Plasma arc cutting is a high precision method of metal cutting using the ionized state of plasma gas. Plasma is capable of conducting both energy and heat and when it is combined with compressed air and shot through a small orifice such as a nozzle, it performs top quality and precision cutting.
The term plasma arc is used as an electrical arc forms at the same time the inert gas or compressed air is shot through the nozzle. When applied at high speed, some of the gas turns to plasma that reaches a high temperature and when it hits the surface of the durable metal, it causes it to melt. The intense heat ensures that the cut edges will be completely smooth in comparison to other metal cutting methods that can leave edges rigid.
Fabricators, artists, hobbyists, contractors and renovators are applying plasma arc cutting to a wide range of projects and tasks as it proves to be far more advantageous than other forms of metal cutting. This method can cut a variety of different materials that are used in many different industries. For example, home renovators use marble and granite for counters and tabletops. Exterior contractors rely heavily on the precision cutting of steel and copper.
Advantages for professionals and hobbyists alike include:
No preheating periods required – this increases time efficiency, enabling more projects to be completed in a lesser amount of time.
Precision – Plasma arc cutting renders the highest precision cuts on durable materials such as stainless steel. This enables the option of a wider variety of designs. Plasma arc cutting also does not warp the edges of materials due to overheating.
Applicable on more materials – Plasma arc cutting can be applied to a wide variety of different materials, meaning contractors can get the majority of their projects completed in one spot
Handheld technology – In its earlier days, plasma arc cutting could only be done professionally by metal-cutters, welders and body shops. The equipment was very expensive and intricate. Due to advancements in technology over the past few decades, hobbyists and artists are able to purchase less expensive handheld plasma arc cutters
Some of the materials that can be cut using plasma arc cutting methods are:
While developments in welding technology have made it easier for more people to access plasma arc cutting handhelds, it is highly recommended that a professional handle plasma cutting jobs.
Primarily, safety is a concern when using plasma arc cutting. A professional has been highly trained and will have full access to the safety equipment and clothing required.
Secondly, the materials that use plasma arc cutting tend to be expensive. By having a professional handle the cutting process, there are fewer risks of mistakes occurring which could render an expensive piece of material useless.
Plasma arc cutting is an efficient method of getting high precision cutting results on the most durable materials.