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Old 06-12-2010, 04:07 PM
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Default Plasma Cutters

Does anyone here have experience with plasma cutters?

I have seen them in use, but have never actually used one.

A guy in our building recently picked up a truck load of brand new Esab 875s (a discontinued model). He is selling them for $900 ea. I do know that they originally sold for $2200-$2500.

I'm just wondering if I should jump in on the deal.


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Old 06-12-2010, 04:39 PM
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Default Re: Plasma Cutters

Quote:
Originally Posted by joraft View Post
Does anyone here have experience with plasma cutters?

I have seen them in use, but have never actually used one.

A guy in our building recently picked up a truck load of brand new Esab 875s (a discontinued model). He is selling them for $900 ea. I do know that they originally sold for $2200-$2500.

I'm just wondering if I should jump in on the deal.


Plasma cutters rock. Be careful on how much your consumables cost. Esab is a good brand, should serve you well for years. If you use the thickness of material that the plasma cuts go for it.
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Old 06-12-2010, 04:49 PM
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Default Re: Plasma Cutters

John,

That's a big unit. I have the Miller 375 Extreme here and it works really well. Mine isn't a large one, but will cut anything I need to cut and since it can plug into 120v or 240v it's very portable. $900 is a really good price on such a powerful machine and Esab is a great brand. I can't see that you'd use it a whole lot but I don't use mine a whole lot either. Comes in handy for a lot of odd stuff, but it won't be your go to cutting machine. I use a Dewalt DW872 here for cutting pipe, tubing, angle iron, etc. The Plasma is good for roughing down sheet metals. You'd pretty much use it where you would normally use a torch. The good thing about the plasma unit is it doesn't really care what the metal is you want to cut. It cuts...
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Old 06-12-2010, 05:50 PM
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Default Re: Plasma Cutters

A plasma cutter is fun too and lets you get artsy-fartsy.
Kind of like a very fast (but rough) scroll saw for metal.
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Old 06-12-2010, 10:45 PM
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Default Re: Plasma Cutters

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Originally Posted by MichaelKellough View Post

A plasma cutter is fun too and lets you get artsy-fartsy.
Kind of like a very fast (but rough) scroll saw for metal.
That's just one of the things I was wondering, how clean a cut does a plasma cutter make? How easy is it to cut a straight line? Can one be hooked up to a a CNC router table?

I have a nice metal cutting band saw, maybe I should just stick with that. I wouldn't even be considering a plasma if weren't for this "deal".
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Old 06-12-2010, 11:02 PM
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Default Re: Plasma Cutters

Sometimes you don't want straight. I made a pair of special lamp shades for someone using a plasma cutter. Don't know anything else that would have been practical.

The idea was that the only light emitted from the shade would pass through poetry. I used the plasma cutter to "write" through the surface of a wok in a spiral around and around until it was like lace.

In this case it only took some light surface grinding with a right angle sander to knock down slag and roughness.


Get one
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Old 06-12-2010, 11:49 PM
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Default Re: Plasma Cutters

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Originally Posted by ChrisM View Post
John,

That's a big unit. I have the Miller 375 Extreme here and it works really well. Mine isn't a large one, but will cut anything I need to cut and since it can plug into 120v or 240v it's very portable. $900 is a really good price on such a powerful machine and Esab is a great brand. I can't see that you'd use it a whole lot but I don't use mine a whole lot either. Comes in handy for a lot of odd stuff, but it won't be your go to cutting machine. I use a Dewalt DW872 here for cutting pipe, tubing, angle iron, etc. The Plasma is good for roughing down sheet metals. You'd pretty much use it where you would normally use a torch. The good thing about the plasma unit is it doesn't really care what the metal is you want to cut. It cuts...
Hey Chris,

That DeWalt is a mean machine and I am assuming that it gives a much cleaner cut then the plasma cutter would? Although I have to say that the Esab at $900 seems too good to pass up.

Fred
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Old 06-13-2010, 02:47 AM
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Default Re: Plasma Cutters

Quote:
Originally Posted by joraft View Post
That's just one of the things I was wondering, how clean a cut does a plasma cutter make? How easy is it to cut a straight line? Can one be hooked up to a a CNC router table?

I have a nice metal cutting band saw, maybe I should just stick with that. I wouldn't even be considering a plasma if weren't for this "deal".

There's definately some clean up but it's better than a torch (no where near water jet territory). To cut straight you go against a straight edge. Most of the time you'd use magnetic straight edges and with a plasma cutter you can drag the tip on the material which really helps. I'm shakymoto most of the time so I don't cut that great without a guide. There are CNC plasma's and you can find all kinds of small CNC's (homebuilt, etc.) pretty cheap now. You could probably rig it up in place of a Bosch Colt maybe on something like the CNC shark that Rockler sells. You'd have to pull and tape or band the trigger to get started. Well, it doesn't really sound like a good idea...

John, that is a great price... reminds me of what I think everytime I go to Costco. "Going broke, saving money"
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Old 06-13-2010, 04:25 AM
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Default Re: Plasma Cutters

Quote:
Originally Posted by joraft View Post
That's just one of the things I was wondering, how clean a cut does a plasma cutter make? How easy is it to cut a straight line? Can one be hooked up to a a CNC router table?

I have a nice metal cutting band saw, maybe I should just stick with that. I wouldn't even be considering a plasma if weren't for this "deal".
Yes, buy the ESAB for hand cutting. And yes, they can easily be made into a CNC machine. In one of my lives I used to program CNC plasma cutters -- good for cutting up to about 1-1/2" plate although there will be bias on all of the edges even down to 1/8"-3/16" plate. Above 1-1/2" we use flame cutters (natural gas & oxygen) up to about 9" thick plate. For the more precise work get yourself either a water jet or laser.
From what I know of your shop (so far) you should consider a water jet -- there is no limit to the creativity with one.

EDIT: I just read what I wrote & I made it sound like the ESAB you are considering would cut up to 1-1/2" material...NOT. It takes a much more powerful power supply than in that machine -- I intended to say plasma cutting in general is capable of cutting up to that thickness. The machine you are looking at would be handy for quickly cutting lighter gauge material as you would encounter around automotive work such as race cars.

Last edited by RONWEN; 06-13-2010 at 10:38 AM.
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Old 06-13-2010, 03:33 PM
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Default Re: Plasma Cutters

I had better decide quickly, I just talked to the guy and he only has three left.

The 875 was replaced by a 900 model, and I don't see much difference between the two, except that the 900 weighs a little less and looks a little sleeker:

875

900
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