Plasma Cutter

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Used Plasma Cutters

Are you looking for a used grinding machine for sale at a fair price? We can help. Every plasma cutter for sale at CNCMachines.net has been thoroughly checked and can offer you the benefits of CNC plasma cutting technology without the expense of buying new. We specialize in providing an easy way for machining companies find a plasma cutter that meets their specifications and budget.

Factors to Consider 

Shopping for a used plasma cutter can be overwhelming. There are a number of factors to consider when looking for the best solution for your company. We suggest that you start by making a list of all your requirements. Consider the following:

  • Cut capacity
  • Cut quality
  • Reliability
  • Duty cycle
  • Ease of use
  • Operating costs
  • Speed of operation
  • Duty cycle
  • Inverter requirements
  • Air supply & air quality requirements
  • Hand-held or CNC type
  • Durability
  • Cheap vs. Premium

Cut Capacity – Thicknesses and Material Types You Plan to Cut

What is the thickness and type of the material you plan on cutting? We recommend selecting a used plasma cutter with a recommended cutting capacity that matches the material thickness you plan to cut at least 80% of the time. For example, if most of your work will be cutting ½” material, but you occasional need to cut something a little thicker (like ¾”) then you should look for a ½” cutting system. The power output of a used plasma cutter will determine the thickness and type of material it can cut. For example, 12 amps from a 120V machine may only be able to cut about 1/8”, but 60 amps on a 230V plasma cutter can cut 7/8” thick in most metals. Galvanized surfaces, coated steel, aluminum are harder to cut than mild steel, so make sure you have enough power for your application.

Cut Quality Requirements

What kind of cut quality do you need? Rough cuts might be OK if you plan secondary operations anyhow, but if you can get a clean, smooth edge without secondary work, then that is ideal. Better plasma cutters offer a narrow kerf (cut width) which saves on material and provides a smoother finish.

Reliability Requirements

In general plasma system with fewer parts, manufactured to ISO standards is going to be the most reliable. You may also look for a centralized fan configuration to bring cool air in through the center of the system for more efficient, consistent cooling. This can enable a higher duty cycle.

Ease of Use

Some used plasma cutters are easier to use than others. Ask about the process controls that comes on the machine. On the more advanced controls you’ll see onboard DXF import capability, onboard irregular nesting (the software selects the best way to arrange the irregular shapes for fast cutting and reduced material waste), and touchscreen interaction for improved speed and functionality.

Operating Costs

Plasma is a consumable cost and plasma life can vary considerably from one brand of plasma cutting system to another. The longer the plasma consumable life, the quicker the change-outs and lower costs you’ll have long-term. Some used plasma cutters use patented technology to extend plasma consumable life and also deliver high-quality cuts.

Speed of Operation

Used plasma cutters for sale might list the cutting speed in Inches Per Minute (IPM). Think about the most common type of job you expect to run on a particular machine and how long it might take to cut each piece. Some plasma cutters operate four or five times slower than more powerful counterparts.  Some plasma cutters for sale will have ratings for cutting as follows – quality cut, rated cut and sever cut.

Quality Cut: Good quality cutting of thicker material, takes longer to cut

Server Cut: Able to cut very thick material or up a maximum thickness. Cutting speed is slow but increases as the thickness decreases – may require post-cutting clean-up

Rated Cut: The best high-quality cut, used for cutting mild and less thick steel, maximum cutting speed, smooth clean cutting result

Duty Cycle

Another factor contributing to the speed of operation is the “duty cycle.” This is the amount of time a plasma cutter can operate within a ten-minute span before needing to cool off. A five-minute duty cycle means it can run for five minutes before needing to cool off for five minutes.  For long or deep cuts you’ll want a longer duty cycle, and for small short cuts, a shorter duty cycle can be ideal. If a plasma cutter is to be used frequently, but not continuously for a long period than you can purchase based on the maximum amperage output. The more amperage output, the more duty cycle.

Inverter Requirements

Is a built-in inverter needed? If you need to provide mobile plasma cutting services, you will need a plasma cutter with a built-in inverter. These take DC power and feed it through a high-frequency transistor. Usually, these are compact, fast, efficient cutters.

Air-Supply & Air Quality Requirements

Do you need a plasma cutter with its own air-supply? Plasma cutters need an air supply for the cutting process. This may be a bottled gas, like bottled nitrogen or bottled air. Some prefer nitrogen for stainless steel cutting. Do you have an air compressor to use with this plasma cutter, or do you need it to be integral with the machine? Does the used plasma cutter have an air filtration system? Dirt, oil, and dust polluting compressed air will impact the quality of the cut. For smoother and faster cutting and increased torch life, consider a plasma cutter with air filtration.

Hand-Held or CNC Table?

A hand-held torch is great for cutting quickly through sheet metal or gouging and removing defective welds or for back-gouging. It’s good for cutting small shapes from steel plate, however it does not provide good enough edge quality and part accuracy for most metal fabrication applications. For accurate, clean cuts, use a CNC plasma machine.

Durability of Used Plasma Cutters

Most plasma cutters are used in a rough environment. They can be temperamental and unstable or highly reliable. The less stable ones are prone to overheating or having circuitry issues. Per the inspection instructions, you’ll want to smell for burnt wire when testing it and look for signs of previous sparking in the wiring and on the circuit board. More expensive models have better cooling systems, better quality control, automatic shut-off features, more efficient torches higher build sturdiness and better engineering for built-in heat protection.

Cheap vs. Premium Used Plasma Cutters

Prices on used plasma cutters for sale vary greatly, from a few hundred dollars to a hundred thousand dollars. You can get basic cutting features on the cheaper units but will lack the maneuverability, automatic air, amperage adjustment options, control features, and ergonomic design found or more premium used plasma cutters.

Types of Torches for Plasma Cutters

Cutting torches for plasma cutters come in two common types. The most common are high-frequency starting systems which create a spark with a high-voltage transformer, capacitors, and spark-gap assembly.  This kind of torch has the advantage of not having any movable parts and can be reasonably dependable. Just be aware that they do require occasional maintenance and can interfere with computers and other electrical equipment because of the high-frequency electric noise they create.

How to Inspect a Used Plasma Cutter

Before purchasing a used plasma cutter, you want to make sure that it’s in good working condition and that you have the ability to operate it.

Things to consider:

  • Get the power requirements. Make sure you have a power supply that matches those requirements. Light cutters often operate at 110 or 220 volts and run with generators with an output of at least 8,000 W. Take into account any other appliances that might be on the same circuit.
  • Inspect all cables for damage. If any cable insulation is worn out or damaged, there was likely a malfunction.
  • Request all service records. Review and ask questions. Look for any missing screws around panels – if some are missing, it’s an indication that the panel has been opened. See what the prices of the service calls have been. Some plasma cutters are more expensive than others to service.
  • Request operating manuals and a schematic of the board if possible.
  • Test run. Smell for a burnt electrical smell (if you find it – don’t buy that one.) Look for burnt spots at wire connections an on the boards.
  • Ask about parts availability, identify who you plan to use to source parts and service before you purchase. Consider where you will purchase consumable parts, like the nozzle, electrode, retaining cup, shield and swirl ring. The nozzle and electrode will frequently need to be replaced. (Keep in mind that cheaper models may require more regular consumable replacement, so over the long run a more expensive machine may cost less.)

We are a trusted source for used plasma cutters and consistently take in plasma cutter trade-ins. We welcome you to call or visit and inspect one of our used plasma cutters. Contact us, and we’ll help you find the best one for your business.

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