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Thread: Plasma cutting advice and i need a cheap plasma cutter

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    Plasma cutting advice and i need a cheap plasma cutter

    Hello, i just joined today. I'm a hobbyist welder and need advice on plasma cutters. My first question is can i cut thin sheet metal with a plasma cutter? And my next question is about buying a plasma cutter. I cant afford an expensive machine and I'm looking for a cheap one, but i worry that i wont be able to get the consumables if the machine is discontinued in the future. Are plasma cutting torches interchangeable? Are the consumables interchangeable? Thank you.

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    Re: Plasma cutting advice and i need a cheap plasma cutter

    Yes you can cut thin sheet metal with a plasma cutter, if the machine is discontinued you will likely still be able to find consumables on ebay. Torches are not always interchangeable, but on the cheap plasma cutters there are only 2 or 3 manufacturers and they all seem to copy a couple of common designs (Trafimet, etc.)

    But I have to ask, have you researched alternate cutting methods? If you are working on thin sheet metal, there are many viable alternatives that won't cost hardly any money and may actually work better than your garden variety Chicom made plasma cutter that you get off of Amazon. A jig saw comes to mind, as does a metal cutting circular saw, zip wheels, and any number of others.
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    Re: Plasma cutting advice and i need a cheap plasma cutter

    Thank you. Yes i have researched other cutting methods such as you mentioned, along with air tools such as shears and air nibblers. I also want to cut thicker metal too, and I want to use patterns to cut out shapes. I thought about using my oxy propane torch on thicker metals but I'm not sure if I can use patterns with it, and I've never tried cutting sheet metal with it. I have considered your advice and its still a good option for me, but i would like to use patterns.

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    Re: Plasma cutting advice and i need a cheap plasma cutter

    Can i just plug a different torch into a cheap machine? Or are the connection ports on the machines not interchangeable?

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    Re: Plasma cutting advice and i need a cheap plasma cutter

    What's the best cheap plasma cutter? Im totally ignorant and need advice.

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    Re: Plasma cutting advice and i need a cheap plasma cutter

    This is overwhelming. The more i learn the more questions i have. I learned that a PT-31 torch uses affordable consumables, which i like. How do i know if a plasma cutter uses the PT-31 torch? Can i put that torch on any cheap plasma cutter? Does that torch get good cutting results?

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    Re: Plasma cutting advice and i need a cheap plasma cutter

    Even inexpensive plasma cutters tend to be a bit pricey. You might want to take a look at the PrimeWeld plasma cutter line...only three models, but they are a U.S. company with great customer service. The machines are imported, but that will be any inexpensive machine right now.

    https://primeweld.com
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    Re: Plasma cutting advice and i need a cheap plasma cutter

    Thank you @G-ManBart. I was considering Lotos machines but your advice about customer service is welcome. I'll check them out

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    Re: Plasma cutting advice and i need a cheap plasma cutter

    Quote Originally Posted by G-ManBart View Post
    Even inexpensive plasma cutters tend to be a bit pricey. You might want to take a look at the PrimeWeld plasma cutter line...only three models, but they are a U.S. company with great customer service. The machines are imported, but that will be any inexpensive machine right now.

    https://primeweld.com
    I noticed that the CUT50DP has Dinse connectors. Does that mean i can use other brand torches on this machine if they have the same connectors? This model sells for $400 which is about what i can afford.

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    Re: Plasma cutting advice and i need a cheap plasma cutter

    I have bought and used a few Plasma cutters so here is some info, Hypertherm is the best but not cheap. You may try to find a used one from someone upgrading. Most 45 amp models will cut up to 3/8" it just gets slower with thicker metal. One thing you do need to understand is plasma will cut things faster then you want if you are not steady (shaking hand no straight cuts). You can use wooden templates for design cuts as you can with OA torches. You may look at building a Panograph to do better pattern cutting. There is not many switching of torches due to the connectors with signal and air flow combined in the cables.
    Now I see Razorweld is sold on Langmuir Plasma CNC tables, and I think there was a member here who sold them, but that was a while ago.
    If you may be looking at building a CNC table for plasma cutting buy a better brand now to be used on the table later. And do buy a blowback type not HF start (they are to noisy for most CNC electronics). The PT-31 torch may be used by many but the cable and connector may not work out. The nozzle size varies due to metal thickness .9 mm for thin about 50 amps 1.1 or 1.2 MM for 1/2" and above and higher amps.
    https://razorweld.com/find-a-dealer/
    Last edited by acourtjester; 09-16-2021 at 03:47 PM.
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    Re: Plasma cutting advice and i need a cheap plasma cutter

    Quote Originally Posted by acourtjester View Post
    I have bought and used a few Plasma cutters so here is some info, Hypertherm is the best but not cheap. You may try to find a used one from someone upgrading. Most 45 amp models will cut up to 3/8" it just gets slower with thicker metal. One thing you do need to understand is plasma will cut things faster then you want if you are not steady (shaking hand no straight cuts). You can use wooden templates for design cuts as you can with OA torches. You may look at building a Panograph to do better pattern cutting. There is not many switching of torches due to the connectors with signal and air flow combined in the cables.
    Now I see Razorweld is sold on Langmuir Plasma CNC tables, and I think there was a member here who sold them, but that was a while ago.
    If you may be looking at building a CNC table for plasma cutting buy a better brand now to be used on the table later. And do buy a blowback type not HF start (they are to noisy for most CNC electronics). The PT-31 torch may be used by many but the cable and connector may not work out. The nozzle size varies due to metal thickness .9 mm for thin about 50 amps 1.1 or 1.2 MM for 1/2" and above and higher amps.
    https://razorweld.com/find-a-dealer/
    Thank you. I do want to do pattern cutting but i wouldn't buy a CNC unless i was making enough money to justify it. Also i have considered the Pantograph and will likely try that as well. I didn't know you could use wooden patterns with Oxy fuel torches. Maybe I'll try that too. I've never cut sheet metal with oxy fuel torch and don't know how well it would work, and that's one reason i want a plasma cutter. Thanks for the advice, i'll check out your link.

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    Re: Plasma cutting advice and i need a cheap plasma cutter

    Here is one thing i would like to cut out, see image below. Its a steel rose template. I would like to sell steel roses for profit but dont want to put a lot of time in it so i can sell them cheaper. I don't want to use hand tools. I know a plasma cutter will cut this but how about a oxy fuel torch? I want to use wood patterns.

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    Re: Plasma cutting advice and i need a cheap plasma cutter

    For pattern cutting with oxy-fuel you would want a pantograph as the heat from the flame would destroy most patterns. For plasma you would make the OD of the pattern smaller and the ID larger by half of the shield diameter, and trace the pattern. Soaking the pattern in water will extend the life of the pattern considerably when using the plasma. I have the razor cut 45 with the optimal hypertherm style torch and have been very satisfied with that unit.

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    Re: Plasma cutting advice and i need a cheap plasma cutter

    Quote Originally Posted by M J D View Post
    For pattern cutting with oxy-fuel you would want a pantograph as the heat from the flame would destroy most patterns. For plasma you would make the OD of the pattern smaller and the ID larger by half of the shield diameter, and trace the pattern. Soaking the pattern in water will extend the life of the pattern considerably when using the plasma. I have the razor cut 45 with the optimal hypertherm style torch and have been very satisfied with that unit.
    Thank you for the advice. Your cutter costs about $1000 doesn't it? That's a bit too high for me right now, but maybe in the future.

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    Re: Plasma cutting advice and i need a cheap plasma cutter

    I'm not sure. I've had mine 4-5 years. From what I've heard the primeweld is a decent unit. I personally hate that style torch and prefer one with shielded consumables.

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    Re: Plasma cutting advice and i need a cheap plasma cutter

    Quote Originally Posted by M J D View Post
    I'm not sure. I've had mine 4-5 years. From what I've heard the primeweld is a decent unit. I personally hate that style torch and prefer one with shielded consumables.
    Yes, another poster recommended primeweld. I'm really considering that brand. I'm also thinking of making a copy machine to cut out from a pattern, or a pantograph.

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    Re: Plasma cutting advice and i need a cheap plasma cutter

    I've had my Cut 50 for a few months now.... I think it was around $250 Cdn. on Amazon and better quality low priced consumables are available. I wouldn't get too excited about the torch handle at these prices. I would consider the whole machine as pretty much disposable. It won't quite make the 1/2" cut that some have managed to attain, but if your metal is all 3/8" or thinner, it will work fine and is much easier to control the heat on that a large O/A unit. There are fine cut torches for O/A as well, but I don't think you'll find a lot in your price range once you consider the tank rental etc.
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    Re: Plasma cutting advice and i need a cheap plasma cutter

    For most things a pattern cut out of 1/4" or so plywood works good. Hardboard is better yet. If you have a printer, mark out a print out, allowing for tip or shield distance. Use spray adhesive to stick it to your pattern material and cut it out. A jigsaw works well if you place the pattern material on 2" styrofoam and cut it out. Depending on the size and shape you can either clamp the pattern or use adhesive to secure it to the material. With some practice and a steady cut speed you can turn out some very accurate parts that won't require much clean up.

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    Re: Plasma cutting advice and i need a cheap plasma cutter

    You might want to read this thread about the dedicated wiring, air consumption and filtering requirements of the low priced units.
    https://weldingweb.com/vbb/threads/7...-plasma-cutter
    The harder you fall, the higher you bounce...

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    Re: Plasma cutting advice and i need a cheap plasma cutter

    More good info on low cost consumables on the last couple pages of this thread...

    https://weldingweb.com/vbb/threads/7...eap-can-you-go


    You do realize you'll need clean compressed air and enough current to deal with the power needs of the unit, right?
    Last edited by whtbaron; 09-16-2021 at 08:11 PM.
    The harder you fall, the higher you bounce...

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    Re: Plasma cutting advice and i need a cheap plasma cutter

    The primeweld comes with a 3 year no hassle warranty and 24 hour service in the US

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    Re: Plasma cutting advice and i need a cheap plasma cutter

    Quote Originally Posted by whtbaron View Post
    I've had my Cut 50 for a few months now.... I think it was around $250 Cdn. on Amazon and better quality low priced consumables are available. I wouldn't get too excited about the torch handle at these prices. I would consider the whole machine as pretty much disposable. It won't quite make the 1/2" cut that some have managed to attain, but if your metal is all 3/8" or thinner, it will work fine and is much easier to control the heat on that a large O/A unit. There are fine cut torches for O/A as well, but I don't think you'll find a lot in your price range once you consider the tank rental etc.
    Thank you. Does O/A stand for oxy Acetylene? I already have an oxy propane setup.

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    Re: Plasma cutting advice and i need a cheap plasma cutter

    Quote Originally Posted by M J D View Post
    For most things a pattern cut out of 1/4" or so plywood works good. Hardboard is better yet. If you have a printer, mark out a print out, allowing for tip or shield distance. Use spray adhesive to stick it to your pattern material and cut it out. A jigsaw works well if you place the pattern material on 2" styrofoam and cut it out. Depending on the size and shape you can either clamp the pattern or use adhesive to secure it to the material. With some practice and a steady cut speed you can turn out some very accurate parts that won't require much clean up.
    Thank you. Have you used a pantograph or copy machine? I plan on building one. They seem pretty simple and i assume you wouldn't have to worry about your patterns getting damaged.

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    Re: Plasma cutting advice and i need a cheap plasma cutter

    Quote Originally Posted by whtbaron View Post
    You might want to read this thread about the dedicated wiring, air consumption and filtering requirements of the low priced units.
    https://weldingweb.com/vbb/threads/7...-plasma-cutter
    Thank you, i will read it.

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    Re: Plasma cutting advice and i need a cheap plasma cutter

    Quote Originally Posted by whtbaron View Post
    More good info on low cost consumables on the last couple pages of this thread...

    https://weldingweb.com/vbb/threads/7...eap-can-you-go


    You do realize you'll need clean compressed air and enough current to deal with the power needs of the unit, right?
    Thanks, i need all the help i can get.

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