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air dryer for plasma

05-05-2009, 04:01 PM
I understand that for the plasma cutter to work properly there has to be a DRY air supply. Is there a particular type of dryer that is recommended? and how much should I need to spend on one?

05-05-2009, 04:59 PM
I just use the water filter that was sent with the Longevity unit. Works fine for me. You could add another one at the compressor to dry the air even more but I really haven't had a problem with water just using the provided regulator/water filter.
By the way, welcome to the forum.

05-05-2009, 05:13 PM
Initially I wouldn't spend any money on an air dryer which you would normally want if you were doing high quality paint work on vehicles or fine furniture. If you have a compressor already, make sure you have a simple water trap on the air line with a visible bowl you can empty.

Next the air regulator that comes with longevity units also has a water trap, or if you are buying the regulator make sure it has a water separator bowl. The Longevity one has an auto dump which is nice but mine rarely has any water since it's caught by the first trap mentioned above.

Good maintainence would be to drain your compressor's main tank weekly; I probably do mine monthly and still have no problems. Mine is a 5hp two stage so it can generate some water and even then none really gets all the way to the plasma, enough at least to cause a problem.

You can always add a high capacity dryer if you end up doing fine work of some sort but don't think it's necessary beyond described above. Due to the volume of air required by a plasma, you would need a very high capacity unit which would be costly.

05-05-2009, 07:50 PM
thanks for your help. I went to some local welding stores the other day to talk to someone in person to get what info I could. I visited 3 stores and every one of them carried the same brand Hypertherm, even though the prices on the same model varied from $1492 to $1668, quite a difference.
Why I asked the question was some of the salesmen stressed how important it was to have a clean, dry air supply. Of course they had them for sale too at over $100.

05-05-2009, 11:05 PM
I was having trouble with my air tools freezing up even with ywo water traps. I made a dyrer from small/small freezer. just put in a 25' coil of copper tubing sticking out of either end sodered fittings on it. and connected my air lines. It worked great!!!-free freezer and $30 buck for the coopper lines.

05-05-2009, 11:17 PM
I have a dryer on my compressor's output, and the dryer supplyed with the 160P and have had no problems. The dryer on the compressor collects all the water, the one by the plasma cutter has never drained.

05-06-2009, 07:29 AM
I read a post about air supplies that if your "run" is short a dryer at the compressor is fine, but if your shop is plumbed for air, you should have a dryer at the connection where the air leaves the system to the equipment.

I usually add a drop or two of airtool oil to my air tools before I connect. . .no problem with the air tools freezing up.