How To Choose The Right Plasma Cutting Machine For You Workshop

How To Choose The Right Plasma Cutting Machine For You Workshop

Plasma cutting involves utilizing plasma and an external power supply to generate an electric arc between the electrode and the metal being cut, resulting in a melting process. The resulting plasma jet liquefies the metal, and the machine’s compressed air expels it. Plasma can cut through any electrically conductive material, including steel, stainless steel, and aluminum.

Now, what essential items are required to begin plasma cutting?

Air Compressors

If you intend to engage in plasma cutting, you must acquire an air compressor that can connect to your machine.

When purchasing a compressor, ensure that it can provide a pressure of 70-120psi and has a higher airflow/intake volume rating than your plasma cutter. Your plasma cutter’s liters per minute (L/min) usage rate will be specified, so you should aim to acquire a compressor with a greater L/min rating to avoid running out of air before completing your cut.

You may also purchase plasma cutters with built-in air compressors. Both alternatives have advantages and disadvantages, and you will need to weigh them before selecting the best option for your needs.

 Pros  Cons
External Air Compressor More Power Not Portable
Built-in Air Compressor Portable Less Power

Clean Cut vs Severance

With a plasma cutter, there are two types of cuts that can be achieved: a clean cut or a severance cut.

A clean cut results in a smooth and neat incision through the metal, while a severance cut goes all the way through but may not be aesthetically pleasing, necessitating further cleaning.

Each plasma cutter typically has a maximum thickness for clean cutting and severance cutting. These values indicate the maximum thickness of the metal for a high-quality cut and the maximum thickness for cutting through the metal. The severance thickness is always greater than the clean-cut thickness. Additionally, these cutting depths may vary depending on the metal type.

Back Arc vs High Frequency

Plasma cutting employs two arc ignition types, known as “pilot arc.”

The first type is High Frequency (HF). With an HF plasma torch, the arc requires close proximity to the metal to spark and initiate the ionization process. The arc leaps from the torch to the metal, and HF torch consumables tend to wear out more quickly due to this.

The second type is Back Arc Strike. With this type of torch, the spring-loaded design inside the torch head allows it to start up automatically with a simple button press. The benefit of a back arc start is that it is much more user-friendly. It can cut through rusty or otherwise unclean metal with ease. CNC table plasma cutting torches also use back arc strike ignition.

Back arc strike torches are now more common and popular than HF torches because the latter pose a risk of disrupting nearby sensitive equipment such as hospital machinery and computers.

Plasma Cutters

Image CUT-120I Plasma Cutter CUT-40D AIR Plasma Cutter CUT-40 Plasma Cutter
Model CUT-120I Plasma Cutter CUT-40D AIR Plasma Cutter CUT-40 Plasma Cutter
Air Compressors Built-in Air Compressor Built-in Air Compressor External Air Compressor
Max.cutting thickness 45 MM 16 MM 12 MM
Max. cutting current 120A 40A 40A

View more info: Plasma Cutter