Plasma Cutter

We just got a new plasma cutter (Lincoln Electric Pro-Cut 25) and I was wondering about gas supply. Can we just hook it up to our compressor? Is there any advantage to using bottled nitrogen? Do we need some sort of filter or dryer for the compressed air?

Thanks,

-ME

oh you are gonna have some fun with this. Compressed air should work fine as long as your compressor can deliver the flow required by your machine. The small miller i used required 4.5 cfm at 60psi. As for nitrogen, i wouldn’t recommend it. Most people run nitrogen because they don’t have a source of compressed air or think that it is cheaper then buying a compressor, but by the time you get the bottle and all the fittings you are only a few bottle fills away from the cost of the compressor. As for a filter dryer,i would check the documentation of the one you got but the last one that i used did not have a dryer and seemed to work just fine. If you live in a very humid environment i would get one anyway as long as it doesn’t interfere with your required flow.

On the little Miller one I use we just hook it up to the shop’s compressed air system (big tank and good sized compressor). No special gas needed.

Having a filter at the end of your air line isn’t a bad idea if you’re air plumbing is done with black or galvanized pipe. Over time the moisture in the air will rust the inside of black pipe and rust particles will break free being passed along to whatever tools are hooked to the air line. With galvanized pipe the galvanized particles could flake off being passed to your tools also. The filter(s) will have to be located at or near the end of the air line(s) to be effective. This isn’t a big problem but just something you might want to take into consideration.

With copper, aluminum, and rubber air lines you don’t have this problem. If you’ve got PVC air lines then whoever installed those was just plain ignorant or stupid. I’d be more worried about getting maimed or killed then whether or not I should have a filter on my PVC lines.
PVC makes great FIRST game pieces, not air lines!

We just use the schools compressed air for ours. This drawing a bit off topic, but perhaps a gas would improve this. How can you make precise cuts in Al with a plasma cutter? We have no problem with steel, but with 1/8" Al, it just leaves an 1/8" cut, and terribly ragged edges.

Although unlikely I suppose that PVC pipe could burst under the pressure, more likly the connectors. Most PVC pipe is rated in the 300-600psi range, well below aircompressor range.

-Mike

There are plastic air piping systems. However, normal ABS, PVC, or CPVC water pipe and fittings ARE NOT rated for air.

We also use compressed air, and ours is filtered to prevent moisture.

How many amps and at what speed are you running the cutter? We get great cuts on aluminum, so I’ll look up the numbers on Tuesday at our meeting and post them.