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The Anatomy of a Good Plasma Cutter: Which Forney Plasma Cutter Matches Your Needs?
Last updated ago
5 min read
By 
Welding Buddy Experts
Published 
November 2, 2021

The Anatomy of a Good Plasma Cutter: Which Forney Plasma Cutter Matches Your Needs?

Last updated ago
5 min read
By 
Welding Buddy Experts
Published 
November 2, 2021
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It's plasma cutting time, welding enthusiast! What are you planning to work on this time? Is it store signage, a mini sculpture, or a new artsy gate for your home? Whatever it is, we look forward to a wonderfully completed workpiece. And what's the number one tool you need to make the most out of your project? A well-performing plasma cutter.

When you search for good plasma cutter brands, one of the results could be a Forney plasma cutter. Naturally, there are good reasons why it's a top recommendation from the search results. Most of them are about its features.

You start to become curious about this particular brand, wanting to get more information. You’ve stumbled upon the perfect read! This article discusses what makes a good plasma cutter and which among the Forney plasma cutters fit each attribute.

Which Forney Plasma Cutting Machine Suits Your Needs Best?

What makes a plasma cutter good for budget and performance? It can be tricky to select from the various brands out there. You need sufficient time for research to ensure you're equipped with enough knowledge and set realistic expectations.

If you are having trouble doing that on your own, we can help. We've enumerated the features that make a well-performing plasma cutter and the Forney machine that fits those qualities.

A “Safety First” Machine

Plasma cutting is dangerous without safety features. Electrical hazards, overheating, metal debris, dust, and other particles can damage your eyes and lungs. Therefore, when you're looking for a good plasma cutter, inspect its safety features closely.

Forney With an Air Regulator: Forney 40 P Plasma Cutter

Forney currently displays only three plasma cutting machines on its site. The Forney 40 P is the one with a built-in air regulator. Getting rid of the particles takes up extra time, interrupts your work, and may also cause health issues. This cutter comes with a game-changing built-in temperature-controlled fan so that you can worry less about these issues and weld smoothly and safely!

Cutting Thickness and Duty Cycle

Each Forney machine has a different level of handling output power (metal thickness). The output power helps maximize productivity while reducing time, while the duty cycle prevents overheating. Ensure that you get the right machine for your metal workpiece to avoid poor-quality results. 

Here's a brief specification table of the Forney machines:



Cutting Thickness Capacity
Forney 40 P Plasma Cutter  1/2 in. (clean cut)
3/4 in. (severance cut)
 (Refurbished) Forney 700 P Plasma Cutter 1/2 in. (clean cut)
3/4 in. (severance cut)
 Forney Easy Weld 20 P Plasma Cutter Up to 1/4 in. on stainless steel, mild steel, copper, brass, and galvanized steel.

 

Up to 3/16 in. on aluminum.

35% at 20 A (Duty cycle)
 Forney Easy Weld 303 Plasma Cutter 1/2 in. (clean cut)
3/4 in. (severance cut)
 Forney 317 250 P+ Plasma Cutter 1/8 in. (clean cut)
1/4 in. (severance cut)
 Forney 325 P Plasma Cutter 1/4 in. (clean cut)

3/8 in. (severance cut)

50% at 20 A (Duty Cycle)

Input/Output Power

Input/output power is the flow of electricity determining the machine's capacity, safety, and productivity. When operating a plasma cutter, remember that you can only use it on the input and output power provided. Otherwise, it will create discrepancies.

For example, if a machine has an input and output power of 120 V, you should only operate at that level. If you use the device for 240 V, it could explode. Likewise, if you use a 240 V machine for 120 V, your machine will not operate.

These days, welding pros and hobbyists prefer machines with dual voltage power. It gives you a safer and more flexible advantage.

Here's a list of the Forney machines' input powers.



Input Power
Forney 40 P Plasma Cutter 

120 V: 35% at 20 A

240 V: 60% at 40 A
 (Refurbished) Forney 700 P Plasma Cutter 120 V: 20 A
230 V: 50 A 
 Forney Easy Weld 20 P Plasma Cutter 120 V: 20 A / 15 A
 Forney Easy Weld 303 Plasma Cutter

120 V: 20 A

230 V: 50 A
 Forney 317 250 P+ Plasma Cutter 120 V: 12 A
 Forney 325 P Plasma Cutter 120 V: 12 A

Portability

Portability depends on preference, but wouldn't it be best to get a portable machine than a heavy one? It won't take up much space in your workstation, and you can easily maneuver it.

Most Portable Forney: Forney 20 amp Plasma Cutter

This Forney Easy Weld plasma cutter weighs 21.5 lb out of the display package. Thus, it is relatively lightweight than the other two Forneys weighing around 45‒48 lb. With this model, you get about 20 lb off your shoulders, so consider buying it if portability is your priority.

Brand Reliability

The brand name is influential in purchasing decisions. We all want a top-performing machine that's durable and fairly priced. These standards brought up the line of mainstream brands, and Forney is one of those big names in the market.

Most Reliable Forney: Forney 251 20 P Plasma Cutter

Among all Forney machines, this unit particularly stands out. The Forney 20p cutter is one of the top choices for machines on a budget, is easy to operate, and is durable.

You can set it up in less than a minute: plug in the 120 V power supply, hook it up to the air compressor, and you're good to go. Moreover, it's super portable and cuts up to 1/4 inch thick on copper, brass, stainless/mild/galvanized steel. It's perfect as a heavy-duty and beginner-friendly cutter.

Torch Quality

The plasma cutting torch holds consumables to help control the plasma arc in cutting electrically conductive metals. It helps in ionizing the gas stream and creating plasma gas to expand volume and pressure. Additionally, a torch can help you work in various areas if the machine is not portable.

Forney Revamp With Quality Torch: Refurbished Forney 700 P Plasma Cutter

A "refurbished" product label might turn some heads away, but this Forney model is just as good as the other machines. The only difference is that there are a few dents on the unit.

More importantly, it's equipped with Forney's signature Drag Torch technology. It allows you to directly drag the tip on the material's surface to make smooth and precise cuts. When it comes to torch quality, you can't go wrong with a Forney.

Cons of Forney Plasma Cutters

To complete the guide, here are reported limitations on Forney plasma cutters:


Forney 40 P Plasma Cutter
(Refurbished) Forney 700 P Plasma Cutter
Forney 251 20p Plasma Cutter
Not suitable for beginners

Doesn’t produce the cleanest, prettiest results

 No air compressor included
 Not suitable for heavy-duty, thick metal cuttingNot recommended for commercial tasks
 No pilot arc (touch-free)

Most of the Forney machines are not recommended for heavy-duty tasks, so you might want to consider that when buying.

Conclusion

A Forney machine still counts as a good choice for plasma cutting. It shows a you-get-what-you-pay-for system, but you could get even more than what you spend depending on how you use it.

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