Plate cutting methods,Nibbler or Torch?

Discussion in 'Metal Boat Building' started by robmill54, Oct 1, 2008.

  1. Tug
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Muskoka,Ontario,Canada

    Tug Junior Member

    PowerFist is the Princess Auto name for their brand of cheap tools...
    Everytime of of these cheap arsed tools break i consider myself Powerfisted...
    But hey sometimes cheap tools have a place....get the 1 job done...throw it away...or give it away at christmas to the inlaws...
  2. Brent Swain
    Joined: Mar 2002
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    Location: British Columbia

    Brent Swain Member

    Chinese zipcuts that cost $1 each cut more metal per disc than far more expensive ones. My makita grinder is 24 years old and still going strong as is my 1975 vintage $9.95 drill. I realise they are not Chinese , but Japanese was once considered junk , and now are top of the line. Chinese will get there and already have on some items.
    Mt $169 generator is getting hard to start , but I have got more than my money's worth out of her over the last 2 years. I may buy another , now priced at $139. I consider it a disposable, and don't have to worry about losing it .
    "You only get what you pay for. " is a used car salesman's con line.
  3. welder/fitter
    Joined: Jun 2008
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    Location: Vancouver

    welder/fitter Senior Member

    Makita & Walter grinders are two of the more expensive on today's market and well worth the price. I've tried a couple of the cheapo makes - Superior & Powerfist - and would not bother wasting money on a cheap grinder, again. The Powerfist was a 7" and burned out after cutting part way through an exhaust pipe(first cut). Princess Auto offered me another one, but told me that returns were not uncommon. I took the store credit, instead. The Superior 4 1/2" lasted for two weeks. Black & Decker seems a reasonable alternative, not too expensive.

    Sounds like the problem with your friend's compressor was the size of the tank. I haven't come across a decent compressor for less than Can$700. Most people make the mistake of putting value in the horsepower of a compressor, whereas, tank size & cfm are more important. Of course, the compressor allows you to shoot your primer and paint, as well as supply cutting power with plasma & run air grinders, chisels, etc.

    Stu, burnt out my modem, replaced it last weekend. Wiped off the yahoo mess., will have to reinstall when I have time. Good to hear you found a partner, which country will you build in?(e-mail?) While I'll still proceed as discussed, Greg is hooking me up with a guy in Subic duty free zone, a good area for completion.

    just read your post on butting the sheet. I'd strongback across the seam with mouseholes, small tacks(strongbacks) to keep deformation to minimum & tack seam then vertical down hand stitches(other side, then tacked side), preferably solid wire, otherwise 3/32 6010/11, lowest current possible(SMAW).
  4. robmill54
    Joined: May 2006
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    Location: ft myers, fl

    robmill54 Junior Member

    I already have a large 60 gallon(US) compressor in my home work shop. I can buy a used plasma here for about $500 US and since this is a backyard project that will put a strain on my neighbors, I'm thinking it will be a lot quieter. The concencious seems to be that the nibbler is a mistake, so since I already have the compressor, 240v power and some cutting expierence with a tourch, I'll go for a used plasma in good shape and get some practice with it.
    Great advice, I appreciate everyones input.
  5. Landlubber
    Joined: Jun 2007
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    Location: Brisbane

    Landlubber Senior Member

    Good one mate, enjoy the experience.
  6. welder/fitter
    Joined: Jun 2008
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    Location: Vancouver

    welder/fitter Senior Member

    just a small tip; I find that it is easier to see a line drawn with a black felt than with soapstone when cutting with plasma. Also, have a few different shades of lens handy; some of the guys I work with use a 12 or 13, some use an oxy-fuel lens (5). I find the dark ones too dark & the 5s blinding, so I use a 10. A third thought; if you can get the roller guide for the plasma torch it will save you on cups & make the cuts a little less wavy. I bought one & take it with me to work. gives a bit better control. The added benefit, of course, is that you can cut your non-ferrous metals with it, as well.
  7. robmill54
    Joined: May 2006
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    Location: ft myers, fl

    robmill54 Junior Member

    Great ideas, thank you. I've seen this roller used on a YouTube video of plasma cutting and it looks a lot easier. I'll try the marker as I've always used soapstone. So far, I've completed the lofting and am getting the site ready. I'm also gathering my tools and trying to get as organized as possible to do the best job I can.

  8. marshmat
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    Location: Ontario

    marshmat Senior Member

    Just about everyone I know who has used a plasma torch, loves them. I'm hoping to get my hands on one myself at some point. One of the university's shops bought a waterjet cutter recently, which is even better, but small and horrifically expensive.

    I know a few people who, against their better instincts, splurged on the auto-darkening, variable-shade helmets. They swear by these things now and will never go back to conventional lenses.

    Princess Auto stuff can be a mixed bag. A couple of years ago I managed to cook a (supposedly high quality) Makita grinder while trimming fibreglass (it actually caught fire). We replaced it with one of PA's "Powerfist" units because of the price.... the Powerfist ended up being a much better grinder, didn't heat up nearly as much and didn't bog down when loaded. Other stuff I've bought from them has been.... disappointing. It's all made by different suppliers in different places, much of it Chinese, some are also sold with different coloured housings as expensive brand names. Evaluate the individual tool, not the brand.
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