Cutting Tools

CNC Plasma Cutting Machine: The Anatomy of CNC Plasma Cutting

CNC Plasma Cutting Machine: The Anatomy of CNC Plasma Cutting

Getting yourself familiar with how CNC plasma cutting machines work takes good amount of effort. Not knowing what you ought to know and not understanding what you need to will render the project you’re working on futile and worthless. We are presenting here a few basic guide to CNC plasma cutting, for you to know what it really is and how it works.  

Before we proceed, we need to have a clear definition of what CNC plasma cutting is. So what is CNC plasma cutting? This is a process of cutting through the toughest of materials, particularly metals. It is carried out with the help of a plasma torch which is fully controlled by a computer.

How Does a Plasma Cutting Machine Work?

These cutting machines work by forcing compressed air through a nozzle at very high speeds. The moment that an electric arc touch the gases,  plasma or ionized gas is created. This is what we refer to as the fourth state of matter. This can be used in cutting through hard objects particularly metal.  

CNC plasma cutter machines differ in price, size, and functionality. These machines are more advantageous to use than any other cutting techniques there is since they are fast in cutting through a metal sheet and are highly accurate even when executing intricate patterns. They can slice a piece of metal at speeds of about 500 inches per minute.

In order to work, plasma cutters need to have both a plasma gas and an assist gas. The amount of which will depend upon the material itself that you are trying to cut.  

Table Setup

Safety and space are two  important things you need to look into  if you seriously want to acquire a CNC cutting device anytime soon. Unlike many other CNC hobby systems, when you have a plasma cutter, you need to have first a large amount of well-ventilated area.

This is crucial to have so that you can run your plasma cutter smoothly and safely.  A plasma cutter is not like any other regular machines out there that you can tuck somewhere in a corner of your office like what you will do with your 3D printer.  

A plasma cutter will require an adequate amount of space around which will be used as a buffer in any case that there are stray sparks that may occur during one of your sessions. Additionally, see to it that the flooring is made from a flame resistant material like concrete.

You also need an ample amount of space to help accommodate your gas compressor machine as well as your computer system. And for safety purposes, in order to keep your plasma arc from making some interference to your computer, you must see to it that the machine is Earth-grounded.

We suggest also that you make use of an uninterruptible power supply or UPS. This way, you can be assured to have a constant supply of uninterruptible power.  

Consumables and Materials

If you are just starting out on plasma cutting, which means you have a good amount of skill already yet you don’t qualify yourself as a pro or an expert, it is highly recommended that you make use of a mild type of steel first.

Mild steel is relatively cheaper compared to an aluminum or stainless steel, aside from the fact that they are also more user-friendly for beginners like yourself. Additionally, compressed air can easily cut through mild steel also, making the execution of your work a lot easier and seamless to carry out.  

Types of Gas

Various types of gases can be utilized for plasma cutting. The type of gas to be used for this purpose will depend on the quality of the cut you will execute and the material you have.

  • Oxygen is highly recommended for use in cutting mild steel that is 1 ¼ inches thing. But be warned that this may actually produce a rather rough-looking cut when used in aluminum and stainless steel.
  • Hydrogen and argon gas can be mixed together if you want to have smoother quality cut in aluminum and stainless steel.
  • In the vast majority of small fabrication shops, compressed air is most utilized as both an assist gas and as a plasma gas. This type of gas usually works pretty well for  low current cutting applications in metals that are at least an inch thick.

Some other gases that can be used in a CNC plasma cutting process includes methane and nitrogen. They are most utilized in cutting stainless steel into thin slices. More: cnc plasma cutter for sale