Plasma Cutting – How To Get The Perfect Cut?
The art of cutting the conductive materials with an extremely hot jet of plasma is known as plasma cutting. This process has a widespread usage in fabrication industries, welding and automotive shops and steel restoration factories.
There are people who choose to do it as a hobby. Plasma cutting is popular among hobbyists, small entrepreneurs who believe in doing things themselves and larger industries.
There is a learning curve for beginners and following some practices will help in improving the quality and precision of the cuts, quality of the overall process and also help in maintaining the equipment in good health.
How to set up a plasma cutter
A plasma cutter can be used for various types of metals and the process needs to be different like cutting, gouging and piercing.
Plasma arc cutting
Choose a base metal which needs to be cut and place the plasma torch tip close to the sheet of metal. Switch on the trigger to start the air supply. The pilot arc and cutting arc are ignited once the pre flow of airflow sets in. Once the cutting arc is initiated, start moving the torch slowly and steadily across the metal.
The sparks should ideally burst out of the bottom of the metal, if not speed must be adjusted. If there are no sparks at the bottom, it simply means less penetration of arc. This less or no penetration results in bad performance. It could be due to the following reasons and need corrections –
Post the process, a brief pause at the end of the metal to steady the angle and switch off the trigger. The airflow still progresses for a while to cool the parts and torch. Cutting process could be resumed by switching on the trigger again.
Plasma Arc Gouging
Gouging a metal basically depends on the angle of handling. When the torch is operated over the base metal at an angle of 40 degrees, it is called gouging. The trigger has to be switched on for the air flow and pilot arc followed by the cutting arc.
Post ignition of the cutting arc, an arc length needs to be accomplished with a slow and steady travel speed. Gouging deep might not result in success. A perfect gouge results after a number of passes.
Plasma arc piercing
Piercing is successfully creating a perfect hole on the metal base. Switch on the trigger after placing the torch at 40 degrees to the metal base.
Once the air flow initiates followed by pilot arc and cutting arc, move the torch to 90 degrees against the metal and start piercing sharp holes. The thickness provided by the machine is deep and if half the thickness is penetrated, it is a job well done.
Cutting techniques that come in handy
Thick and thin materials
The most vital thing while using a plasma cutter is safety. The safety manual and instructions create awareness among the workers. Basic safety measures like –
This process involves very hot fumes, ultra violet rays, electricity and molten metal. Every precaution to keep oneself protected is essential.
Certain examinations like looking up the electrode tip, inspecting the space of shield and the metal piece that needs work will make the procedure easy.
The consumption life of the device could be increased by following the safety tips and owner’s manual.