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Tool Review: H&S Autoshot HSP40 Plasma Cutter

March 5, 2019
The reviewer found a quality cut in a small, space-saving package.

The H&S Autoshot HSP40 Plasma Cutter is designed to provide plenty of power in a small package. This unit offers 40 amps of output power and can genuine cut 1/2" steel for quick work on panels and pipes, the company says. The HSP40 features power factor correction (PFC) input that provides high efficiency operation with a CSA/UL rated 35 percent duty cycle. The compact ergonomic drag cutting torch with 13' power cable provides smooth, clean cuts. Users simply need to plug-in, connect to shop air and start cutting.

The Review:

Plasma cutting is not only about precision and skill, but also finding small ways to make the job more efficient without sacrificing quality.

Jared Schmidt, general manager of One Off Rod and Custom, is always looking for ways to get the edge on setup, speed and mobility in the shop, while still keeping to high standards. He was watching for these qualities while testing the H&S Autoshot HSP40 Plasma Cutter. One Off Rod and Custom in Middletown, Delaware specializes in building custom cars and hot rods.

Schmidt used the HSP40 for everything from fabrication to cutting sheet metal and heavier gauge steel.

“For the bulk of it, we use [the plasma cutter] to fabricate when we need to make any kind of crazy bracketry or anything. I’ll use it to make a quick cut, and it works very, very well,” says Schmidt.

The HSP40 comes with the basics needed to get going and a couple different sized tips. “Other than that you pull it right out of the box, you hook your lines up to the front and plug in. It’s that simple,” says Schmidt.

He was most impressed with the size and weight of the machine. “The plasma cutter I have weighs 70, 80 lbs. This whole unit weighs 4, 5 lbs,” he says. “It’s very mobile, very small. For me, it’s much nicer to have this little package in a small working space, especially when you can pick it up with one hand and walk around the shop carrying it.”

Schmidt also appreciated the cleanliness of the cut. “If you care for it correctly, a good plasma cutter should cut a nice, clean line,” he says. “This cuts very neat and clean.”

One Off Rod and Custom’s general manager has used many plasma cutters and understands the basics of the tool. He says setup of this machine is pretty straightforward, and the rest is self-learning: holding the machine to the materials, then letting it heat and self-adjust.

Users must first adjust the airflow. The HSP40 comes with a gauge which attaches over the end. The user puts the machine in ‘set mode,’ flips it on and dials in air pressure until the gauge is where it needs to be. “This takes [about] fives seconds,” says Schmidt. “Then you set it to “run” and pull the trigger.”

While the HSP40 includes a user manual, Schmidt says the machine was overall “very, very easy to use.”

“You plug it in, set the air, give it pressure, hit the button and you run. It does all the work for you.”

Schmidt says he’s one who enjoys some of the more “old-school tools,” noting a good amount of the bigger, heavier, and even more reliable equipment at his shop is close to 100 years old. Still, there’s much to be said for innovation, and in this case he readily agrees: “This little cutter weighs probably 4,5 pounds; it’s tiny, it works perfectly, it does everything it’s supposed to do so it’s hard to argue with the technology in it,” he says. “You just can’t beat the size of the package and the overall weight, and then on top of it it actually functions like it should.”

About the Author

Sara Scullin | Editor | PTEN and Professional Distributor

Sara Scullin is the editor of PTEN and Professional Distributor magazines. These publications are part of the Endeavor Business Media Vehicle Repair Group, which includes Fleet Maintenance, Professional Tool & Equipment News (PTEN), Professional Distributor magazines and VehicleServicePros.com.

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