Tips For Getting Better Plasma Cutting Quality

Tips For Getting Better Plasma Cutting Quality

As is known to many, there are a variety of ways to weld and when you need high heat, plasma cutting is obviously the right choice. It is true that the plasma arc process has been refined and you can get an excellent cut at higher speeds with at relatively low cost. The gouging and piercing also become a lot smoother.

Plasma arc cutting is a process where an open arc can be constricted by passing through a small nozzle, or orifice, from the electrode to the work piece. Although plasma cutting is quite easy to learn and perform, the process seems complicated to many. Moreover, plasma cutting is much safer than using oxyfuel because there are no flashbacks or risks from flammable gas. When you have a metal to cut and it is a good electrical conductor, there is no better way than plasma cutting. 

Plasma cutting can be successfully performed on a variety of material and different sizes. Plasma can be used to cut anything from thin gauge aluminum to stainless and carbon steel of several inches, depending however on the power of the cutting machine. Here are a few tips that can help further refine your cut quality as well as prolong the life of your equipment.

• First of all, carefully study the owner's manual and understand the safe and right manner of operation of your particular plasma cutter.
• Before commencing work, it is always preferable to experiment with a small sample cut on the same type of material to ensure you are using the right settings and travel speed. 
• It is also suggested that you practise movements a couple of times before actually pulling the trigger to make sure you have sufficient freedom of movement to make one continuous cut.
• It is helpful to use a drag shield if your plasma cutter is fitted with one. This is because a drag shield allows you to rest the torch on the workpiece while maintaining an optimal ?- in. standoff without touching the tip to the metal. 
• If on the other hand you have no drag shield, use your non-cutting hand as a support for your other hand. to maintain the optimal 1/16- in. to ?- in. distance between the tip and the workpiece. This will provide the required freedom of movement in all directions while maintaining a constant standoff and also stabilize your cutting hand. 
• Make it a point to use the right tip for your amperage setting. As you may be aware, a lower-amperage tip has a smaller orifice to maintain a narrower plasma stream at lower settings.
• Using a 40-amp tip at an 80-amp setting will distort the tip orifice and lessen consumable life whereas using an 80-amp tip on the lower settings will not focus the plasma stream will lead to a wider kerf. Use extended tips to reach out further for cutting in corners. 
• For thicker material, start with the torch on a 45-degree angle so the first blast of metal lands elsewhere. Otherwise, the metal will splash back and increase wear on your consumables.
• When cutting thicker material, set the machine to full output and vary your travel speed. On thinner material, turn down the amperage and change to a lower-amperage tip to maintain a narrow kerf.

Please know plasma cutting is a skill that needs practice for attaining perfection just like any other welding technique.