Portable and ready to use out of the box. This is a great Plasma Cutter that provides powerful cutting ability in a compact lightweight design. The Plasma Cutter That I am suggesting here in this article is the Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter this is one of the best budget plasma cutters that are available on the market.
Before going further let us discuss what we can perform using a Plasma Cutter. In short, a Plasma Cutter can be Used to cut various electrically conductive materials such as steel, copper, brass, and others. It does this by creating a high-temperature, electrical channel of ionized gas, which is also known as plasma.
Hobart Airforce 12ci is a great product that has an inverter technology, which provides a powerful cutting ability in a compact lightweight. It is also portable and can be a budget option for you guys.
Types of Plasma Cutters
Manual/ Portable Plasma Cutters
We have the Best Plasma Cutters and what plasma cutters are known for best is their ability to cut 5 times faster than any other welder on the market.
Plasma Cutters can also be used as welders and this method of welding is known as plasma gouging which makes this is a very efficient and cost-effective tool if your working in the automotive and industrial markets.
Plasma Cutters are a lot cheaper than CNC Plasma Cutter Tables but they are still capable of performing the same tasks
Automatic/ CNC Plasma Cutting Tables
CNC (Computer Numerical Control) Plasma Cutting Tables have been around for a very long time but have only recently become more affordable and cost-effective for small shops today.
Not only is it easier for you to get CNC Plasma Cutters into your shop but no other cutter on the market comes close to the precision and speed that tasks will be completed in.
The Machines are computer operated which means there is a learning curve and making the transition from handheld plasma cutters to automatic CNC machines may not be as easy.
Although Plasma Cutter Tables cost more than Manual Handheld Plasma Cutters they are more efficient and will save you time and money in the long run. Any other cutters on the market, like laser and water jet cutters, are currently unaffordable for smaller shops as their starting cost is $100,000 and you can get a CNC Plasma Cutter for as low as $1,000
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Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter
Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter is a popular plasma cutting machine that you could consider getting. You could easily buy this used from Amazon for around $700 for this price range you are getting a lot.
The Hobart 12ci is the most powerful of the three units we chose for this comparison. The other two units can be used with a 15A circuit while the 12ci requires a 20A. The unit weighs just 31 pounds. That puts it just a pound over the Thermal Dynamics unit.
Key Features Of this Plasma Cutter:
- Build-In Air Compressor.
- More Precise Cut.
- Cuts Faster Than OXY Fuel.
I am a bit biased towards Hobart’s products here at Pro Machinist Tools and for good reason. They put a huge emphasis on build quality and this translates to tools that perform well and last for years. On top of that, they back everything up with a solid warranty.
Personal Protective Equipment
A plasma cutter is a serious tool, and safety while using one should be your number one concern. Operating a plasma cutter without proper eye protection will cause serious damage to your retinas, up to and including permanent blindness. Other personal protective equipment that we advise you to consider includes flame retardant gloves, coveralls, and headgear.
Additionally, there may be safety features present on your plasma cutter unit itself that you will want to familiarize yourself with. For example, a trigger guard to prevent the operator from accidentally engaging the torch.
Various different parts of the plasma cutter will wear out with time. However, there are ways to increase the life of these consumables. A small investment today could save you a good deal of money in the long term.
Moisture filter – Because the plasma cutter uses an air compressor, excess moisture can become an issue. Buying a filter to eliminate this issue will improve the life of your consumables.
Drag tip – A drag tip will prevent the tip of the plasma torch from contacting the surface of the metal that you are cutting. If you don’t use a drag tip, the contact tip will wear out somewhat quickly, and the effectiveness and efficiency of your cuts will decrease.
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