Many fabricators work on large sheet plasma cutting machines due to superior cuts and greater speed for thicker materials. The significance of a plasma cutting machine is that it uses high speed ionized plasma (gas) in which a torch from the plasma cutter heats and melts metal as well as conducts electricity. Here are important points to know about cutting large sheet materials with a plasma cutter.
Reasons for Using Plasma Cutters
A CNC plasma cutter is a reliable way to cut both thick and thin materials. It involves a plasma torch mounted to a CNC drive system, which can cut a steel plate up to 2 1/2 inches thick. More robust computer-controlled torches can cut steel up to six inches thick. The machine can cut a wide range of steel, stainless steel and other metals. Most plasma cutting involves either stainless steel, carbon steel or spring steel and is often used to make parts for automobiles, aircraft and structural supports.
The CNC plasma cutter is a good choice for making precise cuts to metals based on customized specifications. It’s a much faster method than traditional cutting machines and it’s easy to use. The operator simply follows a program or programs the machine to do specific cuts. It’s an energy-efficient solution and an excellent method for multi-tasking.
One of the key benefits that makes a plasma cutter an efficient tool is that it’s able to cut large sheets of metal easily. Sheets up to 20 feet can be cut into strips quickly. CNC machines use automatic testing features to make sure each run produces precision results.
The Cutting Process
Prior to cutting a piece of metal, a product design is created in CAD software. A computer numerical control (CNC) plasma cutter can cut 2D shapes based on applying velocity ionized gas, streamed with a high temperate plasma beam. Compressed air is commonly used as a gas, as plasma cutters do not require fuel gas or compressed oxygen. Oxyfuel can be used to help speed up the process, especially for plates thicker than one inch.
Certain steel types can be cut faster, particularly the type that doesn’t contain alloys. Another reason for choosing plasma cutters is that they are useful for making circular cuts. The plasma torch should provide a tight and focused arc that easily melts and trims away unused metal. The thicker the large sheet plasma cutting material, the longer the arc will need to be with more voltage. At the same time, a smaller torch will provide greater visibility.
Large sheet plasma cutting can help speed up metal projects. Contact us at Serra Laser to learn more about the most efficient ways to cut large sheets of metal.