Should You Purchase a Welder-Plasma Cutter Combination?
If you’re already considering making a significant investment in a welder, you may be tempted to purchase a unit that combines a welder with a plasma cutter. You’ve seen how a plasma cutter slices through metal with a clean, quick cut, and it wouldn’t hurt to have that capability. Is it worth considering a welder/plasma cutter unit?
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The risk is that you could pick up a lousy welder. Then you can cut metal that you can’t weld! Let’s face it, cutting metal is alright but you need your welds to be strong and reliable. There’s no room for error when it comes to picking up a solid welding unit.
Are You Picking Up a Lousy Welder?
Many of the welder/cutter combination units merge a stick welder, TIG welder, and plasma cutter together. In tests conducted by Welding Tips and Tricks some combination units perform great for both welding and cutting. Naturally, buying a name brand unit, such as a Miller Electric or Lincoln Electric combination unit, will give you the best results and long-term durability.
While some welders will always prefer to have one unit dedicated to a particular task, the final welds produced by combination units are typically up to par. In other words, by adding a plasma cutter to a welding unit, welder manufacturers are not passing off inferior welders. However, before making a purchase, be sure to read reviews and to ask questions at welding forums.
What Do You Need in a Plasma Cutter?
Like a welder, plasma cutters will vary in their power, with lower power units unable to cut through thicker metals. However, there are a variety of other questions you should ask before purchasing a plasma cutter.
- Are you cutting thick metal?
- How often will you use your plasma cutter?
- Do you need a portable unit?
- Are you willing to adapt your power outlets for your cutter?
- Do you have a generator you plan to use with your plasma cutter?
- Will your electrical current fluctuate?
Plasma cutters are excellent because they can cut just about any kind of metal. Plasma cutters also make a very thin, neat cut that has minimal distortion.
If you’re looking into a plasma cutter/welder combination, make sure you have the correct power supply for it and that it has a duty cycle that will enable you to make cuts that are long enough.
Are There Reasons to Avoid Combination Units?
If you’re a weekend welder, then a combination unit may be hard to resist. However, if you plan on welding and cutting frequently, you may be in big trouble if you rely on one unit for all of your work. Having separate stick and TIG welders will ensure that even with one unit out of commission, you can still get jobs done.
Having said that, with the price of plasma cutters, it’s still pretty hard to resist a combination unit! Check out a unit today at Baker’s Gas and Welding.
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