Hobart Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter Reviews

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The Hobart Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter is a heavy-duty, powerful and reliable machine. It's perfect for cutting through steel or any other metal with its powerful 15-amp motor. But before you buy it, read the Hobart Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter Reviews below to get an unbiased opinion of what customers have said about this product and if it's right for you.

Here are some factors to consider while selecting a Hobart Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter:

Specification of the Hobart Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter

Specification of the Hobart Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter
Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter with Built-In Air Compressor 120V , Brown
Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter with Built-In Air Compressor 120V , Brown
Duty Cycle:
35% at 104° Fahrenheit
Cut Performance:
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)
Input Current:
Plasma Gas Flow/Pressure:
Preset with Built-in Compressor
Product Dimensions:
16.5 x 18.5 x 11.2 inches
Product Weight:
31 lbs
Specification of the Hobart Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter
Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter with Built-In Air Compressor 120V , Brown
Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter with Built-In Air Compressor 120V , Brown
Duty Cycle:
35% at 104° Fahrenheit
Cut Performance:
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)
Input Current:
Plasma Gas Flow/Pressure:
Preset with Built-in Compressor
Product Dimensions:
16.5 x 18.5 x 11.2 inches
Product Weight:
31 lbs

Features of the Hobart Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter

Hobart is a company that manufactures plasma cutters, meaning they are the experts when it comes to cutting metal. We have reviewed their top-of-the-line Hobart Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter which has an amazing 20 amp power input and cuts up to 1/4 inch steel with ease. This machine is perfect for professional shops or people looking for maximum performance from their cutter.

01. Cutting Capacity

This tool can cut through steel that is 1/8" thick and also slice through something as thick as 1/4". The 12ci has a tip orifice of 0.8mm, while the 125's is approximately wider at around 0.6 mm wide - which means that with this unit you'll get slightly larger cuts than if it had smaller tips like 125 (the kerf).

02. Built-in air compressor

This plasma cutter makes it easy to cut metal without an external air compressor. Models with the same feature may be heavier and lose the compact shape. But this one is different because of something called inverter technology. You will not need an external compressor on this machine, and it also means that you don't have to worry about if you can carry it or not because it's only 31 pounds!

No need for you to pay more money to buy an air compressor. The piston-driven air compressor is good because it doesn't need any cords or hoses or anything like that. You can use it on the job site without getting all tangled up.

03. Inverter design

This machine is only 26.7 pounds. It can be moved to your job easier because it is lightweight. This machine has some parts that are not needed, but some parts are really important like the PC board assembly. The PC board assembly makes it simple for the user to make the parts needed in order to run this machine. There are some things that are complicated in this machine, but most of them are simple.

04. Powered by 120 V, 20 A circuit plasma cutters

This device needs to be plugged into the power in your house. It does not need to be hooked up to a 240-volt electric line by a utility company. But this device will need 20 amps of power, so it cannot run on 15 amps of power.

The plasma cutter will cut thru metal with no problem. The cutting torch of this tool is the size of a pencil eraser, and it leaves a clean-cut edge on its way through the steel.

05. Fan-On-Demand™ Plasma Cutter

A fan only runs when needed, so you don't have to worry about dust and other things getting into your machine.  It's quiet, easy to get installed, and it really makes a difference.

It does this by automatically sensing the temperature of the work piece and then regulating the air supply to keep it cool.  So let's see how easy it is to install, and then we'll talk about how much money you can save with Fan-On-Demand™ Plasma Cutter.

06. Pilot arc start 

This is a device that helps you start your cutting arc. You can use this instead of touching the torch to the work. It will help you not get too tired from doing this all day. The pilot arc starts the main cutting arc and it will help keep your tips from getting burned out, so they last longer.

07. Diagnostic lights 

LED lights will tell you when the power is on, the temperature, and when the torch is ready. This way, you can get to work faster than waiting around for your system to do it for you.

If you are getting your plasma cutter repaired or are just checking it out before renting or leasing one, knowing what diagnostic lights mean will help you out. Diagnostic lights tell you if your machine is ready to use, when it needs repair, and when the power has been cut off to the unit.

If you are unsure about what any of these lights mean or how they operate, all you need to do is ask a representative from the company for clarification.

Even though it might seem easy, sometimes it helps to have someone clarify what exactly each light means. You can then feel more confident when using or fixing the machine.

08. Thermal overload protection 

This machine is good for your work. No matter what the place is like, it can do its job. It can work up to 35% duty cycle at 104°F. The number goes up as the temperature decreases.

However, you have to be very careful. If the machine overheats, then it will shut down. You can't use it again until it cools off itself. There are several things that may cause the heat and they include:

They lead to thermal overload protection in a plasma cutter which is a situation where your tool stops working; don’t let your plasma cutter get to that point.

09. Post flow cooling circuit

In Hobart 12CI Plasma Cutter, if you want to make your torch last longer, you can cool it with air after the trigger is released. Post-flow air helps to cool the torch. If you need a cut that takes a long time, use higher amperage and speed. This will make the torch get hotter and hotter, which means it will need more cooling from post-flow air.

What’s Included?

  • 12-ft. (3.7 m) XT12R hand-held torch
  • 12-ft. (3.7 m) work cable with clamp
  • 7-ft. (2.1 m) power cord with plug
  • Extra consumables (2 tips, standoff guide, electrode)

Pros and cons of the Hobart Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter 

When it comes to cutting metal, you’ll find that there are a lot of options out there. One option that has been growing in popularity is the airforce 12ci plasma cutter. But what are the pros and cons? Let’s take a closer look at this powerful tool.

using hobart plasma cutter


  • An inverter design that makes it smaller and lighter than other plasma cutters.
  • A machine that is affordable with an air compressor (piston-driven) to let you move around better at work.
  • The smallest heat-affected zone possible so your metal doesn't warp.
  • Pilot arc every time for a consistent start which reduces burnouts in the torch tip.
  • No manual efforts are required for gas pressure management (control) because it's automatic.
  • Thermal overload protection to make sure you can work all day long without stopping or damaging the machine or yourself.
  • Fan-On-Demand™ - The fan only works when it is necessary for cooling.
  • Post-flow cooling circuit, which makes the torch last longer and even cools the metal as its being cut.
  • Several LED lights to tell you what state your machine is in, like if the fan is on or off, temperature information, and power distribution.


  • It cannot be used with a CNC plasma cutting table.
  • It's not recommended to use a stand-alone air compressor with it.
  • It doesn't come with any consumables.
  • The torch is not as nice as the XT40R one, but it can still cut metal.
  • There is no water tank in the machine, and there is no place to put one. The torch would go out because of the water coming out of the tip all the time, and slag would build up on any size metal and had to be ground off instead of just tapped off like with better

Hobart Airforce 12ci troubleshooting

Hobart Airforce 12ci plasma cutter troubleshooting is one of the most popular topics on the internet today.

You can find a lot of information about Hobart Airforce 12ci plasma cutter troubleshooting online and offline, but it's hard to know which sources are reliable. That's why I wrote this article: to share my knowledge and experience with you so that your research goes as smoothly as possible. Let’s get started.





Is the Power light on?

If No, Check the Power switch for position S1. Examine PC1 (Control board) to see if there are any problems.


Is the Power light flashing?

If yes, Reset the Power switch S1 and verify the input line voltage while cutting. Check PC1 on the Control board.


Is Cup light flashing?

If yes, check your torch's consumables.


Is Temp light ON?

If yes, if the Unit has overheated or if the temperature is below −40° C, then check that the cooling fan is working.


Are Power and Temp lights flashing?

If yes, the compressor's current limit was exceeded. It was either over or under its operating range.


Is compressor operating? 

If No, Hold the trigger on the torch and listen for air coming out. Check if there is post-flow air coming from the torch. You need to check the control board on PC1. You should also check the filter and compressor. You can do this by looking at them and seeing if they are connected to PC1 or the torch.


Does arc go on and off while cutting?

If yes, If the travel speed of your torch is too slow, then you need to think of what you can do. You could either try to clean the torch or change it. Make sure that your work clamp is in a clean area and that it's not touching anything dirty. The stand-off distance between the tip of the torch and the work piece should be smaller than before.


Does arc go out while cutting?

If the answer is yes. If you want to cut metal, first, make sure that the clamp is attached to a clean piece of metal. The torch should also be close enough( within 1/16 in. or 1.6 mm) to where you are cutting that it can heat up the metal. But remember, if your torch needs some parts replaced, don't forget to do so!


Do sparks come out on top of the cut, or cut is not clean?

If yes, Torch travels too fast. Torch needs to be slower. Clean or replace the torch if it is not working well. Be sure that the clamp is attached to the workpiece. The machine will not cut metal that is thicker than what you asked it to do.

How accurate are plasma cutters?

Plasma cutters are expensive and can be hard to use.

We all know that plasma cutters are the best way to make clean cuts on metal, but they're not always accurate.

Plasma can be used for about 95% of applications out there. But it cannot cut watch parts. Plasma produces a smooth edge, but sometimes it has a 4 to 5-degree bevel on the edges. 

Accurate tools that can be used for a variety of applications. We hope you find this article informative and helpful in determining if plasma is the best tool to meet your industry’s needs.

Is the Hobart Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter worth buying or not worth buying, why or why not?

Yes! The Hobart Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter is worth buying because it has a variety of features that make for an excellent price. Some of the best things about this machine are how fast it can complete any job you threw at it, and how few downfalls there are.

The only drawback to this machine is the fact that it doesn't work well with continuous industrial use or for metal welding, but it works great in every other circumstance! The quality of the offers varies depending on what type of material you're working with, but there aren't many absences when using this machine.

I would recommend purchasing the Hobard Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter if you want to invest in something that will be able to withstand all sorts of uses, has great specs, and isn't too pricey.

It's a great machine for the price!


The Hobart Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter is a great option for anyone looking to get into the world of plasma cutting. This cutter offers an affordable price tag and has all of the features you would expect from a high-end model, such as variable speed control and dual voltage input. If you're in need of really thick steel or cast iron, then check out our review on different types of cutters that can do this type of job better than the Hobart. But if your needs are more basic and you just want something with good accuracy and versatility at a reasonable cost, it's hard to beat what they offer here!

Last Updated on October 12, 2021 by weldinghubs

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