Tips To Increase Cutting Performance With A Plasma Cutter
Table of Contents
- 1 Ensure A Dedicated Workstation
- 2 Clamping To Clean Metal
- 3 Familiarize with the Plasma Cutter
- 4 Use A Template First
- 5 Use The Correct Tip For Amperage Setting
- 6 Brace Yourself
- 7 Practice The Cut First
- 8 Starting The First Cut
- 9 Learn The Different Techniques For Different Cuts
- 10 Making The Last Cut
- 11 Conclusion
Do you believe that only an efficient plasma cutter can provide you super performance?
Not at all.
Although a plasma cutter is an easy-to-operate device, it requires some hands-on experience to ensure the efficiency of your cutting.
Apart from learning the basics of plasma cutting, there are some techniques to follow, especially if you like to improve your cutting performances, enhances efficiency, and overall to prolong the consumable life.
Here we’ve given our full effort to compile some effective, handy tips and techniques to make your plasma cutting works not only more enjoyable but also increase your cutting performance.
Whether, it involves in home hobby, art, motorsports or DIY project, following the right tips and techniques ensure the efficiency of your cutting results with a plasma cutter.
Ensure A Dedicated Workstation
An ideal workstation indirectly effects on the efficiency of your cutting results. It doesn’t mean that your workstation would be elaborate or expensive. It needs to be comfortable and dedicated to your task. Ensure the right height of your work table that will help you to use the torch comfortably.
- A hole on the table for fans will help you to easily draw off fumes.
- Using an arrestor helps you draw away sparks.
Clamping To Clean Metal
Although it’s a safety issue, securing the ground clamp ensures your cutting efficiency too. Secure the clamp to clean metal only. It will provide the super cutting performances.
Avoid any rusted or painted metal to clamp as there is a possibility to inhibit the flow of electricity. It’s also essential to place the clamp closer to the intended cut path.
Frequently check the worn spots, cables for loose connections, or anything that might hamper the electrical flow.
Familiarize with the Plasma Cutter
Familiarity with the capabilities and limitations of your plasma cutter is important before starting to use it.
Reading through the owner’s manual to familiar yourself with the device will help you to operate the plasma cutter efficiently. Knowing how your device works really helps you to operate it skillfully.
Use A Template First
Using a template for your projects will make your cutting job easy.
Are you familiar with “kerf”?
It means that the cutting line will be larger than the actual cutting measurement.
When you create the template for your project, take into account the radius of the cutting tip and hence make sure that the template is larger than the actual cutting. Also, consider the thickness of the template. It should be enough so that the drag shield can’t jump over it.
- For a straight line cuts, use a roller guide.
- For cutting of various sizes of circles, use circle guides as standoffs.
Use The Correct Tip For Amperage Setting
For getting efficient cutting results, it’s important to use the correct tip for amperage setting. Using the right tip will help you to save your money and time. Place the cutting tip right on the material if you’re working at less than 40 amps. If you're using the amp is above 40, you can use your hand or a suitable drag shield to hold tip- off the material.
Lower-amperage tips possess smaller opening to control a limited plasma stream at lower settings.
What is the effect of using improper tip?
- If you use a 40 amps tip at an 80 amps setting, it will disfigure the tip opening and lessen consumable life.
- On the other hand, if you use the 80 amps tip on the lower amp settings, it won’t focus the plasma stream properly and tend to a deep kerf.
Using extended tips for cutting in tight areas or in corners will make your task easy.
Before you start your cutting, braced yourself. To do this, support your cutting hand with non-cutting hand. It’ll increase your stability while cutting. This tip will help you to stabilize your cutting hand, ensures freedom of movement in all directions. It will also help you to maintain a constant 1/16th to 1/8th inch standoff.
Practice The Cut First
The first cut is the most important for any cutting project. Before starting the actual cut, practice the cutting on the excess materials or on scrap pieces. To ensure the right amperage settings and travel speed, it’s helpful to make a sample cut.
It’ll help you to adjust the amperage setting and speed. Check on the speed that is comfortable to travel. Also carefully notice the hand movement and the control you have. It’s easy to pull the torch toward your body rather than push it away.
If you find sparks shoot along at the top of the metal, it indicates that you’re moving fast and need to slow your travel speed. If you travel the torch with a proper speed, the arc will exit at a 15 to 20 degrees away.
Starting The First Cut
The way you start the first cut depends on the thickness of the metal you desire to cut. If you cut the thin metal, place the cutting tip of the torch on the metal and pull the trigger.
On the other hand, if the metal is thicker, start outside your cut line. Angle the torch 40 degrees away from your body, pull the trigger and roll the torch into the perpendicular position. You need to be careful when moving the torch to the cut line and start to work along that line.
Learn The Different Techniques For Different Cuts
- For too small cut, mark the areas before you begin.
- Cut the larger cuts first. Cut the smaller areas by hand.
- For cutting bolt holes, simply penetrate the metal and trace a small circle and make the appropriate sized circle.
- To bevel an edge, simply slope the torch head to a 30-40 degree angle and start cutting.
Making The Last Cut
Like the first cut, the last cut is also important and for the new user it’s somewhat a problem too. But following the two tricks will help you to get the cleaner last cut.
- Before making the last cut, pause for a second.
- Roll the tip of the torch slightly towards the final cut edge.
You can apply these tips for all thickness, but these are especially helpful for thicker materials.
Keep these tips in mind and try to follow, when using your plasma cutter. These are the ways by following which you can improve your cutting performances, and lower operating costs .
Enjoy your cutting job with your plasma cutter!