Official Page Launch February 2nd 2018!!!
Like nearly every component involved in Plasma Cutting when it comes to Plasma Cutters
you have lots of choices and opinions. The information here is based on my experience and
opinions from using plasma cutters over the last 18 years so your welcome to use this info
My first table used an adapted Harbor Freight plasma cutter. Yes it did work and it did cut,
but there were a few draw backs. Parts, service and support were non existent. There were only
one nozzle and electrode option available and other parts had to be special ordered and were not available in the store. The torch switch and handle had to be opened up and rewired to work with the machine controls and there were no cut charts or speed information available. Everything was trial and error in the beginning.
I learned lots of lessons from this first torch and did my homework before my next machine. When looking for the plasma cutter for my second machine I knew a few things. I wanted a machine that was designed for CNC plasma cutting. I wanted a machine that had lots of cut charts and data with settings, speeds, and power info. I wanted a machine in which parts and accessories were readily available. And I wanted a machine that had great support and service.
Using these factors I narrowed my search down to two companies -
In the end I selected a Hypertherm Powermax65 for my second CNC Plasma Table. While Thermal Dynamics makes acceptable machines the Hypertherm units really shined when it came to the company. You can tell they live, and breath CNC plasma cutting. The cut data, charts and information from Hypertherm was amazing and extensive. The employee's that that I talked with at trade shows and on the phone were amazing and very helpful and the quality of the product and the quality of their cuts were second to none. The Hypertherm consumables were also less expensive than competitors when comparing them at online and local resources. These factors as well as when polling machine owners across the country Hypertherm was the most widely used machine. I used my Powermax65 on my second CNC plasma machine for about 6 years. It performed great and I have no regrets. When I sold my second CNC plasma table system the Hypertherm Powermax65 went with it and its still performing great for the new owner.
When I started the hunt for my Third and current CNC plasma machine there was one thing I knew, it had to have a Hypertherm on it. For this machine I selected the Hypertherm Powermax85. I wanted to have a little more cutting capacity with this machine vs the last and that is why I stepped up to the 85.
Types of Plasma Cutters -
What can a plasma cutter cut? Plasma cutters can cut any conductive metal, so Steel, Aluminum, Stainless steel, Titanium, Copper are all able to be cut with a plasma cutter. Your not going to be able to cut things like: glass, plastic, ceramics or wood.
How does a plasma cutter work? The plasma cutting process, as used in the cutting of electrically conductive metals, utilizes this electrically conductive gas to transfer energy from an electrical power source through a plasma cutting torch to the material being cut.
The basic plasma arc cutting system consists of a power supply, an arc starting circuit and a torch.
These system components provide the electrical energy, ionization capability and process control
that is necessary to produce high quality, highly productive cuts on a variety of different materials.
The power supply is a constant current DC power source. The open circuit voltage is typically in the
range of 240 to 400 VDC. The output current (amperage) of the power supply determines the speed
and cut thickness capability of the system. The main function of the power supply is to provide the
correct energy to maintain the plasma arc after ionization.
The arc starting circuit is a high frequency generator circuit that produces an AC voltage of 5,000 to
10,000 volts at approximately 2 megahertz. This voltage is used to create a high intensity arc inside the torch to ionize the gas, thereby producing the plasma. The Torch serves as the holder for the consumable nozzle and electrode, and provides cooling (either gas or water) to these parts. The nozzle and electrode constrict and maintain the plasma jet.
Consumables: Are the parts of the Plasma cutting machine that ware out overtime. They are shown above in the exploded diagram. The nozzle and the electrode are the components that ware the quickest and should be considered a matched pair. If you replace the nozzle you should replace the electrode at the same time. The remaining components last much longer and will likely only need to be replaced if damage or after 20 or more nozzle replacements.
What affects consumable life? Consumables are used up more quickly by such factors as:
Air quality -
When should I change your my consumables? Check out this video from Hypertherm
How much do consumables cost? -
average cost for an Electrode is $7.00 So about $13 per change out. How long they last is
dependant on all the factors above.
Who do I recommend for purchase of Hypertherm Plasma cutters and Consumables?
Want a discount on Hypertherm consumables at Baker’s Gas & Welding Supply?
Use code: fabworks5 for 5% off Hypertherm consumables only
Considerations in selecting a Plasma cutter -
What materials and thickness do you plan to cut? -
If you were never going to cut anything beyond ¼ steel why would you consider anything other than the 45XP? SPEED! More amps equals a faster cut speed on a given thickness. For example the 105 can cut ¼ at 192 inches per minute at 105 amps. The 45XP can cut ¼ steel at 72 inches per minute at its max 45 amps. More speed equals more parts in the same amount of time. To achieve the best quality and edge you want to cut at the lowest amps possible for the material. This is not to say the quality is bad at the higher amps but there are some minute gains and losses when you vary speed and amps. You should determine what is best for the individual part you are cutting and the quality requirements.
Links: Hypertherm Home Page Powermax45 XP Powermax65 Powermax85
The Basic parts of a Plasma cutter:
|WHAT IS PLASMA|
|G CODE DEFINED|
|WHAT DO I NEED TO GET STARTED|
|WHAT CAN I DO WITH A CNC PLASMA MACHINE|
|HYPERTHERM PLASMA CUTTERS|
|WATER VS DOWNDRAFT|
|STEPPERS VS SERVOS|
|WESTCOTT PLASMA TABLES|
|PLASMA TABLE SHOPPING GUIDE|
|DESIGN SOFTWARE CAD/ART|
|PRO SERIES TABLE TUTORIALS|
|COREL DRAW TUTORIALS|
|HYPERTHERM POWERMAX TUTORIALS|
|PRICING YOUR WORK|
|MARKETING YOUR PLASMA BUSINESS|
|WHERE TO BUY SUPPLIES & CONSUMABLES|
|NAMING & ORGANIZING FILES|
|TURNING YOUR HOBBY INTO A BUSINESS|