Oxy Fuel Cutting vs Plasma Cutting

Oxy Fuel cutting and Plasma Cutting both have their pros and cons and both are extremely useful.

I thought I would use both for this video and talk a bit about the pros of each.

Here are some of the pluses for using oxyfuel equipment

  1. will cut really thick steel
  2. can be used to cut, weld, braze, silver braze, heat, solder
  3. very useful for preheating 
  4. no electricity needed
  5. relatively inexpensive

Some drawbacks to oxyfuel equipment:

  1. limited to cutting carbon steel
  2. not as good as plasma for thin sheet metal

Now lets list a few pros for using plasma cutters:

  1. plasma cutters will cut any metal. steel, stainless steel, nickel, aluminum, copper, brass, magnesium, titanium, cobalt...you get the picture.
  2. great for thin metal like auto body panels
  3. usually faster than oxyfuel cutting
  4. usually less distortion

And now some drawbacks of plasma cutters:

  1. thickness limitations. Even though plasma cutters will cut any type of metal, plasma cutters are limited on the thickness they will cut. One inch is about the limit for anything less than 3000 dollars.
  2. only used for cutting and gouging....not useful for preheating metal, or heating and bending, soldering or welding

Bottom line is that its great to have both pieces of equipment.

Even though I have a more than one Plasma Cutter, I use oxyfuel cutting routinely for cutting thick steel for a couple reasons.

  • i need the practice
  • for thick steel, it does about a good a job as plasma cutting.

Here is how I got started welding for myself.

I got my first oxyfuel equipment as a result of needing a new tailpipe on a car.

I already had the torch, hoses, and gauges so all I needed were the cylinders and a cart...and  I made the cart by cutting the metal with a torch and welded it with a buzz box someone gave me.

I had just taken a pay cut so Money was tight and the auto parts store quoted me about 400 bucks for a tailpipe assembly...all I needed was a muffler.

So I decided to buy oxygen and acetylene tanks instead and weld on a new muffler.

I saved about 100 dollars and from then on, I had oxyfuel equipment for other projects.  That is what got me started welding for myself.

Later came a Miller syncrowave 250, and all kinds of other stuff.

I dont regret getting that first piece of oxy fuel equipment at all. That is what got the ball rolling for my shop.

just click on the pic below to open the pdf plans for the downdraft table

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