Miller | Spectrum 625 X-TREME | Plasma cutter offers versatility and portability

22 ■ August 2009
Plasma cutter
offers versatility
and portability
HIS spring we had a chance to test
Miller’s new Spectrum 625 X-treme
portable plasma cutter on several
projects around my shop and on location, where we used it to clean up some
tornado damage.
If you have access to 208 to 230 VAC
and 6 or more cubic feet of compressed
air per minute, the Spectrum 625 X-treme
provides you with 40 amps of ready-tocut, out-of-the-box performance in a
package that’s not much bigger than the
lunch box my dad used to carry to work
every day.
The little fireball comes with a tough
carrying case, a box of consumables
(tips, drag shields and replacement orifices), and a ¹⁄₄-inch NPT air connector.
Plug in the power, snap on the air hose
and turn it on. The only other control
you will be concerned with is the dial
rheostat on the front of the machine to
control amperage — up to 40 amps. LED
pilot lights tell you when the power is
on, if you have enough air pressure and
if the cutting head (cup) on the gun is
adjusted properly. That’s all there is to
As with all plasma cutters, the
Spectrum 625 needs sufficient air to
perform its best on materials up to ⁵⁄₈inch thick at speeds up to 12 inches
per minute, but even with my slightly
smaller shop compressor, it cuts lighter
stock about as fast as you can draw the
gun across the metal.
Beware of humidity
Miller product specialists also recommend using an air source with a dryer
since humidity can play havoc with the
physics of the plasma arc. Inside, the
Spectrum has a filter for compressed
air, but additional drying from the air
source would be ideal.
We ran the machine on a portable
generator and on shop 220 VAC with
equal results. Because I was limited on
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SMALL SPECTRUM: A very portable Spectrum 625 X-treme plasma cutter from
Miller provides 40 amps of cutting power anywhere you can find 220 VAC and
compressed air. The new Miller Digital Elite auto-darkening helmet (at left) was
subjected to testing by “Test Drive” columnist Dan Crummett and also performed well.
air capacity, when I took the machine to
a friend’s home to help demolish what
was left of his steel rod-framed greenhouses after a very selective tornado
thrashed his place this spring, I found
it difficult to keep the arc lit on the machine as I tried cutting half-inch solid
steel bar, but that was my fault.
We did use the machine with my 5.7SCFM compressor at 100 psi on regular
2.5-inch pipe structures, and it made
short work of them.
Compact charm
The beauty of the Spectrum is its compact size. With an attached shoulder
strap, you can take the cutter anywhere
you can drag the power cord and air
During the Spectrum’s stay at my
place, I built a wheeled boat rack to
store and move a pair of race boats I
play with during the summer. Its plasma
arc worked well on square steel tubing I
was cutting to fit, although turning the
tubing to make individual cuts per side
took more time than my abrasive chop
However, the fine cut the welder
made was appreciated during construction fit up.
We also played with the machine
on some sheet metal, and we figured
it wouldn’t take long to be cutting out
patterns and those cheesy “leaning
cowboys” you see everywhere! In short,
this plasma cutter could be used as an
artist’s tool as well as a fabrication tool.
It’s very versatile.
We tried out the cutter in another
project that involved gouging and cutting a hole in the floor of a retired school
bus to install an RV toilet. The Spectrum
did its job flawlessly, and infinitely faster
and cleaner than a Sawzall or repeated
drill holes.
If you haven’t used a plasma cutter,
two of the machine’s biggest assets
are that it will cut any metal, not just
ferrous material like an oxyacetylene
torch, and it cuts finely, with very little
heat transfer to the surrounding sev-
one-knob control on the front of the
Spectrum 625 X-treme adjusts cutting
power, while internal circuitry keeps the
plasma arc active and well-adjusted —
even on challenges like expanded metal
or ragged stock.
ered metal. The fact that it’s fast isn’t a
bad thing either! The Spectrum 625 Xtreme is rated to cut ¹⁄₄-inch material at
60 inches per minute.
The Spectrum weighs 21 pounds
with a 12-foot torch and 23 pounds if it’s
equipped with a 20-foot torch. A 12-foot
power cord and 12-foot grounding work
clamp also are standard equipment.
Miller lists the base model Spectrum
625 X-treme at $1,879.
Crummett is an executive editor for
Farm Progress.
■ For more information, visit www.
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