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Help me out fellas... Plasma cutter questions...

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I have the chance to get a 220 chicago electric plasma cutter for pretty cheap... Harbor freight sells them for around 700 bucks...


I was just curious if anyone here has used one??? I know they are a cheaper brand but what are your guys opinions of them... It says it will cut 2mm-12mm thick...


Its supposed to be in like new condition and i can get it about 300 bucks cheaper than what they want at HF...


Here is the link to the info and a pic of the machine...




What should i do guys... help me out!!!



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Wish I knew more about which are good ones. I see them on craigslist all the time for awesome prices.. just don't know what is junk and what isn't. I guess if I wanted to know badly enough, i'd research it. Hope to sponge off your thread to get some info :)

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Here's the one I got. Smokin deal, cuts awesome.




Post on the plasma itself.




From my Jeep thread




Not sure about the Harbor freight one, but I'm pretty sure I paid less than 700 for mine.

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plasma cutters are like welders, basically look and see what the duty cycle of it is and usually the cheap machines won't cut even close to what they say they will cut. plasma machines also burn up consumables very fast so ya better make sure they are easy to get when you need them. that machine would be fine for home use. for a shop enviornment it would burn up in a hurry just like every chicago electic tool does. so basically if your going to use it every once in a while with no major cutting time required it will be great. if your relying on it to burn plate for 4 hours a day it will shut down and need to cool off. I used to have a HF dc inverter tig machine that worked great but when i got really hot and heavy with it it actually went up in a big cloud of smoke! so ya get what ya pay for.

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All of Harbor Freights welders are junk. When it comes to equipment like this, the old adage it totally true, you get what you pay for. Never seen or used their plasma cutters, but if they are as bad as the welders, you're better off paying a few hundred more bucks and buying a decent unit. I have a Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster, and while it's near the bottom of the line for Thermal Dynamics, it's a solid quality unit. Used it many, many times and it works beautifully. A decent Plasma cutter can be had for just over a grand new.


As with welders, buy a brand name, Miller, Thermal Dynamics, Hobart, Lincoln. Not only will they last longer, but in 5 years you'll still be able to get parts for them. Plus you can get parts at nearly any welding shop.


Which then leads to buying used equipment, if you buy a used brand name you *know* you can get parts to fix it. So consider finding a nice used unit.


Also be aware that plasma cutter MUST have a clean debris free air flow. You need a water separator at the compressor AND something like a Motorvac filter near the unit. I also use a second water separator at the unit. Water, water vapor, oil, or anything else in the line will either ruin the cut, of ruin the unit. Keep this in mind when budgeting for your unit.

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