The metalwork industry is flooded with different kinds of metal-cutting and welding devices. The main three types of metal cutting systems include oxyfuel, laser beam cutters, water jet, and plasma cutter systems. You need to understand that each of these metal cutting machines operates under a given principle. Each of them also cut certain types of metals, which is also based on the workpiece’s thickness. In this post, we will give you several tips to help you make an informed choice when buying a plasma cutting system. Read on for a better understanding.

Plasma Cutter Selection

Reliability 

Before choosing a particular plasma cutting system for your project, you need to research first to know whether it offers the value you are looking for. In other words, it should be reliable. You must make sure that you look for a reputable brand that offers high-quality plasma cutters that will stand the test of time and won’t break down after a few weeks or months. 

Air Compressor 

Most plasma cutters use compressed air when cutting metals. The compressed air can either be from a built-in air compressor or it can be supplied externally. Depending on your application, ensure that you pick the type of compressed air source that will work for you because both of these compressed air supplies work quite well. If you decide to go with a built-in air compressed system, it will help you manage small metal cutting jobs.

Voltage 

When you want to purchase a plasma cutter, its voltage is another factor you need to look into. Plasma cutters have three voltage options: the 115V, 230V, or the dual voltage plasma cutter. If you are going to use your plasma cutting machine at home, the one with 115V input is ideal. If you will use it in your garage or workshop to cut thick metals, then the one that offers a 230V input is the best. The dual voltage plasma cutter is appropriate if you want to choose between either of the above voltages. 

Pilot Arc 

The pilot arc is a suitable feature in a plasma cutter because it offers much-needed stability when cutting a workpiece. With the pilot arc feature, the torch tip doesn’t need to strike the metal while cutting it. It is an ideal feature when you want to cut rusty workpieces without cleaning them. All latest models of plasma cutters will have this feature. 

Duty Cycle 

Plasma cutters tend to overheat when used for some time. That is why they have to be turned off after some time to allow them to cool down. The amount of time that an operator can use the plasma cutter continuously without and then stops is called the duty cycle. When buying a plasma cutter, settle for the one with the highest percentage number at any given amperage. This offers the best duty cycle, which is 7.

Cut Rating 

The thickness of the workpiece also matters when you are looking for a plasma cutter. It is good to know the thickness of metal that you will cut or weld most of the time. You can consider these three metal cut ratings: rating cut, which refers to the time it takes to cut a certain metal thickness; the quality cut, which is the thickness at lower speeds; and lastly, the maximum achievable cut, which is the severe cut. 

Weight 

The heaviest a plasma cutter can weigh 100lbs. The least it can weigh is about 20lb. You can go to the lighter plasma cutter model if you are going to move around from job to job. Heavier plasma cutters are suitable for cutting thick metals. 

Cut Quality 

Before buying a plasma cutting machine or system, you need to know the quality of the work that you want. This refers to how clean and how smooth you want it in your finished project.

Cost of Operation 

Since there are different types of plasma cutters, they will also have varying consumables and consumption rates. You first need to research the plasma cutter’s consumption rate to save money. 

Cutting Torch 

Consider the torch’s length before setting for a particular plasma cutter. You will have to settle for a longer cutting torch for larger plasma cutters that don’t need to be moved around while working in the workshop. Look for torches that will fit your hand if you will work for a long time to prevent getting sore hands. 

Conclusion

To get the best metal cutting results, you need to do your research first to know which one will work well in your application. As you’ve explained, these are the main tips for getting the best plasma cutter. Look for a reliable manufacturer who will guide you through the purchasing process. 

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