How to Wire a Plasma Cutter

What You'll Need
Voltage Checker

A plasma cutter is a device that uses energy to its advantage. It consists of a nozzle with two passages for gas and a central negative electrode for basic functioning. It is charged with electricity and remains closed to the metal to be cut. It generates a very hot spark when it starts cutting. Argon gas flows from the closest passage around the arc, which is really hot, and then causes the molecules to move at an extremely fast rate. This causes collision, and thus, a large amount of energy is released. In order to contain the unpredictable arc into a confined area, in a second passage flows a strong shielding gas. The plasma cutter builds a strong 30,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is capable of cutting pretty much anything. It is able to cut through seemingly-impenetrable sheets of metal like melted butter. Wiring a plasma cutter is not as tough as you may think it is. All it takes is some precision and safety precautions for your own sake.

Step 1 – Check the Receptacle

You need to check the receptacle and find out if it is plugged in. The voltage for each plasma cutter varies only just a bit. It could either be a 120 volt circuit with a white wire or a 240 volt circuit using the black and white as hot wires and the ground. This is easy to find out by simply checking the receptacle. After determining the kind of voltage, you need to move on to the second step, which is relatively easier.

Step 2 – Check Single-Phase Unit

If you are using a 240V single-phase unit (for instance: a NEMA 6-50P plug) and the center top wire (which looks green with a stripe) is your grounding wire inside the machine, then your single-phase unit it okay to go. You need to remember that blue and brown wires are the hot leads, and the green with the yellow strip is the safety ground. Do not confuse these wires while wiring your plasma cutter. Remember that the safety ground is a DIY term. It is for equipment grounding conductors, grounding conductors, or earthing. You can join these wires easily by following the instructions. Do not mistake one wire for the other. This could lead to massive sparks and even a fire.

Step 3 – Remember Voltages for Wiring

Several voltages need to be memorized for better wiring. Voltages 208 VAC 1 50 amps 70 amp, 240 VAC 1 43 amps 60 amp and 480 VAC 1 25 amps 35 amp go together. Mismatching of such current can lead to massive damage. Most settings are the same for American and Canadian plasma cutters. Most residential services in the US and Canada are 120/240v, so you need to use the 240V setting for wiring.

Step 4 – Tighten the Wires

Once the wiring is done, you need to tighten the wires together and leave them in a neat bundle. Make sure you do not forget the colors of the neutral ground and the safety ground.