My brother and I are considering going 1/2 on a plasma cutter. We'd like to keep the purchase under $1k ish total. We're mostly doing thin stuff 1/8 or 1/4 on occasion. What's best bang for the buck in this area?
The general consensus is that Thermal Dynamics, and Hypertherm seam to make the best plasma cutters. I own a thermal dynamics 12 amp machine (goes by the name drag-gun or victor Firepower) and it suites my needs (I only cut 20ga - 16ga sheet, no more than 1/8" steel). The higher the amperage the more cutting power you will get. Thermal Dynamic Cutmaster 38 goes for around a thousand dollars or so (at least on Ebay). Beware of the cheaper "no name" machines because of the lack of consumables available. You will need consumables like electrode tips and nozzles, your local welding supply store should carry the thermal dynamics, hypertherm, or miller items. Clean, dry air will make them last longer, but ALL plasma cutters consume these parts. Good Luck, walt ps. if you're cutting anything thicker than 1/8" you will need a 220 volt input machine.