Plasma cutting - How to get a better cut (Part 1)

If you have ever plasma cut very long, you'll notice a few "odd" quirks with almost any machine. First, you will notice that the cut will reflect nearly every bobble or twitch of your hand, with a jagged edge as a result. Granted plasma cutting makes an extremely smooth cut with a CNC, the plasma cut is only as good as the hand that holds the torch.

To stop the “shakes”, consider using a cutting guide, where you can draw the torch along a solid cutting guide. Make sure it is smooth, and compatible with the torch you are using. Usually a small piece of flat bar is all that is needed. Some people use a piece of wood trim. What is important is that it is true and straight. For circles, a circle cutter can be fabricated or bought from online or from your local welding supply store. For varied curved cuts, rough templates can often be made from a “free hand” run, then ground or machined smooth to offer a smooth guide surface for the torch side to run on. Also, blood sugar, and fatigue play an often overlooked role in how well you can cut. Believe it or not, late afternoon cuts between lunch and supper can yield the worst cuts. Try eating a small snack or meal whenever it’s been more than a couple hours after meal time. This will help increase hand/eye coordination, and steady the nerves as well.