plasma cutter 101

I just got a new (to me) plasma cutter running. I'm having an awful
time with getting too far away (manual says hold 1/8" away) or
something and losing the arc and then a restart.
I know, practice, practice. Any suggestions?
So far, I'm not impressed. The torch is far easier. Plasma cutter does
work way better on AL though. I'll concentrate on AL and thin sheet
steel.
Karl
Reply to
Karl Townsend
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You don't have a drag shield for it? My Powermax 1000 has drag shields (I use unsheilded on the CNC table) and standoff distance is not an issue. If you recall the rod recommendation thread, I used my plasma cutter to cut the door and window openings in steel cargo containers. Measure and mark with a sharpie, use a couple welding magnets to stick a piece if 1/2" square steel tube as a guide, shift the guide into proper alignment, and then cut. Perhaps 20 seconds to cut a side of the opening top to bottom. Way better than an O/A cutting torch.
Reply to
Pete C.
I've been surfing the web for this idea. A drag cup is offerred for my unit. But I also found one fella that said this didn't work well on this machine because it just plugs up. He went on to say he built a custom fixture for standoff guide. Its an old thread from a group that's not active. So, I'm sure this poster won't reply. Any suggestions on building a guide fixture?
Karl
Reply to
Karl Townsend
The shield tips on my Powermax 1k don't generally plug up, at least not when cutting thinner materials. The only reason one would plug up would be from spray back during difficult piercing of thicker materials, and that can be avoided by starting with the torch tilted at an angle so spray back deflects away from the torch. For cargo container wall material (10ga-ish?) piercing can be straight on and is pretty much instant. The shield is copper so anything that is starting to build up wipes of easily with gloves.
I've seen in I think a Haynes welding book, a picture of a clamp-on collar that used a couple shielded ball bearings as standoff guide rollers. The same setup could be attached to a compass arm with a mag pivot point as a circle cutter. Certainly something that could be easily built, but a roller shield won't fit into the tight spaces that a drag shield will.
Reply to
Pete C.
I found a place on the web, weldingsupply.com, and ordered consumables including a crown cup for drag and a regular cup. I see the newer plasma units have a better drag shield available. I think I can fabricate something similar.
Karl
Reply to
Karl Townsend

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