Importance of air system management

Though I would post this on the forum as it should be a no brainier but is over looked a lot of times.

I got a plasma cutter dropped of at the shop on Thursday for repair. Customer stated the air would flow out the torch even with the unit turned off. This tells me the air solenoid was jammed open.

Opened the plasma cutter up and could tell the plasma cutter was not taken care of very well from all the metal dust an dirt inside. Took it out side and took the air hose to it and cleaned it out. Removed the air solenoid and took it apart , yep it was jammed up with rust flakes and dirt. After cleaning the air solenoid, safety valve, air regulator, torch hose, replacing the consumables and the retaining cup as 5 of the 6 air holes were plugged. I removed the air fitting to install a filter on the rear of the plasma cutter and the air fitting was so rusty inside I replaced it also.

This took about 3 hours to clean everything out , add the filter and test the plasma cutter. All this could have been avoided by keeping the air system free of dirt and water.

Dirt and water in the air system is the #1 reason I get a lot of plasma cutters in for repairs. #2 is because people do not clean the plasma cutter out inside and gets metal dust and dirt buildup on the circuit boards and shorts them out. #3 is people don’t change out the consumables till the plasma cutter stops working.

Hope everyone stays safe and has a great Holiday.



this should be mandatory reading for all plasma newbies…but then again it could put George out of business if they do…

1 Like

:rofl: I really don’t think that will happen. :rofl:

1 Like

Newbie here, Just ordered my Crossfire, Never owned a Plasma Cutter. Reading all I can ahead of time in hopes to make my initial setup as easy as possible. Thanks for the tips. @mechanic416, I see you on here allot with great info. Thank you.

Is the MotorGaurd M-60 a good place to start?


@FireShap the MotorGuard filter is good to have at the plasma cutter but you still need good dry air before it gets to the point. Air systems generate a lot of discussions and opinions. However the one fact that exists is that you need clean and very dry air or it will kill the consumables on your torch. I suggest using the search function and search for air dryer and you will find multiple threads on air management. Good luck and welcome to the group!!


@Dobber, thanks for the reply. digging through the threads now.

1 Like

@FireShap you are veey welcome. Im sure after reading those probably will generate thoughts and questions.

For cleaning inside do you just recommend compressed air? No harm blowing it out?

A soft cheap paint brush and air works wonders.

1 Like

I have dabbled in buying non working welders and plasma cutters for years as a cheap way for me to obtain equipment. About a year ago I bought a thermal dynamics cutmaster a80 from offerup that was not working for $300. I figured worst case scenario I could part it out on ebay and make my money back. The people I bought it from have a ornamental iron business and were in the middle of a big job and couldn’t wait to have it repaired and bought a new one the next day.

It was covered in overspray and grinding dust and you couldn’t read any of the labels on it. The first thing I did when I got it back to my shop was to take the cover off so I could wire up a power cord and test it. There was a 1/2" thick layer of grinding dust in the bottom of the unit. I hooked it up to test it and the arc fired for a second and it showed a error code for air pressure. I took the air system apart and the hole in the pressure transducer was almost plugged solid and the pressure regulator was full of rust and corrosion and was not working properly. The built in water separator was the same way along with the solenoid valve in the machine and the one in the torch. After cleaning and flushing the air system out I tested the unit again and it was working perfectly.

The people I purchased it from essentially did zero maintenance on this unit and used it until it wouldn’t work anymore. I ended up fully disassembling the unit so I could clean each and every part and the machine is now a fully functional plasma cutter again. The only filtration the previous owners had was a motor guard filter right before the plasma cutter.