How Does a Plasma Cutter Work

To be honest, a plasma cutter is an essential tool that comes to help with cutting larger metal sheets. But how one can get the most out of it depends on its proper knowledge. Due to its user-friendly and safe performance, the plasma cutter is looked forward to in comparison with the saw cutter.

One thing that is pretty highlighted is that tools and machines like plasma cutters that deal with heavy-duty industrial metals need the proper attention when it comes to handling and their operation.

And if you do not know how it works, it could result in a serious injury or irreversible damage to the workpiece. Given that, in this article, we shall talk exclusively about how a plasma cutter works.

How does a plasma cutter work?

Plasma cutter tools or machines work on the principle of electricity. It mainly works by pushing the fastest jet of super-hot plasma through the conductive metals to ensure a smooth cut. An electrically charged arc is directed through the gas (gas can be either oxygen or nitrogen). The plasma is introduced through the smaller nozzle that cuts the conductive metals sheets and other shapes.

The plasma cutting process involves melting the metals and in this process the ionized gas is used, featuring temperature ranges above 20,000°C. This temperature is ideal to melt down the material for its smoother cutting. In the plasma cutting process, the electric arc that falls between the electrode end is a cathode, and the anode which is in this case the workpiece is used.

The electrode end is placed in water for some time or you can also air cool the gas nozzle. At the point when a plasma arc strikes the metal sheet, the ionized gas comes back to the previous normal state by excluding the high heat. This intense heating coming out of the plasma cutter readily melts the metals sheet of the intended workpiece.

The gasses used in the plasma cutting process are most obviously argon/hydrogen nitrogen or argon. Moreover, plasma cutters can work with air regardless of inert gasses; however, a dedicated electrode of helium or zirconium would be needed.

For compressed air usability, the plasma cutting process becomes even more aggressive and active towards the oxy-fuel methods when you talk about cutting metals such as carbon-manganese and stainless steel, provided the thickness of 20 mm. But as a rule of thumb, the inert gasses are prioritized by the experts and professionals whenever it comes to cutting the reactive alloys. The arc of the plasma cutter works very well to cut multiple alloys aided by electrical power such as aluminum alloy, plain carbon, and stainless steel, and the titanium, nickel alloys.


So this was about how a plasma cutter works. In this post, we tried to include the most basic and easier way to clarify the working process of this plasma arc cutting process.

As mentioned above, it works on electricity by sending the electrically charged arc through the gas for targeting the workpiece. So it is pretty clear that it’s a dedicated process for which you cannot go wrong in following the guidelines and precautionary measures related to it.



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