We Love Cutting Metal With The Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 42

Portable plasma cutter works right out of the box with author's "wimpy" air compressor.

Published on: Jul 26, 2012

Over the years we've tested several plasma cutters, from a suitcase-size unit that we didn't have enough air to support, to smaller machines that worked but were a lot of trouble.

The Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 42, however, is more what we've been looking for truly portable metal cutting and the ability to operate without sophisticated compressors and air dryers.

The 26-pound Cutmaster 42 comes ready to plug in -- to 120 VAC or 208/240 VAC -- and features a 20 amp output for 120 VAC 15-amp circuits; 27 amps on 120VAC 20-amp breakers, and 47 amps on 208/240 VAC. The output is plenty for work up to 3/8ths materials and with care you can cut half-inch stock.

At 26 pounds and not much bigger than a lunch box, the Cutmaster 42 from Thermal Dynamics offers a portable and easy-to-use way to quickly cut steel, stainless steel, aluminum and other metals.
At 26 pounds and not much bigger than a lunch box, the Cutmaster 42 from Thermal Dynamics offers a portable and easy-to-use way to quickly cut steel, stainless steel, aluminum and other metals.

Within 10 minutes of unboxing the Cutmaster 42, I had hooked up my portable compressor and plugged the cutter into a 220 VAC circuit in my garage. Moments later I had zipped the top off a bulk Freon bottle, and cut a three-inch hole in the side of it -- freehand -- for a small cooker project I'm working on. The cut was like that of a hacksaw, except for where I didn't steady my hand moving around the top of the bottle. (One learns quickly!)

Clean cuts vs. slaggy cuts demonstrate the ability of the Cutmaster 42 to outperform a gas cutting torch on materials up to 3/8ths inch in speed and cut quality.
Clean cuts vs. slaggy cuts demonstrate the ability of the Cutmaster 42 to outperform a gas cutting torch on materials up to 3/8ths inch in speed and cut quality.

Then, Beef Producer Editor Alan Newport and I teamed up in his shop to do some videos of the machine and give Alan his first experience with a plasma cutter. Running 220 VAC we sliced up scraps, compared cuts between the plasma machine and an oxy-acetylene cutting torch, and Alan used a windvane for a pattern to cut out some letters just for grins. (See video)