How Does A Plasma Cutter Work?

How Does A Plasma Cutter WorkDid you know a plasma cutter has been used from World War II? It is a widely used engineering tool. Whenever you’re thinking of automobile, industrial, or construction site work, the first weapon that you will need to accomplish these tasks is a plasma cutter.

A plasma cutter cuts through metals precisely. And every welder needs one of it in their workshop. They also need to know how does a plasma cutter work. Because knowing every peak and perk of a plasma cutter machine helps to operate the plasma cutter perfectly.


What Is A Plasma Cutter?

The plasma term refers to an electric arc which passes through oxygen or nitrogen. There is a special process that can produce a plasma state. The fourth state of plasma is created through a small opening like a nozzle.

And this becomes finally stable for cutting conductive metal. People who already used plasma cutters, they know plasma cutting is a super-fast cutting process of the jet of hot plasma through conductive metals.

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How Does A plasma Cutter Operate?

If you want the best alternative process of the plasma cutting process, then the oxy-fuel process is the best. Now, I’m going to describe every detail of it.

Basic Operation System Of A Plasma

There is a deep connection of the arc formed between the electrode and the metal you’re going to cut. Plasma tends to operate when connected by a fine bore and copper nozzle. Generally, it increases the temperature and the heat exceeds 20,000° and cuts through the conductive materials.

The velocity also increases for the plasma flowing from the nozzle. In a meanwhile, the velocity goes through the sound speed. When the operator starts for cutting, the plasma gas flows quicker. So, the plasma hot jet cuts through materials and leaves no molten chips around the material.

As I already said it is better than the oxy-fuel process. Plasma is always created by using arc for melting the metal. But, the oxyfuel oxygen can only oxidize the metal. And the exothermic reaction melts the metal. There is nothing more difference than this cutting process between arc plasma cutting and oxy-fuel cutter.

But the major difference I’ve found is plasma can cut through stainless steel, aluminum, alloys, and cast iron too where oxy-fuel unable to oxidize them.


Plasma Components

There is a combination of components which makes the plasma possible. Unless you know their features, you can’t properly understand the plasma operation.

Power Supply

Power supply is the most crucial component in a plasma cutter. It converts AC voltage into DC voltage ranging from 200-400 DC voltage. The DC voltage enables smooth plasma cutting through the materials.

And the best thing that a welder can ever get is the current output. Hence, the current regulates according to material type and thickness. So, the welder won’t have to manually operate the plasma to fulfill the work demand.


Plasma Torch

Plasma torch makes the plasma cutter complete in terms of alignment. It also offers coolness to the internal parts of a plasma cutter. The internal parts are so-called consumable parts which are nozzle, swirl ring, and electrode.

If these parts are not enough cool to cut through materials, then you will end up having a disaster cutting experience. For example, the accuracy cutting always depends on the perfect combination of the consumables and an expert hand.


Arc Production

Without arc, the plasma cutter can never able to cut. But, how does this arc produce?

Let me tell you, every plasma cutter has an ASC circuit which denotes to Arc Staring Console. This circuit is liable to produce an AC voltage of 5,000V. So, an internal plasma torch spark production happens and also create a plasma arc.


Gas Unit

A plasma cutter uses oxidizing gases for burning unit. And the best oxidizing burning gas is either oxygen or air. But the complication arises when the electrode must use copper with hafnium. The whole gas process is complicated. So, the operator must set the current level and nozzle following the task statement.

You must check out if you’ve set the gas perfectly. If your current level is required for high-level gas flow, but you’ve set the gas flow too low, then the current level will become hard to handle for the nozzle bore diameter. And suddenly, the arc will break down and workpiece will be affected too for the double arcing. This will result to melt nozzle too.

Here is your visual help:


Final Words

Was it very complex to understand? Well, I tried my best to describe the plasma cutter operation system. I hope you understand well. You can share your thoughts and opinion if you have any queries or confusion about the plasma arc cutting.

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