Tips for Cutting With a Plasma Cutter
From marine salvage to metal fabrication and beyond, plasma cutting has quite a few industrial uses. Plasma cutting is a powerful, precise method of slicing through metal, so beginners must learn a few key tips before trying it out themselves. Before embarking on your first attempt, familiarize yourself with these essential tips for cutting with a plasma cutter.
Only Use High-Quality Equipment
Plasma cutting creates impressively precise designs. However, if you want the best results, you need to find the gear to match. Use high-quality cutters, consumables, and other essential gear from reliable vendors and manufacturers. Buying your gear from shady sources or lackluster brands will be reflected in your finished product. That said, even if you buy high-quality gear, retaining that quality relies on proper handling and maintenance.
For instance, if you don’t have a suitable storage area for consumables or the cutter itself, both will accrue avoidable damage, resulting in a worse result when the project is all said and done. Likewise, if you’re not swapping out nozzles when necessary, your cuts will be less consistent.
Always Study the Manual
Reading the manual is a must for any welding machine, and plasma cutters are no different. Every plasma cutter is unique, even if they serve the same basic function. Inside a plasma cutter’s user’s manual, you can find specifications regarding air pressure, consumables, preventative safety measures, and basic handling techniques. Just because you know the ropes regarding plasma cutters doesn’t mean you’re a pro with every individual machine. Although novices don’t always see the value initially, even veteran plasma cutter specialists must read the user’s manual when working with new equipment. It’s easy to find great plasma cutter machines, but it’s gear that requires a knowledgeable individual at the helm to get the job done right.
Be Wary of Dragging
A novice mistake you should definitely avoid is excessive dragging. It’s one of the must-know tips for cutting with a plasma cutter, without a doubt. Although it’s a common mistake for newcomers to make, avoid dragging at all costs because it will cut down the lifespan of consumables. Plus, dragging an unshielded nozzle creates an overall worse cut because you’re exposing the nozzle to way too much heat. A great way to prevent dragging is with a nifty drag shield; they give you a way to balance the nozzle and keep it at a good distance from the workpiece. The common rule of thumb with plasma cutter nozzles is to keep a 1/8-inch standoff distance while working.