There are many ways that you can cut various types of materials with plasma torches. One way is to learn a plasma cutting guide, which will help you achieve high-quality cuts for your project. Here are some tips.
1. Material Thickness.
There are three types of plasma cutting guides: double-channeled, single-channeled and flat. The first two are the best options, but very often they cannot be used for thick materials. This is because although these tubes can withstand high temperatures, it also depends on how much gas pressure is applied to them. For thicker materials, the flat cutting guide will be your best option. There is also something called CNC plasma cutting, which is more advanced than the traditional cutting method.
2. Cut Quality.
This depends on how well the plasma cutting guide is made. It also depends on how much time you invest in learning to use it properly and, of course, the material thickness factors into this as well. The quality of the cut can be determined by how smooth or rough the surface of the cut is. When using a plasma cutting guide, it’s best not to use too much pressure on the material, or else it would reflect in the final cut quality. Cuts made with CNC plasma cutting would obviously be a lot smoother and cleaner. This is because CNC plasma cutting is computer-operated and requires a lot less manual labor.
3. Angle of Material to Guide Tubes.
When you are using a double or single-channeled plasma cutting guide, make sure that the material is flush with the tube. If it sticks up or between tubes, it will affect how well you can cut the material. Also, when using this type of guide system, angle your torch in front of you at about 60 degrees downward and 25 degrees to the side (to prevent arc blow). The reason behind this is that there is an area slightly above these tubes where if sparks fly into this area they lose energy before reaching your material; therefore affecting results.
4. Distance Between Material and Tube Tip.
If you’re looking for high-quality cuts with portability, plasma cutting is a good way to start. Plasma torch cutting guides are available in different lengths, ranging from 12 inches all the way up to 48 inches long. You can choose what works best for your needs.
5. Using this method on thinner materials.
The arc of the plasma torch will not be able to melt thick pieces of metal or carbon steel because it requires huge amounts of energy input–about 3 amps at 40 CFH (cubic feet per hour)–to generate enough heat for arc stability. Also, if you’re trying to cut through very thin material, consider using a laser cutter because plasma cutting torches are not designed to cut thin material. Laser cutters are small, portable, and can cut through thin material.
6. Don’t forget the other accessories.
When you order your plasma cutting guide, also ask for the gas nozzle and lens cleaner so that you’ll be able to always keep them clean. The nozzle is important because it brings compressed gases into the torch head where they are met with high heat, which helps form the plasma arc. Without this nozzle, your torch will not be able to make a cut.
7. Tools of the trade.
When you use a plasma cutting guide, there are a couple of tools that can help you achieve better results: a clamp and a roller stand. A clamp is important because it allows you to secure your material in place before cutting begins. This minimizes vibrations and prevents the warping of materials once they’re cut. The roller stand assists in aligning the tip of the plasma head with the tube, as well as straightening out any intersecting lines, so that cuts can be achieved cleanly and evenly across lengthwise and width-wise cuts. Once again, these two items would be extra.
8. Plasma cutting is not advisable.
When you are using a plasma cutter, make sure not to cut through the material in too many passes because this will affect results. It’s also best to avoid deep cuts–it’s better for esthetical purposes to make shallow cuts with fewer pass-throughs than deeper cuts that require more work and less time-saving. This is because although you can save time by making deeper cuts, they are hard to achieve without warping the metal piece being cut. And if you’re trying to achieve clean lines on your pieces, go for shallower cuts with just one or two passes through the material rather than making deep ones. Machines are generally learning fast and understanding the concept and how it could propel your business towards future success is critical
9. Not all metals are recommended for plasma cutting.
Because of its high heat input, it is not advisable to use plasma to cut non-ferrous metal. Because it doesn’t conduct electricity well, there is a chance that you will lose control of the arc and cause an accident. Unless you have enough experience with plasma cutters, stick with ferrous metal materials like steel or iron when making cuts.
10. Working with the right gas.
When it comes to gases, there are two types that you can use for plasma cutting: compressed air and nitrogen. Compressed air is recommended because it’s easier on your machine. Although some manufacturers recommend using compressed nitrogen instead, keep in mind that this type of gas is more expensive than compressed air.
11. Be safe and smart when working with plasma cutters.
Because of their high heat generation, plasma cutters should only be used in well-ventilated areas so that gases can escape and lower the risk of fire and explosions. Keep this in mind when planning where you will be working with your plasma cutter. You need to be safe and smart when working with them.
Lastly, plasma cutters should only be used by experienced professionals who know how to control heat properly. Because it is a very high heat source, you should only use the machine if you are confident that you can handle it well. Otherwise, leave it to experts, or else accidents may happen.
12. Be patient and practice makes perfect.
Don’t expect that you’ll be able to achieve an excellent finish right away. Plasma cutting is all about patience and trial and error. The more you’re exposed to it, the better your results will be.
As with any kind of new equipment or tool, plasma cutters present a steep learning curve, so don’t give up on it if you don’t get it on the first try. As always, stay safe and have proper working gear, so you don’t have any problems.