Among plasma cutting fans, the Powermax45 has been a favorite. Although somewhat dated now, the original 45 built a reputation as one of the most reliable plasma cutters ever made. Recognizing this, Hypertherm has opted to improve upon the Powermax45 rather than reinvent what’s already working. The Powermax45 XP aims to update the Powermax45 while avoid “fixing what ain’t broke”. But does this plasma cutter live up to its name or disgrace its legacy?
Plug and Play
Don’t you just love unboxing new equipment to realize you’ll need a handful of consumables and accessories to actually make it run? One of the first things most welders remark when opening up the Powermax45 XP is that everything you’ll need comes in the box (except an air compressor). The torch, plug and a handful of consumables are all included. All the connections are pretty standard and don’t require any bizarre special pieces or Teflon tape to make things fit.
A major difference between the 45 and the 45 XP is Hypertherm’s focus on user experience. On the 45, the control panel was spread illogically over the machine. For instance, the power button was on the back, making it a hassle to get to. With the 45 XP, everything is much easier to access.
Attaching and detaching your torch has also been simplified. All you have to do is press the big red button. Sounds too simple? We thought the same thing. Something that easy would worry us with cheaper brands. A one button release could wear out quickly or become loose. But Hypertherm has gained our trust by doing things like extensive durability testing on all their products. The Powermax45 XP is no exception.
Automation and Control
Automated machines are a tricky concept in welding. Some welders don’t mind giving more control to their machines while others like having the ability to adjust absolutely everything. The Powermax45 XP does a good job of finding the middle ground. Hypertherm’s Smart Sense technology automatically alters your air pressure to the best possible settings. It’s a nice feature and adjusting air pressure isn’t something most welders want or need control over. And the best part is, it actually works.
For the rest of the settings, Hypertherm gives you quite a bit of control. You can adjust your amps to anywhere from 10A to 45A with a single nob. The machine also has 2 cutting modes (cutting and gouging) which you can switch between with the press of a button.
The Powermax45 XP also has a number of warning lights and sensors to help you troubleshoot issues. It can get a little annoying if you keep trying to turn your machine on before you’ve connected your air or torch but it saves a lot of hassle when getting to the root of real issues.
How Well Does It Cut?
Of course all these features and user-experience improvements don’t mean a thing if the Powermax45 XP can’t cut. When put to the test, the 45 XP is one of the most capable 5/8" (16 mm) machines available. Its ability to produce clean, precise cuts on a variety of different materials and thicknesses is quite impressive.
Cutting beyond 5/8” thickness produces less clean results (as would be expected). However, even up to an inch thick, the 45 XP did a solid job.
Like all plasma cutters, the 45 XP can tear through most contaminates like rust or paint without any issues. The 45 XP’s torch nozzle can also be placed directly onto your workpiece rather than having to be held slightly above as some plasma cutters require.
It’s nice to see there’s no major price increase between the PowerMax 45 and the 45 XP. With any Hypertherm machine, you’re dealing with one of the best (if not the best) plasma cutting company in the business. The Hypertherm45 XP currently runs for $2,015.00 without CPC hook-ups or $2,155.00 for the model with a CPC port to work with a CNC machine. While the price is well worth the cost of what you’re getting, if you’re looking for a less expensive option, check out Lincoln’s Tomahawk line here.
See the PowerMax 45 XP for yourself at the best price available by clicking the button below.