Whether you're a shipyard worker building cargo ships or an artist working to turn your current vision into a steel masterpiece, you might use plasma cutting at a certain point in your process.
Plasma cutting has become so popular worldwide because it's intended for faster and more accurate cutting. Every day, you probably use some products that were actually created in part with plasma cutting without you knowing it.
Curious to know what plasma cutting is and how it works? Dive deeper into this article and read about plasma cutters that you can use in your metalwork.
More About Plasma Cutter
To fully comprehend how a plasma cutter works, it is necessary to understand the fundamentals. To begin, let us define plasma.
What Is Plasma?
There are several ways that a gas can be turned into plasma, but they all involve pumping it with full energy. A spark is indeed a very efficient energy source in this particular instance. When you transfer compressed gasses through a huge spark, the gas ionizes and becomes plasma.
How to Use Plasma Cutter Machine?
You may be wondering if gas can cut through metal, right? Well, a plasma cutter with a machine torch can reach a mind-boggling 40,000°F almost rapidly. A plasma stream can easily pass through most metals at around that temperature.
Most plasma cutting systems are known to be composed of three components:
- Power Supply. It's in charge of maintaining the plasma arc active during the cutting process.
- The arc starting console (ASC). A device that generates a spark inside the plasma torch, resulting in the formation of the plasma arc.
- Plasma torch. The one that provides the synchronization required for precision cutting.
Plasma cutters cut metals by sending air or pressurized gas through a plasma torch, creating an electrical arc that pushes the plasma through the torch tip, cutting the metal. It also has settings for determining how much power is required to cut conductive metal. Plasma cutters are not only effective, but they are also a simple, safe, and clean method of cutting metal.
The breakthrough in technology advances the capability of plasma cutters. These tools are classified into two types which are manual plasma cutters and mechanized plasma cutters.
Manual cutters are typically hand-held, smaller tools that make cutting more portable and convenient. Despite their small size, they still deliver high-cutting amperage, but they are typically used for cutting or trimming light metals.
On the other hand, mechanized plasma cutters are used on larger-scale jobs because they have more features and demand a higher power supply to operate. Tables are typically cut with a mechanized plasma cutter.
Certain attributes of the material to be cut must be determined, like the thickness and size, to know which of these two you will use. Meanwhile, some retailers offer the combination of these two to be used for both plasma cutting and welding.
The Best Plasma Cutter Machines for You
Below are some of the best plasma cutter machines that you might want to have in your possession:
S7 Plasma Cutter 50A Inverter DC Inverter 110/220V Dual Voltage Cutting Machine
This plasma cutter welding machine from S7 Store includes free accessories such as a cutting torch, a high-quality air regulator, a power plug adaptor, and an earth clamp to keep everything in place. Since it is portable, it falls into the category of the manual cutter. It can cut stainless steel, alloy steel, and copper up to a maximum thickness of 20 millimeters.
The technical specifications include:
- 90 to 260 volts/50 to 60 Hertz power voltage
- 85 to 100% duty cycle
- ½-inch of maximum rated clean-cut thickness
- ¾-inch maximum severance thickness
- Has a handle for portability
- Very simple and easy to use
- It can be set up quickly
- Cut through rough, rusted, and painted metals
- Safe to use
- Very affordable
- It does not include a special tape or a standard air compressor
- The regulator's thread holes may be loose so double-check it before use
- It takes a few seconds to turn off before it completely shuts down
- The included manual is ineffective since instructions aren't clear
Amico CUT-50 Plasma Cutter Machine
A sibling of the Amico plasma cutter machine CUT-60HF, the Amico Power CUT-50 is a newly designed machine with an adjustment feature attached to the front while the filter is located inside. This improved model is much more handy and user-friendly. The CUT-50 Plasma Cutter is a new digitally controlled 15 to 50-amp plasma cutter with innovative inverter technologies. Such technology also increases cutting performance designed for major portable repairs and small business project use. Cut-50 cuts a thickness of ¾-inch and has a maximum severance thickness of 1-inch.
The technical specifications are the following:
- AC 100-250V/50-60Hz power source
- 60% at 50 amps duty cycle
- 89% efficiency rate
- 0.93 power factor
- Clean, dry, oil-free air gas supply
- 30-75 PSI gas pressure range
- It has a built-in fan cooling system
- It has protection against over- and under-voltage
- The grip is heat- and impact-resistant
- It produces a cleaner cut
- The arc board could easily crack
- It consumes more power than usual because of the cooling fan
Hypertherm Powermax30 XP
Hypertherm's new Powermax30 XP provides efficiency even in a small, portable package. The Hypertherm system's dual design offers high-power functionality for larger-scale applications and fine-cut consumables for thin metals. It includes a custom carry case, shaded glasses, cutting gloves, and adapter plugs for 120 or 240 volts circuits and is intended to help you cut quickly and easily. This machine cuts up to 16 millimeters.
Hypertherm Powermax30 XP includes the following technical specifications:
- 15 to 30 output current
- 35% at 240 volts or 20% at 120 volts duty cycle
- Clean dry oil-free air gas supply
- Lightweight and portable
- Heat- and impact-resistance
- Simple to use
- Comes with a strap for easy portability
- Can cut through any metal
- When used frequently and for an extended period, its plastic water separator wears out
LOTOS LTP5000D 50-Amp Non-Touch Pilot Arc Plasma Cutter
The LTP5000D non-touch pilot arc plasma cutter from Lotos can give you the best plasma cutting experience. It cuts efficiently even on rusty, rough, and painted surfaces. In addition, you will notice a very minimal slug after cutting the material, giving you a cleaner output. This plasma can also perform a ¾-inch maximum severance cut.
It also boasts a 50-amp digital inverter and an automatic dual voltage feature. In addition, it has a PAPST advanced German cooling system.
LOTOS LTP5000D includes the following technical specifications:
- 220 volts 50/60 Hz power, or 110 volts 50/60 Hz with the use of a pigtail
- ½-inch maximum rated clean-cut thickness
- 10 to 50 amps DC output
- 15 x 6 x 12 inches and weighs 19.4 pounds
- Very durable and can last longer than expected with proper care
- Can perform well in massive industrial projects to fine art
- Functions as advertised
- May produce a very weak arc
- Might contain a weak grounding wire
- Not so good machine build
What Do They Have in Common?
High-performing plasma cutters like the ones on our list provide high-quality cuts at a fast rate, lowering the costs affiliated with overtime and defects. Below are some of the most notable advantages of using the three machines and why they must be considered for your project.
Speed of Cutting
The three machines can cut any steel of any thickness twice as fast as other cutting materials. In fact, the speed can be up to 12 times faster for thinner metals. Surely, a quick metal cutting can lead to an increase in production.
The machines that made the list are electrically charged high-temperature gas to melt and blow away the metal debris from the cut. This feature makes the cut more precise and clean.
There Is No Plate Warping
Because a plasma cutter doubles the speed of cutting such metals, it can prevent plates or metals from warping due to heat, as opposed to other cutting materials. Other plasma cutters cut slowly and are more prone to warping the metal being cut.
The three machines can easily cut such a pile of numerous metallic materials because it has high-definition features.
Maintaining Their Quality
Appropriate plasma cutter maintenance is essential for ensuring the cutting quality, a longer life, and avoiding downtime. Since the three machines in the list are dependent on hardware and software systems, routine maintenance should be performed by professionals. In addition, proper training of machine maintenance operators avoids minor issues. Such issues can lead to major problems, causing the machine to shut down completely.
Take note that these machines are extremely complex tools. Unlike other simple mechanical machines, they will not keep running simply by just greasing their gears. The following is a list of maintenance steps that you or your operator should perform weekly:
Examine All of the Hoses
Hose inspection is critical, especially after each use. This inspection is conducted to see if any outside insulation has been cut to be replaced right away.
Performing a Gas Leak Test
It is critical to do this at least every week to ensure that there are no gas leaks. Some machines come with an autogas system capable of running an automatic gas leak.
Checking the Coolant Flow
Inspection of coolant flow is extremely crucial because insufficient coolant supply can end up causing the torch to overheat. Contact maintenance professionals if the flow rate has dropped below the recommended levels.
The Power Supply Should Be Cleaned
Always double-check for any electrical power that's been detached before turning on the power supply. Remove the cover and blow away the dust particles with a vacuum or compressed air, as metal dust can damage the internal components.
Check the Alignment of the Rails, Gears, and Bearings
Misalignment of these components can cause the drive motors to drag. This problem can also lead to accidents and production delays.
The Torch Leads Should Be Cleaned
A high voltage current runs through the leads when a plasma arc starts. If this current comes into contact with any metal dust, the energy is dissipated, and the arc is blocked. It can cause any form of malfunction. That's why it is important to inspect the torch leads before using them and to remove any metal dust as soon as possible.
Clean the Torch Body
When you take the torch out of its tube, you may notice a lot of burn marks, cracks, and even traces of molten metals. They can be removed using compressed air and a soft cotton swab on the inside.
A plasma cutter machine is one of the most versatile and powerful tools you can have in your workshop. With the ability to quickly and accurately cut through conductive metals, a plasma cutter can help you finish your projects well ahead of schedule.
So if you’re looking for a tool that can make you more efficient in the workshop, consider investing in a good plasma cutter.
Do you want to know more about welding and plasma cutters? Explore Welding Buddy now! We have exciting information that will satisfy your welding queries.