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Plasma cutter recommendations


AKwelder
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Well I am ready for a plasma cutter.  I would prefer the opinions of this forum over the welding forums. 
 

Want to cleanly cut 1/2 steel and severe more (maybe 3/4).  Starting to deal with aluminum more.

I think we have plenty of air in the shop, 15 cfm at 140 psi, I plan on a dedicated air drop with filter/dryer 

We have limited dealer support here, so I need recommendations for and against. What to avoid is important when I am trying to use my local dealer 

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Hypertherm Powermax85 SYNC. This will do up to 3/4" mild steel. I'm assuming you have 3 Phase power?

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, FarmallFan said:

Hypertherm Powermax85 SYNC. This will do up to 3/4" mild steel. I'm assuming you have 3 Phase power?

I do not have it at my shop.  Going with 240 volt

 

 

at work is a different story, and they buy things in a way different price range 

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1 minute ago, AKwelder said:

I do not have it at my shop.  Going with 240 volt

Then I'd go with the Hypertherm Powermax65 SYNC. It will cut up to 1/2".

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1 minute ago, FarmallFan said:

Then I'd go with the Hypertherm Powermax65 SYNC. It will cut up to 1/2".

X2 have the same model and love it 

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The only brand I have ever used much (not mine) was Hypertherm and I felt like it worked well. 

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I have a Miller Spectrum 625. It will cut 1/2” no problem. You can run it on 120 or 240 single phase. It doesn’t really take much air to keep up with it. I don’t use it near as much as I thought I would. I really only use it on stainless and mild steel sheet metal. I still like to use the torch to cut some things. 

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So Hypertherm is the brand to buy?

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1 minute ago, Dirt_Floor_Poor said:

I have a Miller Spectrum 625. It will cut 1/2” no problem. You can run it on 120 or 240 single phase. It doesn’t really take much air to keep up with it. I don’t use it near as much as I thought it would. I really only use it on stainless and mild steel sheet metal.

Ok,  looks like a good machine

 

 

so just looking at my local welding supply stores web page

Hypertherm 65 runs $3600

Hyprertherm 45 runs $2400

Miller spectrum 625 runs $2300 

 

add consumables to the above and I have a $1400 up charge for the larger machine, is it worth it?

 

 

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1 minute ago, AKwelder said:

add consumables to the above and I have a $1400 up charge for the larger machine, is it worth it?

I suppose it really depends on how much you are going to use it. Like I said, I don’t use mine as much as I thought I would. For my use, it wouldn’t be worth it to me. If you think you will be cutting a lot of stuff 1/2” and larger, it’s probably worth it. The few times I need to cut some 1” plate, I’m satisfied to use the torch for that. 

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The 45 will do it but will be slower. 

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28 minutes ago, Dirt_Floor_Poor said:

I suppose it really depends on how much you are going to use it. Like I said, I don’t use mine as much as I thought I would. For my use, it wouldn’t be worth it to me. If you think you will be cutting a lot of stuff 1/2” and larger, it’s probably worth it. The few times I need to cut some 1” plate, I’m satisfied to use the torch for that. 

That’s my thought. After the first month I will maybe use it a couple times a month, it’s mostly an I want item.  Now I use a thin cut off disk more than I like, and I don’t like them at all

 

25 minutes ago, FarmallFan said:

The 45 will do it but will be slower. 

this is my thought. I rarely see anything over 3/8 and I can cut it at work anything to thick. 

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Hypertherm 45 xp here. Dry clean air and lots of supply to it is important, put a good regulator downstream of dryer with as short a flex drop to the unit as possible. Have had all sorts of issues that proved to be unrelated to the unit, just air. The technical support was excellent in sorting out the issues. 

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I have a Hypertherm 45, they were the premier machine and one of the first, I thought they had new models out now, maybe that's the XP part, dry air is key, you used to be able to find more reasonable aftermarket consumables, pretty sure Miller is made by someone else for them, used to be Thermal Dynamics or something was another original brand, they have appreciated in value, paid $1000 for mine nib 

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Hypertherm 1000 Series III here.  Older but good.  I hear the new ones are really neat, with autoset depending on the nozzle you put on.  I think where you are located brand would be governed by what you can get support for.  Jim Colt used to be the go to guy at Hypertherm if you had any questions or problems.  i  don't know if he is still with them though.

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I have three of them. One an Esab 35A unit, a Hypertherm PM 85, and a PM 105. All work well and never any problems from any of them. I only use OEM consumables as they hold up a lot better than Chinese garbage if you operate the machine as intended. 

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Have a Hyperthermia 45 with hand torch and a 65 with machine torch on the table. Happy with both. Just put in a refrigerated air dryer to upgrade from desiccant dryer. Amazing difference 

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At work we are on our second hypertherm 85.  Had a powermax 650 before that.  Recommend.  I use the gouge feature a lot.  We were having trouble with the first one that was  8 years or so old.  Traded it for a new one but I believe the problem was just a short in the torch cable.   We are running it on 220 single phase.  

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http://www.weldersupply.com U didn’t say what ur dealer actually carries. I’d talk to whoever does the repair work at the dealer.  See what gets worked on the most & least. I have a spectrum 875. Miller is popular in wisconsin. Being that it’s a local brand. Welding shop here deals in all brands “thermal dynamics” seem to have a large following also. 

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I made up my mind to buy a Miller plasma cutter. Went in to my local welding supply shop, guy behind the counter hemmed & hated,  then said, " You should probably buy a Hypertherm, you'll always be able to get parts for them.  It's a Hyperthem 40, haven't used it a whole lot but it does cut thinner steel really quick. I'd like to get a cutting table but don't think 40Amp is enough power to justify it.  I've had it over 20 years, maybe more like 23-24.

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Thank you for sharing your bad experiences to, helps to avoid the sales pitch at the store

 

I will be shopping at Air Liquide/Air gas or Mathieson.  There is NO repair here, they ship everything to Anchorage, 8 hours south 

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Remember this when buying a Hyptertherm, that is all they do-plasmas, lasers, and specialized cutting equipment.  You pay more for their equipment, but their research and development goes towards building better machines.  Thermal Dynamics is right behind them.    Miller and Lincoln make good plasma machines, but with them the thing to remember is they sell welders primarily and they offer plasmas as part of a full line up (and some people want all machines in their shop to be red or blue).   Hypertherm for the best machine,  Thermal Dynamicns (part ofthe Esab family) for best bang for the buck (they have had the same basic unit and consumables for over a decade because they work great).

 

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2 hours ago, M35A2 said:

Remember this when buying a Hyptertherm, that is all they do-plasmas, lasers, and specialized cutting equipment.  You pay more for their equipment, but their research and development goes towards building better machines.  Thermal Dynamics is right behind them.    Miller and Lincoln make good plasma machines, but with them the thing to remember is they sell welders primarily and they offer plasmas as part of a full line up (and some people want all machines in their shop to be red or blue).   Hypertherm for the best machine,  Thermal Dynamicns (part ofthe Esab family) for best bang for the buck (they have had the same basic unit and consumables for over a decade because they work great).

 

You are exactly right, costs more up front but less on the back end. Thermal Dynamics brought us one to demo but it would not run off welder (dirty power)

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