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Old 06-10-2004, 09:22 PM
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I need plasma cutter help

My Harbor Freight plasma cutter came with a 'medium' tip and offered a couple of optional tips too. I bought the optional tips but unfortunately, their directions leave a lot to be desired so I don't know what their application is. I assume most units have similar options so you sharpies should be able to tell me what the various tips in the photo below are for.

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Old 06-11-2004, 01:45 AM
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the one on the left is the std cutter head, doesn't overheat as much so the wolfram electrode in the center of the tip should last the longest. (i never use mine)

the center one is for cutting in corners (cant get one to fit my plasma cutter- and i have needed it many times)

the one on the right is my favorite. although it is more prone to electrode wear, it has a long cylindrical section and is for tracing outside, or inside templates, (its what i always use)

you will soon find that its the tool you never knew how much you really needed, once you get a hang of relaxing your arms and keeping the speed constant you will be amazed of the versatility of the tool

happy hotrodding
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Old 06-11-2004, 08:06 AM
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Deuce - Thanx! That isn't the answer I was expecting - I was thinking they were for cutting different thicknesses of metal. This is good news - I have been trying to template cut w/ the std. tip and it doesn't work very well! See, you should have bought a HF unit and gotten all the features!
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Old 06-11-2004, 08:22 AM
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the one on the left is good up to 40 amps so you should be fine. and the HF ignition does help (i can start cutting on painted and rusted metal) but if you bother to clean down to the metal where you start cutting, the cut is the same once it gets going


I find making a perfect cut with a plasma cutter harder that tig welding. the best advice is to concentrate on relaxing all your muscles. it is very easy to tense when cutting allong a template and that makes it almost impossible to keep the speed constant

if you get any buildup of "boogers" on the back of the cut, then you are mooving to slow. if the cut edges arent smooth, you arent keeping the speed,

try and moove it (keeping the head perpendicular to the surface) so the "flame" is deflected about 15 degrees when it exits the steel, that is what ive found gives the best results
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Old 06-11-2004, 08:45 AM
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Thanx again. I have been practicing with technique and it's like anything in welding - practice, practice, practice! I plan on trying to hollow out one of the Ford 390 FE engines and heads (one is a dummy, one is the runner) for my Mysterion project with the plasma cutter. This will cut way down on weight and provide a place to hide air conditioning and alternator.
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Old 06-15-2004, 09:37 PM
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hey if the crank is good out of that 390 send it this way enjoy the new toy!
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Old 06-16-2004, 07:48 AM
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The dummy engine is just block & heads. I have valves for it but otherwise it was bare when I got it.
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Old 06-16-2004, 08:15 PM
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oh well it was worth a shot lol.
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Old 06-16-2004, 11:43 PM
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Pratice is write. But have fun doing it. I shake realy bad and having a plasma cutter has been awesome. I have had fun with my son we take old body parts /hoods /doors and he draws on them with white markers and then he cuts them out. supervised by me of course. its been a great way to get him involved in projects that i enjoy. And he likes to cut out names for friends.
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Old 06-19-2004, 07:14 AM
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Willys, are you planning to use the plasma cutter to hollow out the head? I have a small Esaab unit that is good to 3/8" material and have learned a few things about it. Keeping the tip flush on the surface is key to better cuts and longer service life of the tip. Trying to cut thicker material than designed for machine can result in destruction of the tip (not cheap) and if you persist, a blow out can happen and you can get some nasty burns if the blowout of molten metal hits about any part of you body!! One thing I did when we broke an easy out in a hard to fine intake manifold, was break all the rules and burned it out with the plasma cutter worked great and only cost one tip, a few pock marks, and holes in the gloves. Another thing, I seem to have better luck with using just enough power to give me a clean cut. Too much is not as good and not enough, well it just wont cut it.

Trees
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Old 06-19-2004, 10:52 AM
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Thanx for the tip Trees. I realize I am over-stressing the limits of the machine so I have a back pocket full of tips (good old CHEAP Harbor Freight!). I have been practicing on 3/8" steel and have got it down to reasonable cuts and tip life. I think it will work with patience.
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Old 06-20-2004, 08:03 AM
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What is the part number for the replacement tips? How much are they?
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