Consumable life expectancy

Information on plasma cutting nozzles, electrodes, and other consumables.
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Shane Warnick
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Joined: Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:03 pm

Consumable life expectancy

Post by Shane Warnick » Fri Apr 11, 2014 12:44 am

Beat to death I am sure. I have read you should be able to get this, should be able to get that. I was wondering if anyone would tell me what they are actually getting? I am just now getting my head far enough aroud everything to run the nuts off the table and not screw up and just roast a nozzle being stupid (like, say changing material and increasing amps, and changing consumables but not adjusting pierce height or cut speed, or offset current, so the torch wants to cut 2" off the plate etc).

I am running a hypertherm powermax 1250 with a T80M machine torch on a samson 5x10 table, design edge with advanced options and height control with ohmic sensing.

I just did my first real long run of cutting, getting ready for a market on Saturday. Had to change consumables today, the electrode was TOAST and the nozzle probably could have gone a little longer, but I was going to cut some large pieces today and didn't want to chance it.

Running finecut consumables, 40 amps, 150 ipm on 16g mild steel, pierce at 0.16, cut at 0.08, I checked the counter and I clocked in just over 17,000 (yeah it's 17 thousand) inches of cut, with just over 3700 pierces. The same nozzle was used for the entire 17,000 inches of 16 gauge, and the electrode was the same for all of that, plus it cut just over 400 inches of 1/2" plate with a 60 amp nozzle about the middle of the run. I had to pierce the 1/2" plate 8 times, with a pierce delay of 1.5s (man that shoots molten balls of fire about 10 feet, just fyi if your wife is in the area and you warn her 5 times, you will still get the look if she is walking by and nearly gets her hair lit on fire) and due to material size edge start on 9 crosscuts.

The finecut nozzle was still round, the hole was just a little bigger than a brand new one. Probably could have milked some more out of it, but for $5 I figured it had served me well and could go to spent nozzle heaven.

The kerf on the 16g grew from 0.040" at brand new consumables to 0.046" at the end of the cut.

If I remember correctly, the 1/2" kerf was 0.081" . Had a little angularity on the 3/4" holes at the bottom where the arc kept wanting to jump back to the lead in (gotta figure out how to fix that) but the straight cuts were 90 degrees no bevel at all.

Anyways, I have to say I am more than happy about the number of pierces and inches of cut I am getting out of the finecut consumables, the cost per inch is extremely low. I was just wondering if this was in the neighborhood of what other people were seeing, or really good, or half of what it should be? Fwiw I am in the desert, have a toilet paper style motorgaurd filter and a big dessicant filter on the air supply, so plenty of it and its good and clean and dry.

Thanks in advance for your time, you guys let me know how this compares to what you normally see in your shop.

Stay safe

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Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2014 6:46 pm

Re: Consumable life expectancy

Post by suttoncnc » Fri Apr 11, 2014 4:33 am

I have no answers for you, but I am very curious about this myself. I am in your position and just now really getting things rolling enough to start to think about consumable life. I got about 4000 inches off of my first set of consumables (16 gauge) before they were noticeably suffering. I do have moisture issues that I am addressing now.

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Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2013 9:12 pm

Re: Consumable life expectancy

Post by rikduk » Fri Apr 11, 2014 5:42 am

Im in the same situation as you. i just started getting good life out of my consumables.(hint: when you change from 130amp cons. to 50 amp cons and dont turn down amps, life expentancy goes down)
i just finished a job in mostly 16g, 1/8 and a little 1/4 steel.
Did around 15 000-16 000 in. cuts with 1500 starts before changing the electrode, the nozzle is still good.
you are deffenitely getting good results
What i saw so far is, thinner plate is a lot easier on consumables, and cutting small holes, particularly at 50 % feedrate,
will wear cons. a lot faster.
I'm running a longlife oxy plasma, and theres a little chart in the manual with numbers of starts ishould be expecting versus the time of cuts (the longer the cuts,less starts you should expect)
I dont quite get the number of starts i should have,but i prefer to change a 10$ nozzle more often, than to waste time on secondary operations.
Thank you for the feedback!

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Re: Consumable life expectancy

Post by jimcolt » Fri Apr 11, 2014 9:51 am

The keys to getting the best consumable life with your Hypertherm plasma cutter:

-A good working torch height control system.
-Setting the pierce height, cut height and pierce delay times correctly.
-Using genuine Hypertherm consumable parts.
-Clean, dry compressed air.

Sounds like you are doing things right, Shane! It is difficult to predict exact consumable it is affected by th above parameters as well as the number of pierces and the average length of cut per cut cycle. Your experiences with consumable life are why it is worth spending the extra cost at the time of purchase for good the more you use it the lower the cost of ownership is.

Jim Colt Hypertherm

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