The best plasma cutter is a great investment for DIY enthusiasts.
It is a process of cutting metal using ionized gas with an extremely high temperature. From stainless steel to aluminum, plasma cutting can effortlessly deal with a wide array of metals.To fully unlock the benefits of a plasma cutter, you need to invest in the right product. Consider the features to evaluate its performance. More so, you need to learn the right techniques.
If you want to use a plasma cutter like a pro
1. Start by Reading the Manual
If you go online, you will find tons of videos and articles detailing the proper use of a plasma cutter. While these are good general tips, it is best that you take the time to read the manual from the manufacturer. Different brands and models will have different requirements. It is best to follow what the maker suggests. Reading the manual might take time, but it is an important step.
2. Wear the Right Safety Gear
From exposure to UV light to thermal burn, plasma cutting is a risky job. It is crucial that you have the right protective gear. Use the right eyewear with a suitable shade. This will protect your eyes from the harmful light, fumes, and debris generated by the plasma cutter. You should also keep your shirt buttoned and avoid wearing loose clothing. It is also important that you wear flame-resistant clothes. Gloves are also must-haves.
3. Pick the Right Location
Choose a place where you can work freely. Plasma cutting is best done in an open and well-ventilated area, which will minimize the risks that are associated with the job. You should be somewhere there is freedom of movement, especially if you are working on a large piece. Plus, you should pick a level surface. This will help in keeping the metal stable, which will also make your work safer while improving precision. Having a fan on the work area is also a good idea, which will direct fumes away from your face.
4. Find the Correct Tip
You can use different tips for several jobs, but make sure that you pick one most suitable for a specific task. The correct tip must match the amperage settings. If there is a mismatch, the quality of the output is compromised. This is also a great way to save both time and money. In low-amperage tips, you will find a slower opening. This restricts plasma stream when you are working under a low setting.
5. Do Not Drag the Nozzle
As a beginner, one of the most common mistakes you might commit is dragging the nozzle on the material you are working on. This can result in overheating. With the exposure to too much heat, there is a higher possibility of nozzle damage. The right position of your hand is important to prevent dragging the gun. Use your one hand for holding the torch and use the other for supporting the material being cut.
6. Consistency is the Key
Plasma cutting requires consistency. You need to master the art of control. Maintain a constant travel speed. When you are cutting too fast, top spatter and splash-back can happen. On the other hand, when the cutting speed is too slow, there will be excessive dross on the backside. A good thing to do is to practice on the workpiece without pulling the trigger. This way, you can easily ensure that your hand is following a consistent speed and motion.
7. Trace the Path
Speaking of practicing, it is a must to trace the cutting path before you start with the job. This will provide a degree of familiarization, so when you are ready to cut, things will be a lot easier. Start and stop at the same spot. You might also want to make a sample cut at a smaller piece so that you will know how to do the actual work.
8. Check the Air Pressure
Aside from the right tools and techniques, the right air pressure is another crucial factor that will have an impact in plasma cutting. A consistent air pressure is necessary for accurate cuts. You need to find the right setting, which will depend on what the manufacturer recommends and check if there are leaks, which will affect airflow , its good idea to have a supply of clean and dry compressed air to optimize the outcome.
9. Maintain the Best Plasma Cutter
Over time, the plasma cutter suffers from a decline in performance, especially if you use it regularly. To maintain its peak functionality, pay attention to regular care and maintenance. This will not only improve cutting quality, but it also prolongs the functional life of the machine. Inspect the nozzle and consider a replacement if it has too much oxide residue. Check the electrode as well and make sure that there is no heavy pitting. Also, inspect the conductive joints and see to it they aren’t loose.
10. Change the Consumables
There are three main consumables that you will find in a best plasma cutter – cutting tip, electrode, and stand-off spring. They are also the parts of the machine that are easily exposed to heat and debris, which will eventually cause damage. Make sure to replace them accordingly. Choose the right replacements to be confident of the best quality. Go beyond the cost of the consumables as you decide what to purchase.
Even as a novce, you can achieve clean and accurate cuts. This is possible by doing the things above. The tips listed in this guide will help you use a plasma cutter like an expert.