Harbor freight or Eastwood Plasma cutter ?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    Harbor freight or Eastwood Plasma cutter ?

    I've got a chance for today only for my wife to buy me a HF Plasma Cutter. Since I'm going out shopping with her, she said we can stop at HF on the way home and look around. We'll be leaving in about a hour.

    Should I see if I can press her for ifor a HF unit today or wait til December when I can buy a Eastwood?


    If the HF or Eastwood units are junk, then I don't want them under any circumstance.

    Uses: home garage mechanic. Various small / medium projects,

    I do have a full working oxy setup too.
    Victor Oxy Setup with various torch tips
    Meco Midget Torch outfit
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    Hypertherm Powermax 45
    Bandsaw, Lathe, grinders, press, etc.

  2. #2
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    I could think of a lot better way to spend $650. Stay with the OA setup unless u r needing to cut aluminum. Most off brand cutters ar crap... find a nice used brand name unit. If u have pawn shops in yr area those are worth checking out too.
    Also HF does not have standardized consumables on their cutter...
    Last edited by soutthpaw; 07-14-2012 at 01:46 PM.
    4 Sale: GoWeld $395obo
    Demo machine: AHP200X
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  3. #3
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    Re: Harbor freight or Eastwood Plasma cutter ?

    Quote Originally Posted by soutthpaw View Post
    I could think of a lot better way to spend $650. Stay with the OA setup unless u r needing to cut aluminum. Most off brand cutters ar crap... find a nice used brand name unit. If u have pawn shops in yr area those are worth checking out too.
    The guy on here that repairs plasma cutters seems to have a fairly high opinion of the HF's build quality. The torch is a Traffimet torch so consumables aren't hard to source. Unlike the mail order stuff, if you have a problem with HF stuff purchased at a local store, you can return it and get your money back without the hassles of an online only supplier.

    I've been more accepting of some of HF stuff because I have a store fairly close to me. If I had to mail order only from them, I'd probably pass.

    And here's another little trick that I didn't think about until I was reading the reviews on their site for the plasma cutter. You know the 20 % off coupons exclude welders, but apparently the coupon works on the plasma cutters because the word welder doesn't appear in the name. Just a thought. YMMV.

    Papa
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  4. #4
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    Re: Harbor freight or Eastwood Plasma cutter ?

    wish I had a 20% coupon. She's ready early. Time to go. Thanks for the replies!!
    Victor Oxy Setup with various torch tips
    Meco Midget Torch outfit
    Lincoln Square Wave Tig 175 with Pulser
    Lincoln 180 Dual w/ spot timer and Spool Gun
    Everlast Powerarc 200
    Hypertherm Powermax 45
    Bandsaw, Lathe, grinders, press, etc.

  5. #5
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    Re: Harbor freight or Eastwood Plasma cutter ?

    Goggle ''harbor freight coupons''

  6. #6
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    Re: Harbor freight or Eastwood Plasma cutter ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Housedad View Post
    wish I had a 20% coupon. She's ready early. Time to go. Thanks for the replies!!
    Like BD1 says, you can find them online, Not necessary to have the printed coupon...they'll manually key in the number and it works just as good.

    Let us know you you make out if you go that route.
    Lincoln Idealarc 250 (circa 1962)
    Lincoln Weldpak 155 w/Mig Kit
    Lincoln Squarewave TIG 175

  7. #7
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    Re: Harbor freight or Eastwood Plasma cutter ?

    I have the eastwood plasma cutter and it works pretty darn good, but I haven't tried more than 1/4".

    The consumables are pretty cheap straight from china since the torch is identical to the hypertherm max-40 unit. I keep dual air filters/ moisture eliminators which is key in any plasma setup.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oscar View Post
    I have the eastwood plasma cutter and it works pretty darn good, but I haven't tried more than 1/4".

    The consumables are pretty cheap straight from china since the torch is identical to the hypertherm max-40 unit. I keep dual air filters/ moisture eliminators which is key in any plasma setup.
    I think Jim Colt will be along to disagree with you about that. Can you use Hypertherm consumables in your eastwood cutter? I think " it looks identical to a Max-40 torch" may be a better statement.
    4 Sale: GoWeld $395obo
    Demo machine: AHP200X
    MM350P w/ Spoolmatic 30A
    ESAB 300AVS
    Everlast PowerTig 185
    ESAB 875 plasma
    Evo 355. OA

  9. #9
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    Re: Harbor freight or Eastwood Plasma cutter ?

    I have both the hobart plasma cutter purchased from northern and a hypertherm 45...the hobart for the money is a nice unit if you recognise the limitations and its self contained air compressor is nice for a compact unit, I have that one upstate for hobby use,parts are avail many places, and it seems the hypertherm has no limitations that I have found yet..the chineese stuff....welll it may be a little cheaper but good luck getting service of parts down the road..
    Of all the things I lost I miss my mind the most...

  10. #10
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    For 1/4 inch and under which is the limit of the hobart self contained compressor at a lightening fast 3" a minute, there are much better cutting options for less money... a 7" steelmax or evolution circular saw, OA which u have, sawzall, pnumatic body saw... air nibbler... electric or pneumatic shears.. cordless saw (my 6 1/2 makita works good) they also sell a dedicated cordless steel saw.
    You could buy a few of the above tools and cut various mltal faster than with a small plasma. Unless you are doing extensive artistic shapes in sheet metals I really don't see the point of these machines... with how slow the cheap ones cut.
    My ESAB 875 is a different story. But it has the power and design to cut thick and fast. Beyond what the above tools can do. Hence where the value of Plasma resides...
    4 Sale: GoWeld $395obo
    Demo machine: AHP200X
    MM350P w/ Spoolmatic 30A
    ESAB 300AVS
    Everlast PowerTig 185
    ESAB 875 plasma
    Evo 355. OA

  11. #11
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    Feb 2011
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    Martinez CA
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    Re: Harbor freight or Eastwood Plasma cutter ?

    I buy some stuff from HF like cotton gloves and a few air tools that I just toss when they crap out.......As far as welders I am kinda curious just how ****ty they are to the point I would buy a mig machine after having a good week I could afford to experiment
    hahahahaha After 47 years of welding and cutting with the brand names I would probably get a good laugh.....But thats the only way you can give advise is to do a HANDS ON demo....



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  12. #12
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    Re: Harbor freight or Eastwood Plasma cutter ?

    Quote Originally Posted by soutthpaw View Post
    I think Jim Colt will be along to disagree with you about that. Can you use Hypertherm consumables in your eastwood cutter? I think " it looks identical to a Max-40 torch" may be a better statement.
    Perhaps I should reword it : the consumables in my eastwood supplied torch are identical to the hypertherm max-40 torch consumables. This I am sure of since I have already bought after market consumables straight from china, and they don't list "Eastwood" on there, but do list the parts as Hypertherm Max-40 parts. If you would be so kind as to send me actual Hypertherm Max-40. consumables, I'd gladly test them out for ya.
    Last edited by Oscar; 07-16-2012 at 08:26 AM.

  13. #13
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    Re: Harbor freight or Eastwood Plasma cutter ?

    I am pretty sure that the Eastwood torch uses copies of the Max40 Hypertherm torch design. You can buy consumables from a Hypertherm dealer that will fit it.

    The Max40 was the first air plasma cutter from Hypertherm...introduced in about 1985. It revolutionized the hand plasma cutting industry with its unique "chopper" (pulse width modulated output) power supply and superior cut quality and consumable life. The chopper power supply was the predecessor to todays inverter power supplies. The torch is a high frequency start....which should not be used on entry level cutting machines that use a laptop or PC as the controller....due to electrical noise.

    That being said.....a new Powermax45 with its inverter power supply and its conical flow , blowback start (non-high frequency) torch cuts much faster, with better quality and with close to 10 times the consumable life that the 27 year old Max40 torch can achieve...and it can be used on cnc cutting machines.

    So, while the Eastwood torch uses its copy of Hypertherm technology to get some orders...remember that the torch technology is around 27 years old....and will perform like one of Hypertherms early systems. It will cut metal, the price is right...and Eastwood supports the products they sell very well (I have bought many automotive related components from them over the years)...it will not compare well vs a new Hypertherm system.

    If I was on a budget today and needed a 40 amp plasma cutter....I would be patient and shop Craigslist or Ebay for a used Hypertherm Powermax600. There is one on Ebay right now with bidding in the $500 range...it will cut faster, better and with longer consumable life as compared to a new Eastwood.....and has a pretty good company backing it up as well!

    Summary.....if I wanted a "new" 40 amp air plasma with a warranty....and my budget eliminated the price of a Hypertherm or other major brand...I would certainly consider the Eastwood unit first (as opposed to the many other Chinese offerings from various importers) as Eastwood is a well established company that backs up their products. I would probably rank the Harbor Freight units above the various importers as well...for the same reason. They will not perform as well or have the long term support and reliability you would expect from a major brand...but on a budget they will cut metal...


    Jim Colt Hypertherm


    Quote Originally Posted by soutthpaw View Post
    I think Jim Colt will be along to disagree with you about that. Can you use Hypertherm consumables in your eastwood cutter? I think " it looks identical to a Max-40 torch" may be a better statement.
    Last edited by jimcolt; 07-16-2012 at 09:51 AM.

  14. #14
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    Re: Harbor freight or Eastwood Plasma cutter ?

    There is so much BS on here!

    The person ask for advice on what one of these plasma cutters to buy and all I see he got was a lot of crap from people that have no idea on what they are talking about!

    Do you Owen of have used a Harbor Freight 95136 or Eastwood Versa cut plasma cutter!!

    If not then how can you give advice on something you know nothing about!!!

    And yes the Eastwood will use the Max 40 consumables.
    Lincoln Power Mig 180C
    Hot Max Spool Gun
    HF 95136 and 60767 Plasma Cutter
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    Lincoln 225 AC
    www.georgesplasmacuttershop.com

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