Plasma Cutting

Posted by John A. on

Plasma Cutting
By []Cat Harvey

Plasma cutting is an invaluable tool for achieving fast, clean cuts in steel, aluminum, or stainless. This is achieved through the use of plasma cutters that combine a high-pressure air or gas flow with an electric arc. The heat can reach a temperature of up to 40,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Here are some things to keep in mind when you're using a plasma cutter.

Safety First

Although plasma cutting is not as bright as welding, you should proceed as if it is. Be sure to wear flame retardant clothes and hair covering. Use glasses #5 eye protection and work in a safe area. Be aware of your surroundings. Remember, the heat and light can be overwhelming, and you must ensure your safety.


When you notice that your cuts are losing their sharpness, you may need to replace some or all of the parts that make up the cutting head. Typically, this can consist of a heat shield, contact tip, insulators, nozzle, and offset tool.

It's important that you check the availability of these consumables when you purchase your plasma cutter. Choose a current model with an easy process for ordering parts.


Plasma cutters need clean, dry air to run efficiently. Moisture is the number one cause of parts losing efficiency and going bad. There are a couple things you can do to slow down the effects of moisture, and keep it to a bare minimum.

Allow 25 - 30 feet of line from the air compressor to the moisture trap. The moisture trap will work better if the air has a chance to cool first.

You can purchase an air drier that uses silica gel to draw moisture from the air. In fact, buy two, they are not expensive. These can be installed at the compressor and at the water trap to increase the life of your consumables. The air driers themselves will be easier and more cost effective to replace than the plasma cutter parts.

Cutting Speed

You need to cut at the right speed. If you're new to plasma cutting, it may take you a few tries to get it dialed in properly. One of the best indicators is the direction of the sparks during the cut.

If you're cutting too quickly, the sparks will move towards you. You need to slow it down. The sparks and dross should fall towards the floor. If they do, you're moving at the right speed!

It's in the Angle

Typically, you are holding the plasma cutter at a 90-degree angle to the metal you are cutting. When you reach the end of a cut, shift the angle up slightly to ensure a smooth end of cut.

If you notice considerable dross on the underside of your cut, you can knock it off. A small file does the job perfectly.

Happy Cutting!

Keeping these tips in mind will help you to have an efficient experience using your plasma cutter. I'm going advise you to invest in a good air compressor before you start. Remember to adjust your psi and amperage depending on the type and thickness of the materials you're cutting.

Article Source: [] Plasma Cutting

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