3 Things You Must Learn About Plasma Cutting Torch

One of the most convenient cutters today is the plasma cutter. This hand-held cutter however requires the user to learn certain techniques for piercing, cutting and gouging. The benefits of using the hand-held plasma cutting torch are many which is the reason why artists, do it yourself enthusiasts, maintenance personnel, contractors and fabricators prefer this type of torch over mechanical cutting processes like cut-off wheels, saws, snips and shears or oxyacetylene cutting.

Plasma cutting torch is extremely easy to use and it helps to enhance productivity. This torch yields cut with small kerf, minimizes HAZ or heat affected zone, permits job site portability, cuts any electricity conducting metal and it does not require preheat cycle. Plasma cutting torch can be conveniently used for various purposes such as for tracing shapes, cutting holes, beveling, piercing and gouging.

Here are three things you must learn about plasma cutting torch:
  • The right cutting technique
While cutting things with the plasma cutting torch, it is important to follow these steps accurately –

Step 1 – While operating the plasma cutter, the exact standoff distance should be at least one eighth of an inch, and you must place the drag shield on the base metal edge before directing the arc. The arc must be held straight down.

Step 2 – The moment you press the trigger, the pilot arc starts after the pre flow air flows for a couple of seconds.

Step 3 – Then you must carefully move the torch over the metal after cutting the arc.

Step 4 – The important part here is to ensure that cutting sparks go out from the bottom of the cut through the metal. For this, you must carefully adjust the cutting speed.

Step 5 – Towards the end, it is important to sever the metal completely by giving a brief pause or you can chip off the final edge by angling the torch slightly.

Step 6 – After the trigger is released, there will be a flow of post flow air for about thirty seconds. It is recommended to wait for the torch to cool down completely before storing it.
  • Piercing and gouging tips
A gouging tip is used to remove imperfect or old welds. As compared to the regular tip, the gouging tip has three times or four times larger tip. Regular tip can remove only limited orifice. A gouging tip with its conical shape can effectively remove more material by pushing out the plasma arc.
  • The latest plasma cutting torch comes with many features that allow for easy gouging. Arc of up to one to one and a half inches is created by the stronger design.
  • One of the greatest advantages of using a plasma cutting torch over the carbon arc is that there is enhanced control and reduced noise and smoke.
  • The torch must be held at a 45 degree angle to the base metal before starting the pilot arc by pressing the trigger.
  • It takes a couple of seconds for the arc to start after allowing the pre flow air.
  • As you move the torch across the metal with an arc length of between one and one and a half inches, keep adjusting the angle, arc length and torch speed for more effectiveness.
If you are using a plasma cutting torch for metal piercing, the work piece and torch must be placed at a 40 degree angle. Bring the torch to 90 degree angle after the cutting arc is initiated to pierce the base metal.
  • Maintaining the plasma cutting torch optimally
For any reason, if the arc does not penetrate metal as effectively as it used to or if the machine fails to hold the arc produced, it is time to examine the consumables. Check if you need to replace the worn out tip and electrode. With overuse, they may wear out with every start/stop cycle.

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