I. What Metals Can You Cut with a Plasma Cutter?
Before you purchase a plasma cutter, you must know the metals it can cut. Simply put, a plasma cutter is a device that cuts different electrically conductive materials.
It, therefore, means that a plasma cutter can cut metals like aluminum, brass, steel, stainless steel, copper, and any other conductive material.
II. How To Cut Metal With A Plasma Cutter
Before you start using a plasma cutter, ensure you wear eye shields and protective clothing.
More so, check out every consumable such as the gas baffle, nozzle, and the electrode. These parts might wear out when in use; thus, make a replacement where necessary.
Moreover, always go through the manufacturer’s manual. And still, have safety precautions at your fingertips. Consult the company if you have a question.
2) Step-by-step Guide
Step 1: Ensure the working location is clean
This means getting rid of grinding debris or dust. Failure to do so, then, the cooling fan will absorb these elements, which might lead to severe damage to your plasma cutter.
Step 2: Ensure the work surface is stable enough
Since using a plasma cutter is risky, you want to ensure the working surface is firm. For instance, you can use some metal clamps to secure the metal that you want to cut.
Step 3: Plug-in your plasma cutter
Before you plug in the device, ensure its power is off.
Step 4: Fix the air compressor
Some plasma cutters do not come with air compressors. In such a case, you should fix an external compressor to your tool.
Step 5: Switch on the air compressor
After connecting the compressor, switch it on.
Step 6: Fix the ground clamp
As a component of a plasma cutter, the ground clamp is very important. It protects the user and plasma cutter itself.
Fix the clamp near to the section you want to cut.
Step 7: Switch on the plasma cutter
Once you attach the clamp, the next step is to switch on the plasma cutter. The on and off switch is located at the back of the unit. Just flip the switch towards the ON side.
Step 8: Set the amperage
You should set up the amperage to the maximum.
Step 9: Cut your desired metal
Before you cut, ensure the nozzle end is on the edge of your base metal. To begin the arc, you should push the trigger. Bend over to gently move the cutter over the metal. Use the guide around the nozzle if you have some templates.
Step 10: Turn the machine off
Once you have cut your metal, turn the device off.
Step 11: Unfix the ground clamp
Besides switching off the machine, you should unfix the ground clamp too.
Step 12: Switch off the air compressor
Rotate the lever at 90-degrees to switch the air off.
Step 13: Allow the cutter to cool down before you wind up the hoses
When you switch the air off, give the cutter some time to cool down. The post-flow air can take around 20 to 30 seconds when you release the trigger.
Once the torch has cooled down, wind up the hoses. Then warp up your ground line, airline and plasma cutter.
For cutting the arc, corner, and beveling, an extended tip is ideal. Such a tip protrudes at least half or one inch more than the retaining cup.
Hence the user can reach into corners because they can easily direct how the plasma cutter flows.
For anyone whose hands are not steady enough, they should use circle cutting guides and roller guides. The guides will hold the cutter in positions to keep a constant standoff height.
If you want to remove faulty or old welds, a gouging tip is ideal. The gouging tip has a hole that is 3 to 4 times broader than the regular tip.
Further, it is cone shaped. Thus, it can push out a plasma arc to remove as much material as possible.
Q. Can I cut stainless steel with a plasma cutter?
Q. What temperature does a plasma cutter cut at?
A. A plasma cutter cuts at a temperature starting from 16,650
Degrees Celsius to more than 20,000 degrees Celsius. The temperature is high enough to melt whatever metal you want, hence cutting into or through it.
Q. Can a plasma cutter cut aluminum?
Q. Is plasma cutting fumes dangerous?
A. Yes, plasma cutting fumes are dangerous; and these are some of the reasons.
Hexavalent chromium is a compound formed whenever any metal heats at high temperatures. When inhaled, the mixture can increase the chances of getting cancer such as lung cancer.
Further, the compound can lead to skin sores and irritation if it meets naked skin.
Also, other metals such as aluminum, titanium, and iron can irritate your throat, nose, and eyes. Some like manganese and lead can damage your brain and nerves.
I’m Tim Miller, an automotive mechanic, and blogger from Denver, Colorado. I’m the founder of autozik.com, an automotive blog about garage tools. My fan page is facebook.com/autozikcom.
I’ve had over ten years’ experience in car repair and using tools at workshops. Some of my articles can be found on my website autozik.com