swapping the TIG torch for a Plasma torch on a HF TIG welder?
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  1. #1
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    Default swapping the TIG torch for a Plasma torch on a HF TIG welder?

    Having done a lot of research I have recently bought a WSME-250 with TIG welder from localtoolsales.co.uk with a 12month warranty.

    Pulse and MMA function
    Power voltage 240 VOLT
    Rated input current(A) 15
    Output current range(A) 10~200
    Preheat time(S) 0~2
    Delay time(S) 2~10
    Attenuated time(S) 0~5
    Arc strike time HF
    No-load voltage(V): 60
    Rated output voltage.(V): 18
    Insulation class: F
    Efficiency(%) 80
    Duty cycle(%) 60

    It’s the best I could afford and the manufacturer has a good reputation although I could have done with a plasma cutter as well which leads to my question...

    As the TIG unit has high frequency start and AC/DC switchable power, could I replace the argon with compressed air and swap the TIG torch for a Plasma torch?

    I have seen a TIG Torch used as a cutter I’m just not sure if there is a circuit that needs to be included as the basic plasma cutter fundamentals are all there....

    Snax

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    In a word....no. The volt/amperage characteristics of a TIG power supply vary quite a bit from that of a plasma power supply. If you are cutting 1/8" steel...typically you would need about 30 to 60 amps and over 100 load volts with a plasma system......the TiG power supply is designed to provide much lower load voltage.

    If you put the plasma torch on this power supply and got the time right (to fire the high frequency at the correct air pressure...then ramp up the current and isolate the torch nozzle to allow the arc to transfer to the plate....I would expect the arc to transfer to the plate but as the current (amps) increased to deal with the ionized plasma arc....the voltage would droop far below the level (90-100 volts) required to sustain the arc....and the arc wold immediately extinguish.

    Jim Colt Hypertherm

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    Thanks Jim, for a really good explanation. I think you have just saved me hours of trial and frustrating errors in trying to achieve something that would have looked feasible but would have ultimately failed.

    Snax

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    Its a good question...it has been asked many times! In reality....plasma cutting was adapted from the Tig welding process in 1957 by an engineer at Union Carbide Corp.....later to become L-Tec and Linde, then Esab. After redesigning the Tig gas nozzle to increase velocity of the gas....it was discovered that a higher load voltage was needed.....so the power supplies were redesigned. There are a few combination plasma and Tig machines....but the power supply circuitry are separate for each process....sharing only the high frequency unit. Todays air plasma systems for portable use don't even use the high fequency for starting, most have switched to a blowback (moving electrode) gas ionization system.

    Jim Colt Hypertherm


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