As most people on Pirate are probably aware, I am building a street-able Jeep (Junk Yard Dog) that will showcase some of the technology and products developed for the 4x4 market, usually with ideas from our members and vendors.
For a build like this, one would usually require a plethora of tools, wrenches, sockets, impact guns, drill presses and some sort of metal removal tool like a oxy-acetylene torch, grinder and if you're very lucky and relatively wealthy, a plasma cutter.
My garage is pretty well outfitted, with all of the above mentioned tools and then some. The only problem I ran into while cutting brackets off of the junk yard frame I purchased was that my 4 year old and very expensive plasma cutter died! It would cost more than $600.00 to repair it. The manufacturer wouldn't warranty it, as all they would be replacing is the circuit board. Torches just didn't cut it for me as they leave too much slag, refilling the gas is a pain, and they also make my home insurance agent very nervous. A grinder or cut off disk would work and was put to use until my wife complained about the noise and my co-workers weren't too happy with me picking the black goodies out of my nose.
So in my usual fashion, I turned to my trusted advisor(s) and searched on the Pirate board to find what people were using. I found that quite a few PBB'ers had found the ParkerMP Plasma-Tec40 on E-bay and people were happy with their purchase and the support they received from Parker MP.
I contacted Phil Sr. about one and he mentioned that he had many in stock and that his most popular model was the Plasma-Tec 40 and that they had a top secret Ninja upgrade to make the 40 amp unit into a 50 amp unit. As you're all probably aware, Pirate4x4 is all about ingenuity and craftiness, but better yet MORE POWER, so I had to have it. Not to mention the shipped price was also lower than the repair price for my broken down, well used cutter. I placed my order, received a tracking number from UPS ground and in four days had a box on my doorstep.
ItÕs one small box!
The plasma cutter arrived very well packaged for the most part, although the shipped box was far smaller than I anticipated. It did sustain some damage in transit and after reading about them on the PBB, I was worried that something may have happened to the delicate internals of the unit.
No damage to the unit and one sexy plastic bag.
Upon opening it, everything looked perfect. There was no visible damage to the styrofoam or anything else. But you all probably want to know: HOW DID IT WORK?
Jason cutting ¼" like butter.
I wired the cord with a plug I had sitting around, attached the air regulator, air line, torch and ground clamp and handed it over to Jason to play with. The torch already had consumables installed and the unit came with extras. It worked perfectly right out of the box, with nothing else needed to make it work.
Overall, I am quite happy with the unit. It's much smaller than my old one that was a 28Amp unit and much more powerful. I severed 1" plate with it for giggles and it cut through cleanly and easily. The only gripe I have about it: the air regulator has some weird (metric) measurements on it, so it's difficult to determine what pressure youÕre actually working with. The regulator/dryer itself is relatively cheesy, but does do its job. Other PBB readers have replaced it, which I probably will do as well. Information on how to replace the regulator can also be found on PBB. ItÕs a nice simple but powerful device that has the functionality I was looking for without the price associated with my old more "blingy" cutter.
I'll move the regulator placement for better fan cooling and adding a real dryer and regulator. I also added a quick connect fitting for my air line.
Although I have yet to need support from Parker MP, I've read quite a bit and talked with other customers who have. Phil Sr. and Phil Jr. really and truly know their converter tech and look at/ configure all units that come in from their chosen factories in China. I generally have problems buying Chinese stuff and really prefer to support the US by buying only USA made items, but this is a great quality plasma cutter at a great price. It's also increasingly difficult to walk that line, as even my old plasma cutter has parts that were made in China, according to the manufacturer. The warranty is better than my old plasma: 1 year on labor, 1 year on mechanical parts and 3 years on electronic parts. They also have a 1 year replacement policy.
You can see my old oxy-acetylene bottles that will be sold off shortly.
Phil Sr. and I will be working on a cutting article. This man has come up with some interesting tips and tricks on how to get the most usage out of one.