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Plasma Cutter__and TIG Question

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  • Plasma Cutter__and TIG Question

    OK all you project guys out there. I have a Lincoln MIG and Lincoln Arc welder, but have always wanted a plasma and TIG welder for those random projects that I can do at home rather than hunting down a friend with one. I've priced them out and they are pretty expensive, but as a tool that get minimal use, I'm looking at the cheaper imported models and wondered if anyone has experience with them. I use the term "them" as they are imported under countless names.

    Current Mqko - 1990 Mako 211 w/2006 250 E-TEC. [br]- Previous Makos 1987 20C, 1979 23\' IB, 1970s 17 Angler

  • #2
    I bought a plasma cutter from Harbor Freight to do small projects.

    I've had it 2 years now, used it about 5 times to cut expanded metal grating and light angle worked for what I needed to do.

    To me, it was worth the price just to have a straight, clean cut and avoid busting up my hands with a sawz-all and cut-off wheels!
    1992 211 w/175 OptiMax
    Glen Campbell, Pa.


    • #3
      I would look for a used name brand plasma cutter. some welding supply stores sell their trade-ins.hypertherm makes pretty good stuff and you can buy consumables almost anywhere.

      you can get a suitcase tig attachment for some models of arc welder, check and see if your machine has one available or look into trading up to one that does
      76 25 \"Aenigma\"[br]73 17[br]Richland/Long Beach, MS[br][br][br]17 project[br]


      • #4
        I get that question from buddies a lot. I always answer the same. If you watch CL or local reputable used tool shops, get a name brand that has parts and data readily available. Plasma you can get away with an import for the small stuff but it seems 50/50 on reliability.

        For any tig work, get a name brand. If you're doing shop work, other words, not dragging the unit to remote sites, make sure you find one with a mule. (foot pedal) For remote work, scratch start tig works great on the heavier stuff. Lighter material, not so much unless you have lots of practice.

        I always tell them to get a minimum of 12' of whip if possible. Getting into the right position is key for good welds and pretty work. Some units come with a 6' whip and that's tough to get around.

        If you go with import tig, upgrade the regulator to domestic, lincoln or hobart or esab, miller. Import regulators are notorious for going bad. Nothing worse than chasing pin holes and not knowing why...usually not enough or adequate shielding gas.

        Get a scratch start or auto shade hood. After thousands of hours under the hood, I've arc flashed myself countless times. My eyes are paying for it now...

        my $.02

        \'79 20 175 \'rude[br]Sacramento, CA (Deep behind enemy lines!!)[br]...something fishy this way comes...[br][br]


        • #5
          I think there are a lot of good inexpensive options as long as you don't expect to be working with 1/4"+ thick material.

          I've watched and read a number of reviews. In a nut shell, all the lower end 'American assembled' units have some overseas components, especially the boards. And if you buy a turn key kit, most include regulators, peddles and torches non-US. I see a lot of people very happy with their Non-US units. Maybe not commercial welders, but that's like asking Raybo if he likes his $9.99 Harborfreight spray gun.[]

          I would start with figuring out how much you want to spend. That will narrow your search down a lot.

          Just to add, you need AC to TIG aluminum. I almost got this combo unit but noticed it didn't have AC

          [br]Michael R. Delgado[br]1972 Mako 22[br][br]1976 Mako 25[br],25[br]


          • #6
            Great advice everyone and thank you. I have the auto-dimming hood with the large glass opening so you have good visibility to the work going on. I've been combing CraigsList, but most of the stuff is beat up and almost appears they are unloading stuff.

            I'll keep looking and hopefully find a nice setup.

            Current Mqko - 1990 Mako 211 w/2006 250 E-TEC. [br]- Previous Makos 1987 20C, 1979 23\' IB, 1970s 17 Angler


            • #7
              Ordered a plasma cutter last night and it's a inexpensive unit. Should be fine for the minimal use it will see.

              Looked on CL and most of the TIG units are $800+ and look like them fell out of a truck on Rt95. Should I be looking for a 165A or 200A model? I'm sell my Lincoln arc welder and use the TIG for that since they have arc capability and the most I've used on the Lincoln is 150A for thick stuff.

              Current Mqko - 1990 Mako 211 w/2006 250 E-TEC. [br]- Previous Makos 1987 20C, 1979 23\' IB, 1970s 17 Angler


              • #8
                I've been watching this one since I had a similar search going on - don't need TIG though. That plasma cutter is exactly the same one I ordered and for exactly the same reasons. Ha!

                [br]***[br]\'82 Ski Nautique - Lake Martin, AL[br]\'80 236IB - Lake Martin, AL[br]\'03 Pursuit 2670 - Destin, FL


                • #9
                  The plasma cutter arrived and I put the 220v plug on it and installed on the cart that the MIG is on. Did not try it, but it's ready to go for when he need arises.

                  Mounted the pressure regulator on the plasma side so the fitting is accessible from the front - just wheel it up and plug in.

                  Focused on selling my Lincoln arc welding and looking for a TIG now.

                  Current Mqko - 1990 Mako 211 w/2006 250 E-TEC. [br]- Previous Makos 1987 20C, 1979 23\' IB, 1970s 17 Angler


                  • #10
                    I have a DuoThem plasma, still have the Craftsman Arc welder I bought in HS (the 1960's), a Marquette (Blackhawk) MIG, and just recently picked up a Lincoln TIG, which was a demo unit at our local welding shop. Haven't used it enough to be anything close to be able to be offering advice, but I can tell your that it is a BIG change from the arc & MIG world in technique required to ge solid welds...
                    Working for a livin\' is HIGHLY Over-Rated...[][br]