Plasma cutters are a must-have in any workshop that has anything to do with metal. Gone are the days when we had to rely on oxy-fuel cutters and angle grinders to cut out a decent shape on metal. Plasma cutters allow metal fabricators the degree of precision necessary to make complex structures.
Picking a plasma cutter involves many things. Beyond cutting capacity, duty cycle, and speed, there are other factors you have to consider, such as the company's reputation and quality of customer service.
The beauty of the Hypertherm Powermax 65 G4 lies in its easy-to-use essential features, especially for novice welders. Its drag-cutting capabilities are a breath of fresh air, negating the need to constantly keep tabs on how far your torch tip is from the material. This Powermax 65 G4 plasma cutter review will tell you all you need to know about this drag-cutting beast.
Who Should Get the Powermax 65 G4 Plasma Cutter?
The Hypertherm Powermax 65 G4 Plasma Cutter is intended for companies or individuals who want to optimize productivity while minimizing downtime. This machine would undoubtedly fit in a garage or on the farm, but its strengths extend well beyond these environments. It’s well-suited for any form of hand cutting for metal sheets up to 1 1/4 inches thick using the Duramax torches. When paired with some of the robotic torches, it can do almost any job on a CNC setup (90, 45, and 180 degrees).
- Has one of the most modern drag cutting technologies
- Highly adaptable torches
- Simple to set up and use
- Metals up to 1 1/4 inches thick can be cut using this tool
- Smart-sense technology allows for automated air pressure adjustments
- SpringStart technology ensures accurate arc starting and torch behavior
- Impact- and heat-resistant torch designed for optimum performance in harsh environments
- Heavier than the majority of plasma cutters
- The air valve tends to leak after prolonged use
Things to Consider Before Buying the Powermax65 Plasma Cutter
The Hypertherm Powermax65 plasma cutter is suitable for commercial and home use. Here are a few points for you to consider before you can decide for yourself whether it's worth the extra dollars.
The Powermax65 can produce 52 amps at voltages ranging from 200 to 208 volts for a single-phase operation. That's more amperage than your average metal cutter. At a 240V input, the amperage output decreases to 44 amps. To fully take advantage of this machine's 50% duty cycle, you should go with a three-phase power, where a 200V will get you 32 amps.
Since the Hypertherm Powermax65's power cord doesn't come with a plug; you can rewire it for a single- or three-phase power.
2. Air pressure
Sufficient air pressure is the heart of any successful cutting operation. Without plenty of clean, dry air, you risk contaminating your hard-earned investment with moisture, which could ruin the machine's internal components.
The Hypertherm needs about 6.7 CFM @ 85 PSI, though a 9–10 CFM would be a safer bet to lessen the chances of having the machine shut down in the middle of an operation. It's essential to remember that there are more portable Hypertherm models than the Powermax65, so if you think you'll be on the road often, you might want to consider the more lightweight ones.
Using the Powermax65 is straightforward and easy. The mode switch selects one of four vital operating modes.
- Continuous pilot arc: Best for cutting perforated, painted, or rusted metal surfaces.
- Noncontinuous pilot arc: Best for cutting up metals with inconsistent thickness.
- Gouging: A hole cutting process used in plate metal (for best results, use the appropriate gouging consumables).
- Torch lock: Once the torch is on, this mode automatically locks the trigger in place. When the button is pressed again, it disengages.
The amperage knob controls the output. Make the changes depending on the steel thickness and the torch tip-to-metal distance. The ergonomic design of the two Duramax handheld torches sports an exceptionally relaxed grip. These torches are comfortable to use in prolonged cutting while guiding the users in cutting clear, contiguous lines. The Powermax, at 64 pounds, isn't exactly lightweight, but it does have two handles on top that make carrying it around easier.
If you want to use this system on a CNC, Hypertherm provides a separate kit that contains a machine torch and a remote on/off switch. The Powermax65 uses industry-standard CNC control protocols. Its 50% duty cycle ensures that it can constantly operate with minimal downtime.
For a retail price of $3,450.00 on Amazon, the Hypertherm Powermax 65 G4 Plasma Cutter’s price can prove quite daunting for any business. What's important to know is that the quality and build of the Powermax65 makes the price worth the investment, provided that you're working with a high volume of metals.
From a long-term perspective, a solid plasma cutter like the Powermax65 is cheaper compared to buying inexpensive but less reputable machines, which might hinder your business with excessive repairs and downtimes. If you're a garage hobbyist like the rest of us, there are plenty of models out there capable of satisfying your cutting needs for a friendlier price.
Key Features and Benefits of the Hypertherm Powermax65 Plasma Cutter
The Powermax65 is a fantastic machine as long as you observe its cutting limitations:
- Rated cut: 1-inch mild steel at 20 inches per minute
- Severance cut: 1 ¼- inch mild steel at 5 inches per minute
- Recommended cut: 3/4-inch mild steel at 10 inches per minute
It's important to remember that making severance cuts day in and day out will not be ideal for this machine in the long run. Severance cuts don't usually make clean lines, plus they create lots of metal dross, making you spend more time polishing and rounding out the material.
The recommended cut is ideal for preventing the rapid wear and tear of your plasma cutter. Some would say these cutting figures are more than enough to qualify for professional use. If most of the materials are not more than 3/4-inch thick, the Powermax65 is the right tool for the job.
Air pressure regulation has always been challenging during manual operations. An automated regulating system helps ease the workload, especially for beginners.
The Powermax65 has accomplished this through its smart-sense technology, which allows the plasma cutter to automatically increase or decrease gas pressure to a level that’s optimal for the torch length or cutting mode in use. This technology allows the machine to cut at its best consistently.
For beginners, consumables are most heavily affected by wrong or inappropriate cutting techniques. As you will observe, replacing consumables is costly and time-consuming. Hypertherm helps ease the costs of running a business by designing the machine to be highly efficient with consumables. However, you can help prolong the life of your consumables by using clean, dry air to prevent moisture from messing up your unit.
Easy to set up, easy to use
Before, cutting with a plasma cutter necessitated maintaining a certain distance from the metal to avoid burning up your consumables with the jet stream. With Hypertherm's patented drag cutting technology, you can maintain contact with the metal while cutting since the consumables are protected with a drag shield. This benefit is convenient for beginners, minimizing learning time and maximizing worker productivity.
The Powermax 65 G4 plasma cutter price tag might be heftier than other models in the market. However, for its price, you can trust that it can cut metal cleanly and reliably for a long time. It's also capable of handling handheld or CNC operations. It offers impressive cutting abilities with minimal downtime. There's nothing more you could ask for from a machine.
Tips on Choosing a Suitable Plasma Cutter for You
1. Consider what you need
A suitable plasma cutter will be tailor-fit to what you'll be working on. Here are some guide questions to narrow down your search.
- Do you need something portable? (Useful if you're going from one job site to another.)
- What kind of material will you be cutting?
- How often will you be using a plasma cutter?
- What's the usual metal thickness you'll be working on? (Make sure it's well below the severance cut of your plasma cutter.)
- What voltage capabilities do you have? (220 or 120V)
- Do you have an external compressor? (If you don’t, you could opt for a plasma cutter with an in-built air compressor, or you could purchase an external compressor before getting a plasma cutter.)
2. Consider the power output
A plasma cutter's output power level (or amperage) represents the thickness of the material that can be cut with it. Be sure that this range of material thickness the machine is designed for corresponds to the object you usually cut. A simple rule of thumb to remember is that you'll need greater amperage output when you're cutting thick metals.
3. Consider the cutting speed
Knowing your plasma cutter's cutting speed (about the thickness of the metal being cut) allows you to estimate how much power your machine can muster. This specification is significant because it can be the difference between consistent performance and dreaded downtime.
Fortunately, you don't have to measure the cutting speed in your head. Manufacturers usually have this information on full display to compare your cutting speed needs easily. Manufacturers also present this detail so that you can accurately compare a variety of plasma cutters.
4. Consider the duty cycle
The duty cycle is the number of minutes a plasma cutter will operate without stopping for ten minutes before it has to cool off. For example, a 30% duty cycle means that you can use a plasma cutter for three minutes and then have it cool down for seven. Longer duty cycles are usually preferable for deep or long cuts, while shorter duty cycles are preferable for normal, mild cuts.
Purchasing a plasma cutter whose duty cycle suits your requirements is important. For example, your plasma cutter may need to operate for six minutes (and cool off for four) for your workload. Using a plasma cutter with a lower duty cycle would cause it to overheat, wasting your time and necessitating a trip to the repair shop.
5. Consider the cost to operate
A plasma cutter's maintenance costs are closely related to its consumables, components that you would need to change over time. These include cutting tips and electrodes.
A broken cutting tip, for example, will result in one of two possibilities: either your plasma cutter will need additional time to complete the task, or your cuts will be of inferior quality. To keep your cuts time-efficient and high-quality, you must keep your cutting tip in top-notch condition at all times.
The consumable cost isn't going away anytime soon, so think about how well your machine uses them. Will it wear them out quickly? If so, you might as well cut a hole in your wallet.
We love this model simply because it comes out of the box operation-ready, and you can rely on it to provide stellar performance day in and day out. As long as you maintain and use it properly, the Hypertherm Powermax 65 G4 can continue to cut your 1-inch mild steel-like butter. Read more here.