Capable tool for thin steel
April 13, 2018
Like any tool, this one has a learning curve and it is good for specific tasks.
On 16 gauge hot rolled steel, the 12ci cuts slower than a 4.5" angle grinder with a cutoff disk. On 1/8" steel, it cuts even slower. The biggest problem is the need to move the torch at a *very* slow speed to get a consistent cut without skipping parts and having to go back and re-cut areas that were missed due to having moved the torch too fast over them.
The benefit of the 12ci over a cutoff disk is the ability to trace templates and cut curves. While these actions still require a slow torch travel speed, you can make cuts that would be difficult or impossible with a cutoff disk.
All of the cuts I've made with the 12ci leave slag that has to be chipped or ground off the underside of the steel.
The 12ci performs well on a long duty cycle: I made several continuous 3 or 4 foot cuts in 16 gauge steel and the thing did not complain or falter. You do have to wait for the thing to complete its cool down cycle after making a cut before you can start cutting again.
If you need a budget priced plasma cutter, this unit has some benefits but it's best for specific tasks and not a general, all-around cutting tool.
Torch cable is sufficient long
Light enough to carry around the shop if needed
The safety trigger on the torch is a great idea but takes some getting used to.
ConsOperator must move torch at a very slow travel speed
Only really practical with 16 gauge steel or thinner
Slag remains on steel after cutting