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View Full Version : $499 HF Plasma Cutter. Good Deal?



Flash Blind(er)
03-03-2005, 04:05 PM
$499 Harbor Freight Plasma Cutter (http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?function=Search)
40% Duty Cycle at 36 Amps. Small & light. No pilot arc? Any downsides for light duty/ home fab work?

Mike W
03-03-2005, 04:12 PM
Welcome Flash Blind(er). :) If it came with a life time warrenty, I might consider it. I would hate to spend $500 and have it go up in smoke a couple of years later.

moody
03-03-2005, 04:15 PM
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=91814

your link didnt work for me

CHOPS
03-03-2005, 04:16 PM
Im Curious About This Ont To Is Suposed To Be The Same As The Htp, But Its Back Ordered Until May

johns6
03-03-2005, 09:00 PM
I went to HF today and looked at this cutter. I think it is a knockoff of the HTP as it was made in China and the HTP is made in Italy. If I am wrong it is a very good deal.

taz
03-03-2005, 09:48 PM
And how much more is the HTP?

timw
03-03-2005, 11:39 PM
I have the HF 9 X 20 lathe, last week the half nut ( part that makes the carrage move for auto feed) stripped out. I called HF and a new one is only $12. but will take 12 weeks to get. Had the blade mounting rod break on HF recipricating saw 5 years ago, took 9 months to get new one, they were backordered. I like HF but if it's something I will need to depend on I have to look at repair time.
How many posts have we read where someone had a minor problem with Miller stuff and their part was overnighted to them usually free too. tim

Mike W
03-03-2005, 11:48 PM
Maybe the HF replacement parts have to made in China and then come over on a boat. :rolleyes:

Zrexxer
03-03-2005, 11:52 PM
I have the HF 9 X 20 lathe, last week the half nut ( part that makes the carrage move for auto feed) stripped out. I called HF and a new one is only $12. but will take 12 weeks to get. Had the blade mounting rod break on HF recipricating saw 5 years ago, took 9 months to get new one, they were backordered. I like HF but if it's something I will need to depend on I have to look at repair time.
How many posts have we read where someone had a minor problem with Miller stuff and their part was overnighted to them usually free too. timTim, call Grizzly on your half nuts; same part as the HF and they have them in stock for shipment.

p.s. Did you de-burr your leadscrew? This is a common issue on 9x20's when the keyway is cut in the screw.

Soldier Boy
03-05-2005, 09:47 AM
I got a question on the item in question. Will this plasma cutter require an air compresser to be attached to this plasma cutter in order to work or is it a plug and you're ready to cut unit?

Thanks. :confused:

Flash Blind(er)
03-05-2005, 09:52 AM
I got a question on the item in question. Will this plasma cutter require an air compresser to be attached to this plasma cutter in order to work or is it a plug and you're ready to cut unit?

Thanks. :confused:

Yes, it'll need a source of clean and dry air to operate.

gde
03-06-2005, 08:59 AM
I went to HF today and looked at this cutter. I think it is a knockoff of the HTP as it was made in China and the HTP is made in Italy. If I am wrong it is a very good deal.

You are wrong and it IS the same one. I have an HTP plasma cutter and this is the identical one. I even spoke to the company president of HTP and he could not tell me they were different. They are made in the same location and are identical. The only difference is the lettering on the side!! This is a helluva deal! Almost $400 cheaper than what I paid. That's why they are on back order!
BTW, they work great and I have easily cut 3/8" with mine. Never tried 1/2" with it. Very light and i'll try to post a pic of mine.
Here's an old pic of mine. It's kinda dark but I think it is readily apparent that they ARE the same.

johns6
03-06-2005, 09:39 AM
You are wrong and it IS the same one. I have an HTP plasma cutter and this is the identical one. I even spoke to the company president of HTP and he could not tell me they were different. They are made in the same location and are identical. The only difference is the lettering on the side!! This is a helluva deal! Almost $400 cheaper than what I paid. That's why they are on back order!
BTW, they work great and I have easily cut 3/8" with mine. Never tried 1/2" with it. Very light and i'll try to post a pic of mine.
Here's an old pic of mine. It's kinda dark but I think it is readily apparent that they ARE the same.

Believe me , I want you to prove me wrong as I would buy one if they are the same. Maybe the ones that HF are selling on their website are in fact the same, but the one I saw at a HF store here in Houston said "made in China." Also the HTP is rated as a 40 amp machine and the HF is 36 amps. I'll take another look, I hope you're right.

Oddest_raindrop
03-06-2005, 06:37 PM
I considered getting that model myself. but then I started to look for where I could get consumables. Harbor freight was very foward with getting them there and that was the only place I could really locate it. So I decied I would get a more popluar brand and pay a little more and get something that will be easy to maintain.

Sberry
03-06-2005, 06:41 PM
If you consider a couple yrs warranty a Hobart comes close to the same price. 3 yrs on the machie and 1 on the torch I think.

gde
03-07-2005, 09:55 AM
Believe me , I want you to prove me wrong as I would buy one if they are the same. Maybe the ones that HF are selling on their website are in fact the same, but the one I saw at a HF store here in Houston said "made in China." Also the HTP is rated as a 40 amp machine and the HF is 36 amps. I'll take another look, I hope you're right.

They change the amps as the models progress. I think mine is only 30amps. They are made by the same company. HTP just gets newer ones that pack a wee-bit more punch. I'm telling you, they ARE made in the same place, be it China, Italy, Germany, or wherever. HTP gets them from the same place.

Homebrewer
08-30-2005, 07:33 PM
Does anyone know if HF will sell you and extended warranty with it? Might be worth a few extra bucks for piece of mind. $1500 for name brand, $500 for this one. This one is a tough one. I have until 9/12 to decide. Please, let's see some more posts on it.

Thanks!

Mike

speedycheater
08-30-2005, 07:55 PM
I've got an HF machine, works great. I have cut up to 1/2" with it, no problems. I will be selling some consumables to fit these machine's in the near future. HF is very pricy and they take 6 - 8 weeks to order in consumables. I will have some in stock, and at a lower price then HF soon. I purchased a large quantity from a wholesaler in order to get a good price on them, and have way more then I'll ever use.

I purchased mine off of Ebay for $180. It was suppsosed to be a store return and "not working" but mine appears brand new and works perfectly. I don't think the seller knew how to test it out properly...

Zrexxer
08-30-2005, 09:15 PM
I've got an HF machine, works great. I have cut up to 1/2" with it, no problems. I will be selling some consumables to fit these machine's in the near future. HF is very pricy and they take 6 - 8 weeks to order in consumables. I will have some in stock, and at a lower price then HF soon. I purchased a large quantity from a wholesaler in order to get a good price on them, and have way more then I'll ever use.

I purchased mine off of Ebay for $180. It was suppsosed to be a store return and "not working" but mine appears brand new and works perfectly. I don't think the seller knew how to test it out properly...HTP sells the consumables for them, they're about 1/3 the price of Harbor Fright.

speedycheater
08-30-2005, 09:48 PM
Do you know what their prices are? I emailed them about consumables and they basically said their machines were in no way related to the Harbor Freight machines and their consumables would not fit?

Zrexxer
08-30-2005, 09:58 PM
Heck, they're even LISTED as "Harbor Freight" consumables on HTP's website! So much for THAT... lol. I will have to find the catalog they sent me, their prices aren't on the site, but here's their "Harbor Freight" page:

http://www.htpweld.com/products/plasma_torch_parts/harbor.htm

precisionworks
08-30-2005, 11:22 PM
Plasma cutters (& welding equipment) are like oats:

"If you want good, clean, fresh oats, you must be willing to pay a fair price. If you can be satisfied with oats that have already been through the horse, that comes a lot cheaper."

ohmthis
08-30-2005, 11:25 PM
I was waiting to see IF indeed these would work for the HF plasma. Looks like I may be getting one after all. Thanks for all the info. You guys never stop impressing me!

Hotfoot
08-31-2005, 12:09 AM
Heck. I would have tried one considering the price. I really searched around and ended up paying over $1,000 for my Cutmaster 38. I talked with one person locally who has a 220 volt HF one that he is very satisfied with, He says it showed up on their Inside Track members area once, and has never seen it listed since.
I would buy the extended warranty if they offer it...but Ican also see it getting cubby-holed in some ratty little "repair center" waiting on parts...that never seem to come.

david_r
08-31-2005, 12:37 AM
HF has always offered me extended warranties on the tools I buy at their stores. It's not a repair warranty, it's a replacement warranty. Bring it in and get a new one. Best part is you register it then you use your phone # or whatever to prove purchase date and warranty length. I think it runs 10% per year of the purchase price up to three years.

If their online division offers the same, it'd be pretty sweet.

gde
08-31-2005, 08:53 AM
Don't let anyone tell you that the HF and HTP models are different. THEY ARE THE SAME!!!! I paid nearly $900 for my HTP Microcut 380. About a month later I saw the same looking one in Harbor Freight for $400 less!!! I called up Jeff Nolan (president of HTP) and explained what I had seen and he said it was possible it was the same machine labeled under a different name. The big difference is that HTP will service their units and apparently NOT HF's. So, if yours breaks and it is NOT HTP, you may be screwed. My machine works extremely well WHEN I USE IT. I personally think a plasma cutter is the most unused tool in my arsenal. If I had to do it over again, I would NOT buy a plasma b/c I rarely cut non-ferrous metals.
If you are going to buy a plaz, the HF model is a great price for an awesome machine!

precisionworks
08-31-2005, 09:34 AM
The MicroCut 380 is made in Italy by Telwin (who makes a number of inverter-based plasma cutters & TIG machines)

The Chinese are great at making a copy of anything from plasma cutters to ****** to Blake co-axial indicators. I've tried all three (I'm 56 years old, give me a break :D ) and all three from China SUCK!

Take a screwdriver into the HF store and look inside their "plasma cutter" . If it looks like it was assembled by someone lacking the skill to do this type of work, it probably was.

http://www.farfilm.com/odds/iceman.gif

speedycheater
08-31-2005, 09:51 AM
Take a screwdriver into the HF store and look inside their "plasma cutter" . If it looks like it was assembled by someone lacking the skill to do this type of work, it probably was.

http://www.farfilm.com/odds/iceman.gif

Actually, I've had mine completely disasembled. It looks top notch inside. No quality issues with the assembly of my machine

Homebrewer
08-31-2005, 11:37 AM
I went to this site and they seem to have the parts for it:

http://www.usaweld.com/products/plasma_torch_parts/

While on the site I noticed that the Speedway, Auto-arc, Elektron, HF, and Chicago Electric all see to be the same thing or at least use the same torch parts. Then I went to a site that sells the Speedway plasma and found this quote:

"If you have purchased one of these 30 amp plasma cutters, we have a complete torch consumable inventory. To the best of our knowledge there are no repair parts or service for the power supply, it is a "throw-away" :( machine! They are imported from China and should be considered "no deposit -no return"!. Note if you have this unit and it becomes unserviceable-keep the torch. The Alpha 3 torch is one of the most popular plasma cutting torches in the world."

For what it's worth.

speedycheater
08-31-2005, 06:39 PM
I read that as well, and talked to the guy who wrote it.

It's not entirely true. These machines are somewhat repairable. Althought parts are not available (unless from HTP..?), the boards themselves can be repaired. I know a guy that repairs basically anything with a circuit board inside it, and says he would likely be able to repair my unit no problem if I ever had a problem with it. If you are good with electronics, and have the proper test equipment and know-how, repairing these should be no problem.

The Intimidator
09-01-2005, 09:01 AM
http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/showthread.php?t=342250 there is a good link pointing to some of the downfalls to the harbor freight plasma cutter if you dont mind fires and faulty switches it may be a good steal :rolleyes: i would set your heights higher than h/f check out a used cutter at pawn shops or at your welding supplier they may get one back from somewon who wants to upgrade i myself wouldnt spend that type of mony and not be sertan that it will last the next 5 years wearas a better namebrand miller thermal dynamics ect. you can almost be guranteed it will still be cutting for a long time after the h/f cutter is dead

Steel Butcher
09-01-2005, 10:36 AM
The HF site does not have a link to the owners manual, but you can get it here:
http://www.harborfreight.com/manuals/91000-91999/91814.pdf

precisionworks
09-01-2005, 10:40 AM
ROFLMAO after reading the Pirate 4X4 bbs!!!

Now I know what to buy for my Father-in-Law for Christmas.

I'll help him set it up in his garage next to that new John Deere tractor, full of gas.......... :D :D :D

Mike W
09-01-2005, 01:29 PM
Those 4 by 4 guys are funny. One guy said he used his for 20 minutes and the insides caught on fire. :rolleyes: