For a plasma cutter to be able to cut through any material, it has to be a good conductor of electricity, so using a plasma cutter is limited only to metals. However, new editions of plasma cutters can cut through almost anything, given that an electrical conductor is present. This is due to plasma cutters using a unique mechanism in creating plasma arcs.
Plasma cutters can cut through stainless steel and most plasma artists make metal flowers using propane tanks, as well as using sheet metal to create stairways.
If you wish to cut out a piece of sheet metal, you could imagine your plasma cutter to be a pencil and draw out any design of your choice. However, the downside here is that it cannot erase mistakes from plasma cutters, so there shouldn’t be room for mistakes.
Sketching out the design of your choice on the sheet is a great idea, as it makes room for lesser mistakes. Speaking of plasma cutters, you might be asking yourself what kind of metals can be cut with a plasma cutter?
Plasma cutters can cut through gold, copper, iron, aluminum, etc., as they are all good conductors. Irrespective of most of these metal materials being damage resistant, they cannot resist a sonic gas of over 50,000°.
Besides, there might not be any electrical conductor that could resist it. This is why a plasma cutter is considered a handy piece of equipment in today’s workshop.
How Do I Cut With Plasma Cutter
The capability of a plasma cutter cutting through any material all depends on the elements of the material in question. Material can be a conductor given that it’s derived from metal, making it the exact key point why metal is being used for electricity as it travels quickly through it.
For instance, your electrical cords consist of copper wire channeled through them. When they are plugged into power, electricity is being channeled through it to the other side.
Like a plasma cutter, a plasma cutter uses a special gas, along with compressed air. This creates a plasma reaction, giving it the power to cut right through any metal. But for this to happen, there should be an active connection of both positive and negative charges.
The metal that is being cut should be grounded by a clamp coming directly from the cutter. The connection is known to be positive, while on the other hand, the negative is the main cutter.
Hence, the connection is made, and the plasma can cut through the present piece of metal. Plasma is heated to maximize the flow of electrons towards a direction, while microscopic results suggest that it cuts its way through metal like warm butter being cut by a knife.
How Thick Metal Can You Cut With A Plasma Cutter?
It has been earlier proven that plasma cutting is vital against all types of conductors including alloy steels, copper, aluminum, etc. With the present plasma cutter in use, along with its capacity, as well as the present material to be cut through, it’s shown that between 0.5-180MM of thick metal can be pierced using a plasma cutter.
Plasma cutters are not to be competed with in terms of cutting through thick metals. Plasma cutters can be used to cut through regular thick steel of 40MM without alterations, especially when dealing with fragile pieces. Plasma cutters are also capable of cutting through structural steel of high strength because of their sonic speed of cutting as it’s also a crucial part of fabrication.
You should keep in mind that the included figures do not apply to all plasma cutters, and various manufacturers have different cutting capacities of materials to be used. For this particular reason, you should know what kind of usage the plasma cutter will serve before you proceed in purchasing a plasma cutter.
There are plasma cutters out there that can cut through 1.000 of mild steel and 0.7 of stainless steel sheet. The max thickness for aluminum is 0.7. However, higher capacities are being offered by most manufacturers. Hence, assuming that a system can satisfy everyone may not make a point.
How To Make Clean Cuts With A Plasma Cutter?
First things first, read the owner’s manual thoroughly to familiarize yourself with how safe to handle the plasma cutter. Doing that will give you a better knowledge of the plasma cutter’s capabilities and how best to make use of it.
Also, supporting your cutting hand with the non-cutting hand is a clever idea. Doing that makes the cutting hand steady enough, free to move to all angles, and maintains a particular standoff.
Speaking of making clean cuts, the travel speed of the plasma cutter should be the main concern. With a faster travel speed, mostly in aluminum, the cleaner cuts you get. When about to cut a thicker metal, the plasma cutter should be set to max output. While working on thinner metals, reduce the amperage to cut on a narrow line.
What Is The Difference Between A Clean Cut And Severance Cut?
The idea of a clean-cut is the plasma cutter cutting its way through the metal and both parts fall separately, leaving just a small strand at the bottom which can be easily cut off.
The marks will seem to be straight while starting, then it makes a slope at the end of the cut. The material shouldn’t require an extra touch for it to be welded back.
While a severance cut is when the plasma cutter is being used almost at its max capability. The cutting speed in severance cut should be a lot slower than that of clean-cut, and cleaning is required to be done at the bottom of the material.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Can You Cut Wood With A Plasma Cutter?
Plasma cutters can only cut through conductors such as brass, copper, aluminum, etc., given that the exact plasma cutter uses electrical conductivity as a means to make an arc. However, given that wood is unknown and proven to be a good conductor of electricity, a plasma cutter cannot directly cut through it. Besides, on the other hand, a saw or other handheld tools could be used to cut through wood.
Q. How Thick Of Metal Can A 50 AMP Plasma Cut?
A 50 amp plasma cutter can cut its way through ½ inch of thick metal at a go if it’s running on 240 volts. If you cannot reach 220 volts, it’s not an issue at all. There are plasma cutting systems out there that can carry harsh conditions. While on 100 volts, most plasma cutting systems offer about 40 amps along with the capability of cutting about ¼ inch thick metal. Most plasma cutting systems can come down to 10 amps output which is low enough to cut through auto metals.
Q. How Thick Can A 30 AMP Plasma Cutter Cut?
A 30 amp plasma cutting system is a newly designed system with the meter and other fixes placed at the front, with a filter placed inside. This plasma cutting system makes plasma cutting seem easier to use. As it is digitally controlled, with 15-30 amp, it’s designed for portable use and can cut through ⅖ inches of thickness, with a maximum severance of ½ inches.
Q. How Thick Can A 60 AMP Plasma Cutter Cut?
Similar to a 30 amp plasma cutter, with a digitally controlled 60 amp plasma cutter and a high and improves cutting performance, it’s able to cut its way through ⅘ inches of thickness, with a severance of ½ inches.
Q. Can A Plasma Cutter Cut Titanium?
Titanium is known generally to be the strongest metal in the world as of today, as well as being abundantly found. Titanium is a high-strength metal and also resistant to corrosion and can combine easily with other metals to produce special alloys. However, due to the max strength of this particular metal, cutting it might seem a bit difficult. Most welding workshops out there combine various techniques to get clean cuts to benefit today’s activities.
Like we said, cutting titanium can seem complicated due to the reactive nature of the metal. Titanium is very sensitive to heat, and cutting should be carried out at a low temperature to avoid damaging the special metal. Plasma cutting, as well as some other cutting techniques, can be used in cutting titanium accurately.
In cutting titanium, you could either use a plasma torch or a plasma CNC. Plasma cutting is mostly helpful for parts that are hard to reach on a bench. Welding workshops utilize this technique with unique gases to make clean cuts.
Q. Can Plasma Cutter Cut Stainless Steel?
In terms of cutting through stainless steel, several techniques are available, but it’s a bit difficult to understand the easiest, budget-friendly and technique that is likely to give excellent results.
However, an easy and budget-friendly way of cutting stainless steel is using the plasma cutting technique. With new editions of plasma cutting systems, you are offered to choose from a range of gases and amps to reach the set quality.
Besides, knowing the exact gas you need and the process to undergo to acquire excellent results can seem to be a bit overwhelming. All the same, plasma cutting is an efficient technique used to cut through stainless steel, even with the metal’s thickness. However, the cutting table and plasma system you make use of is a factor to be considered.
Q. Can A Plasma Cutter Cut Aluminum?
In terms of cutting through aluminum, you might be asking yourself if plasma cutting is the right technique to be used and how to use the plasma cutter the most to achieve clean results if it’s the right technique to be used?
Plasma cutting is a well-known cutting technique, but considering the properties of aluminum, they seem to be different in various ways, especially the melting point.
However, the answer to your question is a big yes! To get a job done, plasma cutting is a budget-friendly and easy technique used by many. Given the tremendous improvement in technology over the years, utilizing the suitable gasses and tools and familiarizing with the process for cutting through aluminum is likely to provide satisfying results. Also, given the electrical conductivity of aluminum, a plasma cutter cutting through aluminum is even more possible and easier than it sounds.
Plasma cutting is a technique of shooting ionized gas at a sonic speed. And after the gas has been ionized and heated, a complete circuit is made back to the cutter.
This ionized gas is referred to as plasma, and the more electrical energy, the hotter it becomes. The arc can melt the metal, and the ionized gas is blowing the molten away, which cuts at the target point. This technique works perfectly when cutting through aluminum.
Q. How Thick Aluminum Can A Plasma Cutter Cut?
When cutting aluminum with plasma, several benefits are derived, especially based on its thickness, as a plasma cutter can cut its way through thick aluminum of about 160mm. Plasma cutting is also budget-friendly given its lower cost of usage and tools. Welding workshops and industries out there are satisfied mainly by plasma cutters’ clean and quality cuts.
Irrespective of how thin or thick an aluminum should be, a plasma cutter is a piece of effective equipment used by many to get a job done. Plasma cutters have unique capabilities, hence, it’s a wise decision to research each plasma system and know their capacities to decide on the best plasma cutter that will do justice to the thick aluminum you wish to cut.
The cost should not be a hindrance in purchasing a plasma cutter because it used to be more expensive initially. The cost of plasma cutters did not just drop but the equipment seems to be lighter than it used to be, without altering the unique capacities they are well known for.
Q. Can You Cast Iron Pipe With A Plasma Cutter?
Iron pipes are heavier and may seem a bit difficult to cut through than ordinary steel. As you try to cast iron, you may be overwhelmed by the fuss in finding the right tool to use. Iron can be cast using a plasma cutter, and this technique works fine for many. Casting iron is necessary and required given the iron is heavy and rust easily.
As most pipes are made out of cast iron, there’s a need to get rid of the rusted parts and change or cast them before it’s being moved. To carry this out, a plasma cutter is required. Plasma cutting is a main and recommended technique for casting iron pipes. However, plasma cutters are common and special given their ability to cut through materials and cast iron pipes.
Q. Will A Plasma Cutter Cut Tungsten?
Given that some metal materials are terrible electrical conductors, there is tungsten and a poor conductor of electricity. While tungsten being a rare alloy, you might have heard of it before now or not.
Tungsten is a hard material to cut through and requires quality tools to cut right through it. As earlier said, tungsten is a terrible conductor, so if you are about to use a plasma cutter to cut through it, you might as well provide electrical conductivity to complete the connection. On the contrary, you won’t be able to cut through tungsten.
Q. Can You Cut Bronze With A Plasma Cutter?
Plasma cutter is technical equipment used by many to get clean and quality cuts from conductors including bronze. So far a metal is a good conductor of electricity, then a plasma cutter can cut right through it. Given that bronze is a good conductor of electricity, bronze can be cut through 1-2 inches of thickness.
Q. Can You Cut Brass With A Plasma Cutter?
A clear answer to this is yes. As a plasma cutter can cut right through any electrical conductor, it can as well cut through brass. But while doing so, you should be very mindful of the fumes as their elements are bad for breathing. Brass contains zinc, and inhaling burning zinc can have you left with a fume fever.
Q. Can You Cut Copper With A Plasma Cutter?
You should find copper very handy at a point, especially if metal fabrication is a thing to you. You should also be aware of the effectiveness of plasma cutting given that cutting is its main focus. Hence, you then ask if it’s a possibility to cut through copper using a plasma cutter?
Copper can be cut through with a plasma cutter given that copper is a good conductor of electricity. But to do so, you will need a 50 amp plasma cutter and above, similar to those for cutting steel. Start slowly then include a steel piece above the copper to fasten the whole process.
The reason for starting slowly is despite copper being a good conductor, it slows down in terms of the occurrence of electrical conductivity. It is clever to carry out a test on a small piece. Maintain an exact height while cutting a few strips. These could be in the form of straight cuts.
Focus on the cuts then you can gradually increase the speed but a bit. Cutting through 3 inches per minute is a good start. You should be able to notice slight changes each time the speed of the plasma cutter is changed. By doing this, you will be able to improve in making clean cuts on copper. Keep doing it this way, and as soon as you can see equal cuts, you might as well call it a good job.
By going gradually, you offer the plasma cutter its chance of doing good work on the copper and produce clean cuts. Ensure that the plasma cutter makes its way to the copper. If the plasma cutter is one of the new editions, and you can make long cuts, you should constantly check on the cycle to ensure an effective cutting performance.
Q. Can Plasma Cutter Cut Wood?
Plasma Cutters are not designed to cut wood. Plasma Cutting is an electrical method and wood is a nonconductor of electricity, Plasma Cutting will not work on wood. Plasma Cutter cannot be used for cutting wooden planks or any other type of lumber material. Plasma Cutting may be able to make a small cut in softwoods; however the resulting cut will not be a clean cut.
Q. Can You Cut Glass With A Plasma Cutter?
While Plasma Cutters are primarily used to cut steel, aluminum, and other metals, they can also be used to make cuts through the glass. Glass can be cut with a Plasma Cutter if the glass is supported or clamped in place while the Plasma Cutting operation is being conducted on it; plasma cutting will not penetrate unsupported glass. You can use a plasma cutter to cut through glass by adding a thin metal sheet above the glass to create an arc.
Plasma Cutting is used by glassworkers to cut tempered and heat strengthened glass. Plasma Cutters are also used for cutting safety glass, which cannot be broken with a hammer or cracked using other methods, thereby allowing it to be more safely handled while working with it. Plasma Cutters are also used in making stained glass windows.
Q. Can You Cut Carbon Steel With A Plasma Cutter?
Carbon steel can be cut with a Plasma Cutter. Plasma Cutters are most commonly used to cut Carbon Steel Sheet Metal. Plasma cutting is one of the fastest and most economical processes for cutting sheet metal. Plasma Cutters can be used to cut up to 1/4″ thick carbon steel without a problem, although it does not typically provide the cleanest cuts. Plasma Cutting works best when cutting thinner materials like 18 gauge or 20 gauge Carbon Steel Sheet Metal or Galvanised Sheet Metal.
Q. Can Plasma Cutter Be Used On Any Material?
No, plasma cutters are only able to cut through a material given that it’s a good conductor of electricity, which makes the plasma cutter able to make clean cuts. Instead of shearing or burning material, plasma cutters can cut through conductive metals using a sonic ionized gas. During the cutting procedure, the ionized gas blows off molten from the material, making a smoother cut.
Having learned from this content what kind of metals can be cut with a plasma cutter, you might as well kindly note that plasma cutters, being one of the easy-handling equipment in welding workshops and industries of today, is being utilized to cut through conductive materials.
Various companies out there derive the benefits of plasma cutters given that it’s budget-friendly equipment and increases productivity. With improved technology over the years, portable plasma cutters are of better service to today’s workshops.
In terms of handheld cutters, what should be in mind is how thick the material you are about to cut is and how quickly you will be able to complete the job.
Plasma cutters make use of high voltage electricity, as well as a compressed ionized gas. An electrode makes the generated arc, hence, it creates an arc of plasma at the tip. As soon as the arc comes in contact with the material, a heated circuit is made, then it gradually melts down less than 1.6mm.