When you have decided what plasma cutter suits your cutting requirements the best, you can follow some of these steps to get the best cuts from your plasma cutting machine. In the first part of a two-part series we look at how you can extract the most from your plasma cutting table.
You must ensure that the compressed air is clean without any oil or water. If the plate has any black marks due to burning or the consumables wear out very quickly, this indicates air contamination. Check if the air pressure is correct and the electrode and nozzle are in place. The connection between the lead and the workpiece must be good.
When using your plasma cutter, you should follow the basic safety rules. You must read the machine instruction manual comprehensively and learn how the machine works. You should wear protective gloves and clothes with long sleeves when operating the cutting machine, as during the process of cutting molten material is produced. You should wear a welding mask or dark goggles to ensure that your eyes are safeguarded from the arc while cutting. Follow all the safety guidelines detailed out in your instruction manual.
No Contact Between Nozzle and the Workpiece When Cutting
When using 45 amps or greater levels of current, the nozzle must not have any contact with the workpiece. The cutting creates a double arc which passes through the nozzle. This will reduce the nozzle life significantly. If the torch is dragged against the metal also, double arcing will be caused. This too will wear out the nozzle prematurely.
Piercing the Work
Never attempt to penetrate the workpiece by approaching perpendicular or at a 90° angle to the workpiece. This causes the metal to be blown back at the plasma torch. The suitable way is to place the torch at a 30° angle from vertical or 60° angle from horizontal and rotate it to a vertical position later. This method causes the molten material to be blown far away from the plasma torch.
Using a Drag Cup
If you are a beginner, then it is recommended that you make use of a drag cup that is insulated and fits on the nozzle. The drag cup enables you to support the torch over the workpiece and you can also drag it to get a clean cut.
These are some handy tips on how you can get the best out of your plasma cutting machine. Check back for the second part for more tips on how to make the best use of your plasma cutting machine.