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LC-518D Consumables--How long do they Last?

08-05-2009, 08:30 AM

Yes, I know I am getting the cart in front of the horse, here....

I have done my homework, and have decided on a LC-518D unit, but have a question about consumables... (and YES! I did a "Search" and did NOT find the answer.. thus, I pose the question to you all).

Is there a general "Rule of Thumb" about consumables usage for Plasma Cutting, and for TIG welding??

My project is doing Auto Body Panels (18G) on a Jeep sized vehicle, replacing, roughly, 10% of the vehicle chassis metal.

Is there a "You get X inches of cut or weld per consumable" estimate for this gauge metal??

Does using the MIG "Anti Splatter" sprays also apply to Plasma/TIG for consumables wear retardation?

The reason I ask is: Do I need to order "extras" PRIOR to starting my practice?

Thanks in advance.

08-05-2009, 09:30 AM
Plasma consumables have many variables. Moisture in the line can cause premature failure but mostly the consumable usage is determined by the operator. How close you hold the torch, whether or not you drag the tip, how thick a metal you are trying to pierce if you are doing that.
Since there is a learning curve, an extra consumables kit might be a good idea. Once you get the hang of things your consumable usage will go down.
As for TIG, the electrodes last a pretty long time. If you can keep from dunking the electrode in the metal it will last longer. Every time you touch you should probably regrind since it can contaminate the tip and that will cause a poor weld. Still, a pack of electrodes will keep you going for quite a while.

08-05-2009, 09:36 AM

Thanks for the input..

Would you say, though, that Plasma Cutting 18G steel would be a "Very Low Wear" situation?

Speaking of the LC-518D Plasma Cutter component, I am still a bit unclear, do you HAVE TO "touch" the electrode in order to initiate the Arc?

Any comment on the Anti-Splatter Spray?


08-05-2009, 09:44 AM
You should get good life out of thinner cuts. 18G probably falls into that category. Is your unit the pilot arc torch, if so contact is not required. I think they come with a wire standoff for the tip to maintain the correct distance from the metal which should further extend the life of the consumables, a clean starting area isn't quite as critical. If it is not pilot arc you will need contact to start. Having a clean starting area will help, no rust or paint.
I don't think the anti splatter spray will help with TIG and may even hinder the welding process (not sure though). TIG normally doesn't splatter unless your weld area is not clean or is contaminated with something.

08-05-2009, 11:25 AM
I like having a few tungstens of the same size all sharpened and ready to go. When I was starting I only had one of each size so if I contaminated the tungsten I had to stop every thing. Grind the tungsten set-up for welding again. It doesn't sound like much but it got to be a pain. Now if I screw up one tungsten I can pop in a new one and keep welding. When I screw up my whole collection I grind them all and start over. Now I don't mess up the tungsten very often but when I was learning it was reduculus. :) As far as plasma consumables, when they wear out you don't get quite as clean of a cut. So how long they last depends on how nice of a cut you want. I have one tip which I damaged and it still works and cuts but not as well as a new one. I haven't done much plasma cutting so I haven't gotten a set of plasma consuables to the point were they don't work at all.