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Plasma Cutting Tips and Techniques

Plasma Technology

Plasma cutters utilise compressed air blowing over the arc at the tip of the torch, effectively super heating the air, forming plasma. When a gas such as air is super heated, it breaks apart the molecules which splits the atoms. Generating this huge amount of energy is what makes CNC plasma cutting so effective.

Plasma cuttersWorkplace Safety

Plasma cutters are an excellent method for cutting through steel and other metals, but care should be taken when using this equipment. The ground clamp should make good clean contact to a metal surface and clamped to the metal you are working on. Appropriate gloves are required, make sure to always wear gloves rated correctly for plasma cutting.  Operators should be careful lifting heavy steel and other sheets onto the machine.  Operators should always wear eye protection from the plasma arc during cutting,

Good Cutting

Plasma Cutters may seem simple but there are some techniques that will greatly improve the quality of the cut.

  • Test Cutting is a good way to get the process perfect before you cut your actual piece – Use a piece of scrap metal to practice your cut firs to check settings and ensure cut quality.
  • Speed – The speed of the cut is important. Check the speed settings from the Plasma manual and set in the control software accordingly.
  • Ensure the cut height and pierce height are correctly set in the software. Cut height is critical to plasma cut quality.

Quick Safety Checklist

  • Ground – Always make sure the piece you are working on is grounded.
  • Air filter – Water or moisture in the compressed air will degrade the cutters effectiveness.
  • Safety goggles – Use safety goggles to protect your eyes from heat and debris.
  • Ear protectors – Plasma cutting can be noisy, so protect your hearing!
  • Gloves – Gloves that can withstand very high temperatures are essential.
  • Clothing – Try to wear flame resistant clothing, leather and denim are good protection.
  • Ensure the torch height control system is working and correctly set. The height control is essential for consumable life and cut quality.
  • Ventilation – Ventilate your work area as the fumes from cutting can be a health hazard.

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