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How to Use Plasma Cutters Safely and Effectively 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 could get 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 Though plasma cutting is not as bright as welding, you need to proceed like 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 location. Be familiar with your surroundings. Keep in mind that the heat and light can be strong, and you have to ensure your safety.
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In case you notice that your cuts are losing their sharpness, you may have to replace some or all of the parts that compose the cutting head. In most cases, this would 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. Select a current model with a convenient process for ordering parts. The Importance of Moisture Plasma cutters need clean, dry air in order to function properly. Moisture is the main culprit of parts losing efficiency and turning bad. There are some things you can do to delay the effects of moisture, and restrain it to a bare minimum. Have 25 to 30 feet of line between the air compressor and the moisture trap. The moisture trap will work much with the air having a chance to cool first. You can buy an air drier that uses silica gel to pull moisture from the air. In fact, get two – they are affordable. These may be installed at the compressor, as well as at the water trap to prolong the life of your consumables. The air driers themselves are going to be easier and cheaper to replace compared to the plasma cutter parts. Cutting Speed You have to cut at the correct 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 cutting too fast, the sparks move towards you. Relax and slow it down. The sparks and dross have to head to the floor. The Angle 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.