How to Make a Plasma Cutter System Cost-Effective

Image Soure: Youtube.com

Image Soure: Youtube.com

A welder should consider what type of plasma arc cutter is convenient to use. He may be considering reducing expenses and saving time that the cutting speed and efficiency are the things he will be looking for in a cutter. Below are some tips on choosing a plasma cutter.

  • Consider if the work is for mass production or only for a limited amount of metals.

Whether the cutter is used for massive or small quantities of metals, it should provide a continuous work. A single interruption can make the product unclean. To make the work smooth and continuous, one has to make sure that there is nothing that blocks the work place. One should be able to freely move around while doing the cut.

Computer numerical controlled (CNC) cutters can provide more precise and quality cuts even on large quantities of metals.

  • Consider the cutter’s portability.

If the welder is a hobbyist who needs to frequently move from place to place, portability will be of importance. Automated cutters that are used in factories or industrialized settings are necessary to stay in place. There would be no problem using automated cutters as these can work based on the entered design on the computer while the metal is clamped tightly.

  • Look for someone who understands the computer software.

If the welder is knowledgeable in operating CNCs, then it would help him cut costs; he will not be hiring an expert anymore. Manual cutters do not require expertise or specialization on cutting metals.

The operator can be exposed to fumes, radiation, and chemical reactions in using a manually operated cutter; therefore, more safety precautions are to be employed while manually cutting metals. Unlike automated cutters with the software doing the work, manual cutters require the operator to have a good vision to do precise cutting.

The aforementioned are just general tips when choosing a plasma arc cutter. The following should give the operator more details on choosing which gas is suitable for the metals that are to be cut, what are the specific things to look for in and which accessories go with the cutter.

Compressed gas or gases, which pass through the cutter nozzle’s orifice, should be suitable for the type and thickness of metal to be cut. It should, therefore, be regarded as a contributing factor in the overall cost of plasma arc cutting. To keep a workpiece from going to waste, he must prevent unwanted chemical reactions to take place on the metal.

Here are the commonly used gases with a plasma cutter:

  • Oxygen, an odourless but combustible element, is used to cut fast the carbon steels and mild metals. It is not recommended for aluminium and stainless steel, however, as they do not easily oxidize or form rust.
  • Nitrogen, the most abundant gas in the atmosphere, can be used to cut thin layers of aluminium and stainless steel, but is ideal for a short duration of plasma cutting.
  • Air, a combination of oxygen and nitrogen, is a cheap source of gas since it is abundant in nature. If it is free from particulates, and other contaminants, it can be used for cutting mild steels. It can make a metal porous due to oxidation and nitridation, however. Both are forms of corrosion that can weaken the metal’s structure.
  • Argon-hydrogen, the hottest plasma gasses, can pierce thick metals; however, this mixture is the most expensive.

One is not limited to choosing only a single gas flow of these gases. Many industries employ dual or multiple gas flows in their plasma system to require no further polishing as there will be more efficiency in cutting metals. Almost all of these are combustible when subjected to extremes of temperature that it is important to make the workplace free from combustibles or explosives.

Parts of a Plasma Torch:

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  • The heat shield is the protective part of the tip of the torch. It protects the inner parts of the torch from external contaminants.
  • The nozzle is where the plasma arc goes out. If the nozzle’s orifice has widened or has become oval, it is time to change that part or the whole consumable. Otherwise, the kerf, or the width the cutter makes on the metal, will be compromised. This will mean low quality or unclean work.
  • The electrode is the one that carries current. It is made up of copper, silver, or other recommended conductive material that can produce the arc with the tungsten or hafnium. It would be wise to replace the whole consumable if the tungsten or hafnium is worn out.
  • The swirl ring is where the gas is channelled through. The gas needs to flow in a spiral direction so as not to burn the nozzle or piece. The aim is to create plasma through the proper flow of gas.

In General:

Plasma torch and plasma system’s quality need to be checked regularly. The quality of cuts will depend on the quality of plasma torch, suitability of gas on the metal, and the continuity of cutting.

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