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Old 05-18-2002, 08:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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whats best Plasma cutter to get

I have been looking at the Miller spectrum 375 it is a 110/240 volt cutter cuts up to 5/8 and 1/2 is quality. what recomendations do Ya'll have??


Whatcha got ? and do you like it?
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Old 05-18-2002, 10:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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That is a good machine BUT although the specs you said are what Miller is stating - but its simply not true. Clean cuts will be had up to 1/4, and piercing cap will be more like 3/16. I cant belive the manufacturers get away with this crap (telling tall tales about their machines) they all do it so basically any machine in the same class from Miller, Lincoln, Hobart, or Hypertherm will show similar capacities but indeed are limited to what I wrote above (trust me I really know). I would buy from ONLY the above four companies.

I personally like the Lincoln (pc25) just I tad bit better than the rest because 1. It's cheaper!!! , and 2. the consumables are simple & abit cheaper as well.

However, the Miller & Hobart & hypertherm all have the same exact torch and man it it comfortable.

I have a Lincoln PC55 now , and I am very happy with it but it to is just like the others when it comes to what the Manus' say about capacities.

When I bought the PC55 I at the same time did a head to head battle between Miller Spectrum 2050, Lincoln ProCut 55, and Hypertherm Powermax 1000. All of these were great machines the Hypertherm/Miller have more comfortable torches but IMHO f'uped consumables whereas the Lincoln has quick & easy parts.
The Miller machine did seem slightly underpowered by comparison to the other two.

Anyways _ I am NOT pro Lincoln over Miller my shop has all Miller welders EXCEPT the Plasma cutter which is Lincoln. I am however not impressed with Hypertherms' warranty (two yearsfrom date of manufacture -make sure yours came off the assembly line close to the date of purchase_thats pretty lame)
Now Lincoln & Miller both have three year warranties that start from date of purchase.

Now after my comments you will get comments from alot (I would imagine) defending the Hypertherm , and its a fine machine but consumables are more expensive , complex, and they have a shitty warranty.
You will also have the same people tell you Don't go Lincoln cuase they had BIG problems with plasma cutter's - this is true BUT it was along time ago back when the machines were solid state , and used High Frequency to start , and the reason you seem to hear more about Linc is they sold a hell of alot more plasma machine than anybody else during that time!. Everybodys machines sucked back then so again not realevant to tadays machines.

Hope I helped you,
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Old 05-18-2002, 10:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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OK the Hypertherm has a two year warranty that starts at your date of purchase (finally). Still not better than Miller or Lincoln and you can bet that plasma machines are not cheap to repair.
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Old 05-18-2002, 10:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I have a Cebora (not sure what model number), and it has been an excelent cutter. The tip assemblies hold up well,(even if misused), and are very quick to change. It cuts 1/4" very cleanly and will gouge through 3/16" with a single blast (with a fresh tip), it will gouge through 1/4" but nor very cleanly. It cuts a very clean using direct tip contact on 1/4", and blows most of the slag cleanly away from the cut, (what remains is easily knocked off with a single pass with a grinder).
Anything over 1/4" though requires a fresh tip and and good technique, to get quality cuts. It wont cut 1/2",... period.
I believe the cost was about $1000.
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Old 05-18-2002, 10:49 PM   #5 (permalink)
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H8monday- why did you go with such an off brand? Not bagging on your purchase(just curious) at all but it always trips me out when people buy some of the "off brands" mainly becuase of the parts issue.
If you were to buy( since you were in the same price range anyways) again would you prefer to go with a more mainstream brand name?
Your machine must work good I got a glimpse of your rig (looks good) at moonrocks wanted to introduce myself but I had kids & wife in tow & kids were pissing me off at the time!
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Old 05-18-2002, 11:11 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by weldpro
H8monday- why did you go with such an off brand? Not bagging on your purchase(just curious) at all but it always trips me out when people buy some of the "off brands" mainly becuase of the parts issue.
If you were to buy( since you were in the same price range anyways) again would you prefer to go with a more mainstream brand name?
Your machine must work good I got a glimpse of your rig (looks good) at moonrocks wanted to introduce myself but I had kids & wife in tow & kids were pissing me off at the time!
weldpro
I didnt buy it.
Valley Rents is one of my sponsors, and it was one of there contributions to the team. It was there shop unit and was already pretty well used when it was handed to me.
I had never heard of it either, but I have been impressed, I have used Hypotherms in the past, and up to 1/4" it is as user freindly as the hypotherm was to make a good clean pass, and it seems to be a little better at gouging (although I have had much more time opperating the Cebora, so that probably has a lot to do with it).
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Old 05-18-2002, 11:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Gouging rules! I use plasma probably 60% cut 40% gouge alot cleaner than cac-a but can also rip up thin 1/4 & below so fast. This (gouging) is where this process helps me get the job done fast. It's crazy how many people dont realize that you can do this with plasma even with the smaller machines- people are missing out.
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You did not say what would would buy if you had to spring for it!?
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Old 05-19-2002, 12:15 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by weldpro


You did not say what would would buy if you had to spring for it!?

Im following this post and learning.
Now that I have a little experience with a Plaz, I would probably want to try some freinds machines with fresh tips and see how I like them.
It would sure be nice to have a rig that cut could plow through 1/2" or better steel.
Check me out, I dont even have a chop saw, or a drill press, but Im getting fussy about my plaz specifications.
I guess if Im gonna dream, where do the prices start, and what what would be a good candidate, for a rig that can be used to cut some steering arms from high strength 1" material.
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Old 05-19-2002, 08:10 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Dumb question here: Is gouging where you just blast a hole in the middle of some metal, rather than cutting where you start at the edge?

I too lust for a plasma cutter and don't know much about them. This thread has been very helpful.

SeanP
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Old 05-19-2002, 08:43 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Word of advice. Pay attention to the travel speed while cutting, that will tell you what kind of capabilities the machine has regardless of the advertised clean cut and gouge cutting capacities.

For instance, 99% the metal I cut with my plasma torch is 1/4 for all the brackets and things. If you look at say the Lincoln 25 which is a 110v machine, you'll notice how slow you have to travel when compared to the 55. With the 25 you'll actually have to go quite a bit slower than you'll probably like to get the cut done on 1/4. The 55 you can basically go as fast as you want because the 1/4 is so little compared to the machines capacity. This is an excellent case of bigger is better. I wanted the Lincoln ProCut 55 but it was just too expensive so I cut a Themal Dynamics Cutmaster 55 or something like that I think, great machine.

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Old 05-19-2002, 10:08 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I've had a miller and now a lincoln both 220v. They're both good machines, expendables are cheaper for the lincoln around here .
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Old 05-19-2002, 11:04 AM   #12 (permalink)
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thanks

Thanks for the info.

What about built in compressors? Are they worth a crud ?

Also what did you have to give for the lincoln PC 55
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Old 05-19-2002, 11:20 AM   #13 (permalink)
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ive only got a 25 AMP 110 BLUE POINT UNIT AND IT SEEMS TO WORK WELL ALTHOUGH SAMMY FRAMES ARENT EXACTLY THICK
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Old 05-19-2002, 11:29 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by SeanP
Dumb question here: Is gouging where you just blast a hole in the middle of some metal, rather than cutting where you start at the edge?

I too lust for a plasma cutter and don't know much about them. This thread has been very helpful.

SeanP
When you start a hole in the middle of a piece of material that is called peircing and the thickness that you will be able to peirce will be lower than the machines quality cut.

Gouging- lets say you have a bumper thats welded on to your rig , and it's REALLY welded good and in places that would be very difficult to get to with a grinder BUT you want to take it off!
Well if you take you plasma torch and put it at angles 50 degrees to say 85 degrees , and instead of trying to cut through you are only wanting to actually take out ONLY the weld and it will take a job that would take an hour into 5-10minutes. It'll take practice to do correctly. CAUTION- make sure you dont have flammables anywhere near the work to be done as molten metal will be flying!

There are other processes that are used for gouging but the problem with tem is that they take more setup time, and really are made for much thicker materials. With Plasma gouging you can gouge in such light guage materials ie- common to 4x fabrication.
I last year had a job where I had to gouge some very heavy 2-3inch thick pieces welded to 2.5" thick plate Plasma would suck for this CAC-A (carbon arc gouging) worked but still wasn't good enough what I ended up using was Oxy/Ace cutting rig with a gouging tip worked amazing but look at how thick the materials were- also a very expensive process since I could drain tanks very quickly.
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Old 05-19-2002, 11:47 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: thanks

Quote:
Originally posted by ItsaCJ6
Thanks for the info.

What about built in compressors? Are they worth a crud ?

Also what did you have to give for the lincoln PC 55
The PC55 was $2380.00 roughly incl. Ca sales tax from my local supplier (Airgas) It can be had for abit cheaper on the web.

The built in compressors models have very low amp ratings , and I would suggest NOT going with any of those.

I will say this- if I did not do any of this to make a living I would personally buy a Lincoln pro cut 25 or Miller spectrum 375 or comparable Hypertherm. THE REASON- Plasma IMHO is absolutely neccessary on thin materials BUT for thicker materials (anything over 1/4) OXY/ACE still kicks ass. Yhe only reason to go big with plasma would be do you cut alot of aluminum? Stainless? OR ALOT & I mean alot of steel where you would actually save money & time vs. Oxy/Ace ----chances are thats answer would be no.

Note; It is a fact that plasma on thick materials can , and do make bigger kerfs than oxy/ace (width of cut). Also they on thick materials can leave significant bevels at the cut on thick.

Note2; the small machines ie pc25 & spectrum375 will both run on 120/240 DO not expect anything better than 1/8 cutting on these machines using 120v in fact if you dont have access to 240 dont buy a plasma.

note3 Oxy/Ace is still the most practical means of getting things done if you dont own a set you need one BEFORE you have plasma.

goodluck!!!!!
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Old 05-19-2002, 04:03 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I have a Blue Point YA5550 50 amp machine and it performs excellent for me. It is switchable between 30 amps(thinner metals) and 50 amps. I know Century used to make the Snap-on/Bluepoint units but I don't know who makes this new one. Rumored to be Lincoln but I don't know for sure. I bought this unit because my Snap-on dealer gave me an excellent trade in value for my old machine and of course the big extended credit thing!
If I had had the cash at the time of purchase I think I would have gone Thermal Dynamics.
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Old 05-19-2002, 07:51 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Thanks again weldpro.

I have an Oxy/propane torch, I am very comfortable with it for larger plate. I have been looking for versatilty, is the main reason I am looking to buy a plasma torch. I want to be able to make very persise cuts in say 3/16. but would like to buy a good machine now rather than a cheap machine now and good one later. If ya know what I mean.

There is Lincoln PC55 on Ebay right now and it is currently at 1225.00 reserve not met yet.

I felt that the compressor models might be that way. (saving peter to feed paul to the consumer)

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...tem=1731733844
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Old 05-19-2002, 08:56 PM   #18 (permalink)
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by ItsaCJ6
[B]Thanks again weldpro.
.

There is Lincoln PC55 on Ebay right now and it is currently at 1225.00 reserve not met yet.

I doubt the PC55 will go for less than $1700-1800 , and although still a good deal except for the 8ft torch you'll still have to pay shipping etc.

With what you said about what you need I would try www.welders-direct.com , and go to plasma cutters look at the PC25 it is $1035 no tax (unless your in WA) , and shipping is free , and its brand new now thats a good deal. I bought one of my millers' through them , and was very happy with they're service.
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Old 05-19-2002, 09:05 PM   #19 (permalink)
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We have a couple of Esab units at work, as well as millers. One of the Esabs has a 2" rating, and almost blew the spring perch off my axle at the 1/4 level!! I think it is a 1220(?), much bigger than the esab 550(?) that only weighs 27 lbs and is as big as a lunch box...I didn't see this brand mentioned and thought I would chime in, as I was waaay impressed...
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Old 05-19-2002, 09:06 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I paid 1500 for a Hypertherm Powermax 600. Its a very good unit.
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Old 05-19-2002, 09:44 PM   #21 (permalink)
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I picked up a Hypertherm Powermax 1250 and love it. Blows thru anything up to 1.5". I figured may as well go big since i was spending that much $$ anyway. The only minor drawback I have is that my 60 gal. compressor cant always keep up.
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Old 05-19-2002, 10:41 PM   #22 (permalink)
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I went with the Hypertherm powermax 600. Would have liked the 900 but more $.. Biggest woops was I needed to add a air dryer to the system. Haven't really tried anything over 1/2" but so far so good. Part of the decision was its current range from 20A to 40A 220V single phase range. I wanted the ability to cut sheet metal at a fairly slow speed by hand and the ability to cut +1/2". It was pushing the budget, but I use enough oxy/accet that I'll break even in a few years.

I know a guy who does a LOT of work using the 110V units w/ the built in compressors. He loves them. Has 4 of them sitting out side- that don't work. He just keeps replacing them - a consumable for his pool fence repair business.

anyway, my 2cents
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Old 05-19-2002, 10:59 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by snowchucker
I picked up a Hypertherm Powermax 1250 and love it. Blows thru anything up to 1.5". I figured may as well go big since i was spending that much $$ anyway. The only minor drawback I have is that my 60 gal. compressor cant always keep up.
Curious- how many times have you "blown thru 1.5" plate"
Hypertherm says recommended cut 7/8
max cap 1 1/8"
severance 1.5
at severance your IPM would be crap no matter what also the cut would suck by comparison to any cheap oxy getup. I will also say at 1 1/8 it'll suck , and same about oxy /ace would apply.

My PC55 is a 1" severance machine yeah right but recommended is 1/2" , and it'll do it all day long even on old tips.
and I'll bag on that too! If you look at what I wrote way above you will see what I have said about real cut values. A plasma machine should be based only on clean cuts with a tip that is NOT brand new becuase yes for a VERY short period all cutters will work decent on thicker than reccomended! ONLY judge the machine by the recomended capacity.

Not bitching at you snowchucker but very skeptical of your claim pics would help.

I am hearing everybody statements here , and what is lacking is the WHY did you get what you got. Just simply stating you bought something , and like it is not very helpful.

Snowchucker- did you buy it for it's fantastic warranty? or it it hypertherms blatent blasting of Lincoln, and others saying they are the best cuase it's all they make. Or was it the higher priced consumables or the fact that there are more parts to replace?
I'm just fucking with you only singling you out cuase you have a nice machine- more cap than mine(I do like the hypertherms its a very good product). But seriously why did you , and others pick your machines .
weldpro



jeeplvr - the 600 is the ultimate sleeper of the bunch good choice for cap & price.

edit I see someone else got a 600 good deal.
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Old 05-20-2002, 12:34 AM   #24 (permalink)
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I seriously didnt pick out the model, my bro did (he's welds for part of his living, i dont). He is pretty good friends w/ a dealer, so lets say I got it very cheap for what it is.
My bro and I do cut 1/2" on a very regular basis so I wanted a machine that would do it easily (kinda like the bigger is better syndrome).. Cut 1" shackle tabs out once in a while and have cut 1 1/2" just for fun (did very well). The recommended capacity of the machine is easily met so far, but the machine is new as you said. Only time will tell if its perfromance degrades.
The cost of consumbables or # of parts in the machine were not a factor in the purchase since it was cheap (under $2k).
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Old 05-20-2002, 01:36 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Snowchucker-sounds like you made out real good! Glad to hear it.
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