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Unread 04-25-2011, 08:19 AM   #1
acrajchel
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Plasma Cutter

Bought a air driven metal saw thinking it would slice through the body panels. After an hour, I had gotten through about 6" of metal. I noticed Sunbelt rents plasma cutters, and had a few questions. The models they rent are Miller Spectrum 125C and Miller Spectrum Thunder, they are 115v, but what is the peak amps for input? I have 15 amp wiring and my air compressor flips the breaker, so I would imagine a plasma cutter would take a lot of juice, right? Also, would it be worth it to rent one for a few days and do the cutting, or is the metal saw fine? What all would I need to run the plasma cutter? What surface should I cut on? I am going to take the panels off the Jeep to avoid damaging wiring or blowing up the fuel tank, so I need to set the panels on something to cut on. Right now I have a wood surface and the concrete floor. Whats the best surface or way to cut these?

Thanks,
Aaron

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Unread 04-25-2011, 08:44 AM   #2
jatepper
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I guess you would have to look at the plasma cutters owners manual. I think most of the smaller plasma cutters, such as the Spectrum 125C would do just fine on a 15 amp breaker.

On another note, I run a 33 gallon air compressor on a 15 amp breaker. I use it heavily and it has never tripped a breaker. Are you running a lot of things on the same circuit?

Plasma cutters are good for sheet metal work, such as body work. Try to get one that has a drag tip and use a piece of angle iron (or something else straight and flat) so you can get pretty straight cuts.

I'm not a body guy as I have never done any real body work. I would think a small grinder with a metal cutting disk would also do the trick pretty good, as long as you go slow.

Good luck. Keep us posted as to what you do.
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Unread 04-25-2011, 09:18 PM   #3
medic-11
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What kind of air driver metal saw are you using? Maybe your compressor is too small. To make quicker work when cutting body panels get a 4 1/2" electric angle grinder with the narrow 4 1/2" metal cutting wheels. You will cut sheet metal like butter. A Plasma will work very well also, but for the cost of renting a plasma cutter you can own a 4 1/2" agle grinder. My hobart plasma would trip a 15amp circuit easy. Mine's supposed to run on a 20 amp circuit, 120v.


I know its Harbor Freight, but it was the easiest pic to find. A Name brand grinder is only like $20 more though;
http://www.harborfreight.com/heavy-d...der-91223.html

Harbor Freight has a 10 pack of the cutting wheels for $6.99 right now too.
http://www.harborfreight.com/pack-of...tal-45430.html

When using this grinder make sure you wear safety glasses or a shield, and gloves!
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Unread 04-26-2011, 07:40 AM   #4
acrajchel
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I have the HF 4.5" grinder w/cutting discs. The sheet metal eats a discs in like 15 minutes and it still takes forever to cut through it.
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Unread 04-26-2011, 08:31 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acrajchel View Post
I have the HF 4.5" grinder w/cutting discs. The sheet metal eats a discs in like 15 minutes and it still takes forever to cut through it.
by some dewalt disk there not much more but work 100% better
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Unread 04-26-2011, 04:09 PM   #6
wushaw
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I do know the plasma will only take seconds compared to minutes on a 4.5" grinder. But if you do not have the ability to run one then the 4.5" grinder will work.
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Unread 04-27-2011, 08:41 AM   #7
acrajchel
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on the grinder, should the cutting discs be fairly loose when they are mounted? the grinding discs have a raised center to where they dont wobble, but the cutting discs are flat and wobble around on the grinder. is this by design? the guy at harbor freight said to put a washer in between the disc and the nut that goes on the arbor to tighten it up, but that seems like it might cause a lot of kicking. at the same time though, the discs stops mid cut a lot because there is not much force being put on the disc to keep it spinning. i have a 3" air cut off and noticed those discs are very firm when they are mounted.
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Unread 04-27-2011, 12:53 PM   #8
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There is a centering "washer" Makita calls it an inner flange and then a nut that comes with whatever grinder you bought.
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Unread 04-27-2011, 05:06 PM   #9
KMD
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plasma cutting auto body sheet metal on a 15 amp circuit will be fine and super fast wit little distortion as long as you keep your travel speed up.
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Unread 04-28-2011, 09:55 PM   #10
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Took me 10 years to justify a plasma cutter and only did it after we spent 500 ish dollars on saws all blades one year. I have never looked back. I have a thermal dynamics 52 go right through 3/8 but if you turn it down it will run on a 20 amp circuit (smallest I have in the shop in 220) I believe this is the same for all units. if you are cutting light metals like the fenders I have to agree with the above "believeing" you would be fine on 15 amp 110. BUT double check in a manual on the particular unit. No way would I buy a plasma for a little fender work but if i cant pay for it in a year or two with use I will wait till i can.
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Unread 04-29-2011, 06:43 AM   #11
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ummmmmm, your doing it wrong with the grinder. Try flipping the screw down flange over. typically that is how they are made. you flip it over and it sandwiches down on the disk. Even the HF grinder should not need an "extra" washer to function. and if your disk is moving about, that is why you are burning them up.
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Unread 04-29-2011, 08:00 AM   #12
acrajchel
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i flipped the flange over, and it get tighter but still doesn't lock down on the disc. with it flipped, its better, but the first time the disc gets locked up in the metal, the center metal piece on the disc rips off, then the disc begins to wear in the center where the arbor is. this cause the disc to become unbalanced, wear unevenly, and eventually begin to throw chucks of the disc off. any suggestions? also bought some dewalt disc thinking that maybe the hf brand was just crap, but they get destroyed also. can only use each disc for about 3-4 minutes before it becomes hazardous.
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Unread 04-30-2011, 08:25 AM   #13
rustywrangler
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take the pos back and get another grinder then. this should not be happening, even with a hf one.
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Unread 05-01-2011, 03:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rustywrangler View Post
take the pos back and get another grinder then. this should not be happening, even with a hf one.
x2. Somethings not right. you might have to flip the spacer the disc sits on as well. I know on my generic brand grinder the spacer is two sided and a little thicker on one side for centering thicker grinding discs. It won't fully tighten down on a .045" cutting disc unless it's flipped so that might be your problem. Either way the disc should never be loose on the grinder.

Btw, don't force the disc into the metal to the point it's locking up and breaking. Let the disc do the cutting with minimal pressure and avoid side loading of the disc. They last a lot longer if you don't push them through the material.
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Unread 05-02-2011, 08:05 AM   #15
acrajchel
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the disc locks up with almost no pressure on it because there is no pressure being put on the disc to spin by the grinder. i took the grinder into hf and they messed around with it and said it was defective. they said the manufacturer didn't cut the threads down enough for the flange nut to tighten properly. they offered to replace it, but i fought with them and got my money back. ill buy dewalt from now on.
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