Introducing The Best Plasma Cutters with Pilot Arc

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Plasma Cutters with Pilot Arc

Pilot arc plasma cutters minimize interference with electronics and help lengthen consumable life. We review the five best plasma cutters with pilot arc.

Plasma cutters are far better than alternatives such as oxy-fuel when it comes to cutting metal. Plasma cutters make the cleanest and safest cuts. There are high frequency plasma cutters and pilot arc plasma cutters.

A pilot arc plasma cutter extends the life of torch consumables because they do not strike the metal when starting the arc. The pilot arc also ensure less interference with  electronics. This article features our reviews of the five best plasma cutters with pilot arc.

Comparison Table

Before we get to the reviews, first take a look at this comparison table. It features all of the five plasma cutters to be reviewed.

Plasma CutterCheck on Amazon
Lotos LTP5000Dcheck price here
Herocut Cut55check price here
Hyperikon HyperCut50-BDPcheck price here
Mophorn Cut-100check price here
Everlast PowerPlasma 50Scheck price here

Best Plasma Cutter with Pilot Arc Reviews

1. Lotos LTP5000D Pilot Arc Plasma Cutter – For Cutting Rough, Rusty, or Painted Surfaces

Lotos LTP5000D Pilot Arc Plasma CutterThe Lotos LTP5000D features a non-touch plasma arc. The torch can make a constant arc without touching the work piece. This results in a longer consumable life. Pilot arc plasma cutters are more cost-effective in the long run.

Thanks to the pilot arc technology, the LTPP5000D has better cutting quality and can efficiently cut through rough surfaces, rusty surfaces, even painted surfaces, and produce only minimal slag.

Using non-hazardous compressed air, this plasma cutter is effective at cutting stainless steel, aluminum, mild steel, alloy steel, and copper.

It is a compact, portable machine which is easy to carry and use from job to job. The handle enhances its portability.

Thanks to its pre-installed NPT ¼-inch industry type D plug and air filter regulator, it’s possible to quickly connect the air compressor. In fact, the whole setup process is pretty quick: done within a minute.

In addition, the Papst advanced cooling system gives the machine a stable, reliable high performance. The LTP5000D has a rated output of 100 V. IT also has dual voltage input an dual frequency: 110.120 V and 220/240 V with 50/60 Hz frequency.

Pros

-Non-touch pilot arc

-Cut rough surfaces with minimal slag

-Prolonged consumable life

-Uses non-hazardous compressed air

-Quick setup

-Papst cooling system: stable, durable high performance

-Dual voltage and dual frequency

Cons

-Ground clamp could be stronger

View price on Amazon

 

2. Herocut Cut55 Pilot Arc Plasma Cutter – Can Work with CNC Table

Herocut Cut55 Pilot Arc Plasma CutterThe Herocut Cut55 features a non-HF and non-touch pilot arc. You already know what non-touch arc means: that there is no striking of the arc when starting the arc. The advantage of a non-touch pilot arc is extended consumable life and improved cutting.

HF stands for high-frequency, a technology welding and fabrication shops have been using for years. Pilot arc plasma cutters are more recent technology.

It works with well with a CNC table. CNC means Computer Numerical Control. CNC tables enable automation of the cutting process, making it more precise. When you cut with CNC, your cuts improve, and even a beginner can do it. It is far better than just using your hand – the hand is shaky and your eye is not 100% accurate. With CNC, an operator can cut diverse shapes on demand.

The Cut55 has dual voltage: 120 V and 240 V. It has an inverter 50 amps power supply. It has a built-in regulator.

Duty cycle is a representation of how long a machine stays in operation during a specified period. For plasma cutters At 45 amps, this plasma cutter has a 60% duty cycle. That means that for every ten minutes, it operates for 6 and takes 4 to cool down. At 45 amps, it has a 100% duty cycle.

Pros

-Non-touch pilot arc

-Extended consumable life

-Better cutting quality

-Can with CNC table

-Dual voltage

-Built-in regulator

View price on Amazon

 

3. Hyperikon HyperCut50-BDP Pilot Arc Plasma Cutter – With IGBT Inverter Technology

Hyperikon HyperCut50-BDP Pilot Arc Plasma CutterThe Hyperikon HyperCut50-BDP plasma cutter features IGBT inverter technology. IGBT technology is superior to MOSFET technology. MOSFETs are not ideal for the industrial welding environment as they are not built to handle that kind of extreme heat and voltage pressure. IGBT technology, on the other hand, is capable of handling tough working conditions.

This is a 120/240 V dual voltage machine that generates 10-45 A adjustable output power with a 60% duty cycle. 60% means that for every 10minutes, it operates for 6 and takes time off to cool down for 4.

It also ensures safe operation thanks to its built-in over-heat protection and insulation class F. It has a higher heat tolerance and voltage capacity. It has an air regulator that controls the air pressure at 75 psi.

Note that it does not come with an air compressor. What is included is an AG-60 pilot arc torch, 13-feet cable, earth clamp, torch consumables, power cable, and air hose.

It can make a cut of up to 16 mm – that is 5/8 inches. It gives smooth cutting with minimal dross build up.

Pros

-IGBT inverter technology

-Tough and durable

-Dual voltage

-Safe operation

-Smooth cutting with minimal dross

Cons

-Air compressor not included

View price on Amazon

 

4. Mophorn Cut-100 Pilot Arc Plasma Cutter – Safe Operation

Mophorn Cut-100 Pilot Arc Plasma CutterThe Mophorn Cut-100 has a pilot arc torch which is able to efficiently cut through metal surfaces that are rough, rusty, or painted. It produces minimal slag. The benefits of pilot arc technology are longer consumable life, better cutting quality, and the ability to cut without touching the tip to the metal.

It has a maximum 100 amp output current, a 60% duty cycle and voltage compensation to tackle with +/- 15% electricity fluctuation. Its inverter has 85% efficiency.

Electricity is unpredictable and you can never be too cautious. To assure you of safety and protection, the Cut-100 has several safety measures put in place: protection against over-pressure, over-current, and over-heating.  Thanks to the air regulator at the back, you can easily adjust air pressure.

The Cut-100 is ideal for cutting stainless steel, mild steel, alloy, carbon steel, aluminum, and more. It may be used in the automotive industry, for ducting work, metal processing, site work, repair & maintenance, and manufacturing.

Pros

-Cut rough surfaces

-Minimal slag

-Longer consumable life

-Pilot arc

-Safety measures

View price on Amazon

 

5. Everlast PowerPlasma 50S Pilot Arc Plasma Cutter

Everlast PowerPlasma 50S Pilot Arc Plasma CutterThe Everlast PowerPlasma 50S has an upgraded IPT-60 torch. It features a pilot arc and blow-back start technology. It is a more modern approach than High Frequency starting. Pilot arc technology helps reduce interference with electronics during the cutting process, increases consumable life, and ensures a more stable cutting arc.

It features a CNC port which enables light gauge CNC use. Computer Numerical Control enables automated cutting that is far more precise than anything you could achieve with your hand.

It has a 110/220 V dual voltage and 50 amps of cutting power. In addition, it features an adjustable post flow timer of up to 60 seconds that extends torch and consumable life. Witth a 60% duty cycle, it is an okay plasma cutter for commercial use.

Pros

-Pilot arc

-Increased consumable life

-CNC port enables light gauge CNC use

 

View price on Amazon

 

Cut Quality Problems: What to Do When Parts Have Too Much Dross?

Fabrication shops use a lot of time and money chipping and grinding and sanding parts that were cut using a plasma machine. The problem they are trying to eliminate is dross or slag.

Dross is oxidized molten metal that has re-solidified isn’t fully ejected from the kerf during the cutting process. It is one of the main cut quality problems for plasma cutters.

It may form as a thick, bubbly accumulation along the plate’s bottom edge (known as low speed dross). It may form as a small, hard bead of uncut material (high speed dross), and finally it may form as a light coating along the plate’s top surface (top spatter).

There are many variables that are in play where dross is concerned: standoff distance, torch travel distance, voltage, amperage, and the condition of the consumables.

Material variables also play a part. These include: thickness of material, type of material, chemical composition, grade, surface condition, flatness, and temperature changes in the material during the cutting process.

The three major variables to keep in mind when investigating dross formation are cutting speed, amperage, and standoff distance.

Given all these variables, how do you troubleshoot your plasma cutter’s dross problem? We will take you through the troubleshooting process to take for any of the three types of dross:

  1. Low-Speed Dross

When you are operating at a too low cutting speed, the plasma jet seeks more metal to cut. This causes the arc column to grow in diameter and the kerf widens so much that the high-velocity portion of the plasma jet is not able to eject the molten material from the cut.

The result is an accumulation of molten material along the plate’s bottom edge in a thick globular form.

When speeds are extremely low, the arc extinguishes – since the metal is not enough to sustain a transferred arc.

An increase in amperage or a decrease in standoff (with material thickness and speed remaining constant) will produce a similar effect on the cut as the reduction of cut speed. Both changes can cause low-speed dross.

How to get rid of low-speed dross:

-Raise cut speed in 5 ipm increments.

-Increase standoff in 1/16 increments or 5 volt increments.

-Reduce amperage in 10 amp increments.

-Should none of these measures reduce dross, try using a smaller nozzle size.

  1. High-Speed Dross

When cutting speed is too fast, the arc lags back in the kerf, which leaves small, hard beads of uncut material along the plate’s bottom. This kind of dross is tenacious and often needs extensive machining to eliminate.

Operating at extremely high speeds makes the art unstable, causing it oscillate up and down in the kerf. This produces a rooster tail of sparks and molten material. At such high speeds, the arc may fail to penetrate the metal.

Other possible causes of high-speed dross are low amperage and high standoff because both can cause the plasma jet’s energy to reduce.

How to get rid of high-speed dross:

-Start by inspecting the nozzle for signs of wear (oversize or elliptical orifice).

-Reduce cutting speed in 5 ipm increments.

-Reduce standoff in 1/16 increments or 5 volt increments.

-Raise the amperage (ensuring you do not exceed 95% of the nozzle orifice rating).

  1. Top Spatter Dross

Top spatter dross is the accumulation of re-solidified metal that sprays along the cut piece’s top. Top spatter dross is easy to remove. In most cases, the cause of top spatter dross is a worn nozzle, too high cutting speed, or a high standoff.

It occurs as a result of the swirling flow of the plasma jet – at a certain angle, it flings molten material out in front of the kerf instead of down through it.

How to get rid of top spatter dross:

-Inspect the nozzle for signs of war.

-Reduce cutting speed in 5 ipm increments.

-Reduce the standoff in 1/16 increments or 4 volt increments.

Conclusion

While all the five plasma cutters reviewed here are great, some are better than others. After examining each in isolation and then comparing its pros and cons against the other models we picked the Mophorn Cut-100 as the best plasma cutter.

The most attractive thing about the Mophorn is that it has a maximum output current of 100 amps which is impressive compared to other plasma cutters of its kind which typically have about 4o or 50 amps. It also has safety protection against excess heat, pressure, and current.

The second-best plasma cutter is the Everlast PowerPlasma 50S, with 50 amps of cutting power. It has a CNC port which enables light-gauge CNC use.

We reviewed five plasma cutters – which one do you prefer?

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Brian is a part time educator at a local community college, where he specializes in teaching Molecular Biology and Chemistry. He has 12 years of experience in this capacity, but has been doing home based crafts and science experiments out of his garage since he was in high school. When he is not spending time at school or in the research lab, he likes to take up DIY crafts, which he picked off YouTube five years ago. He has become a carpentry and ironwork guru, with many of his crafts donated to the school to help attract the interest of students, who spend one weekend a month at school working on their own crafts. Brian strongly believes that every DIY hotspot needs a strong, durable plasma cutter.

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