How to Plasma cut like a Pro
When an accelerated jet of super hot plasma is passed through conductive materials, a cut happens in the metal; this process although sounds simple is not quite that way.
Now when you have your brand new plasma cutter ordered in, all you might want to do is start working with it. A person who has a work place and is already familiar with the process will not have any second thoughts and would just go about doing the interesting plasma cutting.
When you are a new enthusiast just beginning to work with a plasma cutter, you might need some tips, loads of practice, and some patience to start working like a pro.
Now when you are about to start, just make sure you have all the tools you will require are at hand.
Also make sure to pack the tools you are not going to use away safe and secure in the tool box. Keep the workplace clear of all unwanted tools so you can start working straight away.
Also ensure to check for moisture before you connect the suction pump. It is a good practice in general to check all the parts before you start up.
Pilot Arc Punch
The next important thing one should look out for is how the surface of the metal exactly is. It could either be rusty or well painted, it is important to analyze before starting off.
It is always better to use a grinder and clean the surface if it is extra rusty so the process could begin smoothly.
So how could you tell if your arc is perfect or not? Well, with a bit of practice, you will be able to distinguish between a work of art and the other.
A pilot arc and the way it punches through the cutting metal will tell you more about the surface.
When to change the parts of your tools?
If you have been working regularly with a plasma cutter, then you will know that the small parts inside like an electrode, nozzle of your torch might start giving up and you may have to change them.
Certain things that will help you to arrive at the conclusion are:
- Check if the arcs are not pretty much the way you want them
- The cuts are not precise as they used to be
You could always disassemble the torch and compare the old parts with new ones to find out if they are worn out. Using such worn out parts will lead to inefficient jobs.
Are you wearing your safety gear?
One most important thing that every enthusiast should emphasize upon is safety while you are working. It is important to read through the manual and safety instructions and equip yourself about the process, its risks and how to protect you. Keeping the workplace clear and well ventilated with ample light is also important.
- Wearing protective glasses – This is most important as the jet of hot plasma and sparks are quite dangerous to the eye. The light from the welding arc is also quite hazardous to the eye sight. Also wearing glasses which completely cover the eyes is necessary.
- Protective clothes – Wearing protective clothes is important as the heat and rush of hot air could leave burnt marks on the skin. Wearing completely covered clothing, clothes which are heat resistant and cover till your fingers help while you are at work.
- Protective Gear – A helmet or face shield which could cover your entire head and just has glass parts for vision will be suitable for intense cutting sessions. You might have to get closer to the metal while doing some intricate arcs and this protective gear becomes absolutely necessary
- Protective Gloves- Rubber gloves which are shock proof will work perfectly for the work sessions.
- Ear plugs – Some people will need them to block off the noise which comes from the machine.
- Protective boots – These are most important as you will be working with electrical machines.
It is important to buy all the protective gear of supreme quality. Protecting oneself is important and also knowing about the first aid steps is equally necessary. An exposure to the work ambience and a basic research about the tools and how it works will help in reducing the pressure. Also knowing the safety guide and awareness on how each part of the tool works will come in handy. Investing in best quality protective wear will be one initial step for working like a pro.
Use both your hands
Make sure to use both your hands while you are working with a plasma cutter. Use one hand to hold the torch and the other hand to support your cutting arm. This way you could maintain an optimal distance between the metal and the tip of torch. Safety is a key factor in learning to work efficiently with plasma cutters.
Maintain your Travel speed
Your travel speed is the most important aspect you have to work upon when cutting metals. It is important to vary your speed depending on the thickness of the metal. The faster your speed is, the more efficient your cut will be. When you start slowing down you might see some punches on the metal. It is good to practice certain strokes on scrap metals before you start working on real time metal sheets.
For straight simple cuts, use the devices that come along with the plasma cutter. A 15 to 20 degree angle is where your arc should cut the material. You will know your travel speed is too fast if the arc sprays back. If the speed is very low, the arc goes down straight. Maintaining the speed is important for fine precise cuts.
Also position your legs in a comfortable position while you are cutting at different angle is necessary. Also use the non cutting arm to support the cutting arm always. Circle cuts are equally easier with a template or circle guide.
These steps, if diligently followed, might help you to use a plasma cutter like a professional and get your jobs done faster and more efficiently.