Do you need a metal cutting tool for maintenance work and occasional repair? Are you on the market for a cutting tool with higher cutting volumes? All of these situations provide more reasons why you should invest in plasma cutting. With portable machines flooding the market, cost of machines on the decline and technology providing benefits and more comfortable usage, it may be time to take a closer look at the plasma cutter as an option for cutting applications. Plasma cutting benefits include higher quality cuts, ease of use, and faster travel speeds.
How does oxyfuel cutting compare to plasma cutting?
When it comes to cutting, a lot of processes can be used. However, two of the most widely used cutting technologies are plasma and oxyfuel. Oxyfuel is a tried and true cutting process, but plasma cutting is less expensive and is an alternative to oxyfuel cutting at an equally outstanding performance record.
Also, plasma cutting can be used on any conductive metals, including stainless, aluminum, and more. With mild steel, you’ll experience thicker, faster cuts than with alloys. On the other hand, oxyfuel cutting is limited to steel and other ferrous metals. Plasma cutting is also usually more comfortable to use and work on thinner materials. However, oxyfuel is still preferred for substantial sections of steel.
What can you use a plasma cutter for?
This cutting process is more suitable for cutting non-ferrous metals which are less than one inch thick and steel, unlike oxyfuel cutting where you are required to control cutting to maintain the burning process carefully. Plasma cutter is more flexible in this regard. It is designed to shine in some types of applications such as cutting expanded materials. This is a nearly impossible process with oxyfuel cutting. Also, plasma cutting can make non-linear cuts easily and is usually much faster compared to a mechanical type of cutting.
The plasma arc cutting process
This is a thermal-based fabrication process that uses a confined, transferred plasma arc to cut through a broad range of metals, including alloy steel, structural steel, copper, and aluminum. Though numerous variations can be applied, the necessary components and the primary principle of the cutting process remain the same in all variations. Plasma arc cutting process available includes these phases:
- main arc generation
- arc movement
- pilot arc initiation
- material ejection
- localized heating and melting
Finding a plasma cutter
Plasma cutter comes in several shapes and sizes, from handheld models designed to handle little tasks to huge CNC tables made to cut massive workpieces efficiently and quickly. When looking for a plasma cutter, consider the important features which include duty circle, cut quality, input power, cutting speed, and cut thickness. Additionally, you must do good research about whether you want high-end or cheap plasma cutter that does an excellent job for the money and you should try to look at all the available brands.
The bottom line
Plasma cutting provides several benefits and should offer you with higher, faster quality cuts. Your choice will ultimately depend on the type of job you need to do. You should also consider your budget, but remember that you can achieve a lot even with a cheap plasma cutter.
If you are a new user, you can even look at our reviews of the Best Plasma Cutters of 2019. The Plasma Cutters Reviews is your stop if you need help finding the right plasma cutter for your machine shop.
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