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Cutting cast iron pipe with a plasma cutter

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  • Cutting cast iron pipe with a plasma cutter

    I got my hypertherm 1650 G3 the other day and decided to take it for a spin. Once I had it all set up (I am using a trailer generator for the 3 phase) The nearest piece of scrap near me was some 4" used cast iron from a sewer replacement we just finished. I know cast iron has a high carbon content and can be hard to weld but figured my g3 had the extra power to cut it. Well it did not cut it, it just got hot and sparked. I tried 50 amps and 80 but it made no difference. Now this was rusty ugly been buried in the ground for 50 years pipe. I reached over grabbed a piece of 1/2" plate steel and it buzzed right through it. My question is there a special procedure or tip that does make cutting cast pipe a possibility? I tried it on 2 different pipes and cut plate steel in between with no machine changes so I know the machine was right. Maybe a bad ground since the pipe was so ugly and pitted and rusty?
    Seattle Drain Service

  • #2
    Re: Cutting cast iron pipe with a plasma cutter

    I would think that the pipe still had some tar coating that might have prevented a good continuous ground. Try on an engine block or head that's also cast iron. I've never tried cast iron.

    Rick.
    phoebe it is

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    • #3
      Re: Cutting cast iron pipe with a plasma cutter

      The best answer I got on a welding forum was that cast iron pipe does cut (a little slower) if you can obtain a good ground. I did not grind or prep in anyway just grabbed it and tried to cut it. Just for my own knowledge I will clean some up and give it another shot just to find out.
      Seattle Drain Service

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      • #4
        Re: Cutting cast iron pipe with a plasma cutter

        I have an older powermax 600 . The most common problem is a bad ground ! I always clean up the ground spot with My grinder first . sometimes I'll clamp a vice grip
        on My plasma or welding machines ground clamp to be rock solid. My guess the tar insulated Your ground clamp.
        I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

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