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Discussion Starter #1
There are a lot of cheap plasma cutters online and I'm going to need one for the project I'm just starting. Does anyone have personal experience w/ the under $200 units?
Thx
 

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There are a lot of cheap plasma cutters online and I'm going to need one for the project I'm just starting. Does anyone have personal experience w/ the under $200 units?
Thx
If a plasma cutter is under 200 bucks it will be the let down you would expect from a $200.00 plasma cutter.

Buy a decent one, only cry once.

Not trying to rain on your parade, just wish I had all the money I wasted on cheap stuff back to put towards the good stuff I ended up buying when the cheap stuff let me down.

I run a miller spectrum 375, it’s the size of a breadbox and works great every time.

Once you buy it and use it you will find other project for it. Make it an investment that will last, or at least worth something and sell it when done.

Happy building!


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I'll chime in. Major part of a job is having adequate tools. However it is often difficult to justify the cost of something that may be used on occasional (over all) basis. I also weigh the cost of satisfaction of doing something myself or paying for some things to be done. Another option is renting a particular tool.
For me, I regularly look at craiglist and garage/estate sales. Hey, you may get lucky. Bottom line, once I made a choice, don't look back.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
100% agree w/ both you guys. Thank you for the responses.
 

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I have Eastwood's versa cut 60 And I have been Very Happy with it. And I have had it well over a yr now. They have a versa 20 for a little over 300 bucks right now on sale. But I don't know what your needs are . I know my versa cut 60 will do up to 7/8s plate.
 

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I agree with every-bodies comments but I do CL for tools that I just need for the task at hand. Same goes for HF, had a $20 4" grinder with a cutting wheel to cut my rotted floor out and many other area's. Yes it burned up and I bought another one. If I was younger and was going to have a lot more projects I would take a different approach. I bought a 135 Mig from EW but when you start looking around it's identical to a Lincoln and various other brands.It has actually worked great. I have been hesitant to buy big dollar name brand items because most of it comes from China but is assembled in the US. I understand those little made in America work around things as where I work they do the same thing by slapping that made in the USA sticker on. I'm not saying that there is not quality product truly made in the US but it will cost you and if you don't always need it you're going to flip it on CL for a 25% loss. If you will be using it for the next 20 years on various projects, go for it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Mark kind of touched on this......I'm an old man. I have a shop full of quality tools but at my age and the unknown of how many more projects I will take-on, I just didn't want to invest in another expensive tool.
If I had more tread left on the tire, a descent plasma cutter would be more appropriate.
Good answers/suggestions from all
 

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Sorry old man, I wasn't trying to call you out maybe you need to go in for a re-tread :). I was also saying don't trust what you are buying by the brand. It pisses me off when I see mid range brand name products that are identical to products at HF but that brand name product is $200 more. I'm not dissing valid top brand name products that are quality but over the years most other mid range have sold out and are surviving on their name alone. Sorry to drag this out.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Mark, I agree w/ your whole post. The funny thing about private labeled Chinese made tools is many times they are the same tool and the price can vary widely depending on who's name is on it. Example, many tools Eastwood and Woodward Fab sell can be found elsewhere for quite a bit less......same tool, different decal.
Back to the cheap plasma cutter, today, Amazon delivered 50 cut-off wheels. They will substitute for the plasma cutter!
 

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I was going to say a buddy of mine just purchased the floor portion of a 69 Chevy truck bed to put in his 55. I asked how he was going to cut it and he gave me the same answer, cut off wheels. He claims he can do it with surgical quality and save lots of money. I believe him.
 

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haha railroad man.........Well i have a versa 60 and i've already had to replace the main air valve before i even used it.
 

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I was going to say a buddy of mine just purchased the floor portion of a 69 Chevy truck bed to put in his 55. I asked how he was going to cut it and he gave me the same answer, cut off wheels. He claims he can do it with surgical quality and save lots of money. I believe him.
He is 100% correct. Before I had a plasma cutter 100% of my cuts were made with a 6 inch wheel on a 4 inch grinder or a 3 inch wheel on a 1hp die grinder. With patience and good technique you can be very clean and accurate with your cuts. I still use that method when precision is key.
Buying one tool or piece of equipment doesn’t make what you already have obsolete. It really takes a lot of tools to build cars and other projects. In fact, sometimes you need the same tool in different sizes for best results. If I was building one car and wouldn’t use a plasma on anything else after the build I would stick with cutting wheels.


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I don't know about anyone else here But I'm not spring chicken any more either. But I kinda see it like this it either goes to my grandkids Or to pay to cover me up in the end. Yeah I kinda buy cheaper but only because I cant always buy the good stuff. 90 % of it all comes from china anyway. Their isn't much that Is made in the good Ol USA. To many fouls sending it else where to save a buck. But end up spends twice anyway. So why Not Just Build/make here.
just my 2cents/ penny's lol
 

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Discussion Starter #15
About the plasma cutter, I have about 100 frame rivets to remove and a bunch of very rusty cab and bed bolts to remove.
I wanted the ease of a plasma cutter but I drilled-out the body bolts and am cutting the rivet heads off w/ a wheel and punched them out. A pain in the ass for sure but it's coming along. The plasma would make life easier however, especially w/ the body bolts.
BTW, I generally buy cut-off wheels at the swapmeet but w/ no swaps at present I got these on Amazon. These last much longer. Seems to be a good product.
406543
 

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harbor freight has them pretty cheap sometimes. I have had pretty good luck with them. I bought some from Home depot. and I know Lowes carries them as well.
 

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I had a very bad experience with HF cut-off wheels, and only buy the Diablo discs now from Home Depot. A buddy had used my grinder and used up a couple of my disks, so he bought me an entire pack of HF disks. I was using the grinder without the guard as I was cutting tubs out and did not have room for the guard. (OK, who am I kidding, I almost never use a guard!) The first 3 disks out of the HF pack simply exploded with a few seconds of starting to use them. The last one left a large shard of disk stuck into my forearm. I threw the rest of the pack in the trash and went to HD to get some disks.
No more cut-off wheels from HF for me!

Regards, John McGraw
 

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Hey john mcgraw
I buy a lot of then Diablo discs as well ,they do hold pretty good. And do hold up better ( don't brake) then HF when you get them in a bind.
 

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I had a very bad experience with HF cut-off wheels, and only buy the Diablo discs now from Home Depot. A buddy had used my grinder and used up a couple of my disks, so he bought me an entire pack of HF disks. I was using the grinder without the guard as I was cutting tubs out and did not have room for the guard. (OK, who am I kidding, I almost never use a guard!) The first 3 disks out of the HF pack simply exploded with a few seconds of starting to use them. The last one left a large shard of disk stuck into my forearm. I threw the rest of the pack in the trash and went to HD to get some disks.
No more cut-off wheels from HF for me!

Regards, John McGraw
I learned not to use any consumables from HF. I bought flap discs and they ended up being confetti, sand paper doesn’t last.... those experiences kept me from trying cut off wheels. I also use diablo, they aren’t cheap but if you take your time they last a long time. WORTH IT.


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