Plasma cutting is a go-to method of slicing through materials to be used for various parts and applications. If you’re not familiar with the plasma cutting process in Phoenix, AZ, you may be wondering what types of material it is capable of cutting through, and what the biggest benefits of this type of cutting are when compared to other forms of cutting.
Here’s a brief overview of what you should know.
Plasma cutting is designed for applications in which the material to be cut conducts electricity. Therefore, it is commonly used for cutting materials like steel, stainless steel, brass, aluminum, copper and other metals.
This means plasma cutting will not be an option for cutting non-conductive materials, such as wood or glass. There are some rare exceptions for glass, as sheet metals can be placed in front of the glass to create an arc to melt through it, but the glass itself cannot be directly cut with the use of a plasma cutter, as neither it nor wood has the conductivity needed to create the electrical arc with the plasma torch.
The cutting capacity of a plasma cutter in terms of thickness will depend heavily on the amperage of the plasma system you’re using and the kind of material you wish to cut. For example, you should be able to cut steel and various non-ferrous metals of less than an inch in thickness with most plasma cutters, depending on the model you’re using. With lower-amperage plasma cutters, you might only be able to cut up to a quarter inch in thickness at a time.
If you’re working with greater thicknesses, you need to significantly boost the amperage of your cutter. Some professional-grade plasma cutters are capable of cutting up to 70 mm thick. Usually the manufacturer will provide information about the cutting speed for all thicknesses of metal, measured in inches per minute.
Choosing the cutter
You should make sure you have the right plasma cutter for the job, based in part on the thickness and the material you’re working with. Determine your cutting capacity requirements and the electrical capabilities of your workplace. This will influence whether you use a 110V or 220V cutter. You’re going to want to make sure you select a cutter that will result in a smooth, precise cut—look for models that are known to produce no slag, as this will mean greater precision and less cleanup for each job you take on.
You should also consider the safety equipment you need to purchase alongside each potential cutter. You should always have a welding mask, leather apron, closed-toe work shoes and flexible gloves to use when performing plasma cutting. The welding mask is especially crucial, as the process produces ultraviolet light, which can do lasting damage to unprotected eyes. The other safety equipment will protect you from sparks and metal droplets.
For more information about what you should know about plasma cutting in Phoenix, AZ, we encourage you to contact Metal Pro Inc. today.