are required in the creation of the artwork with the plasma cutters include:
The plasma cutting torch
Grinder that has a flap disk.
An orbital sander that has 100 or 50 of the grit paper.
Ferric nitrate or a vinegar mixture
The process of plasma cutting of the artwork
- To start the process, you need to gather your metals
Scrap pieces of different sizes i.e. the 4 feet by 12 inch with a 12 gauge. This is good for the background formation. The other metal is the one with 3 feet 6 inch by 10 inches.
- Draw a fish on the sheet that can be about 10 inches wide and then cut the fish and place it on a small metal sheet. Trace around the fish and rotate slightly to trace around it twice.
- Use a plasma torch for cutting out each fish. This is a step that requires time and it should be done slowly
- Grind the slag of each fish and then clean its edges. In this step, you need protection for your ears and eyes. You also require ventilation that is adequate for welding the plasma cutter. Wearing a mask can help you in forming a blockage to the fumes and it is a good idea.
- After grinding the fish down, clean the patina the way which you may like. You can use the ferric nitrate to get the orange, brown or maroon on the fish and on the background.
- Heat the metal with a weed torch. The weed torch needs to be connected to a tank of propane for quickening the work.
- Once the process of the patina is done, polish the sheet that you cut the fish from. In cleaning up the metal, use cleaners from a welding store or use muriatic acid
- This is the last step where you build a bracket. Weld a long piece of steel that is ¾ inches towards the bottom and top