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  • Plasma cutter air requirements?

    Hello, new to here and eager to get a plasma cutter. Problem is, at the moment I have only a baby air compressor - "Suitable for flooring nailer" size. The Hyperterm site, for example, says in one of the videos that the pressure must be 85 psi. That's no problem, but should I be concerned about volume ? If I should be but I'm willing to live with a low duty cycle, can I muddle through until I get a larger compressor? Or is it not worth the trouble and I should just wait until I can get a large compressor before I get the plasma cutter?

    Thanks,

    Mickey

  • #2
    youre not going to do much if any cutting with one of those compressors. i dont think its worth investing in at the moment. id rather be working than messing with a 2 second duty cycle and in such case an abrasive or a jigsaw or a sawzall is what id use.

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    • #3
      but it does make me wonder how they can put a compressor inside a machine and have it work when my external runs its butt off to keep up.

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      • #4
        Volume, volume, volume and dry air. Cubic feet per minute is what is important The sustained cubic feet per minute, not the hyped that the advertising dept slaps on the the description. Which generally is peak cubic feet. can be as short as a mirco second burst!

        Two biggest mistakes people make is buying an under sized plasma unit, and buying an under sized air compressor. They are hard to sell other than at a big lose. As people see what looks like a brand new unit and the first question is why ya sellen them/it. When you tell them they are to small they will say well I got ta think bout it!

        http://www.jennycompressor.com/howtochoose.html here is the best info on how to choose an air compressor. If I had a need and the money I would own one of theirs, but the info works for all compressors.

        I have this one http://www.tractorsupply.com/ingerso...0-gal--3496129 and have been happy with it. I also have an Hypertherm 600.

        Always buy one size larger of the equipment as it will be worth the wait and save money in the long term. As it will always end up being just a hair tool small and you end up pushing the limits of the machines!

        Dry air, will extend the life of your consumables, you may not need an fancy refrigerated one but a Moto guard filter at a minimum. http://www.motorguard.com/motorguard.html either M-30 Maximum Flow - 45CFM, M-60 Maximum Flow - 100CFM or MC-100 Activated Carbon Filter look under point of use system tab.
        glen, been there, done that and probably broke it!If you aren't on the edge. You'r taking up to much room

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        • #5
          Originally posted by mickeyf View Post
          Hello, new to here and eager to get a plasma cutter. Problem is, at the moment I have only a baby air compressor - "Suitable for flooring nailer" size. The Hyperterm site, for example, says in one of the videos that the pressure must be 85 psi. That's no problem, but should I be concerned about volume ? If I should be but I'm willing to live with a low duty cycle, can I muddle through until I get a larger compressor? Or is it not worth the trouble and I should just wait until I can get a large compressor before I get the plasma cutter?

          Thanks,

          Mickey
          The specs on all Hypertherm products will show the cfm required for normal operation as well as the pressure. What is the maximum thickness you need to cut, and do you need a portable air-supply?
          Last edited by Northweldor; 02-17-2012, 12:02 PM.

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          • #6
            I was afraid of that. I have since found some other spec sheets, and they say things like "5.0 CFM", some less, but enough to put me off. I guess I'll be holding off and acquiring my tools in the right order. Thanks for the responses.

            Mickey

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            • #7
              I think a good size for the "home shop" is one of the 60 gallon, honest 3.5 Horsepower compressors. I'm talking about something with a 230V motor drawing about 16 Amps and rated about 12 CFM at 90 PSI, max of about 135 PSI. Sure, if you can get a 2-stage 5 or 7 HP, great. You might be able to a wee bit of sandblasting then. But I'm talking about something that will do a bit of work and cost maybe $400. these days if you shop wisely. Just my 2 cents.
              --- RJL ----------------------------------------------

              Ordinarily I'm insane, but I have lucid moments when I'm merely stupid.
              -------------------------

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              • #8
                Originally posted by mickeyf View Post
                I was afraid of that. I have since found some other spec sheets, and they say things like "5.0 CFM", some less, but enough to put me off. I guess I'll be holding off and acquiring my tools in the right order. Thanks for the responses.

                Mickey
                If, like me, your air-supply needs are minimal, portability is a requirement, and the maximum thickness you usually need to cut is 3/8" or less, (I have an O/A outfit I can use on thicker stuff), you can use a cheaper compressor (4.5 cfm) with no problem on the HT Powermax 30. I have, with no problem, for 4+ years. My compressor (Briggs and Stratton oil lube 12 gal.) will run intermittently (not at max) up to cuts 12" long on 3/8".
                I also have a few air tools that I run on this compressor, and it has outlasted my expectations and still runs well. Because of space and noise problems, I don't need or want anything bigger, and this cost less than $100, slightly scratched, runs on 110 and goes where ever I want to go, along with the PM 30.
                Last edited by Northweldor; 02-18-2012, 07:30 AM.

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