Plasma cutter

Discussion in 'Blades' started by oil pan 4, Jun 19, 2016.


  1. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+

    If you like to build a lot of stuff try a plasma cutter.
    In 2005 I bought my miller spectrum 625 plasma cutter while I was in japan because I couldn't get a cutting torch and I wanted to cut stainless and aluminum and I still have it. You don't have to buy one just find someone with one and try it out.
    I have used it to make knives and axes, actually if I remember correctly those were the first things I made with it. I have also used it to make my own spanner wrenches, wrenches. It makes very quick work of high alloy 1/4 inch steel.
    To the miller spectrum 625 1/4 steel is nothing. It cuts through AR500 steel, I would estimate it cuts about 1 inch every 3 seconds even on higher alloy steel. You want a high travel speed if you are just going to cut tools out and use them, that way you keep the heat effected zone to a minimum.
    I actually do not recommend miller plasma cutters. I wish I would have bought a hypertherm. Problem is miller stops making stuff for their plasma cutters after a while. Where I work they have an old hypertherm at least as old as my plasma and that is when I found out hypertherm doesn't just sell overpriced replacement parts, they sell up grade parts for their old stuff. So you can up grade an old machine to be just as good as the new ones. So if you are not a welding shop using it every day a plasma cutter could last you 20 years or more.
    Do not buy a cheap one, unless you like buying junk over and over or not being able to use a machine because you cant get consumables like tips, nozzles and electrodes.
    As far as plasma cutter and EMP that could take out everything, plasma cutters are different, they have built in high frequency start generators, that means the electronics inside the machine are bathed in electromagnetic interference and radio frequency interference anytime its used so they are shielding and have EMP resistant design.
    In theory as long as you are not using it when the EMP happens and have the cords disconnected (an easy mod) it should survive. You generator is a different story.
    List of stuff I couldn't have built with out my plasma cutter:
    Bumper modification, bumper builds, trailer builds, trailer repairs, trailer mods, leaf spring swaps, knives, hatchets, wrenches, spanner wrenches, rail road track anvil, metal salvage, equipment skids, engine brackets and mounts, exhaust work, shelves, my solar hybrid generator, tire chains, my portable winch rig, salvaging hundreds of feet of SS winch cable and that is just the stuff I can remember.
    Before I got the plasma cutter I had used and still use a skil saw with abrasive disc, grinder, die grinder with cut off wheel, portable band saw.
     
  2. duane

    duane Monkey++

    Plasma cutter is to metal what a good jig or band saw is to wood. I have even seen my friend use a wooden pattern to cut out sprockets for chain.
     
  3. Tully Mars

    Tully Mars Metal weldin' monkey Site Supporter+

    Hypertherm

    The above link is the newest model of the one I have. Mine is is a few years older. It will cut through 3/4" plate/pipe like butter. It will sever just over 1" with a new tip and going slow. It does leave a bit of a kerf on material over 1" thick however that can be cleaned up with a grinder/sanding disc. Honestly on 1" and above material I find it best to use a torch.

    IMHO, after being in the trade for over 30 years Hypertherm or the older Thermodynamics plasma cutters are the best and a person can get the "generic" consumables for them very reasonably. Most folks won't need a plasma cutter to cut anything over 1/4- 1/2" thick material. These machines are still pretty reasonable considering what they can do. Many of these can be run on 115 or 220volt. Its a nice feature to have.
     
    Georgia_Boy likes this.
  4. Meat

    Meat Monkey+

    If I owned one I know what I'd be making all day long. Throwing stars. :D
     
  5. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    Don't forget to have a significant air compressor to run it .
     
    Tully Mars likes this.
  6. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+

    Hypertherm is doing pretty good on their line of low air use and fine cutting tips to save on air consumption.
    They also have a plasma cutter that has a built in compressor and from what I can tell it doesn't suck.
     
    duane likes this.
  7. Tempstar

    Tempstar Losing Patience Site Supporter+

    I had an old thermal-arc until the transformer smoked in 2011. I had to run to Norther Tool and pick up their cheapo unit to finish a job and damn if it hasn't been a good one. I mainly do sheet metal to 1/4". I even run it on a 20# liquid Co2 bottle and get an hour of cut time. I get side jobs because I can carry my equipment in, jumper out of a breaker box and get finished in less time than the big boys. Someday I'll get me another one, and ESAB is highest on my list.
     
    Tully Mars likes this.
  8. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    I run some
    Buy the ones that use only "AIR" and two piece tips !!
    Stay away from Napa or auto shop crap.
    I run Two & a CNC cutter( Not just air , but not a TOY)" . Buy "smart"!

    Sloth
     
  9. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    Much as I can appreciate plasma I am holding out for a laser .
     
  10. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+

    I have an old air wheel barrow type air compressor with 8 gallon tanks powered by a 30+ year old 5hp briggs and Stratton and a new unknown CFM Siamese twin cylinder that runs my plasma cutter with ease. The tanks are going bad and I want to rebuild it out of two 45lb R-134a tanks and a Honda 6.5hp motor with smaller pulley to drive the compressor a little bit faster.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2016
  11. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Ah, probably mentioning this to make it obvious I don't know. Make sure the refrigerant gas tanks are rated for the pressure ---
     
    kellory and Tully Mars like this.
  12. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+

    Yeah these 45lb R-134a tanks are also used for R-22 and R-410a so they are rated for up to 400 or 500psi.
    I will set the unloader pressure some where between 110 and 130psi, then I am going to put a 150psi safety relief valve and then a 200psi burst disc if I can find them again.
    These tanks are almost double the thickness of the original air compressor tanks.
     
  13. Tully Mars

    Tully Mars Metal weldin' monkey Site Supporter+

    I've used purged100 pound propane tanks as extra in line tanks on a smaller compressor to get the volume I needed to run a 3/4" air gun. Worked real well, and that's all I could come up with at the time.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2016
    kellory likes this.
  14. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    R134 Freon tanks ARE NOT
    System pressures can be , But NOT tanks .
    Ghrit posted it right.
    R 12 /134a/R22 etc are 175psi release over pressure.
    Your 15 lb tank with a 30lb gas is your 45# tank your referring to ..
    Really rethink this one.
    Sloth
     
  15. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+

    My bad, its a 43lb tank, its stamped on the side. They weigh 45lb when empty.
    Bursting pressure is 400 to 500psi.
    These are DOT approved refillable tanks with a $100 deposit on them, not a cheap 1 time use throw away tank.
    Plus I have been using these tanks as air tanks since 2007 or 2008.
    I already thought about it and it was almost 10 years ago.
    Plus after I weld in a bung for a drain and weld other attachments on there I am taking it to the local fire safety supply shop to have them hydrostatic tested for 150psi working pressure, which means they will pressurize them to some where around 250psi and hit it with a hammer. They said they wont stamp them but they will test it.

    What does that even mean?
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2016
  16. Tully Mars

    Tully Mars Metal weldin' monkey Site Supporter+

    Hydro testing a pressurized thin walled tank and hitting it with a hammer?!! THAT is a major kind of stupid. Hope you won't be anywhere near the "testing" area. Won't stamp them? Bet yer ass they won't. That's against EVERY kind of test for pressure vessels/ tanks I've ever heard of! I hold all of the stamps listed below along with other certs. You might want to do some checking up before you have those knuckleheads "test" your tank(s)

    The National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors

    ASME S Stamp Certificationm, Industrial Boiler Service

    FAQ, Frequently Asked Questions, Industrial Strainers, Check Valves, Custom Engineered, Butterfly, Foot Valves, Knife Gate Valves, Sanitary, Ball Valves, Temporary, Expansion Joints, Automatic

    ASME Certification & Accreditation
     
    kellory and Cruisin Sloth like this.
  17. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+

    They fill them with water to pressurize them.
    The air force, army and navy tested air tanks this way for decades.
    No one I know has even herd of one failing while in service.
    A few tanks have ruptured during the test, almost always because the test was done at the wrong pressure. I have seen one rupture. The person got wet when the tank ruptured. That was the extent of their injuries.
     
  18. Tully Mars

    Tully Mars Metal weldin' monkey Site Supporter+

    I know how and have the equipment to hydro test. But striking a tank while under pressure is foolhardy, and NOT to ASME specs. Do as you will.
     
    Cruisin Sloth likes this.
  19. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    Some kind of Special .
    You'll need a slide rule to figure out that math !! to arrive at 45 lb / # / £ Or pound !
     
  20. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+

    Air Force Technical Order 34Y1-1-171
    Works for me.
    It does specifically say to not hammer on fiberglass and carbon fiber, which is understandable.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2016
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