How To Set Up A Plasma Cutter: A Comprehensive Guide for the New Welder!

Set Up a Plasma Cutter
Set Up a Plasma Cutter

Operating a plasma cutter machine is easy and also advantageous. Though some welder cannot make a clean cut. So, this article will entirely deal on how to set up a plasma cutter and give a brief discussion to help the novice welders.

Generally, plasma cutters have used in the commercial purposes but few models have also used for personal uses. A plasma cutter tool can offer better portability. So, workers can easily transfer it.

Read More: How To Make Metal art – Plasma Cutter Metal Art For Beginners

You can use this tool for versatile and better quality cut. Remember, whenever you work with a plasma cutter, you should maintain the safety measurement. This article will guide you and give you all the detailed information to ensure a high-quality cut.

How to Set Up a Plasma Cutter in 8 Easy Steps

A plasma cutter uses the conductive gas, it helps to transfer the energy from the current supply. Using a plasma cutter machine is not so complicated task. But you need to take all the safety precautions first.

Things you’ll need:

  • Plasma cutter
  • Cooling fan
  • Nozzle
  • Air compressor

Safety Precautions:

Cutting with a plasma cutter is a bit messy as the sparks always fly here and there. After collecting all the required equipment, you have to take some safety measures. So, you have to take proper safety precaution.

  • You should take eye protection. The welding process needs a hood. As the sparks fly randomly, so they can easily into your eyes. So, it is essential to have shaded cutting goggles. Or, you can also use a welding helmet includes adjustable shade.
  • You can also need to have a flame-resistant jacket.
  • Wear a welding beanie to protect your hair.
  • You should also wear welding gloves and tightly laced boots.
  • Always you should keep a fire extinguisher to avoid further potential hazards.

After taking all the safety precautions, you are ready to start the process.

Step – 1: Best Plasma Cutter Models

Plasma cutting is generally a melting process. In this process, ionized gas at 20,000°C has used to meltdown, then eject the material from cutting. Plasma cutters help to ensure an efficient cut and also easy to use for the new welders. (Source)

The most important part, you need to choose a perfect plasma cutter machine. A wide range of plasma cutting machines available in the store nowadays. Generally, there are four types of plasma cutter machines available –

Automatic plasma cutters – They are basically big units to handle large-scale work and they are computer operated. Mostly, they have used in the industrial purposes.

Manually plasma cutters – They are perfect for the lighter amount works and can be used for personal uses or hobby purposes.

Others: Thermal dynamics plasma cutters and Lincoln plasma cutters.

Step – 2: A few important things to consider before navigating a plasma cutter

Before you start to set up the plasma cutter, you need to check out the following facts:

You have to regularly check the leading rails, keep them clean and dry.

You can use grease on coupling for better operation.

The air pipe should be at least 12mm for enough airflow to operate the plasma cutter machine perfectly. You can cut down the gas wire’s length to adjust with the airflow.

Step – 3: Let’s prepare the plasma cutter machine for using

First off, you need to check the cutting torch before you start to use the plasma cutter. It needs to be straight and also perpendicular to your cutting table. Because it will help you to operate the machine swiftly.

Now, you have to speed up the cutting torch to ignore irregular cuts. Because it can deteriorate the cutting line’s quality. Here, a cooling fan and nozzle have used for rapidly cooling down the metal.

Step – 4: Time to set up the airflow

In this step, you need to connect an air compressor to your plasma cutter machine. It will ensure the plasma stream at high pressure. You have to put the positive (+) connection to attach the fittings. You can power up the airflow by turning the lever at 90-degrees from the previous perpendicular position.

Step – 5: Now adjust the height of the cutting head

If you do not put the cutting head properly, it can tilt the object. The Plasma rays mostly look like shape of a drop of water. In case, you place the cutting head too far or near from your metal object, it can affect your work piece. So, you need to adjust the height of the cutting head.

It is a bit difficult to know – what is the suitable cutting height?

No need to worry about. To know the appropriate cutting height, you can follow the manufacturer’s guideline.

To maintain the cutting head automatically, you can install a torch height controller. If your plasma cutter does not include this, then it can affect the cutting edge.

Step – 6: Select the cutting direction

You should always keep the cutting direction, so the heat-affected part will be on the right side and the wasted zone will be on the left side of the cutting direction.

Step – 7: Operate the plasma cutter machine

For 18mm of metal piece, you can set the power amp to 25. Flip the switch behind to turn off the plasma cutter machine.

Step – 8: Ready to go

After, completing all these steps, you are done to set the plasma cutter machine. So, now it is time to start to cut the metal piece.

Few Tips for the Cleanest Cut!

To get a better-quality cut, you can follow the mentioned tips. Sometimes a pro welder also gives a blunt cut, if he does not his machine becomes inferior. So, it is important to maintain your plasma cutter tool properly.

For manual cutters, you can follow these :

  • For additional stability, you can brace your cutting hand with the non-cutting hand.
  • You should also have some practice before you start the process. It will help you to give effective cut.
  • You can also make a test cut on a sample metal piece and this testing metal piece should be similar. So that, it will also help you check whether you use the right speed and amperage (amp) or not.
  • You can roll the torch tip on the thick material.

For automatic cutters :

  • These are generally different from manual cutters and operation is little bit difficult. You can replace consumables to ensure a clean and better cut.
  • Always try to match the power level with the thickness of metal piece to have a high quality cut.

How to Choose a Plasma Cutter: Essential Points to Keep in Mind

It is important to identify the differences between industrial and domestic purposes, while you go to select a plasma cutter. Without having proper training and buying, you cannot make the best use of your machine and money. So, it will become useless, if you select an inappropriate plasma cutter machine. Let’s check out the following factors before selecting a plasma cutter for you.

  • Purposes – You need to differentiate the purpose. Whether you want to use it for artistic use or commercial purpose.
  • Power supply requirements – Some plasma cutter machines can run on either 120 or 140 volts. So, check out the power level requirements.
  • Metal thickness – Metal thickness and type become important. For example, you need to have 50 amp power supply to cut a ¼ – inches thick metal.
  • High technology features – However, you choose a budget-friendly plasma cutting machine, it also includes updated features. So, if you are a novice welder, you can buy a budget plasma cutter.

To Sum Up

Finally, this article has described how to set up a plasma cutter in eight easy steps. So, you should not only set up and use your plasma cutter but also maintain it properly for a longer lifespan. Enjoy your work with taking enough safety precautions.

Read More: How to use a Plasma Cutter – Plasma Cutting Beginners Guide