If you have never owned a plasma cutter before so the whole experience of purchasing a gadget and using it for the first time will be a lot to take in. In this article, we will help you find out some specific features to check for while buying a plasma cutter to make sure you have a system that you will be satisfied with in the long run. This guide will help you tackle the question, How to Use a Plasma Cutter?
Second, we are going to take you through the whole process of taking the device out of the package to make the first cut safely.
What is a Plasma Cutter?
Plasma cutter is a mechanism typically used in metal processing shops that enables users to cut metal in whatever direction they choose. It is a mechanism that takes input power (110v or 220v) and processes it into a machine in a manner that helps you to cut almost every form of metal using a machine torch and create very accurate cuts. This unit is so valuable that a lot of people equate it to having a decent welder, if you get one, you are going to kick yourself so you can not purchase one faster.
Plasma cutters grant you the opportunity to look at any piece of metal and cut it to your taste in a really secure way. Plasma cutter is to metal working like a chainsaw is to hack down branches. Yeah, you can use other gadgets to finish the job, but the plasma cutter just does things a lot easier.
How much do I have to pay on a plasma cutter?
In the plasma cutter segment, paying a premium price for a big name machine transforms into a device with good efficiency, reliability, help for production and cutting quality. To be frank, there are some inexpensive machines out there that can render some really amazing cuts to thick 1/2" mild steel, but the issue is how long can they make such cuts before one of the poorly built parts on the machine falls down? If you stick to brand names like Miller, Hypertherm and Lincoln, you can purchase with certainty that your device can last for several years, even under heavy use.
That being said, not everybody is searching for a skilled grade unit, and there are a number of affordable substitutes that can be of great use. If you are a weekend warrior who is only trying to introduce a simple plasma cutter to your discount store, there is a ton of fantastic choices out there for less than $1000. Take a peek at our links below and see what machines we are suggesting.
What does the arc mean? Do I need it for that?
Almost all quality plasma cutters have the so-called Pilot Arc. This ensures that you can create a cut with the plasma cutter torch without applying the tip of the torch to the metal. Usually, by utilizing a Pilot Arc unit, the tip of the torch is scarcely separated from the metal, which makes for easier cuts and enhances the existence of the consumables on your cutting torch. This functionality also allows cutting extended steel even faster and cleaner.
Non Pilot Arc machines are normally cheaper machines that would enable you to hit the tip of the torch on a piece of metal to create a break. This will really do a number on your consumables, and it is not worth the additional few bucks saved in the long run. We suggest that you only spend your money in a Pilot Arc enabled device.
What are the consumables? How much do I have to repair them?
Consumables are sections of the torch of the plasma cutter that can wear out with time after multiple cuts have been made. There are different forms of consumables on your torch, such as shields, deflectors, seals, nozzles, electrodes, and swirl circles. Each of these modules has a varying life cycle based on how you use the device. Luckily, the retailer offers consumable packages with all the pieces you need in one compact package. You just take the nozzle out of your torch, patch the component that is worn out, and get back to work. It is really easy to disassemble. These consumable kits contain the right amount of each component depending on what appears to be worn out the fastest. Usually, these kits cost you about $125 and can hold the typical weekend warrior up and going for about 8-14 months based on how often they use their unit.
What protection devices do I require in order to use a plasma cutter?
When it comes to dealing with a plasma cutter, it is important to remember that this equipment will inflict significant injuries when operated improperly. However, the plasma cutter is a secure instrument to use with basic protective equipment and safety laws.
Here's some protective gear that we are suggesting
How to Use a Plasma Cutter – The proper way
When cutting metal, much of all the sparks and liquid metals would go to the surface. However, when you start cutting for the first time, there is still a risk that the metal will spray up before the plasma has absolutely penetrated into the slice of metal you are cutting. People typically call this "blow back." This is usually the case for heavier metal which only lasts for a fraction of a second. But the sparks are always big enough to burn through your cloths and on your head. That is why safety equipment is really necessary.
Steel toe boots are also a good recommendation if you are going to sever heavy metal parts. You do want to see when the metal is going to go after you make a cut to avoid injuries and burns. However, as in other methods, often other considerations prevent us from understanding this and incidents happen. My steel toe boots have rescued me a lot of times from circumstances like this.
Now I know some of you reading this are blue collar guys who are going to laugh at half of the stuff on this list and say, "I do not need all that. Just send me a helmet and some gloves." Yeah, that was me before I began. And guess what, after having dripped hot steel, my untied boots burnt my foot, my damn hair nearly caught fire, holes in 90 percent of my chisel job shirts, and metal bits falling and fracturing my toes, I have found that using this protection equipment is worth every penny. So do what you want, but I think the protection equipment is worth every cent. And do not neglect to never cut without eye safety.
What protection risks do I need to be conscious of?
Harm to the eyes: Security of the eyes is mandatory. Find a nice plasma helmet for yourself. I suggest a completely covered mask over the goggles purely because it sucks metal sparks in the ears. I really enjoy being able to flip my helmet out of the way when I am not cutting. Know that these devices will do significant harm to the eyes if you do not use eye protection. Just make aware that if your friends are in your shop supporting you, they would also have eye safety if they watch you cut.
Flammable liquids/items Around the Cutting Region
This is a really large one. A number of people work in garages that are full of products and chemicals that we have packed around our workbench. There may be stuff like brake cleaner, grease, petrol, carbohydrate cleaner, spare rags, etc. All of these things are really risky. Continuous sparks can set these stuff on fire, and you will not even feel it burning when you are cutting your mask on. Please take this one very seriously, since it is a severe threat. Be sure you have a safe, non-flammable cutting area and a fire extinguisher just in case.
Metal Drop Bits
We have already discussed everything, so be cautious where the bits land as you make the cuts. Do not let heavy metal bits reach your legs, legs, or plasma line of torch.
Handling the metal until it is sliced
A couple of the first timers do not know that the metal is incredibly hot until they cut it. So bear in mind that even though your gloves have been cut, metal will burn you (especially smaller pieces). Offer it time to cool off before you pick it up. If you need to pick it up when it is hot, use a couple of vice-grips.
What tools do I need to operate my plasma cutter in my shop?
Right Power Hookup For Your Device: Depending on the device, these may be 110v or 220v. You would still need to make sure that if you are operating 220v, the socket on the unit suits the outlet you have got.
Compressor of air
Plasma cutters need an air compressor to work (unless your machine has one built in). You are going to require constant air pressure to create cuts. If you have a tiny compressor, you can have to wait for the compressor to be refilled between the cuts.
What kind of compressor do I require for my plasma cutter?
Many consumers utilize a moisture filter that guarantees that their compressor transmits clear dry air to the plasma. This would improve the life of your device and is suggested. Currently, they can be bought for around $50.
Grinder or wire wheels
If you cut metal with paint on it, you may want to grind bare metal down the surface of the wounds. Paint will catch fire when you are cutting and become harmful. Although this is not necessary, I typically do so because it makes my cut line more noticeable. If I draw my line on paint and it begins to flame, I lose my line of break.
How am I going to cut with a plasma cutter?
Hopefully, this guide will address your question, How to Use a Plasma Cutter? I know it is thrilling to have a new gadget, and I decided to create a tutorial to get people up and running as soon as possible. Personally, I think that a reliable plasma cutter is a vital tool for everyone interested with metal processing. They save you a lot of time and really free up your choices when it comes to constructing just about anything metal-related. I hope you liked this guide and thank you for reading it!