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Old 11-03-2011, 06:37 PM
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thinkin Plasma cutter?

I am considering buying a Plasma cutter $700. I always have an old car that i am working from on. Right now I use a disk grinder, sawsall, arc welder, ect... to to cut off bolts, brackets, frame pieces
Once I go Plasma will I never go back??? Are they worth it for fabrication?...

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Old 11-03-2011, 07:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigalow
I am considering buying a Plasma cutter $700. I always have an old car that i am working from on. Right now I use a disk grinder, sawsall, arc welder, ect... to to cut off bolts, brackets, frame pieces
Once I go Plasma will I never go back??? Are they worth it for fabrication?...


I have a Miller, And I can say.. I waited waaaaaaayyyy to long to buy mine..... It get used EVERYDAY at my shop....

Now There is times it can't be used..(tight spot's)
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Old 11-03-2011, 07:34 PM
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I have a Lincoln. It has its place in the shop and is used a lot. But, I'm not going to throw out all my other cutting tools.
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Old 11-03-2011, 09:13 PM
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air dryer ! ! !

A little bit of moisture will ruin the tips in about 2 seconds. replacement parts $ 200 for my esab $ 2 k plasma. I bought a motorguard cartridge filter then the clear plastic ones that change color when they are used up. There is a tip here on Hr about using kitty litter and an old propane tank to make a large desicant dryer. I got rid of all my old obsolete propane tanks a couple years ago.
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Old 11-04-2011, 07:30 PM
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There is so much you can do with a plasma cutter. As mentioned previously, dry air is essential for expendable life and almost as important is shiney clean metal to cut on. Of course if the shiney metal has oil on it, it is VERY dirty! I am limited to about 3/8 inch steel with my unit so cutting nuts and bolts are not on my list. Sheet metal and flat stock (I include angle iron, and square rectangular tubing) are my mainstays. Small bar stock is also OK. Cutting expanded metal is a snap but does wear the tip a bit faster. A real time saving tool that will turn out very precise cuts.

Trees
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Old 11-05-2011, 11:20 AM
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if your building one car, don't. if your a fabricator that makes everything, think about it. i have access to one and never use it. i also bought a torch and sold it a few yrs ago. i prefer using a cutoff wheel in a small grinder. it usually takes as long to clean up a plasma cut as it would to cut it with a grinder.

plasma cuts new stuff a lot better than old rusty stuff. can't cut anything with oil or paint on it. $700 would be a lot better spent on a portaband.

i do a lot of fabricating my tool of choice is a cutoff blade followed by a bandsaw for production cutting.
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Old 11-05-2011, 01:33 PM
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i have access to one and never use it. i also bought a torch and sold it a few yrs ago. i prefer using a cutoff wheel in a small grinder. it usually takes as long to clean up a plasma cut as it would to cut it with a grinder.

i do a lot of fabricating my tool of choice is a cutoff blade followed by a bandsaw for production cutting.[/QUOTE]

My thoughts and experiences exactly
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Old 11-14-2011, 12:19 AM
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hi, i have a DYNACNC 4x8 plasma table with stepper motors.Have had it for about 2 years and three months.I have had no issues with it.You will hear people say bad things about aluminum extrusion tables.I can honestly say I would not want to throw a 4x8 sheet of 1 inch plate on my table all day long.I actually built a water table for mine which is kinda like a table within a table.The water table as its own support legs and is completly made of steel and probably could support a mid sized car.The dynacnc table is really only a gantry now for me and doesn't support any weight of the material being cut.Is the DYNACNC table the best? I cannot answer that because I have never owned anything else.If I ever need another table I will probably build my own just to save money.My dynacnc table runs CandCNC electronics and TOM CAUDLE(aka TORCHHEAD) is very helpful and his customer support is top notch,but DYNACNC uses someone elses electronics now.
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Old 11-22-2011, 02:05 PM
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ThermoDynamics is what I have and love it, im looking in to a table with software next for cnc...
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Old 11-22-2011, 07:00 PM
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I have an Eastwood unit I picked up a few months back - I'm with New Interiors - waited way too long. I use it all the time.

If you are cutting a long straight, clamp on a piece of angle iron and let it rip. Minimal slag, and none of the noise and hassle of a cut off. Had to notch the upper control arm on my truck to clear the headers. Was going to take it off, then figured I'd just reach in with the plasma and cut it off - saved me a couple hours and an alignment.

You will find uses for it every day.
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Old 11-22-2011, 07:06 PM
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I bought a Thermal Dynamics cutmaster 38 a few yrs back. Way kool tool once you get used to it and how to cut stuff.
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Old 02-15-2012, 07:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigalow
I am considering buying a Plasma cutter $700. I always have an old car that i am working from on. Right now I use a disk grinder, sawsall, arc welder, ect... to to cut off bolts, brackets, frame pieces
Once I go Plasma will I never go back??? Are they worth it for fabrication?...
Buy it, it'll be a good investment. I got mine a few years ago and I'm plasma cutting most days now.
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Old 02-15-2012, 07:47 AM
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I bought a Hypertherm unit, and, have been happy with it, although like most Posters here I use cutoff wheels-more and more I find myself using my 4 1/2" Milwaukee with a cutoff wheel for the thin stuff.

If I have to cut out a lot of metal, then I will break out the Plasma, or when I am cutting thick stuff over 16 Gauge-it's just faster, and the clean-up (for me) is about the same, cut-off wheels vs. Plasma.

My Brother-In-Law has started a company where he makes replacement power seat adjusters for Cars where you can't buy them separately, (where you have to buy the complete adjuster assemblies from the Dealer-Dodge Pickups, Mustangs and the like), and he has been using a cut-off for this for about 2 Years or so-he came to visit and I let him try my Plasma-he fell in love (as his cuts are of the 1/8"+ variety, and it has saved him a lot of time.

Would I buy one again or recommend one? Like Ogre suggested, unless you are doing more than one Car, or are doing a tremendous amount of customizing or chopping, I think you can "get by" with a variety of cut-off wheels-would I sell mine? Not on your life!
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Old 02-17-2012, 06:56 AM
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I work part time in several race car shops and a trailer shop. The Miller plasma is really a valuable tool. We make patterns from 1/4 and 3/16 masonite and just cut the parts out. It works great for circles especially...we have hole sizes up to 6" that are used often and many other shaps.

I cut suspensions off trailer often. These are full of rust and grease and other not so nice stuff from horses and cows. Works great ans is fast.

We still use the O&A torch to heat nuts and for cutting the plasma can't reach.

One thing we found was that if you cut 4130 steel with the plasma the edge gets very hard and will kill a saw blade or drill very quickly.

I also use the grinder and cut off wheels extensively.

So all in all the plasma is just another usefull too, but not and end all.
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Old 02-17-2012, 07:21 AM
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I could not wait to get my plasma cutter. After using it for different projects I see I over rated my need for it. You cannot duplicate the precision of a hand held grinder with a cut off wheel; well if you were a robot you could.

My uses for the plasma ended up being quick hack jobs mostly. It is nice to quickly cut a general shape, lop off a piece. For instance this is a gauge used to make the contour of the air dam. The inside was cut with accuracy with a grinder but the tool itself was cut out of the plate with the plasma.





You can gain some accuracy with a template and a steady hand but even then the metal still needs some clean up work. Some people like working hard to get a good plasma cut and that's good but I still prefer the grinder when i can.

I have also found the plasma useful in cutting things I could get no other tool in. I had to clear some webbing from inner body structure to make way for a bracket. No grinder or cutter would fit in where I put the plasma.

As far as grinder accuracy you might be surprised. I have no trouble holding 1/32" when cutting with a grinder and provisions can be made to be even more accurate. The 3rd image is a cam for a single cyl engine I made cut from a 1" thick plate using a hand held grinder.



Please excuse the fact I have no guard on my grinder. Yes it's a bad idea and I have no excuse for it:







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