Do you work in the auto body industry or have a classic vehicle you want to restore? If so, you might be interested in a plasma cutter to make your work easier. While grinders and saws are still handy tools, plasma cutters can make some tasks faster and easier.
- Make it easy to get into hard-to-reach areas
- Enable custom cuts that would be challenging to achieve with a grinder
- Can cut a variety of metal thicknesses and even through old paint
- Are low maintenance and easy to set up
- Take up less space in a workshop or factory
The plasma cutter can be your new work partner, saving time and speeding up your auto restoration project.
What are the possibilities with a plasma cutter?
Plasma-cutting technology is a game-changer for car restoration enthusiasts. With its versatility and ability to make even the most complex cuts cleanly, it offers various possibilities in the field of car restoration and auto body work.
For instance, removing a rusted-out floorboard in an old car can be done in just one swift cut with a plasma cutter, whereas traditional tools such as grinders or saws would take much longer, cause strain, and may not yield the same quality results.
Plasma cutters also have clear advantages over other tools when it comes to performance, speed, versatility, and ease of use. The operation of these machines is much more pleasant compared to traditional tools, as they produce less noise and require less physical effort to operate. This means you won’t have to worry about disturbing others working in your area with the noise from your machine or experience any fatigue from operating a heavy saw or grinder.
What’s more, plasma cutters offer a quicker, more effective, and less strenuous approach to cutting, making the vehicle restoration process more enjoyable.
What are the criteria when choosing a plasma cutter for auto body work?
Plasma cutters come in various shapes and sizes. For car restoration and auto body work, you should choose a machine that offers the following as a bare minimum:
- Fine Tip Consumables – These are excellent for intricate cuts and thin body panels. But only the finest plasma cutters have them.
- 30-amp Power – This can help you cut both delicate steels as well as up to 3/4 inches of mild steel.
- Dual Voltage – Whether you have a 110V or a 220V outlet, dual voltage makes it easy to use the cutter anywhere in your workshop.
- Extended Torch Cord – A long cord helps free you from the hassle of constantly shifting the machine’s position.
- Durable Construction – Ensure you have a reliable tool for daily use by opting for a high-quality plasma cutter designed for heavy-duty performance.
Are plasma cutters easy to move around?
30-amp plasma cutters are convenient due to their size and ease of mobility. They are ideal for automotive work as you can transport them by hand and store them when not in use. The average weight of a 30-amp machine is 30 pounds, but if you opt for a larger 45 or 60-amp model, it will be significantly heavier and may require a cart for movement in the workshop.
What tools do I need to run a plasma cutter?
To use a plasma cutter in your workshop, you will need the following:
When buying an air compressor, it’s best to get one with more cubic feet per minute (CFM) than you think you’ll need. The suggested amount is 1.5 times the CFM of your plasma cutter. A compressor with a 30-gallon tank and a 5 CFM rating is good for most portable plasma systems.
Remember to consider the CFM capacity when purchasing a plasma system. If you only plan to make small cuts, a smaller compressor should suffice. Most of your cuts in auto body or car restoration work will likely be of a small to medium size.
110 or 220v Power Connection
For most car body repairs, a 110-volt connection is sufficient. But for more intense tasks like cutting frames, a 220-volt connection is needed for extra power. With the Hypertherm Powermax30 XP we mentioned earlier, we found that it can cut 1/2-inch steel with a 110-volt connection and 3/4-inch steel with a 220-volt connection.
When working with a plasma cutter, it’s important to wear protective gear such as welding gloves, a welding mask with a minimum shade of five, a welding jacket, earplugs, and boots. Using the right safety equipment and keeping your cutting area free from fire hazards can make plasma cutting a safe process. Taking these precautions will help ensure your safety and make the cutting experience more enjoyable.
How do plasma cutters compare to oxy-fuel cutting torches?
Plasma cutters are a better choice for auto body work than oxy-fuel cutting systems as they transfer less heat into the metal being cut, reducing the risk of warping. Plasma machines are faster and produce more accurate cuts, especially with fine-tip consumables. They also require less setup time and are more compact, making them easier to maneuver in the workshop. These benefits make plasma cutters a more efficient and practical option for auto body work.
Looking for a plasma cutter for your workshop?
Squickmon’s is a leading supplier of CNC plasma cutters and engineering equipment. We offer a wide range of top plasma-cutting brands, including Hypertherm and Victor Thermal Dynamics. These brands are known for their high-quality products, making them a popular choice among auto body technicians. Plus, we offer a 5-year warranty and excellent after-sales service when you choose our products. Contact us today to learn more.