Buying a plasma cutter?
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  1. #1
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    Buying a plasma cutter?

    Hello folks,
    Well, I think I‘m in a good place to talk about Everlast plasma cutters without being accused of advertising for Everlast. I had the uncomfortable position of asking about Everlast plasma cutters in a forum I just recently joined. After getting some less than friendly responses towards Everlast products, some guy basically made the assertion that I must have worked for Everlast. I certainly take defamatory statements like that very seriously and was thankful when someone had the good sense to remove those posts.

    I am currently trying to build a CNC plasma machine on a very strict budget. Because of this I am entertaining the idea of buying an Everlast machine. Originally, I was thinking on a dual process machine. However, after reading many posts on this forum, I felt the best decision would be to buy the plasma cutter separately. At this point I am very interested in the Power Plasma 50. Most of my cuts will be on thin material with the occasional .250” aluminum. Would this be a good machine for my project?

    Anyway, that’s the story! Glad to be here and I’m looking forward to conversing with everyone.

    Joe

  2. #2
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    Re: Buying a plasma cutter?

    The PP 50 can definitely fill the bill on this. Its not got HF start, so it will be ideal, along with the addition recently of the CNC port with the needed signals.
    Welders:
    Esab Migmaster 250
    Penncraft 230 (oldy but goody)
    HF Plasma 30 (Italian)
    Lincoln Ranger 8
    Smith Oxy/Acetylene/Propane
    Lincoln SA200
    Everlast Power Tig 250 EX
    Everlast PowerUltra 205

  3. #3
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    Re: Buying a plasma cutter?

    Thank's lugweld.

    Can you give me an idea how often the consumables need to be replaced? I have read about twenty-minutes approximately of continuous machine use. Does this sound correct?

  4. #4
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    Re: Buying a plasma cutter?

    No, Not at all.

    Consumable life depends upon the quality of the consumables. The Trafimet originals that are sent with the torch are pretty good. You'd go through 3 a day maybe...on consistent cutting. Piercing through thick material or poor torch height control can change that as well. Firing the pilot arc without the intent to cut can as well. But we source our consumables from an aftermarket company that makes them out of Billet copper from Finland and use Haas halfnium inserts in the electrodes. It greatly improves the life over many of the typical Chinese consumables, even better than the Trafimet in my opinion from what I have used and what's been reported to me. Most of the Chinese copper has a high tin content due to the reliance upon a lot of recycled copper. I'd expect with those (our aftermarket) you'd drop down to a couple a day at the most....IF you have a top quality dryer.

    If you are cutting thin stuff, match the current to the thickness to give maximum consumable life. I always use a basic rule of thumb that I have, though I haven't seen it elsewhere: For the first 1/8 of an inch use 20 amps, then for every 1/8" additional, use 10 more amps. My experience with the Everlast units and CNC is tied directly to the feedback we get from the CNC companies that test the units, so I am not sure how this translates back to mechanized cutting.
    Last edited by lugweld; 08-11-2011 at 08:00 PM.
    Welders:
    Esab Migmaster 250
    Penncraft 230 (oldy but goody)
    HF Plasma 30 (Italian)
    Lincoln Ranger 8
    Smith Oxy/Acetylene/Propane
    Lincoln SA200
    Everlast Power Tig 250 EX
    Everlast PowerUltra 205

  5. #5
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    Re: Buying a plasma cutter?

    Thank you so much for that information. That really helps me understand things.
    Joe

  6. #6
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    Re: Buying a plasma cutter?

    Consumable life is dependant on the design and engineering of the whole plasma cutting system.....not simply the quality of the consumables. The high end systems (yes they cost more, no I am not mentioning name brands) have the power supply and the torch and the consumables that are designed and engineered together. Ramping of current and gas flow as well as control of DC purity and starting energy....as well as energy density of the process, consumable cooling, gas swirl, torch nozzle shielding, manufacturing accuracy of consumables are some of the factors that contribute to cut quality and life.

    For cnc cutting with any volume....it is often far less expensive over time to purchase a more expensive system that provides longer consumable life as well as better cut quality and faster speeds.

    The plasma arc...depending on torch design, can develop temperatures in the range of 24,000 F to 50,000 F. The copper that the nozzle and electrode body is nmade from melts at around 1000 F, the hafnium electrode emmitter melts at around 3100 F. There are some definite high temperature physics that must be dealt with in torch and consumable designs in order to make consumables last. Longer lasting consumables produce more parts, and parts that are more consistent.

    Jim Colt

  7. #7
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    Re: Buying a plasma cutter?

    Quote Originally Posted by jimcolt View Post
    Consumable life is dependant on the design and engineering of the whole plasma cutting system.....not simply the quality of the consumables. The high end systems (yes they cost more, no I am not mentioning name brands) have the power supply and the torch and the consumables that are designed and engineered together. Ramping of current and gas flow as well as control of DC purity and starting energy....as well as energy density of the process, consumable cooling, gas swirl, torch nozzle shielding, manufacturing accuracy of consumables are some of the factors that contribute to cut quality and life.

    For cnc cutting with any volume....it is often far less expensive over time to purchase a more expensive system that provides longer consumable life as well as better cut quality and faster speeds.

    The plasma arc...depending on torch design, can develop temperatures in the range of 24,000 F to 50,000 F. The copper that the nozzle and electrode body is nmade from melts at around 1000 F, the hafnium electrode emmitter melts at around 3100 F. There are some definite high temperature physics that must be dealt with in torch and consumable designs in order to make consumables last. Longer lasting consumables produce more parts, and parts that are more consistent.

    Jim Colt
    Thanks for the information Jim!

    With that being said, is it safe to say, that the higher end plasma cutters have a much longer "life" than how lugweld describes?
    Last edited by arewehavingfun; 08-12-2011 at 01:38 PM. Reason: spelling

  8. #8
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    Re: Buying a plasma cutter?

    Given all the contacts we have from the CNC manufacturers that supply his units with their machines and my discussions with them, I would say there is some opposing thought on that, particularly when they put pen to paper and when they do the actual tests. Some are quite amazed at the product and its ability to hang in there.

    Trafimet are the torches that are now at question. The information given by Jim is aimed at older designed Chinese torches that were panasonic copies. It is one of the worlds largest maker of torches, and they have been at it long enough to have it figured out. With the cost of Hypertherm consumables and the over all purchase cost being so much higher, it will take many years to equal the cost versus life expectancy. Again most of his information is based on old information that is not current. But by the time the unit prices and consumable cost would offset each other, his unit will be out of date, and they will have the latest greatest thing and throw off on their older technology and try to sell you a newer more expensive product. It'll still be cheaper to buy a new one of ours with our own updates and improvements.

    We have sold a lot of these units, and they have steadily improved. We are getting on par with other name brands in many cases. It makes economic sense for a lot of people. All those people can't be wrong in what they purchase. I've had several customers compare our PP50 torch to the standard Hypertherm, and comment on improved maneuverability, flexibility and ergonomic comfort over the HT design...Not all things are cut and dried as they seem.
    Last edited by lugweld; 08-13-2011 at 07:33 PM.
    Welders:
    Esab Migmaster 250
    Penncraft 230 (oldy but goody)
    HF Plasma 30 (Italian)
    Lincoln Ranger 8
    Smith Oxy/Acetylene/Propane
    Lincoln SA200
    Everlast Power Tig 250 EX
    Everlast PowerUltra 205

  9. #9
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    Re: Buying a plasma cutter?

    You know, one of the things that most attracted me towards wanting an Everlast, was the amount of people that will go out of their way to knock them(must be good stuff). Also, after reading endless post about Everlast, I have come to the conclusion that the customer service is very good.

    I'm of the opinion that if I buy an Everlast, I'll be in good shape.
    Last edited by lugweld; 08-13-2011 at 07:34 PM.

  10. #10
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    Re: Buying a plasma cutter?

    Really,
    This is a good time to point out that Hypertherm isn't the only respected kid on the block. There are other companies that produce commercial quality units that do quite well too.There's Miller for starts, (who though uses a HT torch). Then there's ESAB who has several decent units, and they claim to have the lowest consumable costs and they go deeply into large commercial systems. (which IF I didn't have my own Everlast products I'd probably buy). There's Thermal Arc too. Fine units (Wouldn't mind having a smaller cut master). Lincoln has tried their hand as well, though their offerings are limited. There are others out there that are rock solid, many in the large commercial areas too.

    Add to the mix full ranges of equipment from the Italians and Chinese with a smattering of others thrown in ring that can and do hold their own like the Everlast. And while we don't claim superiority in all areas, like say...torch development...we can claim a developing respect for our product to do what we say it will do.
    Welders:
    Esab Migmaster 250
    Penncraft 230 (oldy but goody)
    HF Plasma 30 (Italian)
    Lincoln Ranger 8
    Smith Oxy/Acetylene/Propane
    Lincoln SA200
    Everlast Power Tig 250 EX
    Everlast PowerUltra 205

  11. #11
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    Re: Buying a plasma cutter?

    Thank's lugweld!

  12. #12
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    Re: Buying a plasma cutter?

    Consumable life in a production environment is a big factor in the long run though if you are a home or small batch shop it will take longer to recoup that investment. In my case, amateur racing, I've got about 100 hours or so in three years on my non Everlast machine and haven't yet gone through a full set of consumables. Mine come in packs of 5. That includes 3 race car builds, various shop and pit equipment and cutting up two cars so the scrapper would take them.

    Which mechanisms/controller are you using for the build? I'd like a small table but reall can't justify the cost. I came real close to getting a Torchmate 2x4 but just couldn't have it make sense for as much as I'd use it. If I could get something else that was still good but less expensive I'd give it a look. Hence my question.
    Last edited by lugweld; 08-13-2011 at 07:25 PM.

  13. #13
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    Re: Buying a plasma cutter?

    I think the Power Plasma 50 would be a great choice for use on a cnc machine. If you go back to the other forum you posted on....you will see that I was asking some questions about your choice of a multi-purpose machine.....I think the the straight plasma would certainly be a better choce than the multi-purpose system.

    Which cnc machine are you considering? I have a PlasmaCam DHC2, and a Torchmate 2 x 4 with AVHC.....and have all of the components ordered from CandCNC to build one of their machines. I'd be happy to offer advice if you can provide details regarding what type of parts you are looking to cut....what type of accuracies you desire, as well as determining the need for height control, cutting bed size, etc.

    I use my machines prinmarily for hobby use....a little bit of artistic work...but mostly heavier parts for structiral uses as well as hot rod/racecar use.

    Hopefully this gets the thread back on track!

    Best regards, Jim Colt


    Quote Originally Posted by arewehavingfun View Post
    Hello folks,
    Well, I think I‘m in a good place to talk about Everlast plasma cutters without being accused of advertising for Everlast. I had the uncomfortable position of asking about Everlast plasma cutters in a forum I just recently joined. After getting some less than friendly responses towards Everlast products, some guy basically made the assertion that I must have worked for Everlast. I certainly take defamatory statements like that very seriously and was thankful when someone had the good sense to remove those posts.

    I am currently trying to build a CNC plasma machine on a very strict budget. Because of this I am entertaining the idea of buying an Everlast machine. Originally, I was thinking on a dual process machine. However, after reading many posts on this forum, I felt the best decision would be to buy the plasma cutter separately. At this point I am very interested in the Power Plasma 50. Most of my cuts will be on thin material with the occasional .250” aluminum. Would this be a good machine for my project?

    Anyway, that’s the story! Glad to be here and I’m looking forward to conversing with everyone.

    Joe

  14. #14
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    Re: Buying a plasma cutter?

    Thread trimmed due to off topic wandering...at request of OP.
    Welders:
    Esab Migmaster 250
    Penncraft 230 (oldy but goody)
    HF Plasma 30 (Italian)
    Lincoln Ranger 8
    Smith Oxy/Acetylene/Propane
    Lincoln SA200
    Everlast Power Tig 250 EX
    Everlast PowerUltra 205

  15. #15
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    Re: Buying a plasma cutter?

    Quote Originally Posted by dstevens View Post
    Consumable life in a production environment is a big factor in the long run though if you are a home or small batch shop it will take longer to recoup that investment. In my case, amateur racing, I've got about 100 hours or so in three years on my non Everlast machine and haven't yet gone through a full set of consumables. Mine come in packs of 5. That includes 3 race car builds, various shop and pit equipment and cutting up two cars so the scrapper would take them.

    Which mechanisms/controller are you using for the build? I'd like a small table but reall can't justify the cost. I came real close to getting a Torchmate 2x4 but just couldn't have it make sense for as much as I'd use it. If I could get something else that was still good but less expensive I'd give it a look. Hence my question.
    Dstevens,

    Thanks for your reply!

    This is very good news about the consumables. Are you using an air dryer for your air compressor?

  16. #16
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    Re: Buying a plasma cutter?

    Quote Originally Posted by jimcolt View Post
    I think the Power Plasma 50 would be a great choice for use on a cnc machine. If you go back to the other forum you posted on....you will see that I was asking some questions about your choice of a multi-purpose machine.....I think the the straight plasma would certainly be a better choce than the multi-purpose system.

    Which cnc machine are you considering? I have a PlasmaCam DHC2, and a Torchmate 2 x 4 with AVHC.....and have all of the components ordered from CandCNC to build one of their machines. I'd be happy to offer advice if you can provide details regarding what type of parts you are looking to cut....what type of accuracies you desire, as well as determining the need for height control, cutting bed size, etc.

    I use my machines prinmarily for hobby use....a little bit of artistic work...but mostly heavier parts for structiral uses as well as hot rod/racecar use.

    Hopefully this gets the thread back on track!

    Best regards, Jim Colt
    Jim, Thanks for your reply!

    Jim, I got to the point were I was juggling buying a used HT or just buying a new lower price machine. After reading tons of post from different forums, I feel very comfortable buying the PP 50.

    Yes, the single purpose machine is the way to go in my opinion too. From what I can tell, it seems Everlast even makes this clear in this forum.

    Plasma cam and Torchmate are incredible machines. However, my budget is so low on this project, I'm actually designing my own table. I am even created my own drive system. This will certainly be a "form follows function" type machine.

    I will be adding the Bladerunner system from CandCNC with the torch height control as I'm going to be cutting thin material only. I have been a fan of these folks, for a very long time. The machine I'm building is purpose built only.

    Accuracies? Well, that is a very good question indeed. This was the very first thing I looked at. For what I'm doing, accuracies well be at a minimal. Think of the stuff I'm doing much like stereo boxes. All the inner holes and paths will be for augmentation tubes and such. So, with all this being said, If I can maintain cuts within .125, I'm happy.

    Joe

  17. #17
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    Re: Buying a plasma cutter?

    The CandCNC equipment is nice....keeps the cost down (as long as you don't bill yourself for your time!). Lug will be there as well to support you with the interfacing...and with mechanized cut parameter charts...he sure knows his stuff!


    Jim


    Quote Originally Posted by arewehavingfun View Post
    Jim, Thanks for your reply!

    Jim, I got to the point were I was juggling buying a used HT or just buying a new lower price machine. After reading tons of post from different forums, I feel very comfortable buying the PP 50.

    Yes, the single purpose machine is the way to go in my opinion too. From what I can tell, it seems Everlast even makes this clear in this forum.

    Plasma cam and Torchmate are incredible machines. However, my budget is so low on this project, I'm actually designing my own table. I am even created my own drive system. This will certainly be a "form follows function" type machine.

    I will be adding the Bladerunner system from CandCNC with the torch height control as I'm going to be cutting thin material only. I have been a fan of these folks, for a very long time. The machine I'm building is purpose built only.

    Accuracies? Well, that is a very good question indeed. This was the very first thing I looked at. For what I'm doing, accuracies well be at a minimal. Think of the stuff I'm doing much like stereo boxes. All the inner holes and paths will be for augmentation tubes and such. So, with all this being said, If I can maintain cuts within .125, I'm happy.

    Joe

  18. #18
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    Re: Buying a plasma cutter?

    Any recommendations for an upgraded torch for the PP50? I will be using torch height control.


    Joe

  19. #19
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    Re: Buying a plasma cutter?

    I am trying to understand what your cnc machine will be like.....as I have a Bladerunner system on order from CandCNC as well. The BladeRunner comes with drives (stepper drives and motors for each axis) ....so when you say you have "created my own drive system"....what are you referring to?

    Jim


    Quote Originally Posted by arewehavingfun View Post
    Jim, Thanks for your reply!

    Jim, I got to the point were I was juggling buying a used HT or just buying a new lower price machine. After reading tons of post from different forums, I feel very comfortable buying the PP 50.

    Yes, the single purpose machine is the way to go in my opinion too. From what I can tell, it seems Everlast even makes this clear in this forum.

    Plasma cam and Torchmate are incredible machines. However, my budget is so low on this project, I'm actually designing my own table. I am even created my own drive system. This will certainly be a "form follows function" type machine.

    I will be adding the Bladerunner system from CandCNC with the torch height control as I'm going to be cutting thin material only. I have been a fan of these folks, for a very long time. The machine I'm building is purpose built only.

    Accuracies? Well, that is a very good question indeed. This was the very first thing I looked at. For what I'm doing, accuracies well be at a minimal. Think of the stuff I'm doing much like stereo boxes. All the inner holes and paths will be for augmentation tubes and such. So, with all this being said, If I can maintain cuts within .125, I'm happy.

    Joe

  20. #20
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    Re: Buying a plasma cutter?

    Quote Originally Posted by jimcolt View Post
    I am trying to understand what your cnc machine will be like.....as I have a Bladerunner system on order from CandCNC as well. The BladeRunner comes with drives (stepper drives and motors for each axis) ....so when you say you have "created my own drive system"....what are you referring to?

    Jim
    Hi Jim,
    I mean the mechanical parts(carriages). I have created a 2:1 reduction drive for the table. I'm creating everything with the exception of the welder, bearings, gear track and electrical parts(CandCNC). I'll post a couple pictures here soon to give you an idea of what I'm doing. I'm afraid some of you might laugh at my ideas but, this is what happens when your on a tight budget.

    Joe

  21. #21
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    Re: Buying a plasma cutter?

    No laughing....I have been involved in hundreds of low budget builds! Keep us posted.

    Jim

  22. #22
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    Re: Buying a plasma cutter?

    Here is an idea of some of the stuff I have so far. I also have the stock steel. I was able to purchase the square tubing for $42 for a twenty-four foot piece.

    In the picture are part of the carriages. I got scrap steel for those for nothing. There are six-teen ABEC 7 bearings with bronze bearings for $13. The rest of the hardware was $7.42.

    I'll post the "Z" axis picture when finished.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  23. #23
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    Re: Buying a plasma cutter?

    Quote Originally Posted by arewehavingfun View Post
    You know, one of the things that most attracted me towards wanting an Everlast, was the amount of people that will go out of their way to knock them(must be good stuff). Also, after reading endless post about Everlast, I have come to the conclusion that the customer service is very good.

    I'm of the opinion that if I buy an Everlast, I'll be in good shape.
    This might be believable if not for this. >>>>>>>>"Last edited by lugweld; 08-13-2011 at 06:34 PM."

    Just saying.

    jrw159

  24. #24
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    Re: Buying a plasma cutter?

    Quote Originally Posted by jrw159 View Post
    This might be believable if not for this. >>>>>>>>"Last edited by lugweld; 08-13-2011 at 06:34 PM."

    Just saying.

    jrw159
    Comments like yours, does nobody any good. Lugweld modified that post because that post also showed somebody elses "quote" that was off subject. I asked Lugweld to delete all off topic posts in this thread, as it wastes everyone's time. You are wasting everyone's time, including mine.
    Last edited by arewehavingfun; 08-15-2011 at 05:43 PM.

  25. #25
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    Re: Buying a plasma cutter?

    Quote Originally Posted by jrw159 View Post
    This might be believable if not for this. >>>>>>>>"Last edited by lugweld; 08-13-2011 at 06:34 PM."

    Just saying.

    jrw159
    Im with JRW here on this one. Lug, editing a post, even if you were asked to, makes the whole thing look really shady to me.
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