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Selecting a Plasma Torch

Hypertherm Powermax 900 PlasmaCAM can work with many different sizes and brands of plasma cutters. If you're thinking about buying one, be sure to look at the whole picture first. Suppose you want the ability to cut steel up to ½" thick and decide to buy a 50 amp cutter. You will find that several different manufacturers offer appropriately sized cutters. However, some of these models are vastly superior to others. Choose the right plasma torch now and you'll save money and get better results for as long as you use it.

When selecting a plasma cutter, don't just look at the price tag. Consider these other important factors as well:

  • Arc initiation - may cause interference and incompatibility with computerized machines. We recommend using a torch with a "contact" arc starting mechanism (not to be confused with dragable tips, also called "solenoid" start) instead of torches based on "high voltage/high frequency" or "capacitive" arc starting mechanisms.
  • Consumable life & cost - affects how long your torch cuts good before the consumables must be replaced, and what this costs. Unfortunately the manufacturers' ratings are often subjective and don't apply to mechanized cutting.
  • Bevel - affects edge straightness. Choose a plasma torch that can cut consistently cut straight.
  • Kerf width - affects how fine you can cut. Choose a torch that can accept a nozzle with a small orifice.
  • Cutting capacity - affects cut speed and max piercable thickness. Some manufacturers rate capacity far more conservatively than others, so compare current (amperage) outputs in addition to thickness ratings.
  • Duty cycle - is rated very conservatively and is not usually a factor at all.

In order to help you make the best choice, we are continually researching hand plasma cutters in depth. See if the model you are planning to use is recommended before you buy.

click here to compare technical specs on specific models of plasma cutters

Hypertherm, Lincoln, Miller, HTP, Hobart and Thermal Dynamics make plasma cutters based on contact arc starting that work well with the PlasmaCAM system.

click to visit one of these web sites:  Hypertherm   Lincoln   Miller   HTP   Hobart

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