Plasma Cutting Tips Part 3

One of the problems encountered when plasma cutters are coupled to oil-less type compressors is their size limitations. Most oil-less compressors provide less than 5 cfm output. This is less than ideal for operation with most air compressors, and during a middle of a cut, your plasma can “starve” for air, creating problems with burned up consumables and torches. This also results, as you would imagine, in poor quality and inconsistent cuts. A few high end oil-less compressors offer over 5 cfm (rated at 90 psi), with larger tank volumes, but their prices usually end up exceeding the cost of decent oil type compressors. If you find having an oil-less compressor is more practical for you, make sure you have the largest reserve capacity possible. Don’t even consider using “pankcake” or “double sausage” style compressors. These will never give satisfactory performance, and they will run constantly trying to keep up with the demand the plasma cutter places upon it. If your compressor exceeds 70-80% run time while plasma cutting, it is too small. A small compressor with too low of a reserve, while cheap to purchase, will cost more in the long run by the problems it causes. One of the reasons many people look at the oil-less, small compressor is for 120V capability. But there are several larger oil type compressors out there that will offer satisfactory performance that will operate faithfully on 120V. Of course size and space limitations often play a factor, but there are several good twin cylinder compressors on the market that offer at least a 25 gallon capacity and a 5 cfm+ output. Whether you buy an oiless or oil type, keep in mind the output and the reserve capacity of the the unit before you put down hard earned money. Stores don’t like to see returned (and used) compressors come back for exchange.


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