plasma cutting

Mistakes lead to wasted time and money. A good operator working on a well-maintained CNC plasma cutter saves your company thousands of hours and dollars, and generates you consistent revenue.

Good operators know how to avoid the mistakes discussed below, and they should help your inexperienced team members learn how to avoid them too:

Using Consumables Until They Blow

This leads to using consumables when they’re severely worn. If you do that, you can ruin good metal and cause explosive torch failures.

To avoid this mistake, periodically check the cut edge quality of your work piece. Examine the torch parts if you see deterioration in the cut quality.

Record the average life of your CNC plasma cutter’s parts over time. Establish baselines for the expected life of these parts. Use these in the future to understand the best timing for replacement of these parts.

Using the Wrong Consumables for the Job

Choose your consumable based on the thickness of your material, required amperage, and plasma gas you use. Your operator’s manual gives you the appropriate consumables you should use. Using the wrong consumable for the job leads to a shorter life of your parts and lower cut quality.

Incorrect Torch Assembly

Prior to operation, check your CNC plasma cutter to ensure all torch parts are aligned as they should be, and that they fit together snugly. This ensures good electrical contact, minimal disruption to your work, and gives your torch the proper flow of gas and coolant.

That leads us straight into mistake #4:

Not Checking Coolant or Gas Flow

Check the flow and pressure of your gas and coolant daily. Insufficient flow reduces the life of your parts because your consumables aren’t cooled properly.

Cutting Too Slow

Cutting either too fast or too slow causes issues with the resulting cut quality. When you cut too slow, you get a large bubbly accumulation of dross along the bottom edge of your work piece. This can also cause a wider kerf and excess top spatter. If you cut too fast, you cause lag back in the kerf, which leaves a small hard bead of uncut material or rollover dross along the bottom of you work piece.

Arc Stretching

Your plasma cutter’s arc needs to be centered directly over the work piece when starting. If it isn’t, it may have to stretch ever-so-slightly to reach your workpiece. This can cause the arc to cut into the side wall of your nozzle.

When you avoid these mistakes, you save yourself disruption to your production processes, which also means many saved hours and dollars. Keep each in mind, and make sure everyone on your team understands what to do to keep them from happening.


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