Plasma cutting is the process of creating a cut line by heating and vaporizing metal as it exits the nozzle of the plasma torch. The heat and pressure created by the plasma arc melts and evaporates the metal, then pushes it outwards from the nozzle in a molten droplet. A plasma cutter typically operates with a compressed arc, using an electrode to strike an arc between two inert gas-filled tubes.
So, what do you need for a plasma cutter? A plasma cutter is a tool used for cutting and shaping different types of metal. It can be used on various thicknesses such as thin copper sheeting, aluminium, and steel. If you're not sure what to get, the basics of what you need to buy include a power cord to plug into an outlet, a gas cylinder for providing gas to the plasma tube at the end of the torch, and protective clothing.
Before you finalize your purchase, let's discuss a few of these items in more detail. First, you need to know about the different types of plasma cutters.
# Table of Contents
What Are The Different Types Of Plasma Cutters?
Plasma cutters can be used for many different things. It would help find out what plasma cutter is best for you. This will depend on the type of metal you make and how often you make it. There are many different types of plasma cutters, and each one is good at something a little bit different.
Air plasma is a table that helps with making metal. You can use it if you only need to make a little metal. It is often used on machines for people who want to start welding and small projects.
Oxygen plasma is a better type of plasma than air plasma. It is often used in fabrication shops that are not the cheapest but still want good quality products. The oxygen plasma is very good at removing rust, paint, and coatings. The equipment costs about $2000-3000 for a small one and can do many things like cutting steel or wood.
Steel service centres and other shops that need to cut steel often use high-definition plasma. It is the best quality, and it can also help you cut many pieces of metal at once.
The HD plasma has a powerful electric arc that's more efficient, and it is made from pure metal. Plasma cutters use compressed air to make an arc between the torch and the metal. It can make accurate cuts in steel as well as other metals. In addition, the HD is also used for marking steel.
CNC Plasma Cutters
CNC plasma cutters are used to make cuts in metal. A CNC plasma cutter makes more exact cuts than a handheld process. This is because they are made for high quality, and they can be important for any steel fabrication. CNC plasma cutters are also used to make holes in metal.
Before you purchase a CNC plasma cutter, some questions might be good to ask yourself. The first question is whether or not this is something that you will need now or sometime in the future. If you think you might need it sometime in the future, then it might be worth your time to hold off.
Another question you should ask yourself is whether or not the CNC plasma cutter is something you are likely to use frequently. If you think that you will, this could make sense for your investment. Finally, if you are the kind of person who likes to do things on a budget, you probably will want to find the best deal possible.
Depending on what you are using them for, there are some different kinds of CNC plasma cutters. Some are more expensive, while others are less expensive. It would help determine exactly what your needs are before purchasing one. Then, see if a more standard or less expensive model will work for you.
What Do You Need To Run A Plasma Cutter?
Plasma cutters are machines that use a plasma torch to cut through metal. They are often used in fabrication and welding because they can quickly make clean, accurate cuts. To use a plasma cutter, you need to have a few things such as:
- Plasma cutter
- A power source
- Air compressor
- Ground clamp
- Cutting cable
- Duct tape
- Safety gear
01. Plasma cutter:
Your plasma cutter is the main part of your machine. It works by sending a high current arc in a magnetic field, turning into plasma and cutting through the metal. This requires a power source and air compressor to supply it with both things.
02. Power source:
The plasma cutter needs your power source to provide it with the energy to create the arc. Most plasma cutters use electricity, but gas-powered plasma cutters are also available. The power sources will come with the machine, but note that the voltage must be within the plasma cutter's range if you are using a generator.
03. Air compressor:
The plasma cutter also needs an air compressor to help provide the gas needed to work properly. This requires a separate generator or power source depending on your machine, as well as a throttle control for regulated speed and pressure.
04. Ground clamp:
A ground clamp will ensure that you do not cut through a wire or any other grounding that could be in the metal you are cutting. You will also need gloves and safety glasses to protect your hands and eyes from sparks or debris, but make sure they are ARC-rated.
05. Cutting cable:
It is required to attach to the ground clamp and plasma cutter itself. This allows you to begin cutting. It will make a loud singing noise when it is time to cut, so be ready with the plasma cutter turned on and follow your pre-drawn lines.
06. Duct tape:
Although this might seem like an odd item to need, duct tape can help you fix any tears in your cutting cable to continue making cuts. It can also help you get a better grip on the metal, which will make it easier to cut through.
07. Safety gear:
You should wear gloves and safety glasses when using a plasma cutter because of its extremely hot temperatures and sparks flying off the metal while you are cutting. The ground clamp provides a nice grounding as well. Ensure you have a fire extinguisher nearby as the plasma cutter often causes sparking and could start a fire.
Safety Precautions When Using a Plasma Cutter
Safety precautions when using a plasma cutter can be found below.
First, you want to ensure you are working in an area that is well ventilated. Working in a space with poor ventilation can lead to black lung disease or carbon monoxide poisoning.
Second, when cutting metals with this tool, the cut metal could fly at great speeds, so eye protection should be worn at all times. Additionally, you want to make sure the body part holding the torch is also protected by gloves and protective clothing.
It would help if you had an understanding of electrical safety as well. It would help if you used a ground fault circuit interrupter to prevent electric shock when using this tool, particularly when cutting metal pipes carrying gas or other fluid.
Lastly, if you're working with an oxygen-acetylene torch, you must maintain a safe distance between the torch and yourself. The gases involved in this process are highly flammable.
In conclusion, you need five key features in a plasma cutter. The power source, the material thickness capability, the size of the cutting area, and the frequency and pulse width settings all influence what materials you can cut with your machine. Finally, it would help if you had a machine that had large enough amperage to cut through your desired materials.
In addition to this, there are three key factors when selecting the best plasma cutter for you: brand, warranty, and reputation. It would help if you looked into these things when purchasing a new plasma cutter. Overall, you must research and find the best plasma cutter suitable for your needs.
Do Plasma Cutters Need Gas?
Yes, all plasma cutters need gas to work. This gas is used to create the plasma that cuts the metal. There are two types of gases typically used in plasma cutters: acetylene and nitrogen. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to decide which is best for your application.
Gases used in plasma cutters Acetylene gas is typically used in plasma cutters meant for light-duty use. It's typically provided in a disposable cylinder and isn't as clean as nitrogen, but it's more affordable and does the job well. A typical gas mixture for cutting with acetylene is 75% Acetylene with 25% oxygen.
Nitrogen gas is typically used in plasma cutters that are meant for moderate to heavy-duty use. This gas type is provided in a large, refillable cylinder and is much cleaner than acetylene. The gas mixture for cutting with nitrogen is typically 25% Acetylene with 75% Nitrogen, but it can vary depending on the thickness of metal that you're cutting.
What Gas Do You Need For Plasma Cutter?
Some people use Argon gas when they do plasma marking. This is a whole other subject. When cutting thicker Stainless Steel or Aluminum, some people use a mixture of Argon and Hydrogen. Some people use a mixture of Methane and Nitrogen for thinner Stainless Steel. For aluminium, people use a mixture of Argon and Oxygen.
Do You Need A Compressor For A Plasma Cutter?
No, you do not need a compressor for a plasma cutter. If you do a lot of cutting or cut thick plates, we recommend that you use a compressor that is 1.5 to 2 times the size of your plasma cutter. Make sure that your air is clean and high-quality before it reaches the plasma cutter, too.
Does A Plasma Cutter Need An Air Dryer?
A plasma cutter can be used without an air dryer, but it is not advisable. The plasma arc will create a lot of heat, and the moisture in the air can cause dangerous levels of spatter.
In addition, the plasma gas flow is vented to the outside of the cutting area, and this will cause a misting in the surrounding air. It may not be much, but if there are any open flames or sparks in that area, this moisture could ignite, resulting in an extremely dangerous situation.
A dryer is used to extract moisture from compressed air. The compressed air is filtered at the dryer, and then it is cooled in a chiller affecting an instant drop in the dew point. This has the effect of condensing all of the moisture in that compressed air supply to form water droplets which can be drained away through a valve system.
The plasma arc itself will not produce any sparks or open flames, so there is no need to worry about the moisture in the air igniting. The main reason for using a plasma cutting dryer is to prevent spatter.
Is A Plasma Cutter Better Than A Torch?
A plasma cutter is a much more efficient and effective tool for cutting metal. The plasma cutter can cut through thick metal, such as steel, without difficulty. A torch will only cut through thinner metals like aluminium or copper.
Besides this, the plasma cutter wins when making a precise cut and getting the work done in much less time. On the other hand, Oxy-fuel torches give deeper cuts and can hold much more metal at one time when compared to a plasma cutter.
But for pre-shaped metal pieces, the torch is much easier to use and an ideal multi-purpose welder for that type of work. Plasma may be better for general fabrication like cutting or bending sheet metal or tubing because it's quicker and cleaner than using an oxy-fuel torch.
Can You Plasma Cut With Argon Gas?
Yes, you can plasma cut with argon gas. The mixture is made of 65% argon and 35% hydrogen, but it also needs to be more than 3" thick for it to work. This plasma cutter uses a hot flame and gets the job done quickly. It cuts hard things, too.