Plasma cutter advice

I'm ready to take the plunge and get a plasma cutter. I would like to get something that would be able to easily handle 3/8th and occasionally thicker. Power may be a concern. My garage is wired for 220V 30 Amps. I probably could run a larger outlet if needed. I also have a 15,000 watt generator with a 50 Amp 220v outlet which I figure I could use. My questions

  1. If I get more unit ( greater thickness capability ) than I need, can I run it at lower amps out of my 220v outlet for the thinner stuff. I notice on some specs, they rate them at specific currents such as 20 and 40 amps. I would think they would be infinitely variable within a range. Is this true?

  1. One of the projects I would like to do would require 1/2 to 1 inch holes in 3/8 stainless plate. I do not have the equipment to do this otherwise. Can the plasma cutter do this. I mean can it do a hole in the middle of a plate or does it need a free edge to start at?

  2. Any brand recommendations? I see prior posts seem to like the Hypertherm products such as the powermax 600. Do people still feel this way or are ther better. Price is not really a limiting factor within reason. Any other recommendations. Should I get a bigger unit so it is less loaded on the thinner stuff ( assuming I can run it as noted in question 1)?

  1. Are they OK to run off generators?



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To some degree. Larger plasma cutters don't go as low as some smaller units, but then you just have to cut faster.

Yes you can piece cut, but you would do better, and make your tips last a lot longer, if you drilled a 1/4" pilot hole with a cobalt drill bit first.

The Hypertherm 600 is a great machine.

All modern plasma cutters are inverter based and do fine from generators.

Reply to
Ernie Leimkuhler


One thing to keep in mind with a plasma cutter is the need for good ventilation. Even with small work, a plasma cutter produces prodigious clouds of noxious fumes. One good solution is to have ventilation drawing air from inside a cutting table. The torch will typically direct the cloud toward the ground. Because the gasses are hot, they will then rise to the ceiling. If you set up a cutting table in a similar manner as an inverted fume hood, you can avoid having the gasses fill your space.

Most people will open their shop door, or garage doors to help ventilate while using the plasma cutter.

In either case, it's good to get a heads up about what these little gems produce in the way of fumes. It can be a surprise.

Happy plasma cutting.


BP wrote:

Reply to
Guy Morin

very good point Guy,

that is why do all the plasma cutting outside and still wear a respirator.

Reply to

Thanks for the advice. I think I'll go for it


Reply to

I did not know this. I was planning on doing my cutting outside as I only have an attached garage.

Thanks Barry

Reply to

My mistake. I was reading wrong info about ESAB. Thanks. Jim

Reply to

Plasma cutting stainless can be great fun. I now use better ventilation after doing that once.

Reply to
Andy Dingley

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