Metal fabrication hasn't remained the same since the invention of plasma cutters.
Aluminum, steel, alloys, and other conductive metals are cut efficiently with these machines at a fast pace.
Thanks to technological advancements, there are now plasma cutters compatible with a CNC system that allows you to create high-quality craftsmanship with little or no stress.
There are few quality CNC plasma cutters, and choosing the right one can be a hassle. Not to worry, we've come to your rescue.
Suppose you are thinking about creating perfect metal artworks/manufacturing a metal product.
Or, you are in dire need of a CNC plasma cutter? Here is a comprehensive list with detailed features of the 10 best CNC plasma cutters in 2020.
Top 5 Best CNC Plasma Cutters Comparison:
Our 10 Best CNC Plasma Cutter Picks:
Here is our detailed reviews on the top cnc plasma cutters-
1. Baileigh PT-22 CNC Plasma Cutting Table
The Baileigh PT-22 CNC plasma cutting table is a high-powered machine for structuring sheet metals. It is made with fully-welded steel frames that are not affected by heat. Thus, it delivers accurate results.
It works with two different torch holders (automatic & handheld) for a user-customized operation. However, this machine doesn't have torch height control (THC). The height adjustment is manual.
The touch holders function with two durable X-axis (single drive) and Y-axis (dual drive) premium quality stepper motors that run on 110V for all your fabrication demands. The X-axis industrial cable track moves smoothly to produce fine cuts. It comes with a handheld panel with a jog dial & program start/stops buttons to control the dual X-axis and Y-axis stepper motors holding the torch.
This best CNC plasma table cuts through conductive minerals like metals, steel, copper, brass, and aluminum. Although, you'll need a plasma cutter with adequate power and a clean, dry air supply.
Its table with 2" x 2" (610 x 610mm) cutting area has pre-cut flat bar grates to support the material being cut. It has a load capacity of ¾-inch. The table has a water bath that keeps it cool, preventing the metal placed on it from moving when cutting. Thanks to the water bath's ball valve, it successfully drains out impurities such as dirt, debris, and smoke.
A unique feature of the Baileigh PT-22 is that it comes with high-quality, easy-to-use software "BobCAD-Cam Express programming software" that works with any modern PC for designing and plotting out projects.
The project is sent into the machine via a USB drive in a DXF file format. This feature helps eliminate stress in cutting intricate shapes and delivers accurate cutting results.
The machine comes fully assembled, compact, and takes up small storage space. It weighs 590lb. All this machine's controller and electronics are neatly enclosed, and it has a latch and hinged base cabinet for storage.
Moving this machine is a breeze owing to its four 5-inch caster wheels, of which two are stationary, while the other two swivels. There's a one-year warranty on its parts and lifetime technical phone support.
2. SHUANGBING WELDER Portable CNC Machine
Taking second place on our list is the SHUANGBING portable CNC machine. It is a well-built heavy-duty machine made in China by Newlin machinery, Shuangbing welder. It doesn't come with a table, but it has an X-axis rail of 2.2m and a Y-axis rail of 3m. To use, you'd have to make a table that will be compatible with the machine. That said, this machine has a cutting range of 1600x2500mm (63" x 98") for all your welding demands.
The voltage and frequency rating this machine requires to function is 110 - 240V±10% 50/60Hz, which means it can work anywhere in the world with the right power cord. It comes with a flame cutting torch that uses oxyfuel, such as LPG, propane + oxygen, etc., to cut. At full operation, the machine's flame cutting speed is 23.6 inches/min, which makes it cut through any conductive metal of 0.2-inch to 7.87-inch thickness effortlessly.
The torch holder height is adjustable automatically with the controller at the top of the main machine. This controller has a reset button (P99), and it's also called Z-axis equipment control. You can equally exchange the flame torch with a plasma cutter. To use a plasma cutter, you'd have to buy a compatible one like a Powermax 45 Hypertherm or miller plasma to work with this machine.
The SHUANGBING portable CNC machine comes with FastCAM or StarCAM Nesting Software, depending on your preference, that can be installed on any modern computer. The project files are inputted into the machine via USB. Note that the machine can't directly read DXF files, but the StarCAM software will convert CAD files into other formats the machine can read, such as CNC/txt, TAP file, or SheetCam.
This computer numeric control welder machine has different buttons, with an LCD screen that displays parameters. The maximum operating speed limit you can set is 78.7 inches/min. However, it has a no-load default speed limit of 118 inches/min. It can cut metal into clip arts and has a library of approximately 45 different geometric shapes inbuilt. It weighs 231lb, doesn't come assembled, but it's packaged with an English instructional manual to help assemble it. Also, there's a two-year warranty on its parts.
3. Everlast PowerPlasma 82i 80 Amp CNC compatible plasma cutter
This superior machine @60% duty cycle on a single phase 240V input has a digitalized construction to deliver high-performance. It has built-in CNC interface ports and is more potent than most 80 and 90 Amp plasma cutters in the market.
It features a digital controlled circuitry that makes all its functions easy to use and reliable. There's a selector for either auto-restart, tip saver mode, or gouging mode. You can select any of the modes by tapping the selector's left or right button until the green light shows in your desired mode. On the left side of the control panel is the CNC selector and an on/off lock button to keep your settings locked in when in use.
The control panel has an amperage controller that displays with a Color-Coded LED screen for precision. This machine's maximum amperage setting is 80. It has an adjustable post-flow control with a display screen for setting the air-flows duration for time-consuming cuts. This feature helps reduce noise levels from operating compressors and unnecessary air consumption, which expands the torch longevity.
The cutting pressure is also shown on the control panel with a low-high indicator for accuracy. The pressure regulator is at the machine's back. To adjust the cutting pressure, unhook the pressure regulator knob, rotate to your desired pressure, and then push down on the knob to lock in the pressure. If the pressure setting is too low or too high, the amp screen will show an error code. Note that the cutting pressure relates directly to the Amperage and the nozzle hole size of your plasma cutter to give a smooth cut.
This Everlast PowerPlasma 82i comes with the new 14ft Italian designed blowback iPT-80 plasma torch with a little trigger guard on it to keep you from accidentally lighting the torch off. It's handy and gives a clean, smooth cut of 1¼ -inch to any kind of metal, be it dirty, painted, or rusted.
This machine weighs 60lb and has over-current and duty cycle protection indicators with warning lights. Whenever there's an error, it powers down till the errors are fixed, ensuring safety. Amazingly, there's a five-year warranty on this machine. If you are on a budget, then this machine is right for you.
4. Mophorn CNC Plasma Cutter
The Mophorn portable CNC machine is similar to the SHUANGBING machine, but there are a few differences. The Mophorn CNC Plasma Cutter functions with a two-axis cutting control system with an operating speed of 15m/min, giving an accuracy of ±0.001mm. It has heavy-duty (84 x138)-inch X-axis and Y-axis track rails made of high-strength steel with a wide cutting range of (63 x 118)-inch. It doesn't come with a table as well.
This machine runs with 110V and has a load capacity of 100W. Its flame cutting torch moves at a cutting speed of 23.6 inches/min. It uses oxyfuel, such as propane/acetylene + oxygen, to cut through any conductive metal of 0.24-inch to 7.87-inch thickness without breaking a sweat. It is also compatible with a plasma cutter.
The torch height controller (THC) is at the box on top of the CNC machine. This height controller supports a dynamic borehole, which prevents residues from a workpiece from splashing around, hence, protecting the torch head. The movement of the torch head is on the Z-axis. However, to use this machine for plasma cutting, you'd have to install a plasma cutter in place of the flame torch.
Safety is no doubt a priority with the designs of the Mophorn portable CNC machine. These designs feature low-voltage protection, power-off protection, anti-interference, and Overload & Over-heat protection to ensure safe usage. It supports several languages like French, English, Portuguese, to mention a few. It doesn't come with any software, but it's compatible with many software like FastCAM, FreeNest, SmartNest, etc.
The CNC machine is easy to use thanks to its many function buttons and the LCD screen to display parameters. It has a USB port for transmitting files in TAP formats. With the shape library, you'd find it easy to cut out shapes. This machine doesn't come assembled. Assembling it is easy with the two well-detailed manuals it comes packaged with. Also, transporting this machine isn't stressful; it weighs 136lb.
5. HEROCUT HC7000 CNC Plasma Cutter
The USA HeroCut branch manufactures this HC7000 CNC plasma cutter. It is a 60% Duty cycle, 70 Amps plasma cutter that effortlessly cuts out 18mm thickness of metals like stainless steel, aluminum, copper, etc. It can make a severance cut of 25mm using a pressure of 65PSI under 220V ±15%, at 50/60Hz. It functions with advanced IGBT inverter technology to produce more efficient cutting results.
It comes with a sturdy non-high frequency, IPT-60 blowback pilot arc plasma cutting torch with a five-meter cable. On the main machine are digital controllers, with a display screen and pressure gauge. Parameters such as Amperage and cutting pressure are regulated with controllers and displayed on the screen and pressure gauge for cutting precision of different metals. The machine's front has a center torch plug for efficient and safe use. At the same time, the machine's back has a port for connecting a CNC system.
An air compressor is connected with the preset NPT ¼ -inch air connectors at the machine's back. It has an in-built air regulator, and the post airflow preset is 10-sec max. It has a cooling fan to keep it from overheating, ensuring high-performance and durability. The 2-touch and 4-touch modes make cutting metals convenient and fun. This machine requires clean and dry air to function, supplied from a compressor with adequate CMF.
This machine has torch protection, work, and warning indicators for safe operation. Transporting this machine is stress-free due to its lightweight (16.5lb). It has a one-year warranty. When you buy this machine, it comes in a box containing five electrodes, a three-meter air hose, a user manual, an earth cable with three meters cable, and ten 1.0 tips.
6. STV Motorsports Spar X510 CNC Plasma Cutting Table
The SparX 510 CNC plasma cutting table made in the USA by STV Motorsports is on the same level as industrial plasma cutting tables. This machine features innovative technologies in a small package to deliver the best result a plasma machine can offer. It functions with premium high-accuracy stepper motors that operate on 110V/220V for a fast, smooth, and efficient cutting process. It has a maximum cutting speed of 600-inch/min.
The mechanical drive system (X-axis & Y-axis) industrial cable track moves smoothly with linear ground bearings, and carriage guides rail at an accuracy of 0.002" per 12 inches. It has a ¾-inch load capacity. It can cut any conductive minerals like metals, steel, copper, brass, and aluminum. This machine has an automatic torch height controller (THC) that controls the torch movement. The torch (Z-axis) can travel on the gantry at a maximum length of six-inch.
The modular heavy-duty 5 x 10 best CNC plasma table supports up to 1.5-inch steel plates. This table has a water bath that makes the cutting process convenient by reducing dust and preventing the metal workpiece from warping due to the high heat produced. All the machine cables and wiring are enclosed thanks to its advanced cable management system. This creates room for safe operation and improves table functionality. It has a cutting range of 5' X 10' X: 60" Y: 120."
This CNC table weighs 450lb and works well with both a flame and plasma system. Whichever one you prefer, you'd have to buy it separately. It comes with a full MyPlasmaCNC software package with licenses that works on any Windows operating system interface. And a USB connectivity to transfer project files (DXF formats) into the machine. To fully operate this machine, you'll need a CPC interface and an air compressor.
7. Model 1635 Portable Cutting CNC Machine
Another portable plasma/oxyflame cutting CNC machine made by China's Newlin machinery is this Model 1635. The Model 1635 has an impressive cutting area of (63 x 138) inch. Its X-axis (84-inch) & Y-axis (158-inch) steel track rails cover enough distance for a convenient and effective cutting process. The steel track rails have protection from interference, electromagnetic rays, and static electricity for a safe operation. Note that this Model 1635 doesn't come with a table, so you'd have to get a table before using it.
It comes with an oxyflame torch that effortlessly cut metals with a thickness of 0.24-inch up to 7.87-inch. The oxyflame torch is interchangeable with a plasma cutter as long as it has one CNC port like Hypertherm, Miller, etc. The flame torch moves at a cutting speed of 23.6-inch/min, which cuts metals relatively well. In contrast, the plasma cutting speed depends on the plasma cutter. Thanks to the machine's automatic torch height control (THC), cutting operations are safe and efficient.
This Model 1635 CNC portable machine has an HD 7-inch 800*480 and high brightness LCD screen with a PCB keyboard for a complete digitalized control. It functions with a 110/220V±10% voltage at a frequency of 50/60Hz, delivering a default maximum speed limit of 78.7-inch/min, with a no-load speed limit of 118-inch/min. It's equipped with a 64Mb SDRAM and has a USB 1.1 front interface that supports a minimum of 16GB U disk space. It reads files of txt, CNC, nc, B3, MPG formats from StarCAM, or FastCAM nesting software.
8. Everlast Power Plasma 52i CNC Compatible Plasma Cutter
Everlast makes another appearance on this list with its 52i compatible plasma cutter. This 60% duty cycle 52i power plasma comes with standard CNC ports making it compatible with many CNC systems. It functions with the current advanced IGBT technology to deliver high-end cutting results. It runs on a single face dual 120/240V for maximum flexibility in any location. The 52i power plasma effortlessly handles any steel of approximately ¾-inch thickness.
The 52i power plasma machine is fully digital. It has a digital controlled circuitry that makes all its functions easy to use and reliable. The machine's front features a selector for either auto-restart, tip saver mode, or gouging mode. It has an air-pressure guide system with a LED screen to guide the welder on the selected mode's required pressure. This system has an okay-to-cut indicator to tell when the air pressure is adequate, low, or high. There's also a post-flow digital control on the machine's panel to set a flow timer of up to 60-sec for prolonged cuts.
Thanks to the amperage dial with a LED screen, there's no need for guesswork. You can easily select the right Amperage for the job at hand to deliver precise, quick, and smooth operation. However, it can't exceed 50 Amps. Also, it has an over-current, duty cycle, and anti-interrupt indicators for the machine's protection. On the left side of the control panel is an on/off lock button to keep your settings locked in when in use, as well as the CNC selector.
This machine comes with a 4m blowback iPT-60 torch plasma effortlessly cuts ½-inch of any metal alloy. It has two pilot arc modes: one for a continuous cutting process that provides a clean-cut and the other shut down the pilot arc when idle for 3-sec. The Everlast powerplasma 52i is an excellent alternative to the Everlast powerplasma 82i earlier reviewed if you are on a low budget. It is $300 lesser and has almost the same features with slight differences. It weighs 42lb, which makes it easy to transport.
9. HEROCUT 55i CNC Plasma Cutter
The HEROCUT 55 CNC plasma cutter is one of the most portable plasma cutters on this list. HEROCUT made this machine with advanced IGBT inverter technology. It functions with 50 Amps and an automatic dual 110/220V and dual 50/60Hz for flexibility in various locations. It uses a blowback non-hf pilot arc starting torch with a 5-meter cable. With a pressure of 65PSI, this plasma cutter effortlessly cut metals of up to 25mm thickness at 220V. And with the same pressure, it cuts 10mm thick metals at 110V. It's perfect for small fabrication shops or home service.
This plasma cutter is compatible with a CNC system, thanks to the CNC connecting port (ratio 1:1, GX16) situated at its back. It has a complete digitalized circuity system. The machine's front features an amperage dial with a LED screen for easy current adjustment and cutting precision. There's also an air pressure gauge to help you set the accurate cutting air pressure for various metals. It has an in-built air regulator. Connecting an air compressor is a breeze with the preset NPT ¼-inch air connector at the machine's back. It supplies air at 5.5 CFM.
This plasma cutter has 2T and 4T operational modes for different welding demands. It's easy to set up with plugs located at convenient places. The machine has a cooling fan to prevent overheating, which ensures it lasts long. It can cut any conducting metals, be it aluminum, steel, copper, etc. However, it doesn't have gouging ability. Transporting it is stress-free due to its low weight of 16.5lb. This machine has a one-year warranty, with full phone support. It comes in a box containing essential consumables like earth cable, electrodes, air hoses, and a user manual.
Read also: Best quality propane forge reviews!
10. Lotos LTP5000D Plasma Cutter
To round up our list is the Lotos LTP5000 Plasma Cutter. Lotos is a top manufacturing brand in the USA that has been producing high-quality products since 2007. Their expertise and technology are vividly seen in this LTP5000 plasma cutter.
The LTP5000 plasma cutter is a heavy-duty machine that delivers the best metal cutting, but it isn't compatible with a CNC system. Its maximum current capacity is 50 amps, and it requires a power supply of 5000W to function. It has automatic dual voltage and frequency making it run directly on either 110V 50/60Hz or 220V 50/60Hz, depending on your location. However, it needs a pigtail for this attribute.
This plasma cutter uses a non-touch pilot arc torch to cut rugged, painted, or rusted metals without producing much slag. It cleanly cuts metals of ½-inch thickness and can cut any metal of ¾-inch thickness from the edge. It functions with modern MOSFET/IGBT transistors to deliver high power for any metal fabrication demand. It's compatible with "Lotos PCS22" or "Lotos PCS33" consumables only.
At the front of the machine is a current control-dial with an LED screen for easy adjustment of current for various metals cutting requirements. Also, there are two torch hookups, one ground clamp hookup, and a pilot arc hookup, all at the machine's front. The power and ground plug is 6ft long, respectively, while the torch cord is 13ft.
This machine requires a 4.0 CFM @60-70 PSI air compressor. It has a pressure gauge to help set accurate cutting air pressure for different fabrication demand. At the machine's back is a pre-installed NPT ¼-inch D plug for an air compressor connection. Thanks to the top handle and its lightweight, it is easy to move around.
Ways to Choose the Best CNC Plasma Cutters
Here is our detailed buying guide on the cnc plasma cutters. Keep reading-
Speed of Cutting
The speed must be relative to the thickness of the material being cut, and you need to be conscious of that; it is like a way of calculating the output your machine is capable of producing. This factor is the fundamental gap between poor productivity and efficiency.
Here is the good news. You won’t necessarily need to calculate the cutting speed; most manufacturers always have this information displayed for users, making it easy to compare.
The goal is not to go for the highest cutting speed. It is to go for your required cutting speed. You don’t want to spend some extra buck to get all that speed you won even be needing. Inches per Minute (IPM) is the unit of cutting speed value, and you can always ask the manufacturer for it if the value is not displayed.
Consumables are a must when you use plasma cutters, even when it is the Computer numerical control (CNC) version.
Consumables are parts and components that must be replaced or changed over time when the machine is in use. Consumables include electrodes, cutting tips, and others.
Also, you need to listen when your machine talks and not always otherwise. When a cutting tip is damaged, the CNC cutter lets you know the job requires more time or cutting quality drops, reconfigure the working parameter to fit your expected outcome.
Other consumables include shield cap, nozzle, swirl ring, and retaining cap. Electricity or fuel can also be considered consumables; they form the renewable energy source that runs the machine.
Consumables are continuous and repetitive in nature. Properly managing them means managing your machine properly, and that will get you more productivity.
Amperage and Duty Cycle (Power Factors)
The electric current’s intensity flowing through a CNC plasma Cutter is known as the amperage, and it is inversely proportional to the duty cycle. The duty cycle is used to measure the length of time the cutting machine continues working without the need for cooling off, and it is expressed as a percentage. The more the amperage, the less the duty cycle.
A typical CNC machine can run for close to ten minutes if the Duty cycle is around fifty percent.
These output factors are not independent of the thickness of the material being cut. A power rating operates with less influence when the material is too thick or tough. In such a case, the process must be given more time, or cutting tips will be damaged, and the machine will be overworked, leading to poor output.
More amperage is required for thicker materials; that’s the simple rule of thumb to follow.
Portability, Durability, and Warranty (Manufacturer Dependence)
The plasma cutter is one of the powerful tools that emerged in the twentieth century, and it is an interesting one, especially when it has CNC as the control panel. The cutting operations are dynamic, and you have to know the machine that is capable of handling your needs.
For the most part, the CNC plasma cutter is usually portable and easy to move about; you don’t want to get a cutter that is not portable, except it offers a specific job function that you need without a portable option.
Durability is another paramount factor. Most CNC plasma cutters are very resilient and durable, but it doesn’t hurt to do some research. You might want to go for a manufacturer that is trusted for durability and also known for excellent warranty services.
A CNC machine requires experts to fix when the problem is not a usual maintenance practice. That is why it is better to purchase from a manufacturer that offers a warranty. Servicing, repairs, and replacements will cost you almost nothing.
You need to be conscious of a couple of maintenance measures before choosing or purchasing a CNC plasma cutter, especially if it is not a new one. Here are a few important ones:
- The power supply should be easily accessible and direct in action.
- Air circuit systems should have no leakage.
- The plasma machine setting is in line with the required setting of the electrode and the cutting nozzle.
- Compressors, air filters, and gas pressures must be intact.
- The Source of gas must disconnect when the machine is at rest.
- The Source of power must be disconnected when the machine is at rest.
- Mechanisms of lift must be easily accessible for adding oil. They include components like linear guide slider, screws, and ball bearings.
- Direct Current (DC) brush must be intact for long periods of time, up to a whole year. Issues with the DC motor will tell on your machine and ultimately damage the motor if required care is not taken.
- Filters should be easy to change.
Cost and Budget
You are probably working with a budget, which may influence your decisions a lot, but you have to be optimal with your decisions. Manually operated plasma cutters are quite less expensive but do your math and weigh out the option of an efficient CNC version.
CNC plasma cutter cuts down the required stress of work, at least, for the part of physical requirements. Maintenance cost is also relatively lower, and operating cost is cheaper. Ultimately, you enjoy more efficiency and less disruption during production.
So we've come to the end of this review. Our list comprises a variety of plasma cutters compatible with CNC machines. However, the 10th position on this list isn't compatible with a CNC machine, as there aren't a lot of CNC plasma cutters available.
We also have on this list different CNC machines like the portable ones for DIY services that will need you to build a table and the ones with a water bath table for large fabrication shops. Both machines work well with the CNC plasma cutters reviewed.
In conclusion, we hope we have helped influence your decision on picking up the best CNC plasma cutter for your fabrication needs. Note that you are to use only clean and dry air for all cutting activity.