For all you tool hounds out there I'm going to share my latest toy . . . er I mean tool purchase.
I have been looking at a plasma cutter for some time now to add to my collection and was eying up the Eastwood 60A model as I have purchased my TIG 200 and MIG 250 from them and have been quite pleased. I was back and forth in my mind for the past few months on spending the ~$700 for something I would use maybe a few times a month?. I almost pulled the trigger and purchased one last week as it was on sale and I only live about 45minutes from Eastwood so a road trip was not a problem.
Instead, I started doing some research last Sunday on other options since it appears all these machines are made the same way, I read and watched videos on the difference between the Pilot Arc and drag machines and settled on getting a pilot arc model which costs more. I looked at the CUT50F on eBay but didn't get a warm fuzzy feeling on going that "cheap" although it got good and bad reviews (more good than bad).
I finally settled on this machine Simadre Plasma Cutter 50DP Pilot Arc 50 Amp Dual Voltage 110/220 for $420, the seller on eBay had good reviews via various forums not just eBay, cost was a tad more than the generic Orange or Blue CUT50F models being sold on eBay but, I liked the black case as it matched my Eastwood machines (that was not a deciding factor but it helped me justify the added cost) Keep in mind Pilot Arc machines are more costly than the drag start machines but suppose to have longer lasting consumables and work with painted or rusty metal.
Parts laided out of box
In the eBay add they showed a different torch that had the switch on top tie wrapped fast, I was not impressed with this style torch but felt I could always upgrade to the style I really wanted, I voiced this concern to the vendor so imagine my surprise when I opened up the torch package and found the one I really wanted! Did they change it out? I really don't know as I did read some others got this new style torch also.
Getting it setup
Making some cuts, first one just some thin sheet cutting off some bends
This piece was some 1/4"
Then was some 1" just to see what it could do!
I have never used a plasma cutter in my life prior to this morning, so I'm sure there is going to be a learning process on setting amps, air pressure and speed of cut. I was not able to totally cut through the 1" the first time I was moving way to fast. Second cut I slowed down but when I got to the end I must have had my torch tilted back and it dropped the cut so I had to go back and make a vertical cut to nip the end off, you can see this in the picture. I really was impressed with this cut! I was not looking for a machine that would would make razor sharp cuts but to actually cut 1" material?? Granted a 1" square piece would have been cut in my saw, I do have a need to cut plate that does not fit in my 4x6" bandsaw and this will suit nice for that purpose.
I have to say so far my initial impression of this little machine is, what can I go cut up next! Long term use I have no clue how it is going to hold up over time? I'm a casual user but have been wanting to do some fabrication projects but, was always putting them off as I had to use a cutoff wheel in a die grinder or the 4-1/2" grinder and that as anyone knows can not be a fun time!
So far I do have some Cons:
1) I do not like the air settings on the back of the machine, I'll probably change this when I add it to my welding cart or just regulate it at my wall regulator, then again having the machine sitting on my floor didn't help making adjustments so probably once it's on my cart it will be fine.
2) The wire guide setup on the torch is fine to start with but will be replaced with something else of better quality that will give me a better quality cuts following a guide.
Feel free to add to this post on any thoughts you have about plasma cutters not just this model.
Edit to add air picture
Edited by Brucepts, May 21, 2016 - 05:06 PM.