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 can achieve 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 Above All
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 secure area. Know your environment. Remember that the heat and light can be great, and you should ensure your safety.
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Each time you notice that your cuts are losing their sharpness, you might need to change some or all of the components of the cutting head. Usually, this could consist of a heat shield, contact tip, insulators, nozzle, and offset tool. It’s essential that you check the availability of such consumables when you buy your plasma cutter. Get a new model with a hassle-free process for ordering parts.
The Importance of Moisture
Plasma cutters require clean, dry air to operate well. Moisture is the main culprit of parts losing efficiency and turning 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 more efficiently if the air has an opportunity to cool first.
Buy an air drier that makes use of silica gel to bring out moisture from the air. Have two in fact – they are inexpensive. 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 going to be easier and cheaper to replace compared to 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. Among the best signs is the direction of the sparks while you’re cutting. If you cut too quickly, the sparks move towards you. You should take it slow. The sparks and dross have to head to the floor.
Often, you would hold the plasma cutter at 90-degree angle to what you are cutting. Reaching the end of a cut, pull the angle up a bit to make for a beautifully smooth end of cut. Dross on the underside of your cut can be addressed with a small file.