What Gas does a Plasma Cutter Use Guide and Instructions

Introduction

If you want to make a clean and smooth cut through metals of different kinds, you definitely need a plasma cutter. You can use a manual torch together with a plasma cutter or place it on a CNC table for cutting. This table is also called a plate cutter or profile cutter.

You actually need to establish the kind of gases that can give you the best performance which will give you desirable results. However, it will depend on the type of metal material you are cutting. You need to get a combination of gases to facilitate the process. We have given the best explanation of gases that are required in this process.

 

Recommended Plasma Cutting Gases

Compressed Air

The most common plasma gas is compressed air. It is versatile and gives the best quality of cuts. It does well on aluminum and steel metals. It can also be used to extract plasma from carbon steel. It is not expensive to purchase. You only need to have it cleaned to remove mist, particles, and oil. Compressed air can be used to cut 1 inch thick metals. If you make an oxidized area while cutting, welding it will be difficult.

 

Benefits

  • It is ideal for cutting steel and aluminum
  • Storing and harnessing it is cheap
  • It does not send chippings flying while you cut
  • Ideal for shiny and smooth surfaces

Disadvantages

  • Weak torch – can’t make deep incisions greater than ½”
  • If the torch is weak, the cut won’t go beyond half an inch
  • It is only used on thin metals

 

Oxygen

This is the most popular of all gases. It is used to cut mild steel. It gives fast and clean cuts. We recommend that you do not use it to cut steel and aluminum. If it contacts carbon, oxygen plasma gives out a spray like molten metal and its drops have low surface tension. However, it is easy to get it off from the kerf easily. The only disadvantage of oxygen is that it is expensive and makes consumable parts wear out easily. Other systems combine oxygen with nitrogen to give similar cuts.

 

Benefits

  • It is easy to get oxygen
  • Transporting it is cheap
  • Using it is economical
  • Works well in metals like steel and aluminum

Disadvantages

  • Its cuts are poor in light metals

 

Nitrogen

This gas is ideal for plasma machines that have a high current. It is also ideal for cutting 3-inch metals. Aluminum and stainless steel are examples of metals that are ideal. You are definitely going to have a perfect cut and to lengthen the life of the consumable parts. If your metals are thicker, consider mixing argon-nitrogen. Air becomes the most ideal if you plan to use nitrogen plasma. You may also use carbon dioxide for a perfect finish.

 

Benefits

  • Nitrogen is plenty in the atmosphere and therefore easily acquired
  • Harnessing and storing it is easy
  • Can combine freely with several gases like carbon dioxide and pure air
  • Ideal in smooth, thin, and shiny sheets

Disadvantages

  • If the torch is weak, you will not make deeper cuts beyond half an inch

 

About the Argon-Hydrogen Mix

Stainless steel requires a mixture of hydrogen and argon. The proportions are 35% of hydrogen and 65% of argon. It gives high capacity cuts because it is the hottest gas there is for plasma cutting. You will truly achieve a perfect cut. This mix is ideal for any type of mechanical cutting and metals measuring 3 inches.

It is advisable to call local gas technicians to guide you if you are starting with new cutting equipment. Hypertherm is the leading manufacturer of cutting equipment all over the world. Their equipment and advice are credible. You will highly benefit from their tips and guidelines. You will get these from their website or their manual.

 

FAQs

Do you need gas with a plasma cutter?

Compressed air is the most common gas used under low current. It provides good cuts with 1-inch thickness. It is also used for gouging on carbonated steel. Nitrogen on the other hand is used in high current and when cutting 3-inch metals.

 

Are plasma cutting fumes dangerous?

Plasma cutting is a process that cuts metals of all kinds ranging from steel to aluminum. During this process, fumes and dust are produced. These fumes are not only harmful to people but also other electronics around the working area. It is good to have them controlled.


What is needed for plasma cutting?

A nozzle, swirling ring, and electrodes are required as consumable parts. A shielding cap only improves the cut. These parts work together to give out the best cut ever!


Can a plasma cutter cut wood?

Every metal can be cut ranging from stainless steel, brass, aluminum to copper. The inches that plasma cutting can dig into range from 1 inch to 30 inches. Any material that conducts electricity can be cut. Therefore, since wood and plastic do not conduct electricity, they will not support plasma cutting.

Conclusion

As we have seen above, it will depend on the type of gas that is available, the kind of metal material you want to cut; the cost of cutting, and the speed at which cutting is to take place.

Some other processes will need you to engage a water table. This is done by using a plasma cutter gas with water acting as an alternative fuel. If your materials are thin such as stainless steel and aluminum, use oxygen and nitrogen if plasma cutting is the way to go.

 

If your materials are thick like coarse steel which mild, hydrogen and argon are the most ideal for giving the best cuts. Precision is paramount although other factors like cost and effectiveness also count. These factors will help you get the best equipment from the stores. In conclusion, you need to get nothing but the best out of the project. Let the cut be durable and perfect.

 

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