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On Board Air-Carbon Arc cutting?


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  • On Board Air-Carbon Arc cutting?

    I was following a thread on Pirate 4x4 about a person who created an on-board plasma cutter. That seemed like a pretty cool idea, but I guess the end feeling is that it is a mythical creation as no one has ever posted plans or been able to replicate the stunt (Cold Fusion anyone?).

    Well, I was reading up on alternative methods of electric cutting and I ran across Air Carbon Arc cutting. It seems pretty easy to do, high amp welder across a graphite rod which melts the metal and a nozzle blowing 60-100 psi across the rod to blow away the molten metal.

    I've never seen such a creature before and I was wondering if anybody here had ever used an air carbon arc cutter.

    What are the resultant cuts like compared to gas or plasma?

    Is it feasible to implement an on-board welder and compressor to do the same? How much CFM are needed to blow away the molten metal?

    Would an arc cutter even be useful on the trail for anything that couldn't be done with a portable 12v drill, hacksaw and file?

    Thanks in advance.
    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
    2003 TJ Rubicon: 4.5" OME coils; RE SF2; NthDegree TT/oilpan skid/shock shifters; FXD rock rails; Anti-Rock; 5150'

  • #2
    I used one once. Lots of power (50 amp, 480volt circuit), and lots of air (1/2" ID air hose). What the actual amp draw, or air consumption was, I don't know exactly. All I did was a little bit of gouging with it, so I didn't actually cut all the way through the metal.

    Personally, I don't see a great need for major fabrication tools on the trail. I think a 12 volt sawsall, on board welder, and a set of hand tools would be all that would generally be needed...and even often have you needed any of it? Normal hand tools and a welder on the more remote &/or difficult trails (rubicon, dusy, hammers.....).
    olllllllo <--- If you can read that, roll me over!

    Price is soon forgotton, quality is not.



    • #3
      The cuts suck...but I guess not that much worse than a torch. We use air arc for some heavy gouging and cutting on really thick stuff at the cement plant. Back gouging welds on kiln shells mostly... 1 1/2" - 2" thick. I have never actually done it, just seen it done . It's really loud.

      I don't think you would have enough air volume to do it right, but then again I guess anything you would cut on a Jeep would be relatively thin and you could use some small rod. Like goodtimes said, you could probably do anything you could do with the air arc with regular tools. Might be cool to try it though. Not sure on the amperage requirement for smallish rod, but I think they use about 20 - 50% higher current than arc welding for equivalent thickness depending on cutting vs. gouging. I think it depends somewhat on exactly the type of rod also. They are copper coated I think. (At least the rod is copper colored, not positive on the metal). Oh, and it'll cut stainless also in case you need to cut some bling off a stranded jeep
      1986 CJ-7; 4.6L stroker, balanced & blueprinted; 5" lift, 35x1250 MTRs, Poison Spyder Full Width kit,
      My Jeep

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      • #4
        you can do some minor carbon arc cutting on the trail with high carbon rod , I will get you the numbers . it is not pretty and it not easy to control but if you need to blow a hole in some metal it will do it . I dont really see a need for it I would bring a sawzall as my first choice ok maybe my second because i always have the old school HACKSAW in the tool bag .
        JIM :{>


        • #5
          Originally posted by rick
          The cuts suck...but I guess not that much worse than a torch. We use air arc for some heavy gouging and cutting on really thick stuff at the cement plant.
          I see you work in a dirt factory too. Mitsubishi dirt burner here :smile:
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