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How's Plasma Cutter's performance on cutting rusty mild steel plate??
If you are cutting Mild steel that is rusty you could expect fairly poor performance. Dependant on what brand of machine you buy you may run into tremendous problems, The thickness of any rust will seriously affect the Quality of cut. usually heavy dross or a very erratic arc will have direct affects on how quality of a cut you can make. How thick of material do you intend to cut? for some thicknesses the oxy acetylene is still best and the most forgiving for scale covered plate. I have honestly had the best luck with less than clean plate using the thermadyne brand of plasmas. Just my .02 cents. Is there any way you could easily clean your cut areas, such as sandblasting etc?
I have a welding addiction
...the only stupid question is the one you didn't ask
I find that, If you have a good clean (really clean) ground clamp area near the cut area. And a fairly clean starting of the cut area. Other than adjusting the travel speed(slower) and cutting power (higher) the biggest mistake people make is placing the ground clamp on the drop away piece of metal!.
make sure it is on the side of the metal that remains.
Since it will ground along the total length of the remaining side of the cut, not just the part that gets smaller as the cut gets larger.
Cleaner is better but at least removing loose dirt, crud and heavy loose rust is better.
It will save time over all, but that has been my experience.