plasma welder questions

I am considering a new welder purchase and have narrowed it down to either a Thermal Arc 185TSW tig or a used Thermal Arc Ultima 150 Plasma. They are about the same price. I weld mostly mild and stainless steel and some Aluminum,though I am planning to do more Al. I have very limited experience with plasma but have done some researh and it looks very interesting. My current understanding is that is doesn't weld aluminum do to it being strickly DCEN. Is this true? The other question I have about plasma welding is the comparison in welding between TGAW and PAW. Since the arc is more focused than tig can it weld thicker sections than comparable tig amperages? Any experienced plasma welders out there? thanks, rick

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No. Plasma welding is mainly used for welding thin materiels using a keyhole technique where the needle arc passes through the base metal. It does not work well for multi pass welds.

Plasma welding is mostly used for extremely thin metals or very sensitive alloys like gold, silver, platinum, and some aerospace alloys.

I do not recommend it for a general shop welding solution because it is extremely complex. You need different torch parts for each amperage range, and the parts are not cheap.

Go for the Thermal Arc 185TSW, and you will not be dissapointed. They are good machines.

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Ernie Leimkuhler

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