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.
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.
I’ve got an Ingersol Rand 120V compressor feeding my Hypertherm 30 just like yours. I originally had an automotive A/C unit just like in your picture, but the restriction was so high the air volume was too low. What worked for me was a 4-pass aftermarket aluminum oil cooler radiator (shrouded to the fan) with full length 1/2 inch copper tubing as an after-cooler, followed up with a water separator before connecting to the tank. Now I don’t get any water to speak of in the main tank as it’s all captured before it. As a precaution I also run a MotorGuard filter at the end of the run just before the plasma cutter or spray guns. I haven’t had to change the filter in over 6 months (no detectable water) and get no spatter from my spray guns so I think the system is working very well. The plasma consumables seem to last too.
Thanks for posting your setup! I do not believe I have a restriction in my setup. The tubing in the AC cooler I used is the same size as my copper, just flattened into an oval.
After installing the AC cooler things did improve but the issue has not been completely eliminated. I still believe I am getting excess water in my air even with the setup I have. The copper tube that contains the cooled air is still warm after the compressor cycles. When using air tools I do see a little bit of wetness, although I do NOT have a desiccant dryer inline with my air tools - the drier I have is bolted onto the back of the plasma/dedicated for the plasma.
@nicaDd Sorry, I didn’t see your question. The bigger the better with the desiccant dryers. Personally, I would run 1 quart minimum which is about $100 shipped on Amazon. If you have the cash to do a 2 or 3 quart, even better. It’ll last a long time without needing the gel dried or replaced. If you cut a lot with one of the smaller desiccant dryers you’ll just need to keep an eye on the silica gel and replace it before it’s saturated and stops working. One fire of the torch with moisture in the air can deform the nozzle and ruin it so it should never get to that point. If you don’t mind replacing the silica gel often, you can use a small filter and keep a gallon of beads on hand and dry them all at once when they’re all saturated.
This is the one I have.
So just curious, what is the difference between the different motor guard models? i see some people using the M-60, other the M-30 and i see a few other models online.
which one to pick?
The only real differences are the inlets are either 3/8" or 1/2" and some have an inlet on the top and bottom as opposed to side to side. They are all the same type of cartridge filter though, just depends on the size of your air lines and how you want to mount it.
Just know what filter element the motor-guard unit takes as they take different ones, they are not all the same.
I just received my M-60. The document that came with the filter says that M-20, M-30, M-40 and the M-60 all use the same M-723 filter element. Now, I guess there could be earlier models that don’t use the M-723(?).
Yes there is other models that use other filters. Keep about 6 on hand as you need to change them out about every 30 days or so.
i got the the m-100 which is the M-60 with 2 extra filters.
I had this happen again last night. I was experimenting with lower amps and slower speeds for 16 gauge. Intermittent not cutting all the way through. Bumped back up to specs and it happened again.
But… I had my ground clamped to the water table. I’m thinking that was probably it.
I’m still experiencing the issue as well, even with my ground clamp on the work piece itself. My settings do not change ever. I am still leaning towards wet air personally, but have picked up a new to me plasma cutter which will help eliminate one more variable once I get it installed.
I am using an older powermax 30, upgrading to a 2018 pm45.
First make sure you have at least 60psi of air. Also when was the last time you changed the air filter in the plasma cutter? Next set the torch height at about .030 to .035 The 30 was a drag plasma cutter so if the height is to high it will not work right. make sure the consumables are new or like new and run it on 240 volts at 30 amps. If you are cutting to fast this will also cause not cutting all the way through the metal.