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How To Use A Plasma Cutter

When you first get into metalworking, it can be overwhelming. To be really good at metalworking, you need to learn a lot of principles and practice…you need to master some machines and tools, including a plasma cutter.
Plasma cutters are used to cut conductive metals such as steel and aluminum. It uses compressed gas to ionize the air, creating a plasma arc, which actually melts the material being cut.
This is a good class of tools. Especially if you are building or running a manufacturing business. It’s portable, easy to use, and really allows you to make money fast.
Let’s start exploring the plasma cutter and how it works.
What is a plasma cutter?
Before we talk about plasma cutters, we need to answer the most important question “What is plasma?” By answering the science behind it, you will gain a deeper understanding of this machine. It also helps you understand on which objects it should be used. So, what is plasma?
We all know about ice, steam, and liquid water, right? Yeah, let’s go back to sixth-grade science first. Ice, steam and water represent the different states of matter we are all familiar with: solid, liquid and gas.
But wait a minute: there’s a fourth state of matter that we rarely discuss – plasma.
How is it different from ordinary gas?
One difference between a plasma and a normal gas is that it has equal amounts of positively and negatively charged electrons, some of the electrons of the atoms are stripped (ionized), and the ions and electrons in the atoms are in a separate state.
Plasma is the fourth state of matter. Substances are changed by the introduction of heat. For example, solids like ice can turn into water when heated. When the temperature rises, it changes from liquid to gas (vapor) again. Now, when the temperature rises again, the vapor conducts electricity and becomes plasma.
Plasma cutters use this conductive gas to transfer energy from a power source to any conductive material. When the electrons in the plasma are used at high speed, the plasma melts the metal, creating a cut. Therefore, plasma cutters result in a faster and cleaner cutting process.
To discuss how it works in more detail, a plasma arc is formed when a gas is heated at very high temperatures. Plasma arc torches use a swirl ring to rotate the gas around the electrode. The gas is then heated in the chamber, forming a plasma. The plasma continues to expand in volume and pressure. It moves into a small, narrow opening at the top of the torch and cuts the metal.
Now that you know a little bit about how a plasma cutter actually works, let’s talk about the setup and tools.
Plasma cutter and setup
The plasma cutter itself is a very simple machine. A basic handheld model where you have your flashlight and your electricity and gas inputs. It is important to know that plasma cutters require a supply of dry air.
Most machines are equipped with filters to dry and remove any impurities from the air. But some value machines don’t. Remember this.
A plasma cutter that can run at 220v is a good option for a hobbyist.
Once you’ve installed the equipment and your machine is plugged in, it’s ready to go. You just make a mark on the metal and start cutting.
Note: The most important thing new users need to remember is speed. A good rule of thumb is that the thicker your metal is, the slower you need to be. If you move too fast, you won’t be able to cut completely.
Plasma Cutter Consumables
Just like welding, there are some consumables that need to be replaced from time to time when using a plasma cutter. The main items that need to be replaced frequently are the tips.
Where to use a plasma cutter?
So far we’ve covered some of the science behind plasma cutters, the machine itself and the setup. Now let’s move on to the main uses of plasma cutters and where to best use them.
You can find plasma cutters in the wild and in stores. Sometimes they are dedicated shop machines, sometimes you can use portable machines in shops and fields, as mentioned earlier. It all depends on your needs and the project you want to do. But ideally you will want to have a dedicated shop and a separate machine.
Plasma Cutter Maintenance
Sometimes we come across machines or parts that need minor repairs. Plasma cutters can effectively cut an odd shape or a small piece of metal without the need to go back to the workshop and get the repair done quickly.
How to use the plasma cutter carefully?
Every plasma cutter operates differently. Therefore, it is best to consult your user manual before starting.
Here are a few points on how to effectively use a plasma cutter that we will cover in this article. We break them down into small pieces.
1. Prepare the machine
When you’re ready to use the plasma cutter, first make sure everything is connected.
If the machine needs outside air, then connect the wires. If the machine compresses its own air, make sure the machine is plugged in and the pressure gauge is in working condition.
The machine will have a specific air pressure for the best cut, be sure to refer to the manual. When you start cutting, the air pressure drops. This is normal and expected. When you release the trigger and stop cutting, the pressure will return to the PSI you selected and the pressure gauge will show the current PSI.
2. Adjustment
Now that your machine has power and air is flowing, you need to make some adjustments.
Check your amperage. You’ll need to set the amp to suit the material you’re cutting. Of course, the rule here is that the thicker the material, the higher the amperage. Many machines will have the standard 50 amps. These will cut everything a half inch thick or even less. Lower powered machines will necessarily reduce to cutting thinner materials.
torch. Because you are cutting with very hot compressed air, most guns have two built-in safety features. The first operation: If the welding gun is assembled and one piece is missing, the machine will not work. The second safety device is the trigger guard. Since the plasma cutter will cut anything that conducts electricity, you want to make sure your workpiece is aligned and ready to go.
We just covered the current tuning of the plasma cutter. But let’s talk about you first. Cutting with plasma is cumbersome. Sparks and scum can fly everywhere. Especially when your travel speed drops. So, to be on the safe side, you need to:
Good eye protection. Welding requires a hood because sparks fly towards you and the light is brighter than plasma cutting. We recommend that you use shaded cutting goggles or a welding helmet with adjustable shade.
A fireproof jacket is also essential.
in conclusion
In this article, we describe the science behind plasma cutters, and how to use them. Using a plasma cutter is easy. As long as you remember safety gear and precautions, you’re good to go. Plasma cutters will help you save time and money. Plasma cutters are versatile and easy-to-use machines that are readily available on the market today.

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