Powermax30 XP plasma cutter setup

Posted on 03/04/2016 in Setup and support, Plasma cutting

This video is designed to provide you with basic information on the Powermax30 XP plasma cutter setup and operation, as well as tips to optimize cut quality and consumable life. The Powermax30 XP is easy to set up and operate, but please be sure to follow all safety instructions mentioned in the operator manual, or illustrated on the labels found on the system. It is extremely important that operators fully understand and follow preventative methods to guard against electrical shock and to protect skin, ears, lungs, and eyes.

Powermax30 XP has a 2 in 1 design for high-power cutting of thick metal using the standard plasma consumables, and for detailed thin metal cutting - using the FineCut consumables.

Setting up the Powermax30 XP for cutting in 6 easy steps

  1. Verify the installation of the torch consumables, or change them according to your incoming power. The system is shipped with the standard consumables installed on the torch. These consumables are designed for a broad range of cutting applications. However, operation on circuits less than 190 volts with the standard consumables is not recommended due to possible circuit overload and breaker activation. These consumables are identifiable by their part numbers and the etched rings around the parts.

    To verify that the consumables are installed correctly or to insert the FineCut parts:
    • Unscrew the retaining cap to remove all the consumable parts.
    • Replace the parts by first screwing the standard shield or FineCut deflector on to the retaining cap.
    • Insert the standard nozzle or fine cut nozzle.
    • Insert the swirl ring.
    • Insert the electrode.
    • Screw the retaining cap on until finger tight. DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN as the consumables may become damaged and interfere with proper operation.

  2. Plug the power cord into the proper receptacle. Depending on your model this may require attaching a plug adapter. On some models, a plug may not be attached to the power cord. If the installation of a plug is required, or the system is to be hardwired to a power source, the work must be done by a licensed electrician. For input voltage requirements, refer to the data plate on the bottom of the system or the operator manual.

  3. Adjust the amperage knob to the appropriate output based on the incoming power and breaker size.

  4. Pull back the quick release collar on the gas hose and connect it to the quick disconnect fitting. If the fitting does not match the hose collar, then install the proper fitting. The gas can be bottle nitrogen, bottled air, or compressed air. Air should be filtered to remove all dirt, water, and oil because contaminants can damage the power supply, torch, and consumable parts. The recommended Inlet pressure is 5.5 to 6.9 bar or 80 to 100 PSI.

  5. Attached the work clamp securely to the workpiece. Rust, paint, or coatings must be removed to ensure that the clamp has a good electrical contact. The work clamp should never be attached to the portion of the metal that will fall away.

  6. Power on the system. The power lamp on the front of the system will illuminate. We are now ready to begin cutting!

Plasma cutting thin metal

If cutting thin metal, the amperage may be lowered for improved consumable life, better cut quality, and for less smoke.

Performing an edge start

  1. To perform an edge start, hold the torch vertically just off the edge of the workpiece.

  2. Flip the safety trigger forward and press the red torch trigger.

  3. When the pilot arc transfers to the work piece and begins the cut, pause at the edge until the arc is completely through. Then proceed with the cut. Avoid unnecessary starts because they reduce nozzle and electrode life. The standard shield and FineCut nozzle may be dragged on the workpiece for ease of cutting.

When nearing the end of a cut on thick metal, angle the torch into the direction of the cut, allowing the arc to come out first. This will help ensure a complete cut.

Maintaining proper travel speed is key to successful plasma cutting. Watch the arc beneath the plate. Sparks should lag 15 to 30 degrees behind the cut.

  • If the sparks are vertical then the speed is too slow.

  • If the sparks are perpendicular or spraying up from the workpiece, then the speed is too fast or the system does not have sufficient power.

  • Lag lines on the finished cutting edge should also be about 15 to 30 degrees.

Plasma cutting guides & templates

Plasma cutting guides, straight edges, or templates can be used to guide the torch. However, the distance from the shield center to the edge must be factored in when creating a template or placing straight edge.

Bevel cutting

If beveling using an angle iron, plasma cutting guide, or free hand, remember that the material thickness increases proportionally with the bevel angle.


Depending on the thickness of the metal being pierced, there are two methods of piercing:

  1. To pierce thin metal, hold the torch on the metal and press the trigger to transfer the arc.

  2. If piercing thick metal, hold the torch at an angle so that the nozzle is within 1/16 inch from the workpiece. Press the trigger to transfer the arc, then slowly rotate to an upright position.


In both methods, when sparks are exiting from the bottom of the workpiece, the metal has been pierced and cutting can begin. To prolong the life of consumables, it's recommended that the second method be used to minimize damage caused by molten metal blowback.


You can use the Powermax30 XP plasma cutter with the standard consumables for light gouging applications such as the removal of spot welds and tack welds.

  1. To gouge, hold the torch at approximately a 45 degree angle from the workpiece, with a small gap between the torch tip and the workpiece.

  2. Pull the trigger to transfer the arc.

  3. Maintain this angle and slowly move the torch along the workpiece to remove unwanted metal or weld.
    • If a shallower gouge is desired, decrease the angle of the torch.
    • For a deeper gouge increase the angle of the torch or make additional passes.
    • If you want to move the torch at a slower speed for greater control, then lower the amperage.

Cut quality and consumable life

The cut quality and consumable life are often very important to operators. To ensure that the torch consumables last as long as they are designed to last, and perform to Hypertherm specifications, follow the instructions in this video, refer to the operator manual or setup card for more information, and follow proper system maintenance procedures.

A number of factors determine how long consumables last

  • Air quality
  • Piercing technique
  • Length of cut or gouge
  • Operator skill
  • Material thickness and type

Reduced system performance and cut quality are often caused by poor air quality. So be sure to maintain a clean, dry, and oil-free air supply.


Hypertherm offers a variety of accessories designed to enable you to get more out of your Powermax plasma cutter and to protect your investment. This includes air filters, plasma cutting guides, leather torch sheathing, system dust covers, face shield, gloves, consumable kits, and more.

For more information about these and other Hypertherm products, please contact an authorized distributor or visit our website at https://www.hypertherm.com/.

On our site there are how to videos that were produced to help you get the most use out of your plasma cutter in a variety of applications. Please register your system online by clicking here.

Thank you from all of us at Hypertherm for purchasing and using out Powermax30 XP plasma cutter!





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