Random not cutting all the way through

Hey, was hoping you guys might be able to point me in the right direction regarding an issue that has just popped up over the last 3 weeks.

My machine will be cutting files that cut fine 2 months ago, and midcut sometimes it will just not cut completely through the material for an inch or two, as though the torch tip is too far from the material (its not). Its never in the same spot, sometimes it doesn’t happen at all.

My air setup consists of an ac condenser to cool the air and two water traps (one pre tank and one post tank) as well as a desiccant dryer on the back of the hypertherm powermax30 machine.

I have tried:

Attaching the ground right to the material
Grinding the millscale off the material for the ground
Stopping the machine when the issue occurs to confirm torch height

I do not believe it is a speed issue as my settings worked just fine previously. I am leaning towards wet air still. Also am planning on swapping out to a new air hose as maybe mine is degrading?

Any help is appreciated!

I’ve just experienced this as well. Haven’t done much troubleshooting or searching, but I’ve been able to re run parts of my programs and save the workpiece. Curious to see what responses you get.

Have you tried new electrode and nozzle?

I think your on the right track suspecting water in your air. I bet it has worn your consumables. Try blasting some air on a mirror. The droplets and oil will show up if your air is bad. I got the idea from this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4_nFpARRRY

I should of mentioned in the original post, new tip/nozzle.

My hypertherm is an older unit from around 2009 and I am wondering if its just not up to the task anymore. I am also wondering if it could be something with the air compressor? Maybe the rings in the compressor are getting wore out and letting oil through?

The odd part about it is it would happen maybe once every week or two when I first got my table - I could back up the program and save the cut. Now its once or twice every cut. What has changed in the last month to cause the problem?

Hmm. Mine could be old tip and nozzle, but it just randomly did it on one straight cut, then ran the rest fine. I’ll have to see if it’s when my compressor kicks on…

Just a random thought, can you make any connection from the failure to the moment your compressor or something else starts up?
Just wondering if it could be a power drop.

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Or starved for air…

I will have to keep an eye on when the compressor kicks on vs when it forgets to cut the material, but I can say pretty confidently it will do it with a full tank of air. Is there a certain PSI I should aim to run my plasma on? I have read they are happy between 80 psi and 120 psi I believe. Mine is regulated to 100 psi.

I have had this same issue alot recently.I think I’m going to install a gage at the back of my plasma to see what the pressure is there.Ive had times I related it to my torch cable being zip tied to tight but that doesn’t seem to be the case now.I have noticed though even when I recut it never fully cuts through enen on multiple passes.

Im encouraged to see im not the only one with the issue. I have not had much luck googling it as its hard to describe so I am probably not using the right key words.

My issue started about 3 weeks ago prompting me to install an ac condenser on the compressor in an attempt to eliminate more water - even though it was working fine without it before…

I have picked up a used 45xp that I am hoping might eliminate it… one fellow on the LS crossfire facebook group said he eliminated his issue with a new torch.

For people also experiencing the issue, what plasma machine are you using and how old is it?

Mine is a 45 xp.It did it with my hand torch randomly and now with my machine torch.At times changing consumables helped and other it didn’t.But yeah its frustrating because it will cut something out perfectly them a few inches will cause you alot more work or restarting the project.

So if we can assume its not the torch/torch hose, whats left? Junk from the compressor? Water?

I had this issue and it was contaminated air. The first cut on a new nozzle can damage the nozzle and cause this issue. Your orifice on the nozzle will look just slightly out of round, almost unnoticeable. Either oval in shape or a tiny pin head size deformity in edge of the orifice. It won’t be an obvious melt down or blow out.

The two things most likely to cause this are moisture and oil aerosols. Your air has to contain 0% moisture, every time. Not 1% or 2% or “I think it’s good because x,y, and z.” I was cutting fine for the first few months I owned my table and then the season changed so this issue seemed to come out of no where for me. My set up was removing moisture fine and then it was inadequate one day.

Even after moving to a refrigerated drier and a redundant large desiccant drier afterwards, I still saw specs and streaks on my electrode, which should be clean other than heat marks. You will need a .01 micron filter to eliminate oil aerosols and microscopic contaminants from the air. A 5 micron or 1 micron off Amazon won’t cut it. I went with a Motorguard filter.

Thanks for the advice, I don’t have much for a filter setup on the compressor, more so for catching water. I guess all I am left with is to try the motor guard filter and hope that it catches any oils. How long does the filter last do you find? And does it help trap water or mainly particulate?

If you use the Motorguard to catch water, it won’t last long because there’s no way for the trapped moisture to drain. It’ll turn into a soggy roll of toilet paper pretty quickly. If your air is dry by the time it gets to the Motorguard, the filter will last a long time only trapping oil aerosols and the occasional particles that make it that far down the line. I’ve had mine about 4 months and the filter looks the same as the day I got it besides a few specs here and there.

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I will make sure to plumb it in right after the desiccant dryer at the machine then. Short of a refrigerant system, what else can I try and do to keep my air dry?

Besides a refrigerated drier, it looks like you’ve got the next best set up, in my opinion. An aftercooler between the pump and tank, and then a large desiccant drier (hopefully 1 quart or larger) downstream of the tank and a Motorguard filter last before the plasma. You should have a dry, clean air supply.

Got my motorgaurd filter today. Will report back if it solves it. I still am leaning towards wet air but we will see!

which desiccant dryer do you recommend? i’m using the HF you with water trap and seems to be working fine but was thinking of adding with a motorguard as well.