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PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:25 pm 
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Location: Alberta
I've decided I need, that's right, need, a plasma cutter and have convinced the wife it would be a good idea as well. It's part skill, part amazing wife. Anyways, I was originally leaning towards this:

http://www.canadiantire.ca/AST/browse/6/Tools/WeldingSoldering/Torches/PRDOVR~0580040P/Lincoln+Electric+P20+Plasma+cutter.jsp?locale=en

Mainly because it's realatively cheep, and hopefully, because it's a Lincoln, a decent machine. Other than the two reviews on the linked site, I couldn't really find any decent reviews, anyone used one, have any thoughts?

I then starting looking on e-bay and there are a plethora of what appear to be cheap Chinese knockoff plasma cutters, such as this:

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/LT5000D-LOTOS-50A-Air-Plasma-Cutter-Machine-Torch-/260846619314?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3cbbab8ab2

Anyone have any experiance with one of these cheaper versions. I'm a hobbyist, it's not going to be used daily, heck, even weekly, most of the time and I don't need it to be industrial strength. That being said, I really don't want to pay $400.00 for a cheaper version and have it only work for two years.

I guess what it all boils down to is I know nothing about plasma cutters, would like to buy one, but don't want to overspend or underspend for my needs. Any input would be appreciated on units guys are using?

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:09 pm 
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Location: BC, Canada. eh?
I've been looking at doing the same thing. I looked at Thermal Dynamics and so on, but the price keeps scaring me off. I read a couple of reviews on the Chinese knock-offs (like the one you pictured from Ebay), and it seems that, as long as you're relatively handy (in case it needs repair - apparently the Ebay sellers are good about supplying parts, if you need them, but doing the work at home is going to be a lot quicker than shipping the unit to...well, anywhere), that they actually cut really well, as good as the $1500 units. They don't have the big name, but I'll wager the internal parts are verrrrry similar.

I'm just not in the position of being able to afford a $1500-$2500 unit, so, if I want a PC, the knock-offs are my only choice. Like I said, the reviews are actually quite promising - the opposite of what I expected.

If you decide to do it, keep us posted!

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:11 pm 
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Location: hopkinsville KY
CUT-50D Air Plasma cutting cutter welder Both 110V/220V

http://www.ebay.com/itm/CUT-50D-Air-Pla ... 5d2b910966

I have this unit hooked up to 220 and it is fantastic. you can search youtube for videos of it being used. great tool!

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 11:08 am 
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I can't specifically attest to any of the units in question, but wanted to throw this out there. Having spent a couple of years working for the "Blue" welder company, and talking with the R&D guys about the knock-offs on more than one occasion, I will forever be wary of the Chinese units . Many they saw had internal designs and componentry that we would never have considered putting in our product, not just from a quality stand point, but much more importantly from an ever critical safety standpoint. That's not to say there aren't necessarily some decently designed and constructed Chinese units out there, but how is any consumer going to find out which is which without opening up the case and knowing what to look for. As for me, I'll stick to the "Blue" (and Gray) or "Red" machines of high electrical output based metal creation/destruction, thank you very much! :cheers:

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:50 am 
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Location: Alberta
I think I made up my mind and will be trying this unit out:

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/LT5000D-LOTOS-50A-MOST-POWERFUL-Plasma-Cutter-110-220V-1-Year-US-Warranty-Fedex-/170692983383?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item27be183a57

Basically appears to be the same unit you have Bugeye with a different decal on the side. I would love to buy a higher end unit but just can't justify it at this time for the amount I'll be using it. There is a pretty good review and discussion about the Chinese made units here:

http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/showthread.php?t=865201

It seems to be a roll of the dice, some work great for years, others don't run out of the box but do seem to be returnable with realative ease. Driven brings up a good point though, as well as using less desirable internal componenets, many of these units do not have the built in safe guards that the red, grey and blue units do and you will be able to hurt yourself if your not paying attention.

Once it arrives, maybe I'll write up a quick summary on it. I'm still a bit hesatant, but total cost is going to be less than the shipping on a quality unit, so I think it's worth the risk.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:04 pm 
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Location: BC, Canada. eh?
We'll be waiting for your review - I'm in the same boat, can't afford thousands of dollars right now...or likely, ever... My buddy bought a Hypertherm (around $2K) with almost the capability of the Chinese units, and he's flaming me for even thinking about buying one.

I have yet to see a used North American-made unit for sale at a reasonable price (I've seen a few for MORE than the cost of the same unit, new!) in my part of the world, so that's not an option, either. So, it's import, or nothing...

I'll be waiting for your review, Trochu!!

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:36 pm 
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We have a Hobart in the school metalshop. I love it. The kids have yet to kill it, but we do go through a lot of tips. Make sure you can get replaceable tips for whatever you buy. They are the consumables in the plasma cutter.

Once you get one, you'll wonder how you lived without it.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:35 am 
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Location: NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C.
WHEN YOU ARE Looking for a machine, think about the cost and availability of consumables . I have an "ESAB" and I have been quite happy with it. The consumables will last longer with an "AIR DRIER". Dry air is very important to cutting with a Plasma Cutter.

AL :chev:


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:35 am 
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Location: NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C.
WHEN YOU ARE Looking for a machine, think about the cost and availability of consumables . I have an "ESAB" and I have been quite happy with it. The consumables will last longer with an "AIR DRIER". Dry air is very important to cutting with a Plasma Cutter.

AL :chev:


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2011 3:49 am 
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FWIW, my ebay plasma cutter worked for about 3 months before it just stopped. My ebay TIG has been going strong for years.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2011 8:37 pm 
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Location: BC, Canada. eh?
As I've been scouting for these things, I've noticed that some of 'em are TIG welders, as well as plasma cutters. Almost the same money. Since I don't have TIG, and can't afford a real one (or a real plasma cutter, for that matter), I'm wondering if this isn't the way to go? Anyone here tried one of the Ebay "all-in-one" jobs?

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2011 9:28 pm 
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I saw a good quote somewhere, "The Chinese make equipment of equal quality as we have here, but we won't pay for it", or words to that effect.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 3:02 am 
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Location: Melbourne, Australia.
Ben Wilson wrote:
FWIW, my ebay plasma cutter worked for about 3 months before it just stopped. My ebay TIG has been going strong for years.

Ben, there has been a lot of discussion on numerous Forums about these Chinese welders and plasma cutters.
The consensus seems to be that they work great while they are working, but early failures such as yours are far from being a rare occurrence.

The original design was probably o/k, copied no doubt....
But the quality control during assembly seems to be the biggest problem causing these early failures.
Some of the people working in these Chinese factories (for slave wages) are basically unskilled uneducated people, and some of them simply cannot solder, or tighten a screw properly which can cause long term problems.

Often the "failure" is something pretty simple. If you know a tame electronics guru, fixing it may be quite straightforward.
I am told the internal wiring in some of these units looks like a rat's nest, but that too is a function of the care, skill and experience of the guy that assembled it.

I will buy a Chinese plasma cutter one day, and if it stops, I should be able to fix it myself without too much difficulty. As an electronics service guy, I have seen inside a lot of Chinese manufactured stuff, and it varies from truly excellent to total garbage.

Caveat emptor..........


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:21 am 
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zetec7 wrote:
As I've been scouting for these things, I've noticed that some of 'em are TIG welders, as well as plasma cutters. Almost the same money. Since I don't have TIG, and can't afford a real one (or a real plasma cutter, for that matter), I'm wondering if this isn't the way to go? Anyone here tried one of the Ebay "all-in-one" jobs?

Bought one this summer from China, 3 n 1 arc, tig, plasma. $250 plus $150 s&h. Received it, took it out of the box, wired it up, plugged in the air, and nothing - plasma function would not work. Tried the arc function - ok. No helium to try tig so didn't bother to even try to strike an arc, bought this machine for the plasma.
So......now what? Emailed them with the problem. They email me back saying they're sorry, they will work with me to try and solve the problem. Later I found out that this is a retail ebay store and they have to contact the factory engineer with the problem, he makes a suggestion to them, they email me back.......lots of lag time. Also bare in mind the time factor. There is about a 5-6 hr window in the late evening at my end to do the tests before I go to bed and they are just starting their day over in China. So anyhow, they send me an email with a bunch of pics showing me where to check ohms and volts. Luckily I kinda grasp this stuff. Email back the results, couple of days later they suggest more checks. Email back the results, couple of days later they tell me they think there's a bad transformer. They want to send me the transformer and want me to unsolder the old one and solder the new one into the printed circuit board. I say no way - I want the whole circuit board, I'm no electronics tech and I don't want to wreck anything. I want a plug n play replacement board. They finally agree to send one out.
I get the new board, change it out (not a job for the faint at heart) and try it out. I now have a plasma cutter. Tried the arc function and it does not work.
So......email them back again. More tests, more lag time, getting the drift here? They finally suggest replacing another of the boards. Receive the board, change it out (not a job for the faint at heart), and.........no arc welder function. Email them back again and they offered to give me my money back less s&h and tell me to take it to my local welding repair shop to get it fixed. So I now have a plasma cutter with no arc welder function for the price of s&h plus 7 weeks of stress. Thats how long it took.
Oh and there's also some language barrier to get around even though it's English. But all in all they did their best at customer service, I'll give them that.
Do you want to buy from China? That's a choice only you can make.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:13 am 
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Maybe the best idea is to buy one only when you're completely ready to use the hell out of it right away. Should then turn up any "infant mortality" problems. Whereas if you spark it up for a test, then put it away for 8 months, you might be SOL when it fails on it's first real job.

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