Review Lidl Plasma Cutter

  1. Turbo Member

    Messages:
    3,458
    Location:
    Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
    I started a new thread for opinions on this unit, please feel free to add your own reviews & thoughts to this. :thumbup:

    I'll start off with an unboxing post.

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    Front connections, torch screw on for air & power, 2-pin torch switch, earth dinse.

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    Push in air connector on rear mounted regulator for supplied 8mm plastic hose. It was leaking at the euro air fitting on the hose. :rolleyes: I unscrewed the fitting at the reg to reveal a 1/4" bsp thread & screwed a euro air fitting straight into it.

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    It has a good carrying handle that folds down.

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    A PT-31 torch, there is a ball & socket where the lead goes in that gives a bit of movement. It is 2.5m long.

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    3 sets of copper bits come with it but only one set of ceramics! :vsad:

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    The earth lead is 2m long, really thin, only 11 gauge cable which is roughly 4mm2, barely enough for 40a current. It is also plastic covered & not too flexible. The earth clamp is flimsy but has a strong spring.

    I'm going to replace the earth lead with some nice flexible rubber welding cable & fit a good earth clamp.

    The 240v lead is 2m long rubber flex but only 1.5mm2 so I don't understand why it has a 16a plug. :dontknow: The cable clamp on the plug was loose so I tightened it but one for everyone to check.

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    These are my first cuts, the 6mm strip was first & I struggled as I didn't know what I was doing. The other 3 bits are 12mm plate which it cut no problem despite my best efforts. When I improve I hope it will cut more cleanly.
     
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  2. earthman Member

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    1,226
    Thanks for starting a review of this machine, I'd certainly like to get one if I ever see one in my local store.

    That lead certainly seems weedy, can you feel any warmth when cutting on max thickness?
     
  3. daleyd

    daleyd Member

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    Location:
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    Is the earth on a plasma the same as a welder in terms of current carrying, ie does it not need to be as chunky? I genuinely don’t know but just wondering if there was a reason why they deemed it ok to fit a smaller one.
     
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  4. RonA

    RonA specialist in repairing sealed for life equipment

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Stockton on Tees, UK
    As a matter of interest where did you purchase the plasma cutter, haven’t seen it in any English Lidl’s.
    RonA
     
  5. hotponyshoes Member

    Messages:
    1,809
    Location:
    Somerset. Uk
    a5153a79-997a-4aeb-9d0c-a23400b440a0_1000x562.jpg The earth leads on a hypertherm are no thicker than that. Maybe even smaller!
    No dinse fitting on them, just a skin top on the front panel.
    As far as I know they only need to carry enough to keep the arc going. The actuall current is going into the plasma jet itself to do the cutting.

    A cebora I had would light up in free air though but I think that had hf start.

    I suppose a thicker cable will be better against mechanical damage but if doing thin sheet the lighter weight of cable/clamp may work better

    Edit: I think plasma is dcen, so the earth lead is actually the live and the torch is negative
     
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  6. mrsbruce

    mrsbruce Forum Supporter

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    Location:
    Livingston, Scotland
    Haven’t seen it in the Scottish shops either.
     
  7. gaz1

    gaz1 Forum Supporter

    Messages:
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    Location:
    westyorkshire
    its ireland at moment soon to be released in the uk lidl

    speed is the reference with a plasma cutter go to fast on thicker gear it sprays the air all over place
    on thin stuff 3mm you can go faster

    its just a learning curve

    i prefer to pull not push



    3 mins on this one

     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
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  8. Turbo Member

    Messages:
    3,458
    Location:
    Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
    I saw a review on youtube of a cut 50 & he said the earth lead melted after a few cuts! He swapped it for some welder cable & his cuts improved. :thumbup:

    Just had a thought - my tig welder uses the same size dinse (I think) so I can try a thicker cable without having to make one. :D
     
  9. Memmeddu

    Memmeddu Member

    Messages:
    1,950
    Location:
    Italia Sardegna
    Was looking a video about plasma cutters on a budget (cheap ones) ,what I understood is that they are limited by more things ,the ground clamp ,the ground cable,the hose ,the cables package , the power cord and even the switch
    The solution may be to replace all this or the most important at least...
    So ground clamp and ground cable and the power cord ,I think that they must be replaced .
    The switch is little bit more difficult to find one bigger than original one ,but it must fit into the old switch housing.
    The entire torch is expensive and mon the easiest thing to find almost here in ItaIy
     
  10. Turbo Member

    Messages:
    3,458
    Location:
    Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
    So I've finally got around to giving this a proper test run. Before I start I'll say that I'm a total novice when it comes to using a plasma cutter & I've only used a gas axe a few times. :dontknow:

    Each time I kept trying different power settings & torch speeds until I got good results.

    First up was some 2.2mm mild steel sheet.

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    15 amps, cutting speed slow, ragged cut.

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    20 amps, cutting speed faster, clean cut.

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    40 amps, cutting speed very fast, very clean cut. This was the best cut, it was like cutting thin card with a stanley knife with virtually no dross.


    Next up was 4mm carbon steel from an old lawnmower blade.

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    25a amps, cutting speed slow, ragged cut.

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    30 amps, cutting speed medium, clean cut.

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    35 amps, cutting speed medium, cleaner cut.


    Up next was some painted 5mm mild steel

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    30 amps, cutting speed slow, good cut. Once the arc started it surprisingly cut through the paint!

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    40 amps
    This time I ground off the paint & it made a huge difference, the cutting speed was faster with a cleaner cut.
     
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  11. Turbo Member

    Messages:
    3,458
    Location:
    Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
    From now on all cutting was done at the max setting, 40 amps.

    Next up was some 1/4" rusty mild steel plate.

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    40 amps, cutting speed slow, ragged cut

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    40 amps, cutting speed faster, clean cut. This time I ground off the rust & it improved things drastically.

    I also tried replacing the supplied thin earth cable with the heavier one from my tig. It made no difference & once the dross was cleaned off it was a very nice cut.

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    Next was 3/8" mild steel.

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    40 amps, cutting speed fast, clean cut. At this stage I was getting the hang of using the torch & once the dross was removed it was a nice cut.

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  12. Turbo Member

    Messages:
    3,458
    Location:
    Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
    Next up was some 12mm steel plate, in theory the max for the cutter.


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    40 amps, cutting speed slow, poor cut. It took 2 goes to sever the steel.

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    40 amps, cutting speed slow, very poor cut. This time I tried using a thicker guide so that the nozzle was sitting slightly above the steel ( I was dragging the tip on the steel ). It made things much worse so I didn't try that again!

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    40 amps, cutting speed slow, good cut. This time I fitted new tips & things were much better, the dross has been removed in this pic.

    I increased the air pressure to 5kg/cm2, it made no difference so I returned it to 4.5.

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    40 amps, cutting speed slow, good cut. The only difference this time was that I changed back to the original thin earth cable & I think things improved. Maybe the earth is thin for a reason apart from cost. :dontknow: With the dross removed this was a nice cut.

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    Even though it will cut the 12mm it took 2 cuts to sever it, but that might have been due to the steel grade or my technique!
     
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  13. Turbo Member

    Messages:
    3,458
    Location:
    Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
    Next up was a tougher test, some 14mm mild steel!

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    40 amps, cutting speed slow, good cut. It was able to sever this thicker steel in one cut! That makes me think that the 12mm may not have been mild steel. It was a random bit I got at the scrappies, maybe hardox?

    Again I tried swapping the earth cables & it definitely cuts heavier stuff better using the lighter cable! :dontknow:

    I tried cutting through 20mm steel made from 2 pieces of 10mm welded together. It seemed to cut through the top 10mm piece but not the bottom. :dontknow: Whatever, it was quite dangerous as the sparks sprayed everywhere horizontally!


    Next up was some 1/4" aluminium.

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    40 amps, cutting speed fast, clean cut. I also tried some 13mm ally but it couldn't cut that. :(


    Next some 6mm stainless steel.

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    40 amps, cutting speed fast, clean cut.

    Next 10mm stainless steel.

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    40 amps, cutting speed slow, ragged cut.

    I didn't try much stainless cutting as I don't have much stock & it's too expensive to play with. It was able to sever the 10mm in one cut which aint bad as it's only supposed to cut up to 8mm!
     
  14. Turbo Member

    Messages:
    3,458
    Location:
    Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
    So now for some conclusions.

    Overall I'm very happy with the plasma, one of the best things I've ever bought for less than £100. It will be used on thin sheet 90% of the time & I was well impressed with how clean it cut that.

    Was really surprised when it severed the 14mm first cut. With practice I think it might cut heavier but I have oxy-propane that will cut up to 150mm so that's already covered!

    The other surprise was the better cutting on the thin earth, just doesn't make sense! :dontknow:

    It will cut rusty or painted steel but is so much better on clean steel, much like welding. Worth taking a minute to run the grinder along the cutting area.

    I'm just waiting for some more consumables to come from China & it will be set to work cutting up an accumulation of scrap metal.

    Something I struggled with was keeping the torch vertical, leading to a sloping cut. I've read that that can be caused by torch setup & direction of cut but I might try making a guide to eliminate driver error at least.

    Finally I want to mention some useful accessories & ppe.

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    A length of 50x6mm steel strip makes a perfect guide.
    A soft wire brush is useful for keeping the tip clean & use gas nozzle tip cleaners when the tip gets blocked.
    I used flip up gas welding goggles but I think a full face visor would be better.
    Ordinary welding gloves were too thick but tig gloves were perfect.
     
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  15. Memmeddu

    Memmeddu Member

    Messages:
    1,950
    Location:
    Italia Sardegna
    This is interesting because I was wondering the exact opposite
    Maybe is as mig not constant current but constant voltage machine?
    So the ground cable is like an inductances
    About the cutting test on 20mm maybe was able to do if was not packed metal but single piece , maybe your travel speed was to fast in the first part so was not pierced and this made a channel and the molten metal ran on this instead of piercing trough the other plate
     
  16. hotponyshoes Member

    Messages:
    1,809
    Location:
    Somerset. Uk
    The hypertherm plasma cutters have a pretty thin earth cable. It's not on a dinse either so they don't expect you to change it.
    Also, I think the torch is actually negative on a plasma although I don't know if that makes any difference to the ideal cable size?
     
  17. dai

    dai welsh and proud

    dont forget your only cutting with 40 amps so a 6gauge or 10mm2 cable is more than up to the job at 70 amp rating
     
  18. gaz1

    gaz1 Forum Supporter

    Messages:
    9,460
    Location:
    westyorkshire
    just a query on that air pressure reference i quoted 65/70psi and unsure of that reference above

    a nice review by the way
     
  19. Popcorn

    Popcorn Member

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    287
    Location:
    'ull
    Think it means 4.5bar gas which would be 65psi or there a bouts.
     
  20. Turbo Member

    Messages:
    3,458
    Location:
    Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
    The manual quotes the pressure in kg/cm2 & the regulator gauge on the plasma is in kg/cm2, why I don't know as the standard unit is either bar or psi! :rolleyes:

    Luckily 1 kg/cm2 = 0.980665 bar so for our purposes they are the same & 4.5 kg/cm2 = 64 psi. ;)
     
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