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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    157

    Default Spectrum 375 - Disappointing & drag shield?

    I have a Spectrum 375 which I bought for a specific use several months ago. It worked fairly well for what I needed but has been sitting around for a while. Recently I wired a 220v 20A outlet and started playing trying to develope some skill at cutting various materials. I expected it would work substantially better then it was at 110v.

    I read all the previous threads I could find on the 375. I have gotten to the point where my cutting is pretty consistant but I think there are several shortcommings. Maybe I'm just missing something.

    First of all, why do I have those green arrows on the pressure gauge which seem not to really correlate to anything? They do look cool but...

    Secondly, what is with the torch? I find it troubling that the right way to set up the consumables is "not too tight, try it a little looser". It is rediculous that I need to fool with the cup. The idea is that I should be able to change the parts and start cutting right where I left off...

    Lastly, the drag shield is really disappointing. The parts are crazy expensive for what they are; which might be ok if they worked.

    When you finally get all the right parts and install them, the nozzle and the shield sit flush with each other. Why??? I thought the whole idea is that it holds the optimal stand off. In actuality, it cuts like crap, no matter what the settings or thickness of material. If you angle the torch you can create a bit of arc length but then the arc is all over the place and the capacity and quality go way down. Straight down really is the best cut except toward the very end of the cut. To be precise, for those of you still trying to get better cuts with this thing remember this. If you pull the cut it seems to additionally undercut the left side as it moves toward you, if you push, the opposite the right side has more undercut as it moves away. You can compensate to some degree by slightly tilting the opposit direction. It is less noticable on thinner material.

    After alot of aggravation, I have a few things to share.

    If you loosen the drag shield several turns and create about 1/8" of stand off, it cuts like you would expect. Of course, if you drag the shield along a fence it tightens or loosens and screws things up.

    Also, because the inside edges of the drag shield is thin and tapered, it deteriorate quickly.

    As an experiment I took a used tip, ground it down about an 1/8" and cleaned out the orifice. Screwed everything together and wow! works great, but does expose the edge of the drag shield to even more abuse. Experimenting will get expensive soon. This machine was not cheap. Miller needs to straighten this out.

    I was at the local supply and was looking at the torch with the 40A model and low and behold the standard tip on it was a drag shield, with the stand off and a much heavier shield with notches all around to relieve some of the traped arc/plasma. I cannot imagine it would be difficult to come up with something similar for the smaller torch.

    I am not trying to nock Miller; I have several pieces of equipment that I love, (is it that blue color?) but this was not well thought out and now it seems I hear nothing but excuses about technique and air pressure/volume etc.

    The truth is that without the drag shield, the uses and capacity are very limited. I can hold the line and the 1/8" standoff (even though I'm getting old, blind and shakey) on the bench, but upside down trying to cut out some bracket or something I might as well just break out the torch.

    Let me know if you guys have had a similar experience.

    Thanks

    John
    Last edited by Handy560; 02-17-2008 at 07:12 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    near rochester NY
    Posts
    9,881

    Default

    it is a bit funny about only a loose tighten, took me a bit to get that one too. i have the 125C though and its drag cup is ok except you cant really see the cut point, so for fine artsy fartsy stuff you need to free hand it. i also did not like the torch too much, thought a pencil type would be cool for the artsy fokes. i added a foot trigger to mine and it allows better use of the torch in odd positions or shapes. but for the most part i free hand my stuff. takes a little getting used to but before long you will have it dialed in. i have not fired up the torch to cut anything sense getting my lil plasma, but i could use a bigger one. the spec.375 is my next stop.
    thanks for the help
    ......or..........
    hope i helped

    feel free to shoot me an e-mail direct i have time to chat. james@newyorkmetalart.com
    summer is here, plant a tree. if you don't have space or time to plant one sponsor some one else to plant one for you. a tree is an investment in our planet, help it out.
    JAMES

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    157

    Default 375?

    The 375 is pretty heavy. I am sure the 40A (next bigger) model is even heavier. If the difference in portabilty is important to you that is one issue. Certainly, the input requirements also must be considered. The 375 can run 110v in a pinch and I am not sure about the larger ones.

    But if I were shopping from the beginning, I would go larger. The 375 is a bit underpowered imo for anything over 1/4". You almost always cut at full power.

    Thanks for your input...

    John

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    157

    Default

    No one else with any 375 experience?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Dallas, TX area
    Posts
    267

    Default 375 Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Handy560 View Post
    The 375 is pretty heavy. I am sure the 40A (next bigger) model is even heavier. If the difference in portabilty is important to you that is one issue. Certainly, the input requirements also must be considered. The 375 can run 110v in a pinch and I am not sure about the larger ones.

    But if I were shopping from the beginning, I would go larger. The 375 is a bit underpowered imo for anything over 1/4". You almost always cut at full power.
    I dithered about which machine to buy. Back and forth between the 375-X and the 625. I finally bought the 375-Xtreme because it went perfectly with my current portable air compressor capacity (DeWalt D55155 @ 4.5 SCFM). Portability was a big issue for me.

    While I realize my machine is not the same as yours, I have had no "machine" problems whatsoever. Mine has no pressure gauge, no drag shield, but the same torch, essentially. Every problem I've encountered has been immediately attributable to technique, mostly to cut speed. I've loosened the cup a few times to perform the daily checks and make ensure the safeties take the machine offline, but otherwise it stays snugly attached.

    If you are having to jockey around with the torch cup like that, maybe you have some internal part (O-ring, swirl ring, etc) missing or damaged. In a similar situation, I would read the manual and rebuild the torch with all new components. If I continued to have a problem, I would seek the assistance of the world's best LWS (GASCO on Motor Street in Dallas, TX) or Miller directly. They WANT/NEED you to be happy with your cutter and will bend over backwards to see that through.

    HTH
    Triggerman

    Ammonia refrigeration tech
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    "A professional knows what to do. A craftsman knows why."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    157

    Default improved?

    After your post I checked out the specs for the 375-x.

    I noticed that under the section describing the torch it says "improved" tip and swirl cup.

    Maybe there have been updates to the torch.

    There definitely is a learning curve to the technique and my cuts are getting better and more consistent; I am certainly not an expert. But my customized tip for the drag shield should not cut better than the new out of the box one.

    I changed the parts a few times and basically have reassembled as per the parts drawing. Actually, I don't think you really can put it together wrong and still work.

    Having a good drag shield for the torch would really widen the uses for the cutter.

    BTW, what thickness material are you usually cutting?

    Thanks,

    John

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Queens NY
    Posts
    1,547

    Default

    I spent over 100 bucks setting my self up with consumables and the drag cup, i was very dissapointed with what i recieved. I haven't used it yet but it doesn't look like it will work any differently than a regular setup. i'm going to make a standoff attachment like miller used to sell for older plasma machines.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    West Texas
    Posts
    12

    Default

    I would have to agree with the learning curve. I have had my 375 for 5 or six years and it does everthing I ask of it, including cutting some 1/2" plate. I use my regularly for everthing from 16ga to 1/4" all the time. Just give it some time. It is a great little product, but isn't going to cut like a water jet of laser.. just my 2 cents
    1Y Iron
    Millermatic 210
    Millermatic 135
    Miller Blue Star 145
    Dynasty 200DX
    Spectrum 375
    Scotchman Porta-Fab 45

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    157

    Default Attachment?

    Let me know about the attachment you are looking to make. After you mess with the drag cup set up a bit, try to loosen the drag cup a few turns and see how much better it cuts with some stand off, about 1/8".

    If you do too much like this though you will likely damage that EXPENSIVE little piece of metal.

    Tell us how the drag cup set up works!

    Thanks

    John

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Vancouver, Washington
    Posts
    51

    Default

    I have the 375 and I love it. Of course my previous experience was with a much older machine that was not very reliable and used up consumables like they were free. I almost always cut with a standoff and get fair cuts; it beats the old machine hands down and works much better than the torch. I regularly cut ½” and 18ga with good results. I do get a little bit of beveling but not much most of the time it is my fault, tipping the torch one way or the other. My only complaint so far is who came up with the torch safety? It drives me nuts flipping the little yellow thingy and sometimes I release the trigger in the middle of a cut by accident. Hard to feel with gloves, again my fault not Millers. I don’t have a lot of experience with other machines but over all I am happy with the 375. For straight cuts I found that using a 1X2 angle iron with the 2” side clamped to the work will let you slide the torch along the top of the 1” side giving a 1/8” standoff. Just hold the straight edge ½” off your line.

    Paul.

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