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Plasma or gas?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Fubeca, Dec 5, 2003.

  1. Fubeca

    Fubeca 1/2 ton status

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    So I do a fair amount of misc. fabricating mostly junk for the truck or the house. I've been cutting with a cut-off wheel on my grinder or a chop saw but I need something more flexible. I could steal the funds for a plasma cutter but could likely get by with a torch kit. Does anyone know of some good websites that really go into cutting, total cost differences, etc.? I don't plan on ever working with anything thicker than 3/8". Which one would you all get?
     
  2. Waxer

    Waxer 1/2 ton status Author

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    It really depends on your needs.

    A plasma cutter that will cut 3/8" could easily cost you $1250. A torch kit that will cut the same would run around $400.

    Now thats a big difference, but the difference will also be seen when you first use each of them. The plasma is so much easier to use and provides cleaner cuts.

    Although with a lot of practice on the torch, you can maybe get similarly clean cuts, but not exactly the same.


    I've owned and used both, so if going back into fabricating I would then get myself another plasma cutter, but one stronger than I used to have. Which was a Miller Spectrum 375.

    Next time around I'd go for the Miller 625. It's about 300 bucks more than the 375, and cuts a hell of a lot better IMHO.
     
  3. Fubeca

    Fubeca 1/2 ton status

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    So I guess I need to decide if I will really be cutting enough to justify the extra costs for the plasma cutter or if I can just "get by" with a torch.
     
  4. 72beater

    72beater 1/2 ton status

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    I was in the same situation, and decided to go with a torch. You can also look into a henrob/dillon torch which is really flexible and cuts well, but is a little more expensive. I find that, as your proficiency with a torch increases, you are able to do more and more with it. Once you get good with one, you can get close to plasma cutter results but a torch will always put more heat on the metal, thus potentially leading to a larger heat affected zone, warpage, etc. For my money, the torch is the best value, you can get all kinds of tips for different thicknesses, and it has no real consumeables except for the gas. Just my 0.02 dollars worth.
    Ernest
     
  5. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    I would get a torch. Heat is sometimes all you need, which isn't available with a plasma cutter.
     
  6. az-k5

    az-k5 1/2 ton status

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    A torch would make bending flat stock and cutting anything magnetic really easy. The only limit is thickness. It won't make you happy for body panels, aluminum, and anything less than 1/4 inch. That is where a plasma kicks in. Just ask yourself which would do you the most good. That answer depends on what kind material you plan on cutting the most. If you always work no heavy stuff go torch and rent a plasma for the times you have thin stuff to work with.
     

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