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I know nothing about plasma cutters.    What can you tell me

Do you have one?

Are they diffacult to  operate?

How hard is it to cut straight lines?

How do you cut patterns?  

Is it hard to use free hand?

Do you really need a  x and y ploter to do your best cutting?  

enlighten me:D
 

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From what I have seen of them in action I would say they are better suited for 1:1 size.
 

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Don't think they'd work well on styrene or abs:D
 

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Q1: I don't actually have one -but my friend and my nephew do...
Q2: they are extremely easy to operate -but they do require tuition for gas type, speed, and current.
Q3: mechanical aligned cuts are normal ie the cutter runs along a track laid on the sheet.
Q4: the software translates your CAD into a x-y axis cut.
Q5: I have never seen one used free hand -but I have seen an atomic hydrogen cutting torch used freehand by an extremely skilled operator and that was only for demonstration purposes...
Q6:YES!

regards

ralph
 

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Hi JJ,
Been thinking (read wanting) one for years. Have used them in the past and they are the cat's butt! You can free hand or use a guide depending on the project. Miller has one that operates on 110 volts and it is a real honey - but as all of Millers stuff they don't give it away. I think it is rated up to 3/8s material. Let me know if you decide to get one and what brand you go with.
Best, Ted
GYT&S R.R.
Bouse, AZ
 

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Posted By John J on 02/14/2008 8:50 PM


I know nothing about plasma cutters.    What can you tell me

Do you have one?

Are they diffacult to  operate?

How hard is it to cut straight lines?

How do you cut patterns?  

Is it hard to use free hand?

Do you really need a  x and y ploter to do your best cutting?  

enlighten me:D

Q1 yes I use 3 at work one freehand and one on a pantogragh and one at the burn table
Q2 not really the nesting program for the burn table takes a little geometry for nesting to get max utilization from your plate but the freehand and and pantograph are as simple as flipping or pressing a button
Q3 Very easy freehand by using an angle of some sort to press the cutting head against and travel along the leg to cut straight lines,
pantogragh not to bad, Burn table excellent
Q4 by using pantogragh or burn table pantogragh uses a metal template to trace the pattern while cutting the plate and the burn table uses pre-programed paterns
Q5 not at all just press the button (s) on the cutting head and your off
Q6 sounds like a burn table?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Ok  if forgot one question


ARE THE CUT'S CLEAN AND SMOOTH?   NOT LIKE USING A  TORCH WHICH LEAVES JAGGED EDGES.
 

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if  you are using either the pantograph or burn table the cut will be very clean and clean-up will be minimal , freehand is really up to the user after a little practice the clean up will also be minimal, but yes for the most part any of them will be far cleaner than the traditional torch cut. How thick material are you gonna be cutting? just curious
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I am thinking of Some where around  1/8 of  a inch   Maybe less.  

I use to have a Router on a Pantograhp to make signs and things.

I could find plands for a pantagraph  somewhere on the net I think.

What is so special about a bruning table?  
 

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Well our burn table at work can burn 6 of one thing at one time, you program what you want cut may it be 11 guage plate up 1 inch plate it has its own  track that it rides on to cover the X and Y factor, using diiferent air pressure along with the different size jets means you can cut out hair combs or pitch forks, I really like the burn table after you program it either it be by CAD or by trace (ours does both) you can cut all day long and the last part cut comes out and can be matched up to the first part cut.
 When I get back to work I will get some pictures of it and see if I can get them on here so you can see what Im talking about, its pretty impressive, right now Im nursing a shattered right wrist back into shape. anyways take care

 PS yes you can get plans for a pantogragh from ebay or look in a equipment  sales/ trader magazine and sometimes you can get a good used one
 

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John
I own 9 plazma machines, needless to say I own a steel fabricating business. I have 6 rated at 3/8'' 1 at 3/4 and 2 -1'' machines that are run by CNC. As far as easy to use, yes , squeeze the trigger. you need either 120/230 volt electric,and compressed air. On 14 gauge and thinner you can cut pretty smooth with a straight edge by hand. With a smaller machine 1/8''-1/4'' will cut pretty slow with a little rougher cut. Cutting 1/8'' angle iron to make lets say a bridge will give you good results. If you want to take 16 gauge and try to make a building,  cutting by hand, can be done, a little tough and will be a little rough. I have made several buildings with the CNC plazma, with outstanding results, can even make great window and doors with it. The CNC machines offer the ability to maintain a constant speed, holds the same distance from the material, and the most important is the ability to drive the motions, either straight lines or circles, or angles, makes no different to the machine what it is cutting. With the cnc there is very minimal clean up of slag on the back side of the cut material. The one thing that was not mentioned was the smokey exhaust air it produces. Either do it out side or with good ventelation. 
And there is no comparison between a plazma by hand and a torch by hand, 
You might want to rent one for a day ,before you buy. it might save you some money or convince you this is what you want. Good Luck  Dennis
 

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JJ,
I think your questions have been answered pretty well. I use one at work and can get some clean cuts freehand but use a guide if I need a straight line. I biggest thing to master is the proper torch angle and speed. Something else to remember is with a plasma cutter your flame is pushed by air, which means your sparks will fly much farther! You need to have a safe hot work area to use one where no flammables are present.

If you are only cutting up to 1/8" why not use an abrasive cutting wheel on a saw. When I used to do wrought iron fencing I used a worm drive Skilsaw with an abrasive cutoff wheel. As long as you don't try to force the saw through the cut it will work fine.

Steve
 

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to your questions

yes I have one. a miller 375
yes they are easy to run/operate but need lots of air, clean dry air.
I use a straight edge and offset tip width as a guide for straight cuts
I use a hard board template  for curves,  offset by tip and cover width.   
I don't use it freehand much .....damned hard but learnable with lots of practice,
It cuts up up to 3/8's pretty clean.... begins tp saw a little at a 1/4
CNC cuts for the best. and most complicated stuff and I don't have a cnc so everything is pretty simple

Mark



Mark
 
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