Plasma Cutting FAQs

We sincerely hope that this section will help you answer some questions in your mind before you take out your credit card.

What Are The Main Components Of A Plasma Cutter?

A plasma cutter must have a air compressor, an inverterearthing clamppipes, and cables as well as guide accessories. The compressor may or may not be integrated.

In addition to those parts, the cutting head features some parts of its own which are:

  • Torch
  • Electrode
  • Supply nozzle
  • Cooling nozzle
  • Buffer

The electrode and nozzle are the consumable parts and will need to be replaced periodically.

What Types Of Materials Can A Plasma Cutter Cut?

In general, the plasma cutter is ideal for cutting any electrically conductive metal, including:

  • aluminum,
  • steel,
  • stainless steel,
  • copper,
  • brass and so on. 

Wood and plastic can’t be cut with a plasma cutter as they are not electrically conductive.

What's the Maximum Thickness of Metal A Plasma Cutter can Cut?

Well, the maximum cutting capability of a plasma cutter depends on the maximum amperage of the plasma system and the type of material you need to cut. A plasma cutter can cut steel and non-ferrous metal less than 1-inch thickness depending on the plasma cutter model used. Lower amp plasma cutters are able to cut up to ¼-inch while higher amp units can cut up to 1-inch or more.

Hobart Airforce 12ci, 20amps can cut 6.4mm (¼-inch) whereas Longevity ForceCut 42i, 40 amps can cut 25.4 mm (1-inch)

For greater thickness, say up to 40mm, you should use a 400V+ model. However, some professional grade plasma cutters can cut up to 70mm thickness. The manufacturer usually provides the cutting speed (measured in IPM or inches per minute) for all thickness of metal.

What Factors Should I Consider When Purchasing a Plasma Cutter?

When you’re considering purchasing a plasma cutter, we highly recommend doing your research as it's essential to know the differences in price as well their ability. Specifically, you should consider the the machine's features, cutting speed, and sheet type.

What Safety Equipment Should I Use When Using A Plasma Cutter?

In general, you should be using a welding mask, leather apron, flexible gloves and enclosed work shoes.

As the plasma cutting process produces ultraviolet light, a welding mask is an essential safety piece of equipment.

The Leather apron, flexible gloves, and work shoes are also essential to protect you from droplets and sparks of metal.

How Do I Choose The Electrical Output That Is Right For Me?

110Volt or 220volt- Figuring out the type of electrical output your job site or workshop uses is an essential factor when choosing a plasma cutter. This is because each plasma cutter comes with its electricity requirement. Some features 110V, others 220V, whereas some of the more versatile models can handle both.

What Performance Should I Look Out For In A Plasma Cutter?

Choose the plasma cutter that provides a smooth and precise cut. It’s best to select a model that produces no slag which means less cleanup.

How Do I Choose The Right Amp For My Work?

Firstly, determine your cutting capacity requirements. Then, decide which electricity capabilities your workplace has.

What Consumables Do I Need To Use With Plasma Cutter?

Normally you will be using a nozzle, electrode, retaining cap, shield and swirl ring with the plasma cutter.

How Much Consumables Do I Need To Stock?

It depends on your usage patterns and production requirements. However, nozzles and electrodes may require replacing frequently.

Why would I use a Plasma Cutter instead of a Laser or Water Jet?

The simple answer is due to the cost of cut per inch of thickness. The cost of cutting per inch of thickness with the laser or water jet is high compared to the plasma cutter. It’s also the most economical way to cut ferrous and non-ferrous materials.

Can I Use a Plasma Cuter To Cut Aluminum and Stainless?

Definitely. You can use a plasma cutter to cut any ferrous and non-ferrous metal.  Any standard plasma cutter will do the job correctly, whilst a high-performance unit will do a superior job.

Why Should I Buy A Quality Plasma Cutter?

There are many reasons for investing into a quality plasma cutter. First of all, buying a plasma cutter is an investment, it’s not a liability. You’re buying the unit to use for a number of years. If you go for a cheaper and lower quality unit, you may find yourself having to replace it more quickly.

I’m A First Time User of Plasma Cutters. Which One Will Be Best For Me?

For the first time user, any portable option with an integrated compressor will work fine. The lightweight, compact size along with simple technical features may be the most effective solution for a first-time user.

Should I spend the money and invest in a quality plasma cutter?

With the below in mind, you can see that it's a tool that can be used for many purposes. If this is something that is used regularly, it may be wise to invest in a quality one. Otherwise, a basic model will get the job done too!

  • A versatile tool can be used for many different kinds of metal works.
  • A very useful tool to build and repair any type of metal project.
  • An essential tool that is for any metal project, making the task much easier and faster than if you didn't use one.
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Ronald Wilson
 

I’m Ronald, Specialist engaged in the manufacture of fabricated metal products. I’ve been involved in the fabrication industry since 1998. To continue my love in welding and to share my experience I've formed a research team and have created this website for our valuable customers.

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