Improving technique and consumable life - Plasma Cutting part1
Once you have figured out how to set the welder's amps and adjust the air pressure to achieve optimal cuts, developing the correct technique is the next hurdle. Over the course of many conversations with customers, I have found a common concern of customers is the expense and lifespan of consumables. The consumable life span is no better than the way it is treated, and used. One reason we have added an adjustable post flow time to our Everlast plasma cutters is to help increase life span of both the torch and the consumable. Post flow cooling is critical to maximizing consumable life. About 1-2 seconds of post flow per 10 amps is a good starting point. The longer the cut, the more the post flow cooling is required as well. One frequent mistake is that customers frequently like to see the torch flame and over-exercise the pilot arc function. To create a pilot arc, a lower amp current is sent out, and the arc is created and maintained through a grounded circuit within the torch itself. This means the arc is being produced and borne on the surface of the consumable! This alone counts for the bulk of consumable wear. When starting a cut, the pilot arc is only held on for a fraction of a second normally. This is fine. But starting the arc in the air, then putting the arc close to the metal to begin cutting, similar to an oxy acetylene setup is a no-no. Repeatedly giving the pilot arc quick short bursts by test firing it in the air is just as bad. When setting up the cut, position the metal so that once the pilot arc starts the cut can be initiated immediately. This will keep pilot arc time to a minimum. Cutting rusty/painted metal or expanded metal grating will inevitably increase the pilot arc duty, but it is something that cannot be avoided. In these cases, expect for consumable wear to increase.