How to use a plasma cutter

Introduction: How to Use a Plasma Cutter

How to use a plasma cutter

How to use a plasma cutter

How to use a plasma cutter

Using a plasma cutter is very convenient and fairly easy. The benefit is that “freeform” cuts can be made to metal based on guiding the cutter. Since this machine works by directing plasma through the creation of a circuit, a ground clamp is necessary, much like welding.

This instructable is strictly to show practical operation of a plasma cutter. For an example where this operation is demonstrated to make something, refer to Sheet Metal Flower to Practice Plasma Cutting and Welding.

I made this at TechShop Detroit (www.techshop.ws).

Step 1: Choose Work Location

Since we plan on cutting metal, placing the metal on a surface that is safe and allows for freedom of movement is critical. A “grate” or similar surface that functions as a table is perfect.

Step 2: Plug in Unit

Ensure that the unit is off and plug it in.

Step 3: Connect the Air

Connect the external air compressor to the plasma cutter. This is to ensure that the stream of plasma remains under high pressure. To attach the fittings, recede the outer flange of the female connection and insert the male connection.

Step 4: Turn the Air On

Turn on the air flow. In this case, turn the lever ninety degrees from perpendicular to the air line to inline.

Step 5: Attach the Ground Clamp

Set the metal that you are using on the table and attach the ground clamp close to where you will be cutting.

Step 6: Turn on the Machine

Turn on the machine by flipping the switch behind the unit into the ON position.

Step 7: Set the Current

In this case we will set it to 25 for 18 ga sheet metal.

Step 8: Cut the Metal

Use the trigger on the gun to activate the plasma cutter. Note the trigger has a safety that must be lifted before you can depress the trigger. Keep the cutter (nozzle end) close to the metal and use the guide surrounding the nozzle to trace templates if you have them.

Step 9: Turn Off the Machine

When you are finished cutting your metal, turn off the machine.

Step 10: Disconnect the Ground Clamp

Disconnect the ground clamp from the metal you are working on.

Step 11: Turn Off Air

In this case turn off the air by rotating the lever 90 degrees, from inline to perpendicular to the line.

Step 12: Wind Up All Hoses

Wrap up the plasma gun line, air line, and ground line.

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31 Comments

How to use a plasma cutter

10 months ago on Step 7

18 ga ?
Le ga est-il l’american wire gauge ?
Cette unité est utilisée pour le diamètre des fils
Cela correspond à 1,02 mm.

Attention
10 ga => 2,59 mm
Et
20 ga => 0,812 mm

How to use a plasma cutter

10 months ago on Step 4

Vous devriez indiquer ici, l’incidence d’une pression d’air comprimé trop forte ou trop faible.

How to use a plasma cutter

10 months ago on Step 5

Ce n’est pas une pince de masse mais c’est le potentiel le plus haut, le ‘+’.

How to use a plasma cutter

Thank you for this informative site,please tell me what current should i use if I m cutting a 10mm mild steel plate.

How to use a plasma cutter

Question 2 years ago on Step 4

You don’t tell us how much air pressure to set it at.

Introduction: How to Use a Plasma Cutter

How to use a plasma cutter

How to use a plasma cutter

How to use a plasma cutter

Using a plasma cutter is very convenient and fairly easy. The benefit is that “freeform” cuts can be made to metal based on guiding the cutter. Since this machine works by directing plasma through the creation of a circuit, a ground clamp is necessary, much like welding.

This instructable is strictly to show practical operation of a plasma cutter. For an example where this operation is demonstrated to make something, refer to Sheet Metal Flower to Practice Plasma Cutting and Welding.

I made this at TechShop Detroit (www.techshop.ws).

Step 1: Choose Work Location

Since we plan on cutting metal, placing the metal on a surface that is safe and allows for freedom of movement is critical. A “grate” or similar surface that functions as a table is perfect.

Step 2: Plug in Unit

Ensure that the unit is off and plug it in.

Step 3: Connect the Air

Connect the external air compressor to the plasma cutter. This is to ensure that the stream of plasma remains under high pressure. To attach the fittings, recede the outer flange of the female connection and insert the male connection.

Step 4: Turn the Air On

Turn on the air flow. In this case, turn the lever ninety degrees from perpendicular to the air line to inline.

Step 5: Attach the Ground Clamp

Set the metal that you are using on the table and attach the ground clamp close to where you will be cutting.

Step 6: Turn on the Machine

Turn on the machine by flipping the switch behind the unit into the ON position.

Step 7: Set the Current

In this case we will set it to 25 for 18 ga sheet metal.

Step 8: Cut the Metal

Use the trigger on the gun to activate the plasma cutter. Note the trigger has a safety that must be lifted before you can depress the trigger. Keep the cutter (nozzle end) close to the metal and use the guide surrounding the nozzle to trace templates if you have them.

Step 9: Turn Off the Machine

When you are finished cutting your metal, turn off the machine.

Step 10: Disconnect the Ground Clamp

Disconnect the ground clamp from the metal you are working on.

Step 11: Turn Off Air

In this case turn off the air by rotating the lever 90 degrees, from inline to perpendicular to the line.

Step 12: Wind Up All Hoses

Wrap up the plasma gun line, air line, and ground line.

Be the First to Share

Did you make this project? Share it with us!

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How to use a plasma cutter

31 Comments

How to use a plasma cutter

10 months ago on Step 7

18 ga ?
Le ga est-il l’american wire gauge ?
Cette unité est utilisée pour le diamètre des fils
Cela correspond à 1,02 mm.

Attention
10 ga => 2,59 mm
Et
20 ga => 0,812 mm

How to use a plasma cutter

10 months ago on Step 4

Vous devriez indiquer ici, l’incidence d’une pression d’air comprimé trop forte ou trop faible.

How to use a plasma cutter

10 months ago on Step 5

Ce n’est pas une pince de masse mais c’est le potentiel le plus haut, le ‘+’.

How to use a plasma cutter

Thank you for this informative site,please tell me what current should i use if I m cutting a 10mm mild steel plate.

How to use a plasma cutter

Question 2 years ago on Step 4

You don’t tell us how much air pressure to set it at.

How to use a plasma cutter

Simple as it looks, cutting metal with a plasma cutter requires many techniques

If you know how to use a plasma cutter, cutting metal will be a whole lot easier than ever. However, using such a powerful and modern cutting machine requires specific insights to achieve safety and efficiency.

In this article, I will show you how to operate a plasma cutter with specific steps.

Scroll down to know!

Table of Contents

How To Use A Plasma Cutter

Step 1: Select an appropriate workplace

As we are going to cut metal with plasma ray, it is crucial to put your workpiece on a suitable surface that is safe and wide enough.

A balanced table in a large workshop is the best choice.

Make sure that your workplace is well-ventilated and there is no flammable material near the plasma cutter.

Step 2: Set up the plasma cutter

There are many smaller steps in setting up a plasma cutter such as adjust the amperage, cutting speed, digital multimeter, etc.

As I have written about these parameters in the previous post “How to set up a plasma cutter” guide, I will not mention them here.

You can read it before you proceed to the next step.

Step 3: Prepare safety gear and equipment

You should stick to the following safety regulations:

  • Wear a plasma or welding helmet to protect your head.
  • Tie your hair or use a cap/hat to prevent your hair from catching fire.
  • Use a welding jacket to protect your body and arms.
  • Put on heat-resistant gloves and apron to protect your hands
  • Wear work pants or jeans to protect your legs (you can also cover your leg with welding leather)
  • Use durable work boots to protect your feet from sparks and dropping pieces of metal.
  • Prepare a fire extinguisher in case anything catches fire.
  • Wearing two earplugs and a respirator mask are optional.
  • Keep your workpiece stable in a frame, or attached to the table.
  • Clean the cut part with a wire wheel or a grinder.
  • Outline your cut plan with marking devices or metal chalk.
  • Hook the ground clamp of the plasma cutter on metal board for stability when you perform plasma cuts.

Step 4: Operating the machine and make cuts

1- Plug in both the plasma cutter and the air pipe. Switch on your air compressor and activate your plasma cutter by removing the safety trigger lock and pulling the trigger on the gun.

2- Try to keep your body at the furthest distance from the sparks. You should also choose a suitable position for a precise observation of your cut and keeping yourself safe from possible falling pieces of metal.

Besides, make sure that you can move the plasma torch easily at the full range so that you will be able to cut to the end of the metal without having to pause the machine and change position.

3- Move the plasma torch along your workpiece slowly and evenly. As you move the plasma arc, it should penetrate through the metal to the bottom. If no sparks drop from the bottom of the substance, perhaps the arc power is insufficient, or you are moving the torch too fast.

In such cases, you should slow down the torch motion until you can always see sparks at the bottom of the metal. Longer cutting time can help the arc beam to cut through the thickness of the substance.

4- Point the plasma torch toward the edge of the metal to cut it off. You should wait for 2 seconds before letting go of the trigger. This is to make sure that you have completed your project thoroughly.

Wait for the metal to cool down before you pick it up from the ground.

Notice: The smaller a piece of metal is, the hotter it is.

Final words

Now, after reading this article, you must have known how to use a plasma cutter safely and efficiently, right? So please bear the above tutorial in your mind before making any plasma cuts.

If you have any questions, please comment below, and I would like to answer you if possible.

When you first step into the metalworking industry, it can be pretty overwhelming to get a grip on everything. There are tons of practices and principles to learn for you to become good at what you do. There are specific tools and machines you will need to master, and a plasma cutter is one of those! You need to know how to use a plasma cutter in the right way.

A plasma cutter is one magical tool that makes you never want to go back to using grinding discs, oxy-fuel cutting devices, or anything else ever again.

  • How to Use Plasma Cutter as a beginner
    • A Step-by-step Plasma Cutter Guide
    • Step 1:
    • Step 2:
    • Step 3:
    • Step 4:
    • Step 5:
    • Step 6:
    • Step 7:
    • Step 8:
  • The only time you should use a plasma cutter

How to Use Plasma Cutter as a beginner

Plasma cutters are fantastic and can be used to shape any metal. They are easy to use and cheaper than oxy-fuel cutting systems. If you are new to this tool, we’ve created this perfect plasma cutter guide for beginners!

A Step-by-step Plasma Cutter Guide

Step 1:

The first step to using a plasma cutter is to ensure the working area is neat and ready to be used. If you notice any grinding debris or dust around the site, the cooling fan may absorb these particles, and it can cause severe damage to the surface.

Therefore, make sure that the area is safe and clean. In addition to this, don’t forget to wear safety gear.

Step 2:

Besides being clean, the working unit has to be safe. It is interesting to work with a plasma cutter; it can also get dangerous when used on unstable surfaces. If you put the metal on a unit that appears as a table, make sure it is strong enough to start the cutting procedure.

To keep the surface stable, you could use a metal clamp to carry the piece down and make the unit secure.

Step 3:

Now it is time to plug the plasma cutter and connect the air compressor. If there isn’t a built-in air compressor in your plasma cutter, go for an external air compressor. Compressed air is essential for achieving successful cuts.

Step 4:

Once the compressor has been connected, please turn it on. After that, I prefer to attach the ground clamp. Plasma cutting includes an electrical charge that turns a solid into a liquid. Therefore, fixing the ground clamp is also vital, plus it needs to be done safely. Attach the ground clamp close to the area you need to cut.

Step 5:

Now, turn the plasma cutter on and set the amperage control. You can set different amps according to the nature of your metal.

Step 6:

When it comes to the cutting, make sure to keep the nozzle close to the metal’s edge. Press the button to ignite the arc. Gradually move the torch on the surface of the metal.

Step 7:

When you are done with the cutting, switch the plasma machine off, and don’t forget to detach the ground clamps and turn off the air compressor.

Step 8:

Lastly, put the torch aside and let it cool for a bit. Meanwhile, you can wind up all the hoses that were used in the procedure.

The only time you should use a plasma cutter

As you already know, plasma cutting is a procedure in which electrically conductive metals are cut through hot plasma. Typical materials that can easily be cut with a plasma torch are stainless steel, copper, steel, brass, aluminum, and other conductive metals. Plasma cutting is commonly used in building industries and automotive shops.

How to use a plasma cutter

How to use a plasma cutter

Learning a new skill entails familiarizing yourself with brand new tools and techniques. It requires hours of practice, watching video tutorials online, attending workshops hosted by skilled artisans—information overload. Work through it one step at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed. A great way to start is not by grabbing the powerful machine right away but by reading up on (1) how it works and (2) how it is used. Soon, you’ll see yourself learning the craft and doing it with ease.

Not everyone knows about the different tools you may use for crafting, welding, or building your dream house. Today, we’re shedding light on plasma cutters and how to use them. A plasma cutter works with different kinds of gas, from compressed air to argon or oxygen, to penetrate and cut through metal.

Do you remember your science classes back in the day? Most of you would remember the three states of matter, but are you still familiar with the fourth state? That’s what we’re dealing with—plasma.

Plasma is different from gas since it contains the same number of negative and positive ions. When high heat is applied to the gas and transforms into plasma, it gains a unique capability powerful enough to melt and cut through metal. When plasma is directed towards a piece of metal at a very high speed, the electrons in the plasma collide with the base metal.

How do you set up the machine?

What’s great about a plasma cutter is that, even though it’s such a powerful tool with a great many applications, it’s as straightforward as a machine can get. Even when you use the basic handheld model, you can easily use the torch and electric and gas inputs.

The first thing to keep in mind is that every plasma cutter needs a steady supply of dry air. Although the majority of the machines use filters to remove any dust particles or impurities from the air feed, other machines do not. Your plasma cutter, for one, requires a good compressor.

A plasma cutter runs on either 110v or 220v. Both are great choices for hobbyists who are just starting out with the craft. The 110v plasma cutter has excellent portability, making it ideal for mobile workers. However, since it only runs on 110v, there might be limitations on the thickness of the metal that you’ll be cutting.

When you finish setting up the air and plugging in the machine, you’re ready to use your plasma cutter. Just make sure that you mark the metal before you start cutting. This is to guarantee that you’re only feeding the machine what it can handle. Other machines that use 220v can cut at least ⅜” thick of metal.

Another big thing that you need to remember is cutting speed. It’s crucial to know that when the metal you want to cut is thick, the slower your cutting speed needs to be. When you move through the metal too quickly, you may not carry out your desired results.

Consumables

Similar to welding, plasma cutters also need replacements to their consumables from time to time. The main thing you need to prepare to replace would be the tip of the plasma cutter.

Some of the well-known plasma cutter brands house their own supply of tips and other components that are only compatible with their products. Meanwhile, others use generic components that you can avail of at a more affordable price.

How to use a plasma cutter?

Now that you’ve got a basic understanding of what a plasma cutter is, it’s time to learn how to operate the machine to fit your needs.

Step 1: Choose an appropriate workplace

When you plan on cutting through metal with a plasma cutter, make sure that you do this at a suitable workspace that’s safe and wide enough to avoid any welding accidents.

Make sure that you have a balanced and sturdy table in a spacious workshop. Ensure that your workspace also has enough air circulation and remove any flammable materials in the immediate vicinity.

Step 2: Ensure the use of safety gear and equipment

Before you cut any metal or turn on your plasma cutter, make sure that you follow the safety rules and regulations to ensure no harm comes to you.

Follow these instructions to minimize the risk of accidents:

  • Wear a welding helmet to protect your head from the usual welding dangers.
  • Tie your hair up or put it in a bun to avoid catching fire.
  • Wear a welding jacket to keep your body and arms safe.
  • Use heat-resistant gloves and an apron.
  • Protect your legs by wearing work pants or jeans.
  • Wear durable work boots to keep you safe from metal drops.
  • Put a fire extinguisher in your workplace for fire prevention.
  • Make sure to keep your workpiece secure.
  • Safely mark the metal where you need to cut with a metal chalk or any appropriate marking tools.
  • Wear two earplugs and a respirator.

Step 3: Set up your plasma cutter

Depending on the machine you’ll be using, you’ll need to adjust the amperage, which is also relative to your cutting speed. For 18-gauge sheet metal, the ideal current is 25 amps. Bear in mind that the thicker the metal, the higher the amperage you’ll need.

Step 4: Operating your plasma cutter and start cutting

  • Start by plugging in the plasma cutter and the air pipe. Turn on your air compressor and remove the safety trigger lock to activate the plasma cutter. Then pull the trigger on the machine.
  • Keep your distance from the sparks. Choose a position that lets you clearly observe and see what you’re doing. Keep your distance from possible debris that will fall.
  • Provide ample space in case you need to move around the plasma cutter.
  • Move the plasma cutter at an even distance and don’t hasten the process. Ensure that you penetrate the metal down to the bottom
  • If you don’t see sparks drop, either your arc power is lacking, or you move the torch too swiftly.
  • Direct the plasma torch towards the edge of the metal to finish cutting it off. Make sure to wait a minimum of two seconds before you remove your hand from the trigger. Doing so ensures that you thoroughly cut through it.
  • Cool the metal before picking it up from the ground. Remember that the smaller the metal piece, the hotter its temperature will be.

Where do you use plasma cutters?

  • Apartment renovations
  • Art installations
  • Maintenance
  • Business use

What are the accessories of a plasma cutter?

  • Plasma cutting table
  • Magnetic guide
  • Circle kit

Final word

If you plan on pursuing a career in plasma cutting, such as metal fabrication, automotive repairs, and art installations, investing in a plasma cutter would certainly do you a great deal.

Different kinds of plasma cutters are available in the market. You can find great ones that come with their own set of components for only $800 and below. Thorough research and practice go a long way, so what are you waiting for? Invest in your own plasma cutter now!

It takes a lot of training and practice to learn to use a CNC plasma cutter effectively. The plasma torch itself is a complex tool, and using it properly requires familiarity with its various settings and how to control them, as well as understanding how to keep it running smoothly. The good news is that there are lots of resources available for anyone who wants to learn the necessary skills.

What a Plasma cutter does

Plasma cutters cut numerous metal items of different thicknesses. It works on a variety of appliances. What differentiates cutters is the difference in amps. The number of amps determines the cutting performance of the plasma cutter. Fewer amps are ideal for a ¼ sheet metal. A high-speed electric current in gas form goes to the plasma cutter.

How to use a plasma cutter

It is hot to the extent that it cuts through a material. The plasma cutter attracts a high demand in the metal artwork industry. It gives precise cuts and makes tricky shapes. It is loyal to detail, and drawn lines are from moderate heating. It is not only used to make art pieces but to create stencils and templates used for drawings.

Contractors and trade workers use the plasma cutter for construction, plumping, and installations. The smooth edges produced in plumbing use the plasma cutter. That allows you to join pipes flawlessly. Detailed cuts are made by the plasma cutter. Welding is made better and bearable as well as car repair and farming.

Tractors need repair as well as water tanks. Plasma cutters demolish structures and recycling. It compresses the material into smaller material, and that does not take space. That makes it an environmental tool. That makes it a versatile tool in the art, industrial, plumbing, and metalwork industries.

Understanding the CNC Plasma Cutter

A CNC plasma cutter is a machine that cuts through electronically conductive materials using a computer to control and direct a plasma at the material. CNC plasma cutters cut through a variety of materials such as brass, copper, and steel.

It works in fabric and welding shops. Auto repair and restoration technicians also make use of it. The CNC plasma cutter has systems run by a computer to move the torch in different directions using numerical coding programmed into the computer.

The cutter machine comes in different sizes. They are accurate and operate at a maximum speed of 500 inches per minute. They need plasma gas and assist gas to function. The type of gas depends on the material.

They use oxygen, argon, and hydrogen mix, compressed air, nitrogen, and methane. It cuts through sheet metals, metal signs, tubes, and pipes. That is thick steel and high-alloy steel.

The cutting speeds are high, and that makes it fast and accurate. It also cuts underwater, and that reduces heating and noise levels. It does not cut above 160mm for dry cutting and 120mm for underwater cutting. You cannot avoid noise when dry-cutting.

How to set up your CNC Plasma Cutter

Observe the thickness of your part to see if it fits the cutter. The part file has to be compatible with the plasma cutter. As soon as you draw the part file, you have to save it on a flash drive. Make sure the computer is plugged into the plasma cutter and plug the flush onto the computer.

You are now ready to open the PlasmaCAM software so that you start the machine. Open the flash drive and import the part from the file to the computer. The sheet metal has to be in the right place and slide the part around the computer. As you move the part, the cutter will be ready for cutting.

When the part is in the right position, it starts cutting. Make sure the torch has enough power, and there is enough ventilation. Highlight the part and combine sketches. Convert the details to cut paths and turn the plasma cutter on and cut. Let the part cool off so that you get rid of excess material.

How to engrave

Engraving is the process whereby the cutter carves a design into a hard surface. The plasma cutter needs an engraving tool attached. I advise you to use a high speed and low power setting to get rid of the top layer. The performance depends on the material. Reduce the DPI when engraving.

How to cut out

A guide helps you cut out material using a plasma cutter. Accuracy and safety are key. To start building air pressure, turn on the air compressor. Ventilation is a priority. You either set up your ventilation system or open windows. Make sure there are no flammables around.

Position your part, keeping your cord off the cutter. Clean the cut area and draw the cut line using metal chalk. Hook the clamp to the material and plug in your plasma cutter and your air hose. Line up your body to the piece and make sure you have a clear view of the cut.

Flip down the plasma hood and press the switch on your torch. Cut using a smooth motion. When the metal hits the floor, that is your cue. Let it cool down before you pick it up and get rid of the excess material for a smooth finish.

Safety

When using the plasma cutter, use safety goggles that give you UV protection from the electrical arc. They also protect you from particles flying around. Your eyes are delicate from harmful objects such as rays and fumes. I recommend goggles for maximum protection. You also have to protect yourself from noise.

Failure to do so will damage your hearing capacity. The use of earplugs reduces the amount of noise received. Heavy gloves protect you from harmful material and the heat from the machine. The chances of harming yourself from the cutter are low. Wearing a helmet protects you from material that might hit back from the plasma cutter. It protects both your face and skin. It works together with a welding jacket.

A high voltage of electricity damages the skin in the long run. Gloves protect you from shock since you are using metal. A respirator gives you enough oxygen. Cutting materials results in a high volume of carbon dioxide and toxic gases harmful to your health. Proper footwear protects you from vibrations and sharp materials underlying the ground.

Force is generated by the cutter during operation. Protective clothing protects you from burns. There is heat created by the plasma cutter that needs protection. It is dangerous to know the danger that comes with a plasma cutter after you have experienced it. The harm might catch up with you unaware, and that is when you only know the pain.

That is why I advise caution before accidents. Avoid operating your plasma cutter in wet conditions since electric current passes through water. Flammable materials should be far to avoid sparks and open fire. Work in ventilated areas so that you do not fall short of air. Find out How to make money with a CNC plasma cutter

Video Guide

When choosing an air compressor to use with your plasma cutter you need to consider the compressor’s CFM rating (cubic feet per minute) and the amount of CFM your plasma cutter consumes. Any compressor can work for small short cuts, but in order to keep your long cuts uninterrupted by a lack of air pressure you need to have a compressor big enough to keep up with your machine’s air consumption.

What Size Compressor Works Best?

The general rule for buying a compressor is the bigger the better. Manufactures recommend you buy a compressor that is rated for about 1.5 times the CFM (cubic feet per minute) of your plasma cutter. For example, the Hypertherm Powermax30 XP requires 4 CFM at 80 PSI. Ideally you would want a compressor rated around 6 CFM to use your machine without the chance of having a low pressure interruption during heavy usage.

Note: Manufactures usually rate their compressors CFM at 90PSI as well as the max PSI the compressor can produce. This is the standard across multiple brands. Most CFM ratings are inflated (no pun intended) by manufactures. So a machine that says it produces 5 CFM is realistically probably around 4 CFM.

With all of this said, you can get away with using a smaller compressor as long as you are not making super long cuts with your plasma cutter (longer than a minute). A majority of users are only making small to medium sized cuts, so they can use a compressor that is under the recommended manufacture rating. A small 30 gallon compressor rated at 5 CFM will work without any problems for most users.

Keep in mind, if you use a smaller compressor and start to make long cuts your compressor will not be able to keep up. This will cause your machine to throw a low pressure light and stop working temporarily while the compressor takes time to build more air.

How to use a plasma cutter

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Campbell Hausfeld 30 Gallon Air Compressor (5.3 CFM)

This is a compressor that will work for a majority of users with 30 amp plasma cutters. At 5.3CFM at 90 PSI it will hold up just fine in an average weekend work environment. This will get you by with little interruptions and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. If you go any smaller than this you’ll be wishing you got something bigger.

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What PSI Do Plasma Cutters Run At?

Plasma cutters operate on a wide range of different PSI settings and you must refer to your machines manual to find the correct setting for your machine. In general, larger machines require a higher PSI and smaller machines require a lower PSI. For example take a look at the different machines below offered by Hypertherm:

  • Hypertherm Powermax30 XP (30 amp): Runs at 80 PSI using 4 standard cubic feet of air per minute.
  • Hypertherm Powermax45 XP (45 amp): Runs at 90 PSI using 6.7 standard cubic feet of air per minute.
  • Hyperterm Powermax65 (65 amp): Runs at 85 PSI using 6.7 standard cubic feet of air per minute.

How Do I Regulate The Pressure Coming From My Compressor?

Some plasma cutters have a built in air regulator in the machine that will choke the air down to the correct pressure needed. If your machine does not have this, you can purchase an external air regulator to mount on your plasma cutter or your compressor. This will allow you to adjust the PSI of your air supply line.

The plasma cutter is a great machine used to cut through solid pieces. Even if you are using it for the first time it will prove to be an easy tool to work with. Read on to find out more.

Step 1 – Safety First

There are several safety precautions that have to be taken while dealing with a plasma cutter. You need to wear appropriate welding cloths and eye protection. Wearing work gloves and a face mask is mandatory.

Step 2 – Caution

Before you start off with the plasma cutting process you need to understand the potential effects. Understand that the cutting will result in high level of noise, fumes, high temperature and ultraviolet radiation. You will also at some point be dealing with molten metal.

Step 3 – Picking the Right Cutter

If you are doing it for the first time, make sure to buy the friendlier version. New designs are intelligent and do not require you to manually change pressure. Lesser the manual adjustment the better it is.

Step 4 – Knowing the Thickness

Before you start using the cutter you need to measure the thickness of the metal that needs to be cut. Depending on that choose your cutter. For instance a 375 spectrum can cut 3/8 inches of steel.

Step 5 – Connecting to Power Source

The input power is a key consideration while working with a plasma cutter. Generally, plasma cutters work with various input powers like 1 phase, 3 phase, 50 Hz, 60 Hz. Make sure you insert the power cord to the right plug.

Step 6 – Placing the Metal

Place the metal that needs to be cut on a flat surface. It would be advisable to keep it on a wooden table. Make sure there is no flammable substance around your work area.

Step 7 – Working with the Torch

At this point you start working with the torch. Hold the torch of the plasma cutter close to the metal surface. Pulling the trigger will start the pilot arch.

Step 8 – Moving the Torch

After the trigger is pulled move the torch to start the cutting arc. Make sure that it is penetrating through the metal’s bottom. Hold the torch in a perpendicular position and move it around the metal.

Step 9 – Judging the Speed

While the torch moves you can judge whether or not you are doing it right. If you do not see sparks below the metal, it means that the speed of the plasma cutter is not accurate. It is also an indication that the metal hasn’t been penetrated.

Step 10 – Fixing Speed Issues

You can fix this speed issue by making minor adjustments. Make sure that you have enough output amperage and minimize travel speed of the equipment.

Step 11 – The Finishing Cut

It is important to get the finishing cut right. When you reach the finishing point, the torch should be angled. Or another method is to pause when u reach the last bit, and then proceed with the cutting.

Step 12 – Cooling Stage

After the final cut the cutter has to be put away. Hold on for a few seconds for it to cool off a bit. Then place it on a non-combustible surface. Generally plasma cutters come with a cool off system. This automatically cools the cutter within a few seconds.