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  1. #11
    Elite Member Shield Arc's Avatar
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    Figuring the picking points of jelly donuts.
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    John Deere, 4200

    Default Re: Plasma cutter with pilot ir not?

    The problem is you want to be able to weld up to 3/8-inch thick aluminum. There is nothing cheap about welding aluminum, and aluminum takes lots of amps. And lots of amps means lost of money! A spool gun is the best bang for the buck with aluminum, but still not cheap! You'll need every bit of that 200-amps to weld 3/8-inch thick aluminum, but what about duty cycle? When running any type of wire feed duty cycle plays a big roll. In my mind, wire feed = production, production = speed, you can't get any speed / production if you're setting around waiting for a machine to cool down. I maybe wrong, your budget might be OK.


    Miller Dynasty 300.
    Lincoln V350-Pro w/pulse.
    Lincoln LF-72 wire feeder.
    Lincoln SG Spool gun.

    Lincoln LN-25.
    1937 IdealArc-300.
    Everlast PowerArc 200.
    Everlast PowerArc 300.
    3 Lincoln SA-200s.
    1800 Ellis saw.
    Hypertherm Powermax 1250, CNC table.
    PROFAX Welding Positioner.
    JD2 model 3.

  2. #12
    Super Star Member J_J's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
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    17,360
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    JACKSONVILLE, FL
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    Power-Trac 1445, KUBOTA B-9200HST

    Default Re: Plasma cutter with pilot ir not?

    Here is something you might can use.

    Plasmahelper
    J.J.

    When I works, I works hard. When I sits and thinks, I goes to sleep.

    Git er done.

  3. #13
    Veteran Member
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    Aug 2004
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    Caldwell Co. NC
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    2006 Kama554; 92 Belarus 250AS

    Default Re: Plasma cutter with pilot ir not?

    2006 Kama 554, 92 Belarus 250AS, Bombardier Outlander Max 400.

  4. #14
    Silver Member
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    Dec 2003
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    120
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    UP of michigan
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    L48 Kubota

    Default Re: Plasma cutter with pilot ir not?

    Wow, if for real, it has it all?
    I always have heard you get what you pay for so I am hesitant?
    Anyone on the site have some experience with it?
    Gray

  5. #15
    Gold Member
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    Jan 2010
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    New Hampshire
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    Kubota 4310 Kubota RTV900

    Default Re: Plasma cutter with pilot ir not?

    OK....just to clarify on the Plasma Pilot Arc question.

    Early hand held plasma torches were designed with a high frequency assisted "scratch start".....these torches needed to get very close to the material...and in many cases had to touch the materials in order to create a current path that would get the plasma arc started. These systems were difficult to get the plasma arc started on rusty, painted or dirty material.....and once you did get the arc started the current would ramp up to cutting current quickly...not allowing the user to pull the torch back to the proper standoff. This would immediately damage the nozzle orifice and cause poor cut quality. Unfortunately...many people have tried older technology plasma cutters and cemented the image in their minds that they are difficult to get the arc started, and they are difficult to use...and they don't cut very well.

    The next technology with plasma torches involved using a high frequency start torch that established an arc between the torch electrode and nozzle, using a high voltage or high frequency discharge to ionize the plasma gas, then th plasma gas would provide a path for the DC current...which would then create a high intensity "pilot arc" ...this is a DC, non transferred plasma arc that woula fire in the air.....and when brought close to a work grounded plate would allow for easy penetration of rust, dirt, paint etc. Pilot arc torches using this technology were much easier to use....especially on dirty plate. Unfortunately...this technology would take a toll on the plasma torch nozzle as well....as a pilot arc would maintain an arc from electrode to nozzle, this putting a larger heat load on the nozzle orifice causing rapid wear.

    Fast forward to the '90's. In Hypertherm's plasma engineering labs in Hanover NH, USA, an engineer was trying to figure out a way to eliminate the high voltage , high frequencyy starting circuitry.....which would allow portable, new technology plasma systems to be lighter, smaller, lower cost. The Blowback start technology was developed and patented...this technology uses a moving electrode inside the torch that creates a short circuit spark as gas pressure pulls it away from the nozzle, ionizing the gas inside the torch without the use of high frequency. These blowback torches could develop and fire a pilot arc in air, and the new technology inverter power supply could keep the pilot current low (to extend nozzle life) and transfer to the plate through dirt, rust, etc. At about the same time, in the same labs...torch shield technology was developed (same engineer, Dr. Nicholas Sanders)...the blowback start technology and torch shield technology revolutionized hand held plasma cutters with longer consumable life, easier torch starting as well as dramatically better cut quality. These enhancements led the way to lighter, lower cost plasma cutting systems as well.

    That's kind of the history of pilot arc starting in a plasma torch. Many manufacturers use similar technology today (expired patents) for blowback pilot arc starting.

    Jim Colt

  6. #16
    Silver Member
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    UP of michigan
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    L48 Kubota

    Default Re: Plasma cutter with pilot ir not?

    Quote Originally Posted by yarg View Post
    Ok, so take the cold cut saw out and what should I expect to pay for a good 1/2" clean cut plasma and a spool gun with a 180 to 200 amp MTS unit?
    Hello,
    A report on some of what I just did:
    Got a 50 Amp plasma cutter, tried it today and seams to work well. I set it up on 220 right away.
    Got a 12 inch Makita cold cut say. Cut 1/4 by 2 angle beautifully. No idea on life of blade but the cut was cold, straight and bur free.
    Ordered a Shop Fox 1HP 17 inch drill press. Not in yet.
    I will be getting a few real up drop cords, hose reals and the like to round out my needs.
    May get a band saw if the Plasma does not give me the cut I want on 1/2 inch stock?
    May try a metal blade on one of my 7 1/4 inch worm drive saws for cutting the 1/2 inch stock? Anyone use such a blade on thick stock?
    Got hooked up with a steel supplier (Chicago Iron) for my steel needs.
    Will be making three fabrication tables with some jigging on them.
    Kind of excited about this new project and working in steel instead of wood
    Gray

  7. #17
    Silver Member
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    Oct 2012
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    Langley BC
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    Mihindra 3616

    Default Re: Plasma cutter with pilot ir not?

    What make olasmadid you buy?
    Cam

  8. #18
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    120
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    UP of michigan
    Tractor
    L48 Kubota

    Default Re: Plasma cutter with pilot ir not?

    I got a Lotus 50 amp with pilot arc. I have only tried it once to date, seamed fine? I have never used one before so I need to practice a bit to be sure of its use.
    I also ordered some hose drop reals and power cord reals. Now to make up my assembly tables
    Gray

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