Tag Archives: plasma cutter

  • 5 tips to make your Plasma Cutter work better

    Plasma cutting seems easy right? Pull the trigger, make some sparks, cut some metal, easy as pie! Well it can be quite simple, but there are a few things that can cause your plasma to underperform. Below we cover 5 tips to allow you to cut any metal with ease.

    1. Clean your ground location- Some of the modern plasma cutters like our Versa Cut Plasma Cutter have a "high frequency start" that allows the plasma arc to blast through rust, paint, and years of grime to cut metal without the need to clean the area you are cutting. This is great for those who hate cleaning metal; but one thing that people often forget is that they need a clean, solid ground to help create a strong arc to easily cut through metal. With a subpar ground you will find that your arc is unstable and will often result in inconsistent cuts. Take the extra 2 minutes to find a good ground location, or grind yourself a clean clamping area. It makes a world of difference!

    2. Keep your torch "Slag-Free"- When cutting with a plasma, you have molten metal splattering and slag goes flying; especially when cutting with the torch below the work surface. The slag can inadvertently make its way onto your torch electrode or nozzle. The build up of slag on the business-end of your torch can create an unstable arc and block airflow out of the nozzle. That buildup leads to poor cutting ability even on the most expensive machines. We suggest that you check the end of your torch after each cut to make sure there isn't a build up of slag that can decrease the performance of your plasma cutter.

    3. Dry Air is Friendly Air- Plasma cutters need a constant flow of clean, dry air to allow it to "punch" through the metal when cutting. This is another reason we can't stress enough how important it is to make sure your compressor has an adequate dryer and water separator system installed. For that reason we integrated a "last chance" filter in our Versa Cut plasma to make sure clean, dry air reaches the plasma torch. When you introduce dirty or moisture-rich air into the plasma arc you will notice that it will be difficult to get a stable arc going as the moisture in the air coming out of the torch will cause the arc to wander. You NEED clean, dry air to create a stable, focused arc!

    4. Avoid extension cords- We put a 20' torch lead and a 10' ground lead on our Versa Cut for a reason; you need to keep the machine as close to the power source as possible. The same as using a welder, the longer and skinnier the extension cord, the more it drops the voltage your machine is receiving. This means you could be "maxing out" your machine cutting something that should only require 3/4 power because the drop in voltage at the machine is so low by the time it goes through that 20 foot extension cord. We suggest (especially on the 110V setting) to keep your plasma plugged directly into an outlet. If you do need to use an extension cord, get a dedicated heavy gauge extension cord that will have the least power drop possible. By heeding this warning you can get the most performance out of your plasma. Remember, move the work surface or torch and ground, not the entire machine!

    5. More Air= More Punch- Like the amperage adjustment, we have an adjustment for air pressure along with a built-in pressure gauge. You need to make sure that you have adequate air pressure going to the torch to allow the plasma arc to properly "punch" through the metal. "Too much" air isn't as much of an issue as "too little" air, although you do want to dial the air down a bit with thinner metal to reduce the amount of slag and sparks from flying across the room.

    Hopefully by following these 5 tips you can streamline your plasma cutting jobs, and keep your machine function properly.

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  • More Cab Mount Fabrication

    It seems like an endless cycle all I have been working on is these dang cab mounts! But it is the basis for how the rest of the body will be situated, so I guess even though it is boring, it is necessary to make sure it is all done right. Today I worked on the towers I fabricated in the last posts. I mocked up them up on the brackets and marked and drilled them for the bolt that will attach everything to together. I used our Drill Index Set to drill the hole large enough to fit the bolt through. I will be using our Hole Saw Kit to make a larger hole in the top plate in to allow an extension and socket to fit down into the town and tighten the bolt down.

    Next I used our new Prototype Plasma Cutter Attachment and the Versa Cut Plasma Cutter to cut out a replacement piece for the left front cab mount bracket. This made the cut super clean, and left almost no slag to clean up!

    Thanks for watching!

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  • A Sneak Peak at the Next Must-Have Plasma Attachment

    Here at Eastwood we are constantly look for ways to make jobs you do in your shop easier, quicker, and cheaper; but at a price you can stomach. This neat little tool is due to launch in early 2012, and when coupled with your Versa Cut Plasma Cutter, you will be able to make cuts that make most think they were done on a professional plasma table. Check out the video and watch this space for more info as we launch this great tool!

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  • Let the cutting begin!

    Recently we introduced to you my new project, a 1950 Dodge "Pilot-House" Truck. After I did some digging, I found that there wasn't going to be an easy way to remove the original bolts holding the front end, cab, and bed on the truck. Luckily I had a number of cutting tools at my disposal and we didn't waste any time, and got the cutting started on the ol' Dodge!

    The first order of business was to get the old wood floor ripped out of the bed. It was all rotted quite badly, and I found layer after layer of wood patches. This was truly used as a workhorse, and old Whitey had just thrown plywood in each time the bed floor started to rot out. Ultimately this lead to moisture getting trapped between the bed braces as well as the bedsides, and the rot set in. You can see below the braces didn't fare too well.

    At this point, I called in the big guns, the Eastwood Versa-Cut Plasma Cutter, and this new affordable 4 1/2" Angle Grinder we now carry, to cut the original bolts holding the bed onto the frame. I was surprised that it all went pretty smoothly, and the bed came off all in one piece!

    Next is the front clip, and then the cab. In the meantime I'm on the hunt for a suitable chassis donor on Craigslist. Hoping I can score a deal in the coming weeks! Watch this space for more to come.

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  • Real Life Product Testing

    Lets face it, there isn't enough time in the day for everyone here to fully document every project they have ever done, or currently have going. I am one of the lucky ones, in that my job revolves around my documentation of each and every project I do. But not everyone here is in the habit of taking photos every 10 minutes of their current task. Occasionally we have problems finding projects in the right stage to test new products. It is frustrating sometimes knowing a product that we just came out with could have saved one of us time, or done a better job if it had been available when we were at that stage. Not to mention, the perfect opportunity to test, and photograph how a product works.

    This is where Mike Yannessa and his crew at Wheels in Motion ( http://www.wheels-in-motion.biz/site/index.html ) come into play. These guys are a local shop (across town from EW HQ), that has a lot of interesting restoration projects going on. They seem to have cars at just about every step of the build process going at all times. They offered to test some of our products, and give us some "real-life" reviews on the products. It is one thing to test products in a "perfect enviroment" in our R&D, but we wanted the product to be used in a busy shop that can give us a better idea as to what YOU (the customer) would be experiencing when using any of our products. We recently took a small tour of the "Body Shop" division of Mike's business.

    The property that Wheels in Motion is situated on has a neat history. The building served as the auto body division of a local Chevy dealership from the 1930's up until just a few years ago. It is crazy to think that a dealership was repairing fender benders and detailing everything from the first Corvettes to new Z06's throughout the years. Imagine if the walls could talk, the stories they would tell of the amazing cars it saw pass through the shop over all those years! Unfortunately a few years ago, the long time family-owned dealership closed it's doors. Mike jumped on this opportunity to obtain the old Chevy bodyshop. I think the heritage of the building, along with all of the cool old auto nostalgia left behind by the dealership, makes this building perfect for what they focus on at Wheels in Motion. When walking around the building, you can spot old dealership signs, books, and even promotional items still hanging on the wall as they probably have been for many many years. For me, I think this really added to the whole "classic restoration shop" feel.  It seems some of the most interesting projects  come out of unsuspecting buildings like this.

    Currently we have them testing one of our prototype Plasma cutters. Even though we have done a bit of testing here, we figured they'd use it pretty heavily, cutting out old rusty chunks of metal off of project cars. You can tell in the shot below (of the pile of rusty old metal), they have been busy taking advantage of it! Check out some of the projects cars that they had sitting at the shop the day we were there. Some pretty interesting stuff! Everything from the abandoned projects they have to take over, and finish, to the original barn-find that someone dropped off, to even a trailer queen! As time goes on, I'll stop by and share with our readers what they are testing, and what projects they have going right now. For now enjoy the pictures!

    -Matt/EW

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