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Entry-level plasma cutters for up to 1/2" thick mild & stainless flat & tube?

52 Ford

May 20, 2021
I've got some nice old reciprocating pumps that I'm trying to get rid of. Just tore down my old unit with a healthy horse and a half pump because I don't want three air compressors taking up space in my shop. Especially not when I've got a big 10 horse now.

What I may do if 35 gallons isn't enough for what I'm doing is just fudge it with a splitter and run the cutter & compressor together off of the same 50A line. With the pump in start/stop mode I should be fine even if I'm pulling a good 20 amps through the cutter. That circuit ought to handle a mild overload like that for the 30 seconds it takes for the big pump to build 20 pounds and cycle back off again. 10-20% overload for up to five minutes ain't gonna hurt anything as long as the breaker holds.

Just stick some duct tape on the breaker :D (joking!)

So are you running your big compressor on a skid and using the 35 gallon as your primary receiver?


Jun 24, 2022
Entry-level plasma cutters for up to 1/2" thick mild & stainless flat & tube?

Not sure if this is verboten or whether it will instantly devolve into a bashing session, pissing match or political debate, but going to try nonetheless...

Would you guys be able to recommend a solid, relatively trouble-free plasma cutter that is available at what one might consider an entry-level price point? I'm mostly looking for the ability to get nice clean cuts in flat & tubular material between 16 gauge and 1/4", but also have "overload" capacity for the odd stock up to 1/2" on occasion.

The choices out there are seemingly endless and I'm not sure where to begin looking. Could you guys give me some pointers, advice or recommendations to help start my search?

...Preferably without getting hostile or off-topic? Thanks.
Got my entry level from a company in TX called Cyrious Metal Works. It's a hypertherm but they custom built my whole plasma table setup.


Feb 25, 2005
Akron, OH
My 85A hypertherm struggles with half inch stainless. I can't imagine trying it with 45. You can always turn a bigger machine down. I'd say you want a 65 amp machine at least.


Oct 18, 2017
I have cut plenty of 1/4" A36 with my older Hypertherm Powermax 45. And I mean tons of 1/4". I'd wager I'm the reigning 1/4" champion with a PM45. Hasn't skipped a beat for almost 5 years. I added a blower fan to the intake to keep things extra cool since it can be cutting almost 8 hours a day. I've clean cut 3/8" on my 45 with a wiggle entry and I think fed at 5ipm. 1/2" would likely be a sever cut with edge start. Not clean but a cut.

I've cut 10g 316L. Not pretty with air (needs nitrogen). I'd avoid SS unless you have nitrogen.

I've recently picked up a clean, used PM65 (older, not the new) that I'm itching to upgrade to.

I will only ever buy Hypertherm.