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Best air setup for plasma table

Posted: Thu Jun 07, 2018 4:50 pm
by blucllrplt
Long time lurker, first time posting. Previous owner of a plasmacam (circa 2004) sold it in 2008 due to divorce and now have a place and $ to acquire another table. Building my own table with brains from CandCNC, hypertherm 85 with the RS485 port and a 5HP 2-stage air compressor.

Compressor is located in a separate room approx. 40 feet from the table location. Piping is 3/4” copper. Understanding that air quality is important, would a refrigerated air dryer in the compressor room be adequate or would a seperate filter dryer be recommended at the point of use?

Re: Best air setup for plasma table

Posted: Sun Jun 10, 2018 6:11 am
by Euclid933
Have a search on here. There is a lot of advice on how to set up the air supply.
I have a refrigerated dryer after my compressor, that came with an inlet and outlet filter. It is sized for the maximum flow of my compressor, which is the smallest dryer available from my supplier. You can place it at point of use, if you like, just before the plasma.
I use JG (John Guest) 15mm push fit plastic pipe for my compressed air mains. I like it because it is easy to alter, and there is no rust / scale buildup in the pipe.
Just before the plasma unit, I have a Regulator + filter unit and a separate active carbon filter from Festo.
If you have the refrigerated next to the compressor in a small building, just watch the ambient temperature doesn't get too high.

Re: Best air setup for plasma table

Posted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:16 am
by DMoneyAllstar
Make sure you have an auto-drain on the bottom of your air tank.

When you bring your line out of the air tank, make sure it is angled up so any immediate moisture drains down into the tank (not collecting in the line).

Also put a water coalescer and oil remover filter right after your compressor to get a lot of the fluids out of the compressed air before it even gets to your downstream gadgets and piping.

And then put a set of filters right before your plasma.

Get a dryer.

Re: Best air setup for plasma table

Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:55 am
by blucllrplt
Thank you for the replies! Got the compressor wired and running yesterday; manufacturer recommended 8gauge wiring so had to upgrade that.

I’m going to use steel piping for all my drops. Ordered a refrigerated air dryer last night and planning to install a filter just prior to the plasma cutter.

Re: Best air setup for plasma table

Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 12:15 pm
by DMoneyAllstar
Awesome, sounds like you're off & running.

Just don't cheap out on your pneumatic filters. Still need to make sure you're getting particles, moisture and oil out of that air to optimize consumable life and maximize quality. The cheaper the compressor you use (or undersized), the more likely it is to run hotter. Hotter = more moisture and oil in your air.

I love the Numatics Flexi-Blok stuff (F32 and C32 series to be exact). The filters are a tad pricey, but the stuff WORKS. And you can generally find NOS filters for sale on eBay at a bargain. They have 40 & 5 micron particulate filters, and then 0.7, 0.3 and 0.1 micron filter/coalescers.

The "filters" from Harbor Freight or Home Depot are probably good enough for basic shop tools, but not for running a $2-$3k plasma torch.

Dan A.
- Owner of a home-built 5x10 cnc plasma w/ HYP45xp torch & CommandCNC
- Been a FRAM Filter filtration engineer since 2000