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  #1  
Old 12-28-2008, 09:53 PM
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Mr. Malloy Mr. Malloy is offline
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Whats a decent plasma cutter?

there is a guy in town selling a Cornwell plasma cutter the picture shows a good looking machine that says 25-125 on the front. all my research only shows the Cornwell's plasma cutter a 35-240. I have been dying to buy a plasma cutter for years but I can't afford the through away good money on a piece of junk. he is asking 850.00 and says that new its a 1250.00 machine and that it works good. I saw a new mag plasma 1so for 750.00. Should I just stick to my OXY-ACE with the cutting tip? I know that never cuts that clean becouse I am not that good at it yet. I have seen that cut great clean lines by those who know what their doing. Any opinions ???
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  #2  
Old 12-28-2008, 10:57 PM
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evaldart evaldart is offline
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Re: Whats a decent plasma cutter?

Hi Malloy, if you see yourself cutting alot of thinner stock (less than 1/4) the plasma cutter is a luxury. Faster, neater, very little or no grinding at all. The other guys here have the better names - hypertherm, thermal dynamics etc - I have a Lincoln, its a strong machine but its tough to get the cosnumables as Lincoln doesn't support that branch of their business very well. Make sure you can get all the tips, electrodes and nozzle crap easily. The acquiring of that machine didnt change my artistic life much as I usually work heavier material so I use the gas torches.
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  #3  
Old 12-28-2008, 11:07 PM
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Re: Whats a decent plasma cutter?

I would stay away from Cornwell.
It might be a Nu-Tech rebadged, or it might be asian. But either way, its an obscure brand, hard to find consumables for, hard to find parts for, overpriced to begin with (they sell these to mechanics, on time payments, so the monthly is cheap, but the overall price is high, just like Snap ON). Virtually no resale value.

Hold out for a Hypertherm, or, failing that, a Thermal Dynamics, and skip the rest. Miller, Esab, and Lincoln are half assed in their support of their cutters, and everything else is just shifting sand.

A brand new Hypertherm 30 is about a grand, and a MUCH better machine with resale value, parts availability, and so on.
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  #4  
Old 12-29-2008, 02:40 AM
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Mr. Malloy Mr. Malloy is offline
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Re: Whats a decent plasma cutter?

Thanks all; I will think about each comment, as money is supper tight now.
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  #5  
Old 12-29-2008, 04:43 PM
pipewelder pipewelder is offline
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Re: Whats a decent plasma cutter?

I would check your local welding supply shops to see what they have to say about that brand, plasma is nice for cutting copper stainless and alum depends on what you do I like the ability to deal with any metal.
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  #6  
Old 12-30-2008, 11:43 AM
tobias tobias is offline
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Re: Whats a decent plasma cutter?

I just got a thermadyne 38 it is amazing. I have used it to cut lots of stainless, up to 16 ga. so far, copper, and it will cut 1/4 inch mild steel with no problem. I have even used it to do a bit of carving ( same idea as Russel Whiting)no where near as good tho. It is super fast real easy on the consumables and the cut is as clean and true as your hand. I will say that you should build a cutting table right away the dust it generates is really bad stuff.
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  #7  
Old 08-12-2009, 01:10 PM
gianttechguy gianttechguy is offline
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Re: Whats a decent plasma cutter?

A good inexpensive plasma cutter can be purchased from GiantTech
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  #8  
Old 08-12-2009, 02:21 PM
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Re: Whats a decent plasma cutter?

I have a Riland cut60J, 20-60 Amp Plasma cutter. It uses inverter technology which makes it small and it cuts very well. The price was well below the competition. I have cut everything up to 1" steel plate with it. I was a little hesitant at first to buy one. But, once I used it, I was amazed at its ability. Since the torch is small and light, it is easy to maneuver and makes a very narrow cut.
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  #9  
Old 08-12-2009, 07:33 PM
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Re: Whats a decent plasma cutter?

Virtually every plasma cutter sold for years and years is inverter tech.

The Gianttech and Riland are both cheap chinese imports.

IF you are worried about money, above all else, and use this as an occasional hobby, and then only for a few minutes at a time, these Chinese machines are just fine.

If, on the other hand, like me, you have been doing full time metalwork for the last 30 years, and expect to continue til you cant no more-

Well, then you should save up for a real, industrial tool.

We run a plasma cutter, on a 4'x8' table, for hours at a time. We cut thick stuff, thin stuff, all kinds of metals, wire mesh, galvanized corrugated sheets, perforated metal, and more.

I demand performance, reliability, and industrial quality from all my tools- and you wont get that from the EBAY only, constantly changing names, and low overhead (read garage) chinese machines.

Is it important to you to be able to go into a welding supply store, anywhere in the USA, and get consumables right now?
It is to me.

Hence, as I said above, I stick to Hypertherm, or Thermal Dynamics.

But I make my living on this stuff, and it costs me when a tool doesnt work.

Your mileage may vary.
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  #10  
Old 08-12-2009, 07:44 PM
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evaldart evaldart is offline
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Re: Whats a decent plasma cutter?

Ries is right. Dont buy the imports unless your planning to stay with tin-can thicknesses, and though I dont depend on my Lincoln nearly as much he he does his Hyper, mine is a big , sturdy, VERY well made tool...and not a discount model at all. If you're cutting 1" plate with that 60 amp import you could do much better. I can make a very clean, fast cut in 2" with my oxy/ace #7. If I could do it all again I would buy the Hypertherm. But I'm gonna soak that pro-cut 55 for all its worth (ten years and runnin now) even if I have to scour ebay constantly for the consummables (pain in the ass).
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  #11  
Old 08-24-2009, 10:28 PM
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Aaron Schroeder Aaron Schroeder is offline
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Re: Whats a decent plasma cutter?

I'd suggest a Thermal Dynamics Dragun which is a go anywhere a standard outlet is available machine. A small unit with a built in air compressor. It won't cut anything thick but it will cut and the consumables are readily available. Not a machine for all day everyday work but a very useful tool for right here, right now applications. An excellent second plasma cutter to own.

I'd suggest making your purchase online at an outfit like Cyberweld. Cheaper, free shipping and no tax.
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  #12  
Old 08-24-2009, 11:13 PM
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The Forge The Forge is offline
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Re: Whats a decent plasma cutter?

Ries,
I would think that the type of machine and the price is dependant upon a person's needs. Putting down the Chinese machines is not necessary. The one that I have does just what I need it to do. You are right about the fact that if I had to use it everyday I probably would have had the cash to buy a larger machine. But, I know that I can pick up a 12" x 12" x 1/2" plate and cut it in half quicker than it takes you to program that machine. Anyway, plasma cutters are old technology. Water jets are the way to go.
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  #13  
Old 08-24-2009, 11:33 PM
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Re: Whats a decent plasma cutter?

When I say something is "just fine", I dont think I am putting it down.
As I made clear, though, my standards are high.

By the way, my 4' x 8' Machine needs no programming- it is optical trace, which means I make a full size drawing, and it traces the drawing. So for oddball shapes, for me anyway, its a lot faster than a computer- I can draw faster than Autocad can, anyday. For cutting rectangles, it has line cutting in all 4 directions at the push of a button- again, no programming, just slap that piece of 1/2" plate up there, register the torch on your line, and press the cut button.

Waterjets are swell- but at $150,000 to $500,000, you need to run em pretty much 24/7. I have a local shop do waterjet for me, and they have to work that machine all the time. It goes thru hundreds of pounds of abrasive, lots of electricity, and expensive jeweled nozzles regularly.
Around here, we have a couple dozen boatbuilding shops, and most use plasma for their metal cutting, rather than waterjet- its a lot cheaper, and just as good for relatively low accuracy stuff like boat parts, or, for that matter, artwork.
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  #14  
Old 08-25-2009, 12:51 AM
ironman ironman is offline
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Re: Whats a decent plasma cutter?

Hypertherm !!!!!!!!!!!!!
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  #15  
Old 08-25-2009, 02:49 PM
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DWhitey DWhitey is offline
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Re: Whats a decent plasma cutter?

helpful thread. been wanting to buy one forever!
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  #16  
Old 08-26-2009, 09:20 AM
EJB EJB is offline
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Re: Whats a decent plasma cutter?

I'm also with those who prefer Thermal Dynamics and Hypertherm. Reliable machines and good availability for consumables. I've got a boatload of cheap Chinese tools but would not gamble on big ticket items over $300. Besides, have you ever wondered why you see so many people trying to unload their off-brand tools? My advice is take the leap for a good one. Finance it if you must with a loan or credit card. You may find that your new found productivity will have the machine paying for itself very quickly. Cutting parts for friends and neighbors can bring in a few extra bucks for cutting tips and beer. Do your homework before deciding. This is a significant investment. Take into account the power needed to run it; 120V or 220V. Next is the air source. Do you have a compressor that can deliver the proper rate of air. Remember that plasma cutters require dry air to function properly, you will need some kind of filtration system. There are units with their own air source but tend to be lighter duty. When you're ready to shop, the first place to go is your local welding supply to see what brands and replacement parts they carry. Chances are good they will have a machine you can try out. Local fabrication shops and auto body repair may be a good source for info as well. The repair shops might not want to be bothered with you but every now and then they have old units they are looking to sell off. The welding supply stores will often have trade-ins or know of people selling equipment. Good quality used equipment will usually have a lot of life left in them. When buying used equipment the seller will often throw in their stock of replacement parts and consumables. A great deal when you consider a single cutting tip might be about ten bucks retail. If you have the time, industrial auctions are plentiful these days and have great deals. The trick there is knowing what you are looking for since they provide no information about the items and finding machines small enough for your purpose.
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