A Brief Introduction to Plasma Arc Cutter Machines

The convenience of plasma arc cutter machines is making people from many different professions use them at their job in preference to the mechanical cutting tools that were used before the plasma cutters became available. Fabricators, artists, contractors, maintenance personnel, and even DIY hobbyists are using plasma arc cutters. Plasma cutters have very clear advantages over the older mechanical systems; they cut much faster, do not need to be pre-heated before they are started, can cut metals that conduct electricity and are small enough to be portable in a workshop floor and have a small heat-affected zone.

Selecting the Best Plasma Arc Cutter

One of the advantages of the plasma cutting machine is that it is very easy to operate. The harder part is selecting the machine that suits your requirement and selecting the right accessories for the jobs you will be using it with.

The three major factors that should decide the choice of the machine are: the thickness of the metal you intend to cut, the maximum thickness of the metal expected and the speed of cutting required. The size of the metal being cut is obviously important and the speed with which you want to work depends on the power of the machine, which is why it is the third major factor.

Amperage and voltage capacity of a plasma are cutters, just like for welding machines, determine the size of the machine. Unlike welding machines, plasma are cutters require higher voltage and lower amperage levels. If you judge the plasma machines using only their amperage, you will be making a mistake. Voltage, which means power, should be considered too before deciding on any plasma arc cutting machine. Also, the size would also depend on the design of the machine and its manufacturer. One of the most popular is the Miller plasma cutters and the Hypertherm plasma cutters.

Cutting Speed of a Plasma Arc Cutters

One of the most important factors in your choice of the correct plasma machine is the cut speed. Using a measure of parts per hour, you can measure your requirements and then check whether the machine you are considering can cut at that speed comfortably. Usually, automated applications require that the cutting speed be fast; they do not require much quality from the machine. Whereas in handheld application, typically the users want a better quality cut from the machine as well as higher operator satisfaction.

The manufacturers supply cutting speed charts, which you can use to compare the speed of machines from different companies. The quality of the metal cut should be judged using three factors – quality cut, server cut and the rated cut.

Plasma Arc Cutter Air and Electricity

The two fundamental elements required for plasma arc cutting are air and electricity. For electricity the amount of input power available is important. With that in mind, you should note the power capacity of the plasma machine. If your power source is only 115V, you should use plasma cutter machines that require 115 to 230V of power.

For normal operation of a plasma arc cutting machine, it is recommended that you use ordinary air as the cutting gas. For mobile applications of the plasma cutters, bottled nitrogen can be used – it is cheap too. Also, cutting steel is better done using nitrogen because it is less oxidizing than compressed air.

Keeping the Plasma Arc Cutters Clean During Operation

Dirty environments have dust and metal shavings, which require a plasma arc cutters with wind tunnel technology and fan-on-demand. These technologies are available with certain models. Such machines are so designed so that the cooling air jets do not allow dust and debris to accumulate on critical components. Fan-on-demand machines are better suited for lower power consumption because the fan runs only when it is required to reduce the waste that contacts the plasma arc cutter.