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Thread: Powermax 30 on 110 with small compressor

  1. #1
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    Powermax 30 on 110 with small compressor

    @Jim Colt:

    I'm really struggling over justifying the extra money for a Powermax 30 even though from everything I have read, it is the best in it's class. Unfortunately, at the end of the day it is a cost issue. I like the idea of buying American when it is feasible, but can't simply justify paying more for a hobby tool when it comes down to what will get the job done vs spending several hundred dollars more upfront to save relatively small amounts of money in the long term due to consumable life, especially if I have to buy a new compressor or spend a chunk of money on having a 220 circuit to my garage (which will be expensive because the main box is in the finished portion of my basement) to do it.

    So, brass taxes... I have talked to the tech department at Hypertherm and when I told them that my 8 gallon compressor generates 2.5 SCFM at 90psi and 3.5 SCFM at 40psi, they said that it probably would not be enough to supply the Powermax 30. But I'm kind of persistent, and my needs are down in the artsy/hobby category, so I'm not looking at cutting thick pieces of steel.

    I work mainly with mild steel, but would be interested in doing stainless in the future
    75% of what I do will be 16 and 14 gauge
    20% will be 11 gauge
    5% will be quarter and half inch (which I'm more than happy to cut with a cutoff wheel if necessary)

    What I need is to have someone do an informal test on 110 using a small compressor with similar SCFM ratings to my compressor and simply say if the results were acceptable with 16 to 11 gauge and if it will sever quarter or half.

    It would be great if you can get pics of the cut edges also. Note, feel free to PM me if Hypertherm does not want the results posted publicly but is willing to provide the info on a strictly informal, YMMV basis.

    @Everyone else, if you don't have anything to add beyond the specific scope of my questions, please do not bother posting. This is not an American vs Chinese issue for me and posts related to where a unit is made just are not valuable.

    Thanks,

    Bill
    Lincoln v155-s with Tig Welder Ready Pack K2606-1
    One father's love of his autistic son www.inmyimage.com

  2. #2
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    Re: Powermax 30 on 110 with small compressor

    If you are only going to do short cuts. You may be able to get away with a small compressor.
    But look for a second tank. One off a dead compressor 10 or 15 gallons size.
    3.5 scfm @ 65 psi (99.1 l/min @ 5.5 bar) is the recommended minimum supplied air pressure. 4.0 scfm @ 80 psi (113.3 l/min @ 5.5 bar) is the recommended pressure for full time operation. Rig up a low pressure switch that sets off an alarm buzzer when the tank pressure goes below 65 psi. Just stop and let it pump back up.
    You do not want to run any plasma on low pressure. It will overheat the torch and damage it.
    Air going through the torch, not only supply air for the plasma. It also cools the brass torch head and keeps it from burning or melting. You can check your cut time by timing how fast the tank pressure drops from 90 to 65 psi. Pull the trigger, fire torch and release. plasma will be in post low with no arc for test. I have seen a pancake compressor use up its air in less than 30 seconds and trip the low pressure switch in the plasma (40 psi). About 15 seconds of good cut pressure. It will get you by until you can find a larger compressor.

  3. #3
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    Re: Powermax 30 on 110 with small compressor

    That is good info, and exactly how a ran a Esab 1125 off of a Emglo portable pancake compressor. There was no good options for more air at the time, and it got the job done. It would not of worked at all with just the little compressor. No alarm, but just was careful not to cut too long.
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  4. #4
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    Re: Powermax 30 on 110 with small compressor

    Useful info ccawgc. If I understand what you are saying, a useful test would be to let the compressor get to full capacity (125psi) set it to 90psi output and then time how long it takes to drop to 65psi using say the blow gun nozzle as a way to gauge how much single use cut time I could expect.

    Is that a good logical leap?
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    Re: Powermax 30 on 110 with small compressor

    I ran my PM30 on 220v kill (maxed) a few weeks ago cutting through about 6' length of old rusted 3/8" steel. I ran it using my 110v 33 gallon craftsman, oiless, noisy as hell, air compressor. I ithink its 5cfm @90psi. The compressor kept up and would actually shut off at times during the cut. The edge needed to be hit with a grinder but not much at all considering I really needed a bigger plasma cut what I was doing.

    Ive run the PM30 on 110v but between it and my compressor it likes to kick the breaker as all my garage circuits are on the same one with no more room in the box. I've cut 16g and 10g on 110v with it and its a clean cut. On 16g it can go as fast as I can and on 10g if you take your time its really clean. If you go too fast you need to hit it w a flap wheel for a split second.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Powermax 30 on 110 with small compressor

    Toggle, do you know what AMP setting you were using on the PM30 when running it on 110v?

    I have a 20 AMP breaker on the circuit to my garage and plug directly into the outlet so no need for extension cords. I'm assuming that if I run it at the 15 AMP setting that the air regulation passed through the PM30 would be less although my cut speed would be reduced... since I probably can drag the torch at the 18 gauge rated 394 inches at 30 AMPs, I assuming that whatever impact to the cut speed and duty cycle would be acceptable for 16 to 11 gauge, but would really like some validation of those assumptions given my pressure.

    If anybody in the Indianapolis area has a PM30 that I could try using my compressor (or if a local sales rep has one), I'd LOVE to give it a try to see the impact myself.
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    Re: Powermax 30 on 110 with small compressor

    Using a smaller compressor than the input specs require for any plasma system will not have any effect on cut performance or edge quality. It will have an affect on how long your individual cuts are.

    I have a Powermax30 and I often use it outside of my shop with a small air compressor (I think it is a Porter Cable 3.2 cfm that is designed for use with air nailers). It works fine, cut quality is excellent, and I typically get about 30 to 40 seconds of continuous cutting until the inlet air pressure drops too low, which automatically shuts of the arc. The torch will not come back on until the air pressure is above about 80 to 85 psi.

    A 30 second cut on 16 gauge can cover about 75 or so inches of cut distance. A 30 second cut on 1/4" will only cut about 5 or so inches of material. If those cut lengths and durations are adequate for your needs then the small compressor should work just fine.

    Thinks to be concerned with:

    -The Powermax 30 on 120 volt input will draw 20 amps with about a 22 to 24 amp output. If you set the output amperage at the maximum of 30 amps it will draw 26 amps....and after 15 or so seconds will trip a 20 amp circuit breaker. Different styles and brands of circuit breakers will vary on trip time.

    -Your compressor likely draws 12 to 15 amps as well. You will need two separate 20 amp 120 volt circuits to run both units at the same time.

    -In hot, humid climates...the small tank on a small compressor will build water quickly. It is advisable to drain it often.


    I can show pictures of my little compressor, and of cut samples if you would like to see them, however as long as the air out of the compressor is above 80-85 psi, and does not have a lot of moisture...it will cut exactly the same as when using it on my 80 gallon 22 amp 230 volt shop compressor.

    Jim Colt Hypertherm



    Quote Originally Posted by Tradetek View Post
    @Jim Colt:

    I'm really struggling over justifying the extra money for a Powermax 30 even though from everything I have read, it is the best in it's class. Unfortunately, at the end of the day it is a cost issue. I like the idea of buying American when it is feasible, but can't simply justify paying more for a hobby tool when it comes down to what will get the job done vs spending several hundred dollars more upfront to save relatively small amounts of money in the long term due to consumable life, especially if I have to buy a new compressor or spend a chunk of money on having a 220 circuit to my garage (which will be expensive because the main box is in the finished portion of my basement) to do it.

    So, brass taxes... I have talked to the tech department at Hypertherm and when I told them that my 8 gallon compressor generates 2.5 SCFM at 90psi and 3.5 SCFM at 40psi, they said that it probably would not be enough to supply the Powermax 30. But I'm kind of persistent, and my needs are down in the artsy/hobby category, so I'm not looking at cutting thick pieces of steel.

    I work mainly with mild steel, but would be interested in doing stainless in the future
    75% of what I do will be 16 and 14 gauge
    20% will be 11 gauge
    5% will be quarter and half inch (which I'm more than happy to cut with a cutoff wheel if necessary)

    What I need is to have someone do an informal test on 110 using a small compressor with similar SCFM ratings to my compressor and simply say if the results were acceptable with 16 to 11 gauge and if it will sever quarter or half.

    It would be great if you can get pics of the cut edges also. Note, feel free to PM me if Hypertherm does not want the results posted publicly but is willing to provide the info on a strictly informal, YMMV basis.

    @Everyone else, if you don't have anything to add beyond the specific scope of my questions, please do not bother posting. This is not an American vs Chinese issue for me and posts related to where a unit is made just are not valuable.

    Thanks,

    Bill
    Last edited by jimcolt; 06-04-2013 at 09:35 AM.

  8. #8
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    Re: Powermax 30 on 110 with small compressor

    The amp setting on the Powermax will not have any effect on air flow at the torch. The flow is determined by the nozzle orifice size as well as the inlet pressure.

    Jim Colt


    Quote Originally Posted by Tradetek View Post
    Toggle, do you know what AMP setting you were using on the PM30 when running it on 110v?

    I have a 20 AMP breaker on the circuit to my garage and plug directly into the outlet so no need for extension cords. I'm assuming that if I run it at the 15 AMP setting that the air regulation passed through the PM30 would be less although my cut speed would be reduced... since I probably can drag the torch at the 18 gauge rated 394 inches at 30 AMPs, I assuming that whatever impact to the cut speed and duty cycle would be acceptable for 16 to 11 gauge, but would really like some validation of those assumptions given my pressure.

    If anybody in the Indianapolis area has a PM30 that I could try using my compressor (or if a local sales rep has one), I'd LOVE to give it a try to see the impact myself.

  9. #9
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    Re: Powermax 30 on 110 with small compressor

    Thanks Jim. I have a lead on one that has been a rental since October and the guy says he can sell it to me for about $800 but it is out on rental right now and he says that they frequently convert from rent to own... So I'm crossing my fingers that it will come back in which case he will call me and it is mine

    I would love to see some cuts using the 120 and the small compressor on some thin sheet just so that my expectations are appropriate.

    And my 120 circuit is a 20amp circuit. I have an outlet inside the garage door that makes it easy to run an extension cord to for the compressor.

    Thanks again

    Bill
    Lincoln v155-s with Tig Welder Ready Pack K2606-1
    One father's love of his autistic son www.inmyimage.com

  10. #10
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    Re: Powermax 30 on 110 with small compressor

    Quote Originally Posted by Tradetek View Post
    Toggle, do you know what AMP setting you were using on the PM30 when running it on 110v?

    Quote Originally Posted by jimcolt View Post
    Thinks to be concerned with:

    -The Powermax 30 on 120 volt input will draw 20 amps with about a 22 to 24 amp output. If you set the output amperage at the maximum of 30 amps it will draw 26 amps....and after 15 or so seconds will trip a 20 amp circuit breaker. Different styles and brands of circuit breakers will vary on trip time.

    -Your compressor likely draws 12 to 15 amps as well. You will need two separate 20 amp 120 volt circuits to run both units at the same time.


    Jim Colt Hypertherm
    Pretty much sums it up. When cutting thin sheet on 120v I back it down to about 1/2-2/3's on the knob's adjustment so as not to pop my breaker. So prob 15-20 amp. I'm sure I could back it down to the 10amp range and still do 16g just fine I just havent used it a whole lot on that thin of material. Most of what I cut is 10g.
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