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Repairing plasma tips?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by prewarcars4me, Jun 27, 2013.

  1. jimcolt
    Joined: Mar 4, 2011
    Posts: 9


    I have a Hypertherm Powermax85 on a PlasmaCam cnc machine, it can pierce up to 3/4" with ease, and cut that material with incredibly nice quality at about 13 inches per minute. A minute later I can put in a Fine Cut nozzle (Hypertherm's do not have a part called a tip) and cut thin gauge (26 or 28 gauge) at about 400 inches per minute.

    The electrodes and nozzles wear out over time...I typically get about 1000 to 1400 starts on a nozzle and about twice that on an electrode. Nozzles are typically about $7, electrodes about the same. When cutting 1/2" steel at about 32 inches per minute the cost per foot of cut works out to about 5 cents. About 2 cents is the cost of electricity, 2.5 is the cost of compressed air, and the remaining 1/2 cent is the cost of the consumable parts. Other plasma systems have consumables that cost less than 1/2 of what I pay for mine, but mine last 4 to 10 times longer! There is no cheaper way to cut steel than with a good quality plasma system.....and I suspect that trying to rebuild the precision manufactured consumable parts would not be cost effective.

    The electrode (in a Hypertherm)is made of an oxygen free copper blend for excellent heat transfer....with an insert of the earth element, hafnium.The end of the electrode reaches about 3100 degrees F, and over time the hafnium evaporates, The bonding process of the hafnium to the copper is critical and proprietary....and is part of the reason these electrodes last longer than others.

    The nozzle in a Hypertherm air plasma uses an accurately machined bore with a dimensional step to minimize exit turbulence. The exterior shape of the nozzle is shaped to match the shield interior, which directs the secondary air flow around the plasma jet to provide a radial impingement or squeeze....this increases the velocity and energy density of the plasma arc....which squares up the cut edge and minimizes cut edge dross. A secondary benefit of this conical flow technology is improved nozzle orifice cooling.

    The torch looks relatively simple on the high end Hypertherm plasma, but there is some precision as well as high temperature physics involved in making copper nozzle last while it is producing a plasma arc of over 24,000 degrees F. Copper melts at about 1000 F!

    So if the consumable cost about .5 cents per foot, I suspect it is most cost effective to just purchase new ones when needed!

    Jim Colt Hypertherm
  2. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,223


    Pretty interesting data there...

    ..and yes, I am wishing I had that setup you mentioned. :)
  3. Also we need you to figure how to splice that 12 feet of welding wire that is in the hose when the mig runs outa wire ......onto the new roll!!!!!!!
  4. toreadorxlt
    Joined: Feb 27, 2008
    Posts: 733

    from Nashua, NH

    this is basically the equivalent to washing and re-using condoms... cost of doing business.
  5. rottenleonard
    Joined: Nov 7, 2008
    Posts: 1,973


    Not that hard to re-use a condom, just shake the fuck out of it:eek:
  6. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,535

    Atwater Mike

    Hah! You know, I have about 35 of those 12 ft. 'rolls' of welding wire hanging up for when I 'really need it'...
    Crap, you'd think I'd have a way to have welded it together by now. (I'm thinking about bandsaw blades, now...and then, Mig wire: Why not?) LOL

    I actually use it for tying temporary stuff, dipping parts in electrolite bucket...
  7. Thought that was tig filler

  8. I've been able to get previously warn tips to start again. These are the ones that aren't completely burnt up but just enough to cause you an ass ache. Not good as new but from not starting to cutting.
    I have also got a few of the inner contractor tips to work again. It involved resurfacing the end ( makes it shorter) and then adding a thin washer to move it back out. I was guessing and in a jamb. No where near as good as a 1/2 worn set but it worked again.

    That's all I got for you, never tried restoring them.
    Never tried restoring old spark plugs either, or burnt points, or burnt distributor caps, but I've cleaned a few up to get home. Beats walking.
  9. KooDaddy
    Joined: Oct 16, 2006
    Posts: 753

    from Wis.

    Dude turn them inside out and shake the fuck out of them.:eek:

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