How to Use a Plasma Cutter

What You'll Need
Welding clothes
Face mask
Work gloves

The plasma cutter is a great machine used to cut through solid pieces. Even if you are using it for the first time it will prove to be an easy tool to work with. Read on to find out more.

Step 1 – Safety First

There are several safety precautions that have to be taken while dealing with a plasma cutter. You need to wear appropriate welding cloths and eye protection. Wearing work gloves and a face mask is mandatory.

Step 2 – Caution

Before you start off with the plasma cutting process you need to understand the potential effects. Understand that the cutting will result in high level of noise, fumes, high temperature and ultraviolet radiation. You will also at some point be dealing with molten metal.

Step 3 – Picking the Right Cutter

If you are doing it for the first time, make sure to buy the friendlier version. New designs are intelligent and do not require you to manually change pressure. Lesser the manual adjustment the better it is.

Step 4 – Knowing the Thickness

Before you start using the cutter you need to measure the thickness of the metal that needs to be cut. Depending on that choose your cutter. For instance a 375 spectrum can cut 3/8 inches of steel.

Step 5 – Connecting to Power Source

The input power is a key consideration while working with a plasma cutter. Generally, plasma cutters work with various input powers like 1 phase, 3 phase, 50 Hz, 60 Hz. Make sure you insert the power cord to the right plug.

Step 6 – Placing the Metal

Place the metal that needs to be cut on a flat surface. It would be advisable to keep it on a wooden table. Make sure there is no flammable substance around your work area.

Step 7 – Working with the Torch

At this point you start working with the torch. Hold the torch of the plasma cutter close to the metal surface. Pulling the trigger will start the pilot arch.

Step 8 – Moving the Torch

After the trigger is pulled move the torch to start the cutting arc. Make sure that it is penetrating through the metal's bottom. Hold the torch in a perpendicular position and move it around the metal.

Step 9 – Judging the Speed

While the torch moves you can judge whether or not you are doing it right. If you do not see sparks below the metal, it means that the speed of the plasma cutter is not accurate. It is also an indication that the metal hasn't been penetrated.

Step 10 – Fixing Speed Issues

You can fix this speed issue by making minor adjustments. Make sure that you have enough output amperage and minimize travel speed of the equipment.

Step 11 – The Finishing Cut

It is important to get the finishing cut right. When you reach the finishing point, the torch should be angled. Or another method is to pause when u reach the last bit, and then proceed with the cutting.

Step 12 – Cooling Stage

After the final cut the cutter has to be put away. Hold on for a few seconds for it to cool off a bit. Then place it on a non-combustible surface. Generally plasma cutters come with a cool off system. This automatically cools the cutter within a few seconds.