Hobart airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter Review
Versatile And Truly Portable Plasma Cutter
Brand Name - Hobart
Designed For - Smaller applications work / Auto body shop / Hobbyist / Light Industrial work
If you’re searching for a cutting tool that is lightweight, compact and portable, Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter is the best option for you. Hobart Airforce 12ci, the newer version of the 250ci from Hobart, is a much more reliable choice for light cutting work. This is a comparatively less expensive, yet most convenient plasma cutter. The device uses the combination of compressed air and electrical arc that provides a very efficient and quicker cutting results than Oxy-fuel.
Its surprising power enables the cutter to cut aluminium, steel or any kind of conductive metals with ease. The tool is rated for cutting 1/8- inch steel or sever 1/4 –inch mild steel. Hobart airforce offers more clean cutting results. XT12R plasma torch, Post-Flow Air Cooling System, Fan On Demand Technology, Diagnostic LED Light- all these features make the tool one of the top notch plasma cutting machine at an affordable price.
In our following details review, you’ll find all the features, benefits as well as cons of this plasma cutter, that will help you to pick the tool confidently from your list.
Table of Contents
The Great Features That Make Hobart Airforce 12ci Best
Versatile Cutting Tools
- Easily Cut A Variety Of Metals Of Different Thicknesses - Airforce 12ci Is a versatile tool that is able to cut up a variety of materials. Its simple cutting technology slices through a brass, copper, stainless steel, aluminium or galvanized. It is very efficient in cutting sever a mild steel of 1/4 inch and cut mild steel of 1/8 or sheet metal.
- Powerful Performance - Comparing with the weight of other plasma cutters of its class, this tool Is very lightweight (half of standard plasma cutter), yet provides exceptional and powerful cutting performance.
Safety And Durability
- Post-Flow Air Cooling System - Integrated with the post-flow air cooling system, the torch and tip of the machine cools quickly even after they’re done the cutting. This special cooling feature extends the lifespan of the torch and electrode and ultimately enhances the durability of the tool.
- Built-in Troubleshooting Indicators - Hobart 12ci features diagnostic LED light alerts that help you to check the status, torch readiness, temperature and troubleshoot the power. The light thus aids to reduces the unnecessary downtime and allows you to quickly assess the machine status at a glance. You don’t need to play guessing games with your cutter.
- Fan On Demand Technology - In environments with heavy dust, Hobart 12ci plasma cutter featuring fan-on-demand technology provides better reliability. The cooling fan runs only when needed, reducing the amount of dust/debris entering into the unit.
- Automatic Shut-Off Mechanism - The device is rated for up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit and features with special thermal protection. The thermal overload protection helps the cutter to cope with rugged work environments and shuts the system automatically. If the airflow is blocked or the duty cycle is exceeded, the tool becomes overheated. At this situation, the system automatically slows down its duty cycle to prevent excessive build up and damage to the internal parts. Finally, it automatically shut off to protect itself.
- Runs on Standard Household Current - Hobart 12ci works well using standard household current. Just plug in 120V (standard household power) and 20 amp circuit at home, in the garage or workshop and the device is ready to cut. You don’t need 240V hookup by the utility company .
- Added Portability- Piston-Driven Air Compressor - The tool features a piston-driven built-in air compressor. This internal compressor makes the device highly portable and transportable. You don’t need to buy any additional air compressor. It will not only save you extra cost but also facilitate you to use the tool anywhere in the working spot.
- Pilot Arc Starts Operation - Before starting the "real" arc, the tool creates an internal mini arc inside the nozzle. Due to this pilot arc mechanism, the tip doesn’t need to touch the surface of the metal. Thus, it saves the tips to burnout. This mechanism also helps the cutter an easier start on corroded, rough, greasy or painted surfaces.
- XT12R Plasma Torch - Hobart 12ci features XT12R Plasma Torch that offers perfect grip to the user. The finger contours of the XT12R torch is so comfortable to grip that it prevents any possibilities of fatigue during working with it.
Compact & Portable Design
The built-in inverter makes the plasma cutter lightweight and compact in size. Thus, this compact design offers additional portability. Only 31 lbs weight and a carrying handle allow the user to move the device around a location or from site to site. This is the most convenient cutter if you need to move in different spots in your working area. The tool comes with a working cable, a cable management strap and torch in place that makes its transportation easier.
16.5 x 18.5 x 11.2 inches
35% at 104° Fahrenheit
1/8 inch (3.2 mm) at 10 inches per minute (mild steel)
1/4 inch (6.4 mm) at 3 inches per minute (mild steel)
Plasma Gas Flow/Pressure
Preset with Built-in Compressor
- XT12R plasma torch (1) --------------- 12ft. long torch lead
- 6ft. power cord (1) ----------------------- 115V plug
- Work clamp (1) --------------------------- 12ft. long cable
- Tips (2)
- Electrode (1)
- Built-in air compressor
- Light weight
- Easy to use
- Highly portable
- Faster cutting mechanism than oxy fuel
- No gas pressure settings for flame tuning needed
- Smaller heat-affected zone for less warping
- More accurate cut
- Less slag to clean up
- Operates only on 120V
- Not suitable for cutting thicker metals
- XT12R torch isn't as nice as the XT40R
Why Best Of The Best
Look the following positives and you’ll realize it is unquestionably a best plasma cutter -
- Piston-driven built-in air compressor provides surprising cutting power
- More convenient to use, especially on the go
- Air pressure is preset. So you don’t need to make any adjustment yourself.
- More reliable than any cheaper options for regular and long term use
- Its special cooling features on the torch and electrodes quickly cool down the device after you’re done with a cut.
- Pilot arc starts operation help easier starts on rusty or greasy surfaces
Q. Do I need to buy external compressor?
A. Not at all. The machine comes with built-in compressor.
Q. Do I need to buy extra consumables?
A. Yes. As the tool doesn’t comes with extra consumables, you need to buy.
Q. Do I need to set the pressure?
A. No, As the pressure is preset, you don’t need to set it before start cutting.
We’ve received a lot of positive comments from the reviewers. One evident comment from all the reviews is its high portability. The satisfied users mentioned that the tool works like a charm on galvanized, stainless and lighter steel. The most impressive feature of this machine to the users is that it doesn’t compromise power or cutting ability even at a lower voltage. The pleased customers have expressed their opinion that they get the performances what they wanted from it.
If you're looking for the advantages such as ease-of-operate, convenient usage, faster and perfect cutting results, portability, and flexibility, pick no further than the Hobart 12ci Plasma Cutter. It performed extremely well in cutting as per their specifications. Undoubtedly, this is one of the best cutting tools on the market for small shops or home DIY enthusiasts looking for a superior, portable tool.
Before you knock to amazon, one point needs to be informed that somehow, amazon has listed the name as Hobart Airforce 12i. If you look carefully at the product code, you will notice that the 12ci and 12i both bears the identical code. There is no model name 12i in the official Hobart website. So, don’t be confused with the slightly different names. Whether it be Hobart Airforce 12i or Hobart Airforce 12ci, It bears the same product code and that is 500564.