Plasma Cutting Tips Part 2
One of the signs of moisture in your line is (as we stated in our last blog) is consumable wear. But tell-tale signs of moisture are evident long before the consumable decides to unceremoniously blow out. Take a close look at your consumable. Is it dark and sooty looking, or is it shiny and clean, except the very tip where the arc discharges? Is the hole in the tip of cup (the outer consumable part) oblong or rapidly wearing, in just a few cuts? These are quick signs to look for to help you determine if too much water is getting to your consumables. Of course, I have seen cases bad enough that a slug of water would spit out the line in spurts and pops. Watching the moisture collecting on the inside of the water trap is another way to tell of course, especially if you have another filter in line before the air reaches the trap. The main thing that you’ll want to do if things are bad enough is to start with a fresh air line. Don’t forget that water is probably already coating the inside of the airline if it’s never had a dryer installed on it before. Fortunately air lines aren't all that expensive to replace or to have a dedicated air line just for use with your plasma. Daily draining of air compressor tanks is important as well. Excess moisture can also be generated in smaller compressors because of their long “on” times and rapid heat changes. There is less room and time for any moisture to settle out as well. If you have an oil type compressor, moisture isn’t the only enemy. Oil leaching over into the air line is as well. It often mixes with the water and gums up and corrodes torch parts, especially the “blow back” type with moving parts. Keep this in mind, and make sure that any oiler systems used for air tools is disconnected from the line. Oil-less compressors eliminate this issue, but create another problem due to their output limitations. Keep on reading for more welding tips.