Plasma cutting is an invaluable tool for achieving fast and clean cuts in steel, aluminum or stainless steel. This is accomplished through the use of plasma cutters that combine a high pressure air or gas flow with an electric arc. The heat can reach a temperature of up to 40,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Here are some things to keep in mind when using a plasma cutter.
Although plasma cutting is not as brilliant as welding, you should proceed as if it were. Be sure to wear fire retardant clothing and a hair cover. Wear eye protection goggles n. 5 and work in a safe area. Be careful of your surroundings. Remember, the heat and light can be overwhelming and you must ensure your safety.
When you notice that your cuts are losing their sharpness, you may need to replace some or all of the parts that make up the cutting head. Typically this can consist of a heat shield, contact tip, insulators, nozzle, and offset tool.
It is important that you check the availability of these consumables when purchasing your plasma cutter. Choose a current model with a simple process for ordering parts.
Plasma cutters need clean, dry air to operate efficiently. Moisture is the main cause of parts losing efficiency and spoiling. There are a couple of things you can do to slow down the effects of humidity and keep it to a minimum.
Leave 25 to 30 feet of line from the air compressor to the moisture trap. The moisture trap will work best if the air has a chance to cool down first.
You can buy an air dryer that uses silica gel to draw moisture out of the air. In fact, buy two, they are not expensive. These can be installed in the compressor and in the water trap to increase the life of your consumables. The air dryers themselves will be easier and more cost effective to replace than the plasma cutter parts.
You need to cut at the proper speed. If you are new to plasma cutting, it may take a few tries to mark it properly. One of the best indicators is the direction of the sparks while cutting.
If you cut too fast, the sparks will move towards you. You need to slow it down. Sparks and slag should fall to the ground. If they do, you are moving at the right speed!
Is in the angle
Typically you hold the plasma cutter at a 90 degree angle to the metal you are cutting. When you reach the end of a cut, move the angle up slightly to ensure a smooth end of the cut.
If you notice a significant amount of slag on the bottom of your cut, you can remove it. A small file does the job perfectly.
Keeping these tips in mind will help you have an efficient experience using your plasma cutter. I am going to advise you to invest in a good air compressor before you start. Remember to adjust your psi and amperage based on the type and thickness of the materials you are cutting.