When it comes to plasma cutting as a hobby, for DIY projects, and for work, using the right techniques makes your job much easier and improves the results you achieve a great deal.
Armed with the right plasma cutter, make sure you follow a few tried and tested tips to make sure you achieve the right results.
Support the Cutting Hand
Before you even decide to start cutting, make sure you brace yourself and use the non-cutting hand to support the other hand. This keeps the cutting hand steady and provides you with freedom of movement in both directions which maintains a constant standoff.
You have the option of pulling the torch towards you or pushing it away from the body. Many people opt to pull it towards the body since this is easier compared to pushing it away.
Trace the Path
Before you go ahead and start cutting, it is advisable to plan the cut early enough. If you are going for a long cut, then practice the movement before you pull the trigger. Make sure you have enough space to allow you to make the cut before you pull the trigger.
Remember that stopping and starting severally makes the project have irregularities in the cut edge.
To make sure you are using the right speed and amperage settings, make a sample cut on a similar type of material that you actually plan to cut before you start the cut. You can use templates with examples on Cuts Like Butter.
You will know you are moving too fast if you notice sparks shooting along the top of the material.
Safety Is Paramount
When using the plasma cutter, you need to protect yourself and those around you from the sparks and the heat. Before you start the process, make sure you go ahead and read each and every piece of information that is provided by the manufacturer so that you understand how the machine operates.
Each plasma cutter comes with an instructional manual. This manual gives you a guide on what to do and how to do it. Since these tools are evolving fast, you need to make sure you understand what features the tools come with so that you know what to do.
Additionally, you need to know the right amperage and speed settings so that you don’t put yourself at risk of injury. Remember the higher the speed, the more likelihood of getting injured.
Proper safety requires that you protect any exposed skin. You need to put on a welding jacket and gloves or any other flame resistant clothing. Many welders use denim because it is a perfect choice. Make sure you button up your pockets, cuffs and the collar so that it doesn’t catch fire from the sparks.
Eyes are vulnerable to the sparks, and this is why you need to have the proper shade lens for the plasma cutter that you plan to use. The shade you choose needs to be compatible with the amperage you are exposing the eyes too. You can opt for a welding helmet or goggles that have a cutting more. The goggles shouldn’t be too dark for use for welding because this might turn out to make the welding surface too dark.
Go for ordinary compressed air as the cutting gas. Many contractors opt for bottled nitrogen because it is cost-effective, but at the end of the day, it isn’t any different from compressed air.
Protect Your Consumables
The consumables can be contaminated easily by air or oil, and when this happens, it reduces the life of the consumables. You can make use of an in-line air filter which removes the water and oil. Air filters prevent you from spending money each week on a replacement tip and electrode.
You also need to examine the consumables on a regular basis to replace them when they become covered with spatter. Doing this makes sure you get the best results each time.
You can use the plasma cutter to cut through metal and other types of materials. The cutter is versatile and makes the whole process easier and faster. However, you need to make sure the cutter is well maintained, and you are always protected against the heat by wearing the proper gear.