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Plasma cutter - suggestions
Posted by: Boo Sparx ()
Date: November 26, 2018 05:44AM

Hello Vair buds !

Santa brought me a Vulcan 220 welder for X-Mas !! Now I'm looking for a plasma cutter that costs 500.00 or less that is decent. I don't care if it's 120v or 220V I can use both in my garage. I have '65 Monza 110 HP that I need to cut out some floor panels and replace with new. I looking to cut out parts of the rocker panels as well to replace.

Please give me suggestions for makes and models of Plasma cutters that do a good job on auto body work. I know these can go for as much as 1000.00 bucks or more but I have seen some reviews recently for cutters that are in the 500.00 range that seem to do the job . . Please let me know your thoughts.

Thanks as always . . I find this forum to be among the best I use info on everything related to late model auto repair.

Boo

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Re: Plasma cutter - suggestions
Posted by: Phil Dally ()
Date: November 26, 2018 05:50AM

I must recommend Hypotherm...plasma cutters is all they do.

They're not cheap but they are the unquestioned industry leader.

I have a Powermax 30 as pictured and it does everything I ask of it.

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Re: Plasma cutter - suggestions
Posted by: viewmaster ()
Date: November 26, 2018 06:24AM

Phil Dally Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I must recommend Hypotherm...plasma cutters is all
> they do.
>
> They're not cheap but they are the unquestioned
> industry leader.
>
> I have a Powermax 30 as pictured and it does
> everything I ask of it.

X2!!!!

-m



Mike
'65 '500' Sedan 110 PG
'65 Monza Sedan turbo'd 110 SU conversion
Fresno, CA

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Re: Plasma cutter - suggestions
Posted by: Boo Sparx ()
Date: November 26, 2018 06:59AM

Thanks for the suggestion - If I'm not mistaken they are over a 1000.00 bucks . . NO ?!

I'm a weekend warrior . . and will most likely use it 10 times a year at most.

Boo

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Re: Plasma cutter - suggestions
Posted by: TerribleTed ()
Date: November 26, 2018 07:09AM

I would suggest that a Plasma Cutter is useful for cutting clean steel to trim parts and steel for installation, but. not as useful for actually cutting the existing pieces out of the car. One must be extremely careful as to what is actually being cut. Much of what you want to cut out of a car is multi paneled and multi layered. The plasma cutter does not know that you only want to cut the top layer. Collateral damage is easy to make and perhaps difficult to fix. Plasma cutters do not work very well at cutting rusty steel either. I have a good plasma cutter and have tried a couple times to use it for cutting away damage. For the most part it is not the best tool of choice. A die grinder with installed cutoff wheel, spot weld drill bits, air sabre saw, and air chisel are the tools of choice for removing pieces of floor etc. for removal as you can precisely remove things like the floor panel, leaving the subframe to weld back to intact. I also find that altho the plasma cutter is fast at cutting material for making patches etc. it does not cut as cleanly as other mechanical methods and grinding and refining the edges of the plasma cut pieces pretty mush negates any time savings. My suggestion is to save your money or spend it on some better conventional air tools. Good luck on your project.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Avid Corvair hobbiest since 1984.
I have personally performed ground up restoration on over 20 Corvairs.
I currently work full time at restoring and repairing Corvairs.
Located in the Atlanta Georgia area.
[www.facebook.com]

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Re: Plasma cutter - suggestions
Posted by: viewmaster ()
Date: November 26, 2018 07:11AM

If you are looking for a plasma for MAX $500, then you are looking for a throw away machine. The Vulcan welder you mention, is a Harbor Freight brand unit. HF has a plasma machine as well. Just be ready to throw the thing away, after using it a few times, putting it away for a while, then breaking it out again, only to be dissapointed. IMHO...

-m



Mike
'65 '500' Sedan 110 PG
'65 Monza Sedan turbo'd 110 SU conversion
Fresno, CA

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Re: Plasma cutter - suggestions
Posted by: Boo Sparx ()
Date: November 26, 2018 07:21AM

I appreciate the suggestions on the plasma cutter.

I have to say . . The Vulcan 220 has gotten crazy good reviews over the year it's been out. it has a 1 year no questions asked return policy (no additional cost) I know Harbor Freight has a rep for cheap tools . . but I think this welder is a break in that chain.

Check out some of the review on-line.

Thanks !

Boo

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Re: Plasma cutter - suggestions
Posted by: bwells ()
Date: November 26, 2018 07:25AM

At the risk of being thrown out of here, I will admit to owning one of the "throwaway machines".I paid $200 for it on Amazon. It is advertised as a 50A machine with 3/8 steel being its limit for cutting and runs on 120 or 240V. I have used it quite a bit for cutting out 1/4 and 3/16 steel plate and pipe for smokers. It works. I am an amateur and do not depend on it for my living. Most all of the Chinese units are copies of older US technology. The one I have was opened up for inspection when I got it and it is the newer IGBT technology with a 2018 date on the circuit boards.
I have not used it on sheet metal yet, but will soon.If it lasts long enough to build a few smokers for friends and repair the rust on my two Vairs, I will consider it money well spent.
It is the age old question. Quality or price?

Bill Wells
North Texas Corvair Assoc.
www.northtexascorvair.org
61 Ramp
65 Corsa

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Re: Plasma cutter - suggestions
Posted by: viewmaster ()
Date: November 26, 2018 08:41AM

Dont get me wrong...I own some HF welding machines, tools, etc. Just know, the addage: "You get what you pay for", stands the test of time.

-m



Mike
'65 '500' Sedan 110 PG
'65 Monza Sedan turbo'd 110 SU conversion
Fresno, CA

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Re: Plasma cutter - suggestions
Date: November 26, 2018 08:42AM

I have a snap-on (ABC Weld) 30i. Its both 110 and 220. It works well but I dont know if I'd buy it again. I did my floors with it.

[store.snapon.com]

1961 Corvair 700 Sedan - 3sp - Gasoline Heat - Lowered - Rust in Progress


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Re: Plasma cutter - suggestions
Posted by: tkalp ()
Date: November 26, 2018 10:43AM

My welders are Lincoln and Miller but years ago I purchased a plasma cutter from Harbor Freight. It has successfully cut several Corvairs up and is still going strong. Be sure you stock up on consumables that fit your torch. The new HF units are over $500 . . . but look for coupons or an used unit.

Have fun with whatever you get

T.Kalp
Wichita, KS

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Re: Plasma cutter - suggestions
Posted by: Boo Sparx ()
Date: November 26, 2018 10:57AM

Got it - I understand how the 1k and over products last decades. I get the logic . . fact is I have two late model cars and a few on going projects and I don't weld or cut metal very often. I'm looking to be able to do it and do my own body work when needed. I have had numerous bad experiences over the years with High-End shops working on my cars . . and doing HORRIBLE jobs. For this reason alone I became a weekend warrior a few years back and rebuild my own engines and did my own valves and brake jobs . . etc.

Now I'm looking to cut out some rust in floor and along rockers and then repaint the car . . this is why I'm asking about plasma cutters. I have compressor/air tools and could use a cut off tool to do the floors . . but it seems like that would be a much tougher job . . then cutting with plasma. I'm concerned with cutting through brake lines and what not with plasma cutter . . I better look at whats where under that floor . . !!

Boo



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/26/2018 10:59AM by Boo Sparx.

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Re: Plasma cutter - suggestions
Posted by: davemotohead ()
Date: November 26, 2018 11:00AM

I bought one of the old HF units when they first came out 10+ years ago, the old Blue unit, I have chopped up over 25 cars with it and have beat the crap out of it, I use it all the time, I stick that torch in the gooey seam sealer and blast through the old undercoating when cutting up a car, I have beaten the crap out of this more than most people would ever think of and its still going strong, they redesigned the consumables for the newer machines they sell but they still fit the old machine if you use the new electrode and nozzle's together, so I have gotten more than my moneys worth out of this HF plasma cutter.smoking smiley





Email me at: Dave Motohead

1960 4dr sedan caveman car
1961 Rampside (Chetside)
1962 Rampside (Barnside)
1962 Short Rampside (Shortside)
1962 Monza 700 Wagon
1963 Monza 900 coup (General Nader)

-----------------------------------
Rust Free Lancaster Ca

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Re: Plasma cutter - suggestions
Posted by: Boo Sparx ()
Date: November 26, 2018 11:28AM

Thanks Dave Motohead !

I often watch your videos to figure stuff out . . nice job !
Do you know what model Plasma cutter from Harbor Fright you use ?!

If so can you post it please . . THX !

Boo Sparx

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Re: Plasma cutter - suggestions
Posted by: davemotohead ()
Date: November 26, 2018 11:36AM

Well the one I have they do not make any more, so what ever they have available I guess? you can also check eBay, they have some for $300 range I think, thought Matt Nall bought a eBay one?





Email me at: Dave Motohead

1960 4dr sedan caveman car
1961 Rampside (Chetside)
1962 Rampside (Barnside)
1962 Short Rampside (Shortside)
1962 Monza 700 Wagon
1963 Monza 900 coup (General Nader)

-----------------------------------
Rust Free Lancaster Ca

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Re: Plasma cutter - suggestions
Posted by: glivorsi ()
Date: November 26, 2018 11:38AM

I replaced the floors in my LM vert using a 4.5" angle grinder with cutoff wheels and a battery-operated sawsall. A decent angle grinder will be under 100 bucks and goes through 18 gauge and thinner body panel with ease.

Otherwise, if you still want a plasma cutter you may want check Eastwood's website and see what they have.

Greg in Wildwood, MO (part of the St. Louis urban sprawl)

1965 Monza Vert 110PG, Crocus Yellow with black interior and top

2014 Honda Accord V6 (DD)
2017 Honda Pilot (wifemobile)
2012 Chevy Sonic 1.8L (kid's car)
1997 Honda CBR1100XX
2006 Mazdaspeed 6 (no longer own)

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Re: Plasma cutter - suggestions
Posted by: FLAVert ()
Date: November 26, 2018 04:28PM

Phil Dally Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I must recommend Hypotherm...plasma cutters is all
> they do.
>
> They're not cheap but they are the unquestioned
> industry leader.
>
> I have a Powermax 30 as pictured and it does
> everything I ask of it.

Completely agree with Phil! I love my Hypertherm.

Look for a used one on OfferUp or Facebook Marketplace or eBay, etc.

Gotta disagree with what they will cut. I've cut rubber hoses, undercoat covered parts, rusty parts, etc.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/26/2018 04:30PM by FLAVert.

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Re: Plasma cutter - suggestions
Posted by: Melb-Mike ()
Date: November 26, 2018 04:47PM

I bought a Miller plasma cutter years ago for my business. I can’t remember the model but it’s a 220 VAC model and cuts quite well. When I retired, I wanted to get a smaller “hobby” type plasma cutter but didn’t want the expense of the Miller machine. I saw a deal from Eastwood for a combo TIG welder and plasma cutter for around $1350 shipped. Both are 220 VAC models. I was impressed with both machines but more so with the plasma cutter. It actually works better than the commercial Miller. I’ve cut 5/8” thick steel, 3/8” Stainless steel and aluminum, and anything else I need to cut. It will draw almost 50 amps so if you have limited electrical power, don’t bother. I’ve had it for over 3 years now and it’s as solid today as when new. BTW, the Eastwood TIG machine is also great in performance.

I know others have put down the HF brands but they hold up quite well. Spending more doesn’t always get you more.

64 Greenbrier
64 Spyder (needs restoration)
65 Corsa 140, restored
66 Corsa turbo, restoring now
66 Corsa 140 "RR" code coupe fully restored
67 Pontiac GTO restored
69 Corvette 427 convertible restored
2015 Porsche Panamera S
2015 Corvette Z06
1965 AC Cobra (Factory Five)

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Re: Plasma cutter - suggestions
Posted by: TerribleTed ()
Date: November 26, 2018 05:45PM

Boo Sparx Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Got it - I understand how the 1k and over products
> last decades. I get the logic . . fact is I have
> two late model cars and a few on going projects
> and I don't weld or cut metal very often. I'm
> looking to be able to do it and do my own body
> work when needed. I have had numerous bad
> experiences over the years with High-End shops
> working on my cars . . and doing HORRIBLE jobs.
> For this reason alone I became a weekend warrior a
> few years back and rebuild my own engines and did
> my own valves and brake jobs . . etc.
>
> Now I'm looking to cut out some rust in floor and
> along rockers and then repaint the car . . this is
> why I'm asking about plasma cutters. I have
> compressor/air tools and could use a cut off tool
> to do the floors . . but it seems like that would
> be a much tougher job . . then cutting with
> plasma. I'm concerned with cutting through brake
> lines and what not with plasma cutter . . I better
> look at whats where under that floor . . !!
>
> Boo

You need to look closely everywhere before you plasma cut. Fuel and brake lines obviously. Plasma cutter will cut what you can see and often cut thru a layer behind the one you can see, or a layer that needs to remain to weld to. Great for cutting up a car into sections, great for cutting out pieces from steel stock when fabricating parts, fairly good for rough cutting out single layer sections to be replace. I can cut a much neater, straighter line with a cut off wheel than my small Lincoln plasma cutter as the cutoff leaves no slag and is easier to keep dead straight.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Avid Corvair hobbiest since 1984.
I have personally performed ground up restoration on over 20 Corvairs.
I currently work full time at restoring and repairing Corvairs.
Located in the Atlanta Georgia area.
[www.facebook.com]

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Re: Plasma cutter - suggestions
Posted by: gnrand ()
Date: November 26, 2018 10:30PM

Not sure if this link helps you or confuses you. (Hope this link works)
Jeff

[www.bestreviews.guide][matchtype]=b&google_params[network]=g&google_params[device]=c&google_params[creative]=285692477983&google_params[keyword]=%2Bplasma%20%2Bcutters&google_params[adposition]=1t1&google_params[adgroupid]=61485423521&google_params[campaignid]=1494900886&bs=ChW2p135YzP94w_-19dBauYNXyOWZ7Pl1hBRlF7gkujc9XG03s14L12ItU4JimHIjg0KL-k-fsPI8Atq3dZphLg4MQVk680tcrI2mwpaj3JGOw4v67Cyuw==&google_params[feeditemid]=&google_params[targetid]=kwd-21807764343&google_params[loc_interest_ms]=&google_params[loc_physical_ms]=9031521&google_params[devicemodel]=&google_params[target]=&age=others&hhi=Top&dest=0&sys_id=0|466&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIvObDh_jz3gIVERx9Ch3HNQGcEAAYASAAEgLsyfD_BwE

Wildomar,Ca

1965 Corsa Hard Top
!965 Corsa Convertible
1968 Monza 140 Convertible 4 speed
1966 435 HP Crown
1986 Buick GN

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