Is A Plasma Cutter Right For You? Plasma Cutter Part 2 of 2
Even though a plasma cutter may be still at the top of the list in shop equipment purchases, there are even more still a few more legitimate cutting methods that may take precedence in the priorities. When cutting small pieces to length and precise angled cuts of tubing, pipe or flat bar, a plasma cutter may not be ideal. Two other options exist. The first is a “chop” saw (metal blade or abrasive). It is relatively loud process but fairly quick. Chop saws can be angled so cuts can be mitered, but capacity is limited to 4 inches or so, and is usually lighter gauge materials. Abrasive bladed saws can walk in or out of the cut track if pressure is applied. Metal bladed chop saws can throw a tooth from time to time if the metal being cut is too small or thin. Blades can top 100.00 or more so care must be taken that the blade is not forced through the material. Both types of chop saws are noisy. Plasma cutters are not ideal solutions for cutting small material ( especially tubing and pipe) very well, so if welding in an environment that frequent “chop” cuts are needed, a plasma cutter should be a secondary consideration. Band saws also offer alternatives to cutting off tubing, pipe and small plate material. Obviously cutting is limited on horizontal band saws, to straight line cuts. But once the cut is started, the cut can be left unattended and the saw will complete the cut and shut off automatically. The horizontal band saw can be used to cut cleanly and smoothly while using the time it is made to manage other shop tasks such as welding and laying out parts. Very few shops are complete without a horizontal band saw. Vertical band saws offer the ability to cut thin plate and sheets of metal with ease, allowing pattern cutting and complex design cutouts, but only from edge cuts. Although it may not make the top of the purchase list in a small shop, it is definitely one to consider at some time. Portabands (Portable, hand held band saws) are also popular these days because of their speed and convenience and can be used to replace more bulky horizontal band saws in some circumstances. These band saws are increasing in popularity as price falls as well. It’s a good investment and probably should be included in the priority list. We’ve covered several alternatives to a plasma cutter. Each one has its benefits and disadvantages. Plasma cutters are good tools to have. They are very capable and versatile and can cut any metal, but there are some limitations. We covered alternatives to plasma cutters this month because we try encourage customers to evaluate their priorities so that they are fully satisfied with their plasma purchase in the long run.
Everlast Power Equipment, your plasma cutting resources.