How to Use a Plasma Cutter Like a Pro

If you don’t like to spend much, a plasma cutter might just be your best friend. They reduce cutting costs and can even improve your productivity. They can cut holes, pierce, gouge, bevel, and trace shapes too!

To use a plasma cutter like a pro, follow these steps and the reminders presented after:

  1. Put the drag shield on the base metal’s edge or hold the proper standoff distance which is usually 1/8 inch.

  2. Position the arc down.

  3. Hold the trigger and press it. After about two seconds, the air will start to flow and the pilot arc will begin.

  4. Advance the torch from one side of the metal to the other once the cutting arc begins.

  5. Calibrate the speed so that the cutting sparks will go into and out of the metal and out the bottom of the cut.

  6. Angle the torch a bit toward the final edge or completely cut the metal by pausing for a while.

  7. Cool the torch. Air will continue to flow for about 20-30 seconds after you stop pressing the trigger.

Reminders:

  1. Use two hands! A plasma cutter requires both of your hands. Your one arm won’t be able to hold the torch properly if your other hand can’t support it.

  2. Mind your travel speed. Your travel speed should be maintained as you cut. The speed relies on how thick your metal is. Typically, the faster your travel speed is, the more efficient the cut will become. Slowing down may cause some punches to appear on the metal. Before working on the final metal, it’s best to practice on pieces of scrap metals first. Practice retaining the speed. After all, a maintained speed will result in accurate cuts.

  3. Remember to use the tools that come with your cutter when you want to produce simple, straight cuts.

  4. When you want to produce circle cuts, use a circle guide or a template.

  5. Use your dominant hand to cut and your non-dominant hand for support.

  6. This may sound weird, but always ensure your legs are comfortable while you cut.