If you’re a metal worker, whether casual or professional, it’s easy to understand the importance of having a high-quality plasma cutter. As with all tools and other equipment, there are so many models available that it can be hard to sort through them all. Given their importance and prices ranging from around $500 to over $1,000, a plasma cutter is definitely an investment that warrants a basic understanding of what the major factors are that make up your ideal cutter.
Duty cycle is one of the first things to understand. The duty cycle, which is represented as a percentage, tells you how many minutes per hour a cutter can run before needing to be shut down for cooling time. A cutter with a duty cycle of 50% can run continuously for 30 minutes at a time. Your duty cycle should reflect the type of work you do. Professionals will usually need to look for longer duty cycles, whereas more casual users can typically spend a little less and opt for shorter duty cycles. Duty cycle is a function of both motor power and workload. This means that one cutter could have different duty cycles for different types of work.
The next major consideration is power. You’ll need to understand both input and output to find your ideal cutter. Many models require standard 120-volt outlets at either 15 or 20 amps. Other plasma cutters require 240 volts and at least 50 amps. If you find yourself gravitating toward one of the more powerful models, make sure that you’ll have an adequate outlet. If you’ll need to hire an electrician to upgrade your work area, be sure to factor in that cost. Here, again, the type of work you’ll be doing will determine how much power you need. Generally, cutting jobs that deal with thicknesses of 1/4 inch or less will require 15 to 25 amps. Cuts from 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick typically draw 40 amps, and 1-inch or larger cuts will require at least 80 amps.
Consumables represent an often-overlooked factor that you should consider before buying a new plasma cutter. A less-expensive cutter that goes through more consumables and/or that has more expensive consumables can end up costing quite a bit more than a more expensive model in the long run. Plasma cutter consumables consist of the electrode (carries the current to the plate from the torch), the nozzle (funnels gas flow in addition to focusing your arc), the swirl ring (channels gas), the retaining cap (holds the rest of the consumable stack in place), and the shield (protects all consumables from molten metal and sparks). With any cutter, all five of these components will wear out and need to be replaced. Finding a plasma cutter with the longest-lasting consumables could represent a pretty significant cost savings in the long run. Be sure to factor in the cost and average lifespan of consumables when you compare cutters. Quite often, a less expensive purchase price is quickly offset by higher-priced and/or short-lived consumables.
All plasma cutters require compressed air in order to operate. Having a clean and strong airflow will make your cutter more accurate and efficient and will also help prolong the life of consumables. If you don’t have a shop that’s already equipped with compressed air, be sure to look for a model that comes with a compressor or understand what work (and expense) will be involved to secure your air source separately. Most of the top plasma cutter models are designed for professional users and assume an existing air source.
Another component that will help keep your plasma cutter running at maximum efficiency and will also extend the life of consumables is a good desiccant (air-drying) system or air-filtration system. A simple filtration system will remove stray dust from your compressed air stream, keeping the whole system cleaner and helping to improve cutting accuracy. A desiccant filtration system removes both dust and moisture. Adding a filtration system will definitely cost more, but if you plan to use the cutter a great deal, the extra expense is worth it for the added level of protection.
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Toys can be magical, educational, inspiring, or just plain awesome. Everyone has their own memories of some great toys that they had in their childhoods. But now it’s time to find amazing toys for someone else to create memories with this holiday season.
- Plox Death Star Speaker
The Plox Death Star Speaker is one of the coolest gifts to give a child this year. It can bring a futuristic feel to their bedroom and your home. This speaker, that was inspired by Star Wars, floats above its magnetic base and is portable, so that kids can take them on the go and listen to their favorite tunes.It has a 5 hour charge, so it will last through their adventures while doing homework, shooting hoops, or exploring their friend’s backyard. This floating speaker connects via Bluetooth so that there are no wires or plugs to get in the way. Due to its design, the 5W speaker allows a 360 degree sound output to fill a room with high quality sounds. Thanks to Rogue One coming out this December, the Death Star will be brought to a new generation to love, so allow them to enjoy this amazing new Star Wars speaker.
Retail Price: $179.99
- PS4 Pro
Recently announced, the PS4 Pro will serve better than the PS4 due to its better graphics and gameplay. It has 4k streaming and auto-upscaling to 4k resolution to make movies and games look better than ever before. Sony has also added HDR capabilities to all of their PS4 devices so that their games will look better. The PS4 Pro supports faster frame rates that will deliver ultra sharp action for select PS4 games and is on the 30 hottest Christmas toys list for 2016. This system will provide the best experience for PS4 games, and will make it virtually impossible to go back after having experienced it.
Retail Price: $399.00
- Star Wars: Rogue One Micro Machines Death Star Playset
A slew of Star Wars: Rogue One toys were announced last week, but the one that takes the cake is the Micro Machines death Star Playset (sorry Millennium Falcon XL drone). It comes with an amazing white Death Star, 3 micro figures, 2 micro vehicles, and has accurate movie scenes inside of the Death Star. This toy will bring tons of joy to kids all over the world, and will most likely be the best toy of the year.
Retail Price: $49.99
- Scientific Explorer Magic Science for Wizards Only Kit
If looking for a toy that is both cool and educational, look no further! The Scientific Explorer Magic Science for Wizards Kit will help teach science by using magic as its cover. It includes chemicals like zinc sulfide, baking soda, red cabbage powder, and zinc sulfide. The idea behind this kit is to create awe inspiring chemical reactions, and is recommended for children ages 6 and up. It is also a requirement to have adult supervision when using this kit.
Retail Price: $15.06
What Are The Things That I Should Consider Before Buying A Microwave?
One of the main things that you need to bear in mind when shopping for a microwave is the space that you have available for it in your kitchen and how it will be used. If you are feeding a family you will need something larger than if it is just you that you are cooking for. If you only have limited space on your counters then you may be surprised at how small some models of microwave are these days.
What Features Should I Look For?
There are some features that can help you cook your meals without having to guess times and the amount of power that you need, such as an automatic defrost function and settings that have been pre-programmed. Some microwaves even have a feature that can adjust the cooking times based on the amount of steam that is emitted by the food as it is cooking.
If you have a favorite dish that you use for cooking a lot of meals, then you will want to make sure that this dish fits inside and that there is enough room for this to be able to rotate when it is on the turntable. Some people also like to test out how the doors feel when they open and close.
What Wattage Do I Need?
The wattage that is needed will largely depend on what the microwave is used for. Generally speaking the more wattage a microwave has, the faster it will cook your food. A higher wattage will also ensure that the food is cooked more evenly.
Which Models Are Best For Families?
There are certain features of a microwave that make them easier for children to use. Although they should not use the microwave unsupervised, having things like large buttons and easy to read displays can make it much easier for them to carry out simple tasks such as heating up popcorn.
How Often Should Microwaves Be Replaced?
If you have had your microwave longer than 10 years it is probably time to think about a replacement, even if there does not seem to be anything wrong with it. After this time things such as the seals on the doors can start to come away and the buttons can become worn.
Are There Any Innovations I Should Look Out For?
There are models that have a child lock feature on them if you want to stop your children using the microwave when you are not home. These machines will require a passcode to be entered before the microwave can be used.
Some microwaves can also be used for other functions, such as a rotisserie or a convection oven. If you are short on space these features can be very useful as you have no need to buy two separate units.