Plasma cutting is a process used to cut an electrically conducive metal using a high velocity and high temperature ionized gas delivered through a nozzle. The nozzle is part of the plasma machine and the ionized gas is also called plasma, wherefrom the name of the plasma machines comes. The plasma is ionized at a very high temperate and coupled with the high velocity with which it exits the nozzle, it melts and cuts any metal it comes in contact with. It also cuts the metals very smoothly, depending on the size of the nozzle; the smaller the nozzle the more precise the cutting is. Plasma cutting is the best way to cut ferrous and non-ferrous metals and materials and is used in industrial applications as well as by amateurs all over the world.
Buying Plasma Machines
Plasma machines are complex tools that deliver one of the hottest and most highly pressurized substances outside of industrial applications. Their complexity means that you have to choose a plasma machine taking whose features fit exactly what you need.
Thickness of Metal that Plasma Machines can Cut
The most important factor to consider when buying a plasma machine is the maximum thickness of the metal that you want to cut using a machine. Plasma machines are rated based on their amperage and their ability to cut. If you want a machine that can cut thicker metals, you should be getting a plasma machine that has higher amperage. On the other hand, machines with lower amperages will cut metal sheets that are less thick.
Cutting speed is another factor that will influence your choice of plasma machine. A machine with higher rated amperage would cut metal faster than another with lower amperage. You should choose a machine that goes as fast as you are comfortable and matches your level of plasma cutting experience.
Plasma Machine’s Electrical Consumption
The pilot arc of most plasma cutters is created by letting high frequency electricity flow through the surrounding air. Electronic equipment such as computers can pick up this as interference and be damaged by it. To avoid damaging electronic equipment, it is preferable to get a plasma arc machine that does not create high frequency electricity in its surrounding environment.
Another factor to consider is the number of plasma cutter consumables that each model of plasma machine needs to function properly. A torch with fewer number of consumables would last longer than the one which required more consumables to function. It would also prove to be more cost effective in the long run.
Plasma Machine Test Cuts
Test cuts should be made with any machine to first check its performance and the quality with which it functions. A cutter with a tight and focused arc is preferable because that arc will give a higher quality cut. Lifting the plasma torch and moving it should also tell you how far can the torch move while the arc is run.
Plasma Machine Safety
When on the job, it is essential that you are able to properly see the metal that you are cutting. The visibility should be good enough that it does not interfere with your job and you can keep cutting the metal without undue risk.
A plasma cutting torch with more working visibility is always a better choice, than the one that provides restricted visibility. Usually, light weight and smaller sized plasma-cutting torches are the ones that have more visibility and these are preferable to the larger ones.
Always make sure that you wear the proper safety equipment. Visit this page for more on plasma cutter safety.
Other Plasma Machine Safety Features to Look For
Among other safety features, it is highly recommended that you buy a machine with nozzle-in-place safety sensor. Sometimes machines can be inadvertently started by the operator even when nozzle is not in place; this sensor will make sure that the machine does not start if such is the case. A machine with pre-flow sequence is also preferable.