Eastwood Plasma Cutter Buyers Guide
What You Need To Know When Buying A Plasma Cutter
If you’re considering buying a plasma cutter it’s probably because you’re doing metal fab or working on a car and you want a really easy way to cut different types of metal. Plus you’ll have nice clean cuts whether the metal is thick, thin or even rusty. A plasma cutter can slice through any conductive metal, like steel, aluminum or stainless. Another advantage of a plasma cutter is that there’s no more need for gas bottles, like you have with an oxy acetylene torch.
Now let’s go over the plasma cutters available at Eastwood and help you find the one that best fits your needs. The first thing you’ll want to know is how thick of metal it will cut, the voltage needed to run it, the air compressor requirements, and finally a few other things like the style of consumables, duty cycle and warranty. Make sure you get a good warranty because if the company doesn’t have confidence in the unit, why should you? All three of these Versa-Cut plasma cutters come with a 3 year warranty, so you know Eastwood has confidence in them.
The three plasma cutters we’re looking at today are the Versa-Cut 20, Versa-Cut 40 and the powerful Versa-Cut 60. The Versa-Cut 20 will cut through metal up to 1/8”, and where it does a great job is with sheet metal, because it’s nice for making thin, fine cuts. So if you don’t need to cut thicker metal and you’re just looking for a great way to cut sheet metal, you want the Versa-Cut 20. Because it’s so good at cutting thin sheet metal, it’s also great for making decorations for around the house or crafts for the holidays.
Next up is the Versa-Cut 40 which will cut through metal up to 3/8”, making it a very good machine for most general metal fab or auto restoration where there is usually isn’t metal thicker than 3/8”.
The Versa-Cut 60 can cut up to 7/8” and many people have used it to cut thicker metal than that! It may not be often that you’ll need to cut metal that thick, but it’s nice to know you can.
Now let’s see what it takes to power these machines. The Versa-Cut 20 uses 120 volts. The Versa-Cut 40 operates on either 120 or 240 with the supplied adapter cord. On 120 volts it will cut through 3/16”. Being able to operate on both 120 and 240 volts is nice because the unit is light enough to take anywhere, so you may be working in a shop that doesn’t have 240, but you can still use this machine. Finally, the Versa-Cut 60 operates on 240 volts.
You don’t need a huge compressor to operate any of these units. In fact, for the Versa-Cut 20 you will only need 3 cfm at 30 psi, so you can run it on a small compressor. The Versa-Cut 40 and Versa-Cut 60 both only need 5 to 7 cfm at 60 psi, so you still don’t need a huge compressor to cut metal.
All three units use Trafimet™ style torches with common consumables, so you can get your supplies at Eastwood or most places that offer welding and plasma cutting supplies. All three units have long 10 foot ground cables and even longer 20 foot torch cables, which are nice because you can move around a project, like a car, without having to carry the unit around with you. All the units are very light and portable with the two larger units weighing about 45 pounds and the Versa-Cut 20 coming in at about 20 pounds.
Let’s go over the duty cycle for each, which is basically the amount of time each machine can operate before needing to cool down. The duty cycle for the Versa-Cut 20 is 40% at 15 amps, the Versa-Cut 40 is 60 percent at the full 40 amps and the Versa-Cut 60 is 60 percent at the full 60 amps. Those duty cycles are plenty to keep you cutting on most projects. Hold a pencil and imagine cutting for six minutes straight like the duty cycle for the Versa-Cut 40 and 60.
I hope this helped you make a decision on which unit is best for you. If you want the ability to cut thick metal, check out the Versa-Cut 60 because it can cut up to 7/8” thick metal , which you may not need to do often, but’s great when you do need to do it. For most work, the Versa-Cut 40 is a great machine and will get the job done cutting metal up to 3/8”. Plus you can plug it into 120 or 240 volts. If you’re just looking to cut thin metal, or want to make fine cuts in sheet metal, the Versa-Cut 20 is the plasma cutter for you.