If you need a tool for your occasional cutting requirements, for maintenance works, for your professional cutting needs or if you just want to replace your mechanical saw, you could consider using plasma cutters.
This equipment was once considered only for professional uses since they were expensive but recent times have made them more affordable even for occasional hobbyists and advancements in technology have led to the production of lighter, more compact and better-performing plasma cutters. Miller provides reliable plasma cutters that provide high performance and are placed among the top products in the market.
Miller plasma cutters are rigorously tested and patented with cutting edge technology to provide ease of use, high quality cuts and efficient usage of time.
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Why Do You Need A Plasma Cutter?
Along with the decline in the cost of machines, the size of the machine has also reduced considerably in recent times, making it portable and adaptable for any type of work. These machines are ideally used for cutting steel and non-ferrous material with less than 1 inch thickness.
Plasma cutting has the advantage of giving faster, non-linear cuts compared to Oxyfuel or other mechanical means. It has been approved by users to have an upper hand over other cutting methods.
How To Choose Your Plasma Cutter?
If you have identified your cutting choice and decided on plasma cutting, here are a few tips to help you choose the right cutter:
- Analyze the thickness of metal that you mostly handle and choose the amperage and cutting ability of the plasma cutter. Do not opt for a lower amperage cutter for thicker metals since it might result in a low quality cut.
- Choose your cutting speed that will be measured in inches per minute. If speed is a determining factor in your work, it is ideal to get a machine that can handle about twice your normal metal thickness.
- Check the Duty cycle, measured in inches per minute, for your equipment so as to use it optimally and avoid overheating.
- Usually plasma cutters use high frequency to conduct electricity which could interfere with other electronic equipment. Hence you need to opt for a method that eliminates potential problems.
- Decide on a manufacturer who uses less consumable which might need periodic replacement that could eventually bring down your expenses.
- Do test cuts on material of same thickness using different machines and check for the precision and quality of cut.
- Test on how long your torch can be lifted from the plate while cutting and still maintain the arc. Longer arc denotes more volt and ability to cut thicker plates.
- Check for an equipment that gives fast and positive transfer from pilot to cutting even at larger height.
- Visibility is enhanced by a torch which should ideally be small, less bulky which enable you to see your cuts.
- If you are to relocate your plasma cutter to various locations, check out for a lightweight machine with shoulder straps. Also look for a smaller footprint with space for cable storage, torch, consumables etc. for smaller areas.
- If you deal with hard jobs, get a durable machine with protected controls such as a protective cage for integral parts.
- Look for a cutter that is user-friendly, has readable control panel and instructions clearly specified on the unit itself.
- Checkout all safety features such as the nozzle-in-place sensor, pre-flow sequence etc.
How To Utilize The Potential Of Your Plasma Cutter?
After you decide on your choice of cutter, you should know how to use it to its fullest. Here are a few tips:
- Check every item in the package, do the set up and recheck.
- Wear adequate safety gear as per your instruction manual.
- Start your cut at an angle. A perpendicular cut could blow molten metal away from the torch so please be careful there.
- Never drag or touch the nozzle over your work which will drastically reduce nozzle life.
- Beginners should always try to use drag cup on which torch can rest during the cut.
- Maintain right speed as molten metal will accumulate on top or bottom of the cut for a high or low speed cut and give a low quality cut.
- Set current to maximum as you begin and slowly reduce it for better precision.
- Try to keep pilot arc time to minimum as it wears out consumables.
- Keep optimal distance of 3/16" to 1/8" between nozzle and your work.
- Choose direction of cut that gives you best finish for your work.
- As you finish your work, give a push angle on thicker metals for getting the bottom corner out which is usually left at the end of the plate.
Now that you are equipped to pick the right plasma cutter of your choice, let's take a look at some of the positive and negative aspects of using a plasma cutter:
- Cut any electronic conductive material.
- Based on series, operate one or more burners.
- Can cut up to thick high alloy aluminum or steel.
- Cuts small to medium sized construction steel with lesser heat input.
- Faster cutting speed.
- Highly automated
- Underwater cutting reduces heat and sound around workplace.
- They are typically more expensive than alternatives like Oxyfuel.
- They cut only up to 1 inch thickness.
- Restricted cuts of up to 160 mm dry and 129 mm under water.
- Tend to have a wider kerf.
Based on all the above mentioned aspects, here is a detailed analysis of the three best plasma cutters that Miller has to offer:
Miller Spectrum Auto-Line plasma cutter is a compact machine with 60 amps cutting power.
This unit has the flexibility to be connected to primary input voltage from 208-575 volts, 50/60 Hz, single/three phase connections.
This equipment is ideal to be used for industrial applications, repair, maintenance, construction, fabrication or DIY hobbyists.
- Price For: Each Series: Spectrum 875 Includes: XT 60 Hand Held Torch 20ft., Heavy-Duty Quick Connect Work Clamp 20ft., Power Cord 10ft. and Extra Consumables Item: Plasma Cutter Cutting Capacity (In.): 7/8 Cable Length (Ft.): 20 Rated Output: 60A at 140VDC PSI: 90 Input Voltage: 208 to 575 Input (Amps): 9.8 to 27.5 Duty Cycle: 40%, 100% Application: Metal Cutting
- Design: Inverter Overall Width (In.): 8.75 Overall Height (In.): 13.5 Overall Depth (In.): 18.5 Country of Origin (subject to change): United States
Last update on 2019-03-22 PST - Details
- LVC line voltage compensation which offers steady performance in giving steady, clean cuts even under variable voltage (+/-15%).
- No high-frequency starting required, this does not interfere with other electronic items.
- Consumable compartment for storing cords and consumables.
- Wind Tunnel technology protects internal components from dust and particle abrasion.
- Fan-on-demand cooling technology works under dusty environments to reduce airborne dust and debris.
- Automatic air regulation to regulate air pressure for optimal gouging and cutting.
- Auto Post-flow help extend consumable life and eliminate the usage of excess air.
- Ultra Quick Connect has ergonomic handle and flexible cable for easy maneuvering.
- Rated Cutting Capacity helps achieve precise cuts for your chosen thickness.
- Auto Refire technology controls pilot arc automatically while cutting expanded or multiple metals.
- Robotic kits and accessories help complete automation of the machine.
Miller Spectrum 875 Plasma Cutter (Soure: youtube.com)
2. Miller Spectrum® 375
Miller Spectrum DC Plasma Cutter is mainly used for industrial applications, maintenance works, HVAC duct works or light construction works.
- Rated cutting capacity of 15 inches per minute with precise and steady cuts.
- The machine starts without high frequency and does not interfere with other electronic equipment.
- The circuit automatically connects to 115/230 VAC, 50/60 Hz, single phase power without necessity to relinking.
- The Multi-Voltage Plug will automatically connect to 120-240 volt receptacles and provide extreme flexibility.
- X-Case provides additional storage space for consumables, protective gear, cables etc. and is ideal for transporting.
- The machine is very lightweight and is ideal for transporting from location to location.
- Automatic Air Regulation provides constant torch pressure and compensates for input pressure automatically, thus allowing optimal cutting.
- X-30 torch with ergonomic handle has no-slip grip, finder contours, thumb guide and a flexible cable for easy maneuvering.
- Auto Refire technology automatically controls pilot arc while cutting expanded metals and offer maximum power to cut thicker metals.
- With 19 pounds weight and shoulder strap, the machine is highly portable.
- Wind Tunnel technology makes sure the internal components are protected from dust or debris.
- Fan-on-demand acts as cooling system when needed and also repeals dirt in dusty environments.
- X-treme Versatility offers high-end versatility to user.
- Very user-friendly design with LED indicators for power, pressure, cup and temperature.
- LVC line voltage compensation will give peak performance even under voltage fluctuations.
- The machine comes with 3 years manufacturer’s warranty.
Miller Spectrum 375 Xtreme Plasma Cutter (Soure: youtube.com)
Choosing the right plasma cutter involves various factors, the main ones being how precisely the machine is able to make a quality cut on a hard metal without much hassle. All the above mentioned plasma cutters offer the combination of quality, precision and ease of use.
If we are to recommend one out of the three reviewed, we would pick Miller Spectrum® 375 X-treme DC Plasma Cutter. It could easily be one of the best miller plasma cutters in the market today. It is a high-performer even with its compact size and concise design. The machine serves you to its fullest, with regard to its portability and affordability.