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Old 02-17-2012, 07:30 AM
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I will also say a plasma is in general safer then a grinder. Having said that, I will tell you about an accident with the plasma which could have been a lot worse.

In the previous post the first photo I was going to cut the gauge for the air dam. I had all my safety equipment on including face shield, respirator. I was cutting a few things and the plasma puts a lot of smoke.

My equipment was sliding down my face so I grabbed my head repositioning my equipment. I did it so fast I just wasn't thinking. I had the plasma in my right hand and it was pointing directly at the side of my head above my ear.

Then all the sudden I heard the air valve click (Which means I accidentally pulled the trigger). When I head that noise I thew my arms straight out dropping all equipment. Simultaneously the plasma fired blowing the tip away from my head as I let go.

I lost a 2" circle of hair and a bit of a scab on my head. Dumb dumb dumb. I just sat their with a burnt head laughing at how stupid that was. You can see some where in the bottom of that photo is a small lock of hair.

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Old 02-17-2012, 09:39 AM
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Something I have been thinking of is building a pantograph to mount my plasma so then I could make a pattern and trace the pattern with the plasma...I have the plans for the pantograph just have not as yet built it..the original plans call for the use of a torch which I used many years ago and it worked well for making those flame cut parts we used to make..

Sam
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Old 02-17-2012, 01:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OneMoreTime
Something I have been thinking of is building a pantograph to mount my plasma so then I could make a pattern and trace the pattern with the plasma...I have the plans for the pantograph just have not as yet built it..the original plans call for the use of a torch which I used many years ago and it worked well for making those flame cut parts we used to make..

Sam
In doing something like that I had also thought about making a drive wheel to make it move at a consistent speed.
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:12 PM
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The plans are in "The racers guide to fabricating shop equipment" Stiil in print and the plans show a method of adding a motor drive as I recall..

Sam
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Old 02-18-2012, 07:34 AM
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We all have opinions and this thread sure drives that point home. I have several cut off tools with different sizes and speeds available for cutting metal. Same with grinders. Also have a couple of different size acetylene torches. But the small plasma cutter has become the tool of choice. To me, it is quicker, cleaner and in the long run, the cheapest tool to use. $1.50 and up or a 3"X1/16 good cut off wheel gets expensive fast when making long and complex cuts. I can usually have the cuts made and trued up in the time it takes to change wheels on the air tool. I would say if I could only have one tool, then it would be the angle tool, but being around as long as I have, that is not a problem.

Trees
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Old 02-18-2012, 07:40 AM
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I have my ways based on what I have learned and done but I am not going to say it's the right way or the only way.

I will say if you can control your hand with CNC precision out of a plasma or torch can be mind boggling. This is an oxy torch:



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Old 02-20-2012, 12:17 PM
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Plasma cutting with one of the major brand torches (like Hypertherm) is easy to do by hand as you can drag the torch on the plate or sheet being cut....or guide the torch along a template.....a piece of cardboard works well. These newest systems have a varieaty of different nozzles for different power levels that allow you to fine tune the cut quality for the thickness being cut. Here are some pics done with a 45 amp system on a 4 x 4 cnc table.

Jim Colt

1st pic....120 1/8" shims cut in 23 minutes. 2nd pic, 3/4" steel, 3rd...3/8" steel, 4th...1/4" steel, 5th, aluminum
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Old 02-29-2012, 03:56 PM
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I'm just a regular car guy, no shop, but when I back halved my Nova, starting out with cutoff wheels and sawsall, for an hour or so, I went out and bought a Lincoln ProCut 25, what a dream machine it is. I used it to cut my hood for the blower as well, and have used it quite a bit for minor fabrication, stands, bracket stuff. The only issue I had was most of my household breakers were only 15A, if you turn it up you could use a heavier circuit. It doesn't get much use lately, but it's there if needed. Some would consider having one as overkill, or an unnecessary luxury, but....
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Old 03-01-2012, 06:58 AM
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I recently purchased a 'new' (Was supposed to be new.. Had fingerprints on the gun, but $400 all in), HF 40 amp plasma (I'm a hobbyest, figuring it would be fine for my needs).

I couldn't be happier with it. Pilot arc, igbt, trafimet gun yadda yadda. For a guy in his garage the odd time, I think it's perfect. Glad I didn't buy an ebay special (the ziptied guns turned me off). Sure this will only cut 1/2-5/8, but I just use it to zip through 1/4" aluminum most of the time.

My regret is not buying one BEFORE my car was almost done.
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Old 03-08-2012, 09:38 PM
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I have a Century / Hypertherm unit I bought some years back from Sears. This was when plasma's weren't too cheap and available to hobbyists. Mine DOES cut through paint or any other coatings on metals. It is a high frequency unit and requires no contact with the workpiece to operate. I don't even have to ground it with the work clamp, although it is recommended.
The only problem I have with the unit....it's so easy to cut metals and so hard to weld them back together!
I punch out spot weld with it. Cut steel for panels and fabrications. And i got fortunate that consumables aren't too expensive for it. The best advice - buy one with an industry standard torch. Wierd, mail order tip parts will get tiresome.
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