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I Forge Iron

Plasma Cutter choices?

Dave Budd

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I'm after some plasma cutter advice :) I've been using a 'cheapy' (still not cheap!) Fusion I-cut 40 for the last couple of years, but it is frustrating me on anything thicker than a few mm of steel (specifically high carbon tool steels). So I'm looking to upgrade.


It's a toss up between the Hypertherm Powermax 30 and the Oxford Cutmaker 350.


Both are apparently good machines, but the crux of it is that I have to run it from a 7.5Kv generator (so nothing bigger than those two will work anyway!). With my arc welder and current plasma I have gone with inverter machines on account of them being made for generators, but they are also impossible to fix (expensive replacement electronics, as I have found) and still don't work properly when used off a 40 year old genny (despite what the manufacturers claim!). The foilbles of inverters is the reason I'm wondering if the Oxford may work better?


Does anybody have any experience of either of these machines, specifically using them with a generator?


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I was told that the Markon alternators were so well regulated that they could run anything, including sensitive electronics...Mine had a fault, the vibration from the Lister LT1 had shaken the circuit board fixings loose and it had been replaced incorrectly by the previous owner...which caused this beautifully smoothing control board to short out and blow up on occasion...on the third panel I realised the underlying mounting fault and sorted it. From then on it was 100% reliable.

However that is only information re. the generator not the plasma. Perhaps you could figure who would use plasma on site and ask them. Aluminium or stainless steel building cladding installers? An interesting company I worked with on an installation of railings on a viaduct once were Up and Under. They were underwater and working-off-rope-at-height engineers...maybe they would be able to advise?

Ask Oxford or Hypertherm direct, get it in writing?


P.S. Another thought is to try 


They are actual designers and makers of their own range of machines, based near Gloucester. They seem very good quality and well priced.

I have no personal experience but only know of people who have had their machines and are delighted with them.

A father and son set up the business, in the years before the father used to do all my mig and tig servicing and had a very good reputation.

As the actual makers they would be in a good position to advise the best configuration for you.


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Pretty much what I had been thinking. Hypertherm just regurgitated their sales pitch from their american website, almost word for word, which never fills me with confidence. Oxford, however sent me an email this afternoon (the appropriate chap wasn't around when I called them) and said that not only would my generator be more than adequate, but the circuitry is much more robust with dodgy power supplies than an inverter based machine (which backs up my own experiences). They also said that they could supply any replacement parts with minimal costs as they are all made here (a problem with the inverter welder I have is that you have to send it to the manufactuers to replace entire boards of circuitry when it goes pop).

The R-tech machines have been mentioned to me before, but all of the low and mid range units seem to be much of a muchness and at least one friend of mine who has one was very underwhelmed with it's performance. He was using it on mains power too!  


I'll see if I can find somebody who might use it in the field and have a chat. Thanks :)

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