What Is a Plasma Cutter and How Does It Work
Blog

What Is a Plasma Cutter and How Does It Work?

Are you looking to buy a plasma cutter but do not know much about it? That is alright because we can tell you all that you need to know about it. Keep reading to find out more about what exactly a plasma cutter is and how it works.

What is a Plasma Cutter?

Metals are very strong, so it makes it difficult to manipulate them. A plasma cutter is a cutting tool that is able to cut and work with metals to create something. It is usually used in engineering.

You will find them in auto repair shops, metal fabrication shops, and industrial construction. However, you will also be able to find some that can also be used for DIY stuff at home.

What Does It Do?

It can cut through metals like copper, steel, aluminum, etc. Basically, any electrically conductive materials. The metals need to be manipulated to build tools and transportation. It is able to do that by producing plasma, which is a high temperature, an electrical channel of ionized gas.

The purpose for Using a Plasma Cutter

Plasma cutters are used for different purposes, depending on who is using them. Many artists or people doing DIY work use them to cut out various shapes according to their designs to create artwork.

On the other hand, in auto repair shops and construction sites, these cutters are used to cut sheets of metals. The end result of the cut depends on the skill level of the user, and what type of cutter tip is being used.

Types of Plasma Cutters

There are many types of plasma cutters. People doing DIY work usually use small, handheld sort of plasma cutters at home. For industrial purposes, CNC cutters are used.

Types of Plasma Cutters

They also come in various shapes and sizes. Although they may have different shapes and sizes, they are all more or less made based on the same design. Plasma cutters consist of many individual components.

Some of the major ones include a power source and power cable, air compressor, and consumables that include tips and electrodes.

How It Works

Now you know what a plasma cutter is, but you still may be wondering how it works. First, let us answer the question, “What is plasma?” To put it simply, other than solid, liquid, and gas, plasma is another state of matter.

When you apply energy such as heat, the state of matter can change from one to the other. Plasma cutting is basically using this heat or plasma to reach a temperature that will allow them to cut through metals directly.

The way it works is an electric arc is sent through the tip. A transformer is usually used for this, but you will also find some with an inverter power source.

An inverter would be the lighter and smaller option, and it allows for a high-frequency arc start. So, this electrical discharge flows through and joins the compressed air that is being driven through a restricted opening, at high speed.

When this gas meets the current, it heats up rapidly and changes its state into a plasma. It is then transferred to any material that can conduct electricity, which has been linked to the plasma cutter circuit.

The highly heated plasma then jumps to the metal and cuts it. The proportions of the cut depend on the size of the tip of the torch, as well as the distance the gun is held at.

So, these are some of the things you should know about plasma cutters. If you are interested in buying one, you can look online for plasma cutter reviews to find out which one is right for you.