Plasma Cutters, Basic Tips For Plasma Cutting

Basic tips for using plasma cutters

In the 1980's Plasma cutting emerged as a very effective way to cut sheet metal and plate. The process of plasma cutting consistes of a gas (air, oxygen, indert and others) blown at a high rate of speed out of the torch nozzle, an electrical arc turns some of that gas into plasma. The plasma is not hot enought to melt the metal being cut, often providing a much cleaner cut than typical method of oxyacetylene cutting.

Plasma cutters are best used for metals such as steel, stainless steel, nickel, aluminum, copper, brass, magnesium, titanium, cobalt...and more. Some advantages over oxy fuel is with plasma there is no preheating needed, you have better control with a plasma torch for precise cutting and the heat distortion to the metal is less. Handheld plasma cutters typically perform best when cutting metals up to 1 in thick.

Tips When Using Your Plasma Cutter

  1. Secure the metal being cut, always point the torch down.
  2. Use another peice of metal when making precise cuts to drag your torch along for straight edges
  3. Hold your torch roughly 1/8 in from the metal, press the trigger
  4. After a couple seconds of pre airflow, the arc will start
  5. Slowly drag your torch through the metal, speed will depend on thickness
  6. Watch for sparks through the bottom of the metal to ensure you're cutting through it
  7. Drag the torch through the entire cut to seperate the metal

Plasma cutting is a very effective way to cut thinner metals. Make sure to adjust the settings on your plasma cutter and practice on test metal before working on your project to ensure your plasma cutter is operating properly.

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