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Possible to have too big of plasma cutter?

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  • Possible to have too big of plasma cutter?

    I wondered if it's possible to use to big of plasma cutter for the job. I'd like to cut thin sheet metal 1/16" or so up to 1/2" plate. I'm close to getting a deal on a Miller Spectrum 3080. According to the online manual at the lowest setting can be adjusted to 30A output (I'm guessing this by looking at the dial).

    Any suggestions if this is overkill to the point that my cuts would suffer on sheet metal?

    Thanks ahead of time.

  • #2
    I don't think so. We had a PAC 100 at work and it didn't know if it was cutting 16 ga or 1" plate but my shoe strings did...Bob

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    • #3
      i think your electric bill might suffer a lil but i dont see the cuts suffering. 30 amps should have no problem on the thin stuff. just keep the consumables replaced as needed and cleaner the air the better. if you are getting a good deal on a larger plasma then you need its better then one too small. you will be able to grow into the larger one, where i feel i have outgrown my smaller one and am looking to go bigger.i should have gone bigger to start with but did not have air at the time.

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      • #4
        huh?

        When it comes to tools and equipment is there such a thing as too big, or too much? Dave

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        • #5
          i think he raises a valid point. too much power could easily lead to problems on thiner stock. my spectrum 125C dose a great job on this stuff at 12amps but not so good on 3/16". not being able to get a low enough setting could result in thick cuts in thin matereal. but as it goes down to 30 amps i think he will be ok on the thin stuff, but hope some one with this size cutter chimes in to make shore of that. so in general no there is no such thing as too big. but it could be problematic if working on lil stuff and just plain being too powerfull. some thing i was concerned about on the MM210 i plan on getting, thinking i would have to kep my MM135 for the thin stuff, but after trying the MM210 on 20 gage i no longer have that consern. the MM210 worked great on 20 gage and i think 30 amps should do fine on thin stuff as well. i know i wish i had waited gotten my air compressor first them gotten a larger plasma cutter. dont get me wrong i love my spec.125 but its limited to small stuff and i now have a need to do thicker. O/A will get it done but plasma would not only be nicer but much more conveneant.

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          • #6
            too much power means bigger cut

            I've been cutting thin and thick material with plasma cutters for over ten years now and I can tell from experience that cut quality will suffer with too much power on THIN material.

            The REAL question is how thin are you likely to be cutting MOST of the time and how thick? 30 amps is too much power for good (hand) cut quality on thin stock (say 14 to 18 gauge). Sure you can cut it, but it will be hard to get decent small cuts or intricate detail. To a certain extent you can makeup for the excess power with faster travel speed, but with hand cutting this gets tricky, especially on small detail.

            If you anticipate working at 1/16" or thinker you are probably OK with the bigger unit. It certainly will provide a better cut on thicker stock.

            We were able to get better detail out of our unit by getting a 30amp drag tip (the highest amperage Esab makes for drag tips). This provides a much finer cut on thin stock than the standard offset tip.

            The initial cost of the unit is only the tip of the iceberg, you have the cost of power, consumables and your time to add to the equation. Not to mention any time spent cleaning up lousy cuts. I'd aim for a unit optimized for what you will be cutting most of the time - you'll be happier in the long run.

            Good Luck!

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            • #7
              i thought 30 amps was a low enough amp to make good cuts on small stock. non of the info on the sites tell you the cut amps available though, strange its not there. or maybee i missed it ?? any how as my spec125 is a 14amp i figured 30 must not be too high. the spec375 is the next step up any one know what its amp range is ??
              would a smaller torch help ??

              Comment


              • #8
                Thermal Dynamics cutmaster38

                Originally posted by jjsjeff View Post
                I wondered if it's possible to use to big of plasma cutter for the job. I'd like to cut thin sheet metal 1/16" or so up to 1/2" plate. I'm close to getting a deal on a Miller Spectrum 3080. According to the online manual at the lowest setting can be adjusted to 30A output (I'm guessing this by looking at the dial).

                Any suggestions if this is overkill to the point that my cuts would suffer on sheet metal?

                Thanks ahead of time.
                20-30 amps u cant beat that. I've cut 22guage steel and 3/8 inch steel with this unit. They r priced right and very reliable

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have a 1000 G3 that works great on the thick stuff.... but when I get artistic with it I have to keep my travel speeds very high otherwise you end up with a lot of slag on the back of your work piece. I ended up buying a used 375 for the small stuff and that dropped my travel speed down to where it was manageable. But then again the 375 is a dog on anything bigger than 3/16 steel. You really have to decide the the range you'll be working with most.

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                  • #10
                    I have the 375 xtreme, it goes from 20-27 amps and can runn 110 or 220. I will say on 22 gauge metal it throws a 1/8" kerf on a drag cut, If you give it the reccomended 1/8" spacing between tip and material the kerf goes up to 1/4" on 20amp. Controlling the cut can be somewhat unwieldy as the amperage is a bit much for the metal. 30 amps is doable, but you wont have the control you expect from a plasma. The 125 is great for sheet metal, not so great for anything over 1/4" and dead at 3/8". The 375 is great for 14 gauge to 3/16 and ok for 20, 22 gauge (haven't tried 24).

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                    • #11
                      Thermal Dynamics

                      I have a TD Cutmaster 51. You can definitely tell when you forget to dial the power down on thin materials, i.e., wide sloppy cuts. The power range on this machine will let you cut precise thin cuts on very thin material and genuine cuts up to 1/2 inch. It will rough cut up to 3/4 inch mild steel. Check out their website for more specs.

                      My Bobcat 250NT will power this machine in the field or a 220V/50A circuit in the shop will handle it easily. Power available was the limiting factor for me.

                      I like the TD's better than the Miller plasma cutters. I guess it is the same with all plasma cutters but you really must keep your air source clean and dry to get the best cuts. TD make a great filter that fits on the back of the machine and I run another water filter/separator on the wall end of the air supply. Make sure you never use a pneumatic hose that has been used with and oiler.

                      This setup has worked well for me.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by woolecox View Post
                        I have a TD Cutmaster 51. You can definitely tell when you forget to dial the power down on thin materials, i.e., wide sloppy cuts. The power range on this machine will let you cut precise thin cuts on very thin material and genuine cuts up to 1/2 inch. It will rough cut up to 3/4 inch mild steel. Check out their website for more specs.
                        I think this is what I was looking for on my initial question. I didn't know if the larger plasmas kept the same thickness of cut as the smaller plasmas on thinner material. I guess it would be like the equivalent of cutting wood trim with a sawmill.

                        Thanks for the input.

                        P.S. I've been looking at the TD 38 on eBay.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My G3 1000 cut up (sever) some scrap 1-1/4 thick I-beam scrap I had in the yard (don't ask)so I could throw it away, and I have a kit for cutting up real this stuff that worked excellent on some 18 gage aluminum. Having 2 machines would have been nice, but I'm super limited on storage space. So I needed a machine that could do all.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by bikecollector1220 View Post
                            I have a 1000 G3 that works great on the thick stuff.... but when I get artistic with it I have to keep my travel speeds very high otherwise you end up with a lot of slag on the back of your work piece.
                            I upgraded my Powermax 1100 to the RT80 torch - which is similar to the torch on the G3 machines. I can cut over 1" cleanly and then switch over to the FineCut consumables and cut sheetmetal just as cleanly. You might want to look into those for your 1000.

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                            • #15
                              I bought the finecut consumables kit also. Haven't had time to try it out.
                              I have sheet of 3/32" aluminum. Would you recommend the finecut consumables for that or just go regular?

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