Plasma cutting is uses materials that are electrically conductive with an accelerated burst of heated plasma. A plasma torch can cut conductive metals such as copper, brass ,aluminum, steel, and stainless. This process of cutting is usually applied in scrapping operations, fabrication shops, repair and restoration of vehicles, and industrial construction. You can see a widespread use of plasma cutting from a large-scale industrial CNC cutting machine to small portable ones.
You can use plasma torch in many ways, and the most common technique is dragging. It is simply what it is called – dragging the torch along the metal. However, you must do this with caution. You cannot just bring the torch tip to the metal and drag. There should be a barrier so that the tip will not fuse or merge to the metal, as it will blow out the tip.
You need to hold the torch about ¼ inch away from the metal you are cutting. It requires moving the torch a little bit slower to make accurate cuts. Oftentimes, if not always, drag cups are used that enables you to give the torch as rest while following your cut line, making your cut more accurate and easy. If you do not have a drag cup, you can get the best output by having the first cut at a 45° angle. The molten metal or any other material being cut will be blown away from you.
Basic Plasma Torch Handling
Constant practice will develop your technique, but handling torch is pretty simple. The torch must be held at a little bit backward angle and is somewhat rotated towards the side. Always blow the sparks away from you and other materials that are sensitive or fire hazard. When piercing through the material, you need to do a straight-up approach. However, watch out for hot slag, as this technique will toss sparks everywhere at 360 degrees.
Cutting Thick Metal
When you cut thick metal, it is not like cutting metal sheets. The thicker the metal you are cutting, the slower you do the cutting. It also means more slag remaining, which is the leftover melted metal on the edges of the cut. Thicker metal will also take longer to pierce. The 45 degrees angle is extremely important when piercing the metal. You can do the straight-on approach, but there will be lots of slag and rain of fire around. The straight-on technique is ideal if you start from the metal edge.
CNC Plasma Cutters
Plasma cutters can cut all types of metal. Plasma cutting today is made even easier because of computers and software programs for more accurate and efficient output. With CNC plasma cutters, the work is faster and safer as well.