Hi-Tech Blog

Guidelines For Selecting Plasma Cutting Machines

by on Jul.24, 2010, under Mechanics

In simplest terms, plasma cutting is the process of cutting any electrically conductive metal by using high velocity of ionized gas which is delivered from a nozzle. The high pressured ionized gas which becomes the plasma, conducts electricity from the plasma cutting torch to the work piece. The plasma while coming into contact with the work piece heats and melts the material. Thus the metal pieces are cut smoothly. As plasma cutting is perfect for cutting steel and non-ferrous material, it is widely used in industries as well as by amateurs.

When you are planning to buy a plasma cutting machine, certain guidelines should be essentially followed. One of the main factors to consider is the thickness of the metal that you are cutting. Generally the plasma cutters are rated on their cutting ability and amperage. If you are cutting metal with considerably less thickness, you must consider a lower amperage plasma cutter. Likewise, you must use higher amperage machines for thicker metals. Even though the smaller amperage cutter would be capable of cutting metals of any thickness, the quality would be lacking in thicker metal cuts. The optimal cutting speed of the machine should also be considered before purchasing the cutter. A machine with high amperage would cut the metal much faster than one with low amperage.

In most plasma cutters, the pilot arc conducts high frequency electricity through the air. This electricity would interfere with computers or other equipments. So it would be better to select lift arc method that eliminates the problems of high frequency starting circuits. The plasma cutting torches consists of a number of plasma cutting consumables that would require replacement. It is recommended that a machine with lesser consumable would be long lasting and cost effective.

While purchasing plasma cutters, it would be good to make test cuts with many machines and check the quality of each cut. Here, you must look for a cutter that would offer a tight focused arc. Another quality checking method is to lift the plasma torch from the plate during cutting and check how far you can move while maintaining an arc. Generally when the pilot arc is brought close to the work metal, a transfer occurs from pilot arc to cutting arc. A plasma cutter that provides a quick, positive transfer from pilot to cutting arc at large transfer height would the best choice for getting better support during cutting.

One of the main things to be noted is the working visibility of the machine. While you are tracing a pattern, it is essential to see what you are cutting. A plasma cutting torch which is smaller and less bulky would be the best to provide working visibility. Portability is yet another thing to be noted. It is always better to go for a light weight, portable cutting machine. The most important thing is ensuring the safety features of the machine. It is highly suggested that you must buy a machine with nozzle-in-place safety sensor. This sensor makes sure that the machine won’t start unless the nozzle is in place. It is also good to look for a machine that would provide a pre-flow sequence.

Gavin Bone is an author for Plasma Cutter. He has written articles Welder. For information visit our site mig welders.

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