Plasma cutting is a precious tool for getting fast, neat cuts in steel, aluminum, or stainless. This is possible through the use of plasma cutters that fuse a high-pressure air or gas flow with an electric arc. The heat may go up to a temperature of up to 40,000 degrees Fahrenheit. These are a few things to keep in mind as you’re using a plasma cutter:
Safety is Priority
While plasma cutting is not as intense as welding, you have to proceed as though it is. Make it a point to wear flame-retardant clothes and hair covering. Put on glasses #5 eye protection and work in a safe spot. Be familiar with your surroundings. Take note that the heat and light can be overpowering, and you need to ensure your safety.
Doing Tools The Right Way
Why Products Aren’t As Bad As You Think
If you notice that your cuts have lost their sharpness, you may have to get new parts that make up the cutting head. Usually, this could consist of a heat shield, contact tip, insulators, nozzle, and offset tool. It’s smart to check the availability of these consumables when purchasing your plasma cutter. Get a new model with a hassle-free process for ordering parts.
The Importance of Moisture
Plasma cutters need clean, dry air in order to function properly. Moisture is the biggest cause of parts going bad. There are a few things you can do to stall the effects of moisture, and restrict it to a bare minimum. Give 25 – 30 feet of line going from the air compressor to the moisture trap. The moisture trap will work much with the air having a chance to cool first.
You can get an air drier that utilizes silica gel to attract moisture from the air. Get two, in fact – they are cheap. These can be set up at the compressor and at the water trap to extend the life of your consumables. The air driers themselves are easier and less expensive to replace than the plasma cutter parts.
You must cut at the proper speed. It may require a few tries to get it dialed in well if you’re new to plasma cutting. One of the surest indicators is the direction of the sparks as you cut. When you cut too fast, the sparks move towards you. You have to slow it down. The sparks and dross have to head towards the floor.
Usually, you will be holding the plasma cutter at a 90-degree angle to whatever you are cutting. As you reach the end of a cut, move the angle up a bit to for a smooth end of cut. If you see some dross on the underside of your cut, a small file can take care of that.