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  1. #1
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    Default Miller 625 X-Treme Plasma Cutter vs. any other similar units?

    Does anyone here own or have at least used the Miller 625 X-Treme plasma cutter?

    I've been in an on-again off-again search to buy a plasma cutter for the last couple years. It's going to happen soon, because my oxy/acetelene contracts run out not too far after the turn of the year, and for what I use them for, I just don't think renewing the lease and buying gases to cut with is the best option anymore. With the increased bottle contract costs and increased gas costs, I think even with my usage I would break even on a +/- $1500 plasma cutter in not much over 5 years. I've pretty much gone full circle on my search, and I feel like I'm still circling.

    I originally started looking at the Hypertherm 45, but since my use is all personal, it seemed like a lot of cost to swallow. I've considered some of the up and coming import units that are popular on here, and I've looked at other more well known brands like the Thermal Dynamics 52 and the Miller 625 X-Treme. I looked at the very low end of the cost spectrum, but I've kind of been talked out of going that direction, so now I'm back at the middle to high end of the price range. The warranty and price on the import units is pretty enticing, but at the end of the day it may boil down to location for me. I live in a very rural area, meaning 30 minutes to anywhere with more than a couple thousand people and 60 miles to find more than 15k people. I'm much happier buying tools and equipment that have consumable parts when I don't have to mail order them, which means that I'm leaning back towards the Hypertherm or maybe the Miller. That's the only way I can guarantee availability when I need something.

    I don't think there's anything that really needs to be said about the Hypertherm 45. I think short of the dent in the wallet or getting a lemon, I've never seen anyone say anything bad about them. The Miller I've not heard as much about. I'm more concerned with performance than anything else. Does it do what they rate it for? Does it do more than they rate it for? How is the consumable life? The Miller has some unique features that I could find handy - the dual voltage plug system like the 211 welder I own, and the portability and carrying case that comes with it - I spend a reasonable amount of time on an island, and being able to have that portable - both lightweight and household current capable are practical options for me. I can also buy the Miller for about $350 less than the Hypertherm. The question is: Does the portability and cost make up for any shortcomings it may have in comparison to the Hypertherm?

    If anyone has anything they can add, I'd love to hear it - about this or any brand/model in the 1/2" rated capacity range.

  2. #2
    jw3
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    I have the 625 Xtreme. After the learning curve,1st plasma i ever used, I have been quite pleased. I live in Tx so dry air is a noncomodity at times. I just recently changed my first consumables after 3 yrs of sporadic usage. I have cut 1/2" several times with good success, but I haven't tried anything thicker. Holler at me if I can answer any more questions.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Miller 625 X-Treme Plasma Cutter vs. any other similar units?

    I have the 625 spectrum. I dont like the fact that to buy consumables, you have to buy packs of five. Cant get just one tip. Some brands they have them hangin in ziplock bags and you just buy what you want. At least thats the way it is at my welding supply. Cutting upto 3/8 very cleanly is good with the machine, but I have cut 3/4 by turning up the air pressure. I have also cut 2in shafting, but you have to hog it out to cut all the way thru. One thing I have noticed and it could very well be operator error, is that even with new tips, my machine seems to want to split the flame out at an angle and its hard to make a square cut. Dry air is a must, dont skimp on an airdryer when you purchase your machine.

    I also use oxy/act. I bought my bottles years ago so I dont worry about lease payments. A plasma cutter wont replace your oxy/act. Plasma will save you money if all you do with your torch is cut, but plasma isnt worth a hoot if you need to preheat to weld or bend something.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Miller 625 X-Treme Plasma Cutter vs. any other similar units?

    Quote Originally Posted by muddstopper View Post
    I also use oxy/act. I bought my bottles years ago so I dont worry about lease payments. A plasma cutter wont replace your oxy/act. Plasma will save you money if all you do with your torch is cut, but plasma isnt worth a hoot if you need to preheat to weld or bend something.
    I'm not worried about that. I have had a portable oxy/acetelyne setup for over 20 years. I own those bottles, so it's just the 10 yr re-certs and the occasional swap=outs when they get used up. If I find that I need more than those I'll probably buy some bottles in the 60cf range for the occasional heating jobs. Right now it's just the $30-$50 per bottle per year lease and the $100+ price for filling both of the large bottles I have now that I'm trying to curb. Add in the fact that I'll likely use less abrasives cleaning up cuts on clean metal, and I see it being better and cheaper overall.

    As far as an air dryer - I've been looking around the internet and I've seen a homemade setup I like that looks simple and effective with just an ac condenser in the line. I'm going to do a little research on them to see if I can find one that doesn't reduce the volume too bad. At first I'm probably going to try surviving on a double filter setup - I have one in the shop plumbing and I'll put one on the line at the machine, until I make a dryer.

  5. #5
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    Reconsider the hypertherm 45 , I have on and it's great. You won't be disappointed. Even a used one.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Miller 625 X-Treme Plasma Cutter vs. any other similar units?

    I have had the Miller 625 since 2003 and I LOVE IT!! I only use my O/A torch for heating now.
    The pic is 5/8" plate, it will cut it but it is slow and leaves a rough cut. Anything thinner and it cuts it like butter!
    I like to carve with the plasma like when fitting something.
    I cut a lot of 3/8" and 1/2" bolts off of construction equipment that is covered with mortar and the plasma melts right through the mortar. It dosen't pop like O/A does.
    I have about 80' of airlines from my compressor to the machine and don't use a dryer.
    Buying consumables online will be cheaper than local, at least it is for me. Don't spend the money on the gouging tips, the stand-off tip does just as good.
    My only complait? The ground clamp!!! I worry about getting a hernia compressing it! _ amn it has a strong spring.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Miller 625 X-Treme Plasma Cutter vs. any other similar units?-000_0335.jpg   Miller 625 X-Treme Plasma Cutter vs. any other similar units?-000_0333.jpg  

  7. #7
    Super Member crazyal's Avatar
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    Default Re: Miller 625 X-Treme Plasma Cutter vs. any other similar units?

    Hypertherm is not too far away from you (in NH). Jim Colt has offered to give a tour of the factory to several members here in the past. If you do decide to go with the 45 I would think about trying to tour the factory.
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Miller 625 X-Treme Plasma Cutter vs. any other similar units?

    The Miller 625 x-Treme vs the Hypertherm Powermax 45

    Miller is rated for 7/8" severance, Hypertherm is rated for 1"
    Miller produces 5.6 kW of cutting power and 50% duty cycle, Hypertherm is 6 kW at 50% duty.

    The Miller uses an imported torch, Hypertherm uses its designed and built in USA torch.

    Hypertherm is known your its reliabity and consumable life.

    The addidional power and better consumable life of the Hypertherm system offsets the difference in cost.....over time you will save more than the difference in cost with better consumable parts life. The Hypertherm unit also has a cnc interface and an available machine torch (quick disconnect) as well as gouging and 30 amp consumables for narrower kerf on thin materials.

    Jim Colt

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Miller 625 X-Treme Plasma Cutter vs. any other similar units?

    I have the older Spectrum 625, which I bought used. It is an excellent and reliable machine, and has done all that I have asked of it.
    I looked into getting a torch setup, which I still want, but in my area, they won't fill bottles that they haven't leased- so I can't buy a used torch with bottles, and get them filled. The two places in town won't do it.
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Miller 625 X-Treme Plasma Cutter vs. any other similar units?

    Quote Originally Posted by jimcolt View Post
    The Miller 625 x-Treme vs the Hypertherm Powermax 45

    Miller is rated for 7/8" severance, Hypertherm is rated for 1"
    Miller produces 5.6 kW of cutting power and 50% duty cycle, Hypertherm is 6 kW at 50% duty.

    The Miller uses an imported torch, Hypertherm uses its designed and built in USA torch.

    Hypertherm is known your its reliabity and consumable life.

    The addidional power and better consumable life of the Hypertherm system offsets the difference in cost.....over time you will save more than the difference in cost with better consumable parts life. The Hypertherm unit also has a cnc interface and an available machine torch (quick disconnect) as well as gouging and 30 amp consumables for narrower kerf on thin materials.

    Jim Colt
    don't take this the wrong way - you're a great wealth of knowledge on the subject of plasma cutters - but i can read the spec sheets as well as the next person.

    i was looking for those people who owned or had used similar rated machines of different brands. i wanted to hear what they had to say just to factor that in. did it do what it was rated for, did it do more, did it do less, was it fussy... that kind of thing. you can't go by numbers alone. different brands use specifically designed torches as opposed to a generic one bought from another company, and that will play a part in how well it does. also, different brands may tend to overrate or underrate their abilities. i just wanted to hear what people had to say about what they had.

    it's all over now. i ended up buying the hypertherm. i finally got a semi-local shop that produced a price that was where i wanted it to be. i don't have the ability to declare it any better than any of the others, because i haven;t had the chance to use any of them, but i will say that the miller 625 would have been the most attractive package out there for my needs. it is extremely compact, comes with a hard carrying case, and 120v and 240v plugs. for average joe who isn't in the same fab shop 24/7, it's a great package. i went with the hypertherm because it has history and support. it also will have that little extra ability on thicker stuff that will likely end up being more useful, and if i ever do get around to making a cnc table it will be a little easier to use for that. i made the tradeoff and lost some nice features for a little better performance. i also paid about $250 more for it than the miller would have cost me. it's easy to pull numbers for comparison, but in my case the features were important too.

    as i said in my first line - i don't want this to be taken too harshly. sometimes these debates just mirror the same ford-chevy battles i've heard for the last couple of decades. these units all have their place and market - from the $400 import to the most expensive ones made and sold. it's just a matter of matching each person's needs to the machine, and no matter how much you can find to say about one, it isn't necessarily the choice for everyone.

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