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Plasma cutting can be performed on any type of conductive metal including aluminum and stainless. With mild steel, operators will experience faster, thicker cuts than with alloys. Oxyfuel cuts by burning, or oxidizing, the metal it is severing.
Plasma cutting systems is a technical process that involves cutting through materials that conduct electrically through a fast-paced flush of hot plasma. Metals that can be cut include aluminum plate, copper, steel, brass and much more with the implementation of a plasma torch and a water table.
Fabrication shops, automotive and construction industries make use of Plasma cutting systems. Plasma cutting aluminum is a very effective way in which thick and thin aluminum materials are cut. Hand plasma torches can readily cut aluminum which is a thick metal of about 38mm.
Can you cut aluminum with a plasma cutter? Of course, yes. Some plasma torches controlled by a computer can cut aluminum plate which is a thick steel of about 150mm. A plasma cutter is enormously useful in cutting metals into clean angled or curved shapes. Plasma aluminum cutting is a technical process needed to make great metal works.
In plasma cutting systems operators are more concerned about the results derived therefore it is important to use an ideal technique. In simple words and terms, plasma cutting aluminum is a procedure that makes use of a water table and also with the use of high velocity of inert gas usually delivered from an orifice.
The plasma which is the high-velocity ionized gas conducts electricity right from the plasma’s torch to the piece of work. The art of Plasma cutting aluminum has been there since time ages, however, just like any technological apparatus, developmental strides are regularly added; so also applies to plasma cutting systems.
Plasma cutters make use of various methods to start an arc. The arc is made when the plasma torch comes in contact with the piece of work. plasma cutters generally make use of high voltage or frequency. This method employed in aluminum cutting, however, can pose a risk of electrocution and can be sort of difficult to repair when spoilt.
Plasma cutting aluminum has been proven to work very well once it is done appropriately. Once the plasma cutting aluminum procedures are completely understood and the best types of equipment are used; then the cutting of the aluminum plate will come out excellently.
In recent times plasma cutter can effectively cut aluminum plate at very fast rates per ampere while minimizing the heat level thereby leading to great results. Plasma cutting aluminum offers more tangible advantages over cutting of aluminum with the laser.
Generally, plasma cutting involves the cutting of metal. In this discussion, our emphasis is on plasma cutting aluminum which aims to cut aluminum plate.
Misconceptions On Plasma Cutting Aluminum
There are some misconceptions though, let’s address them and get rid of them. They are as follows:
- Aluminum is not a suitable metal to be plasma cut as it is highly porous resulting in a poor edge plus it can be easily caught up in flames.
However this misconception can be eradicated if a good gas selection is made, the aluminum cutting will come out with a good edge. It is important to note this as if a good gas selection and the water table is in place, the plasma cutting aluminum will come out well and nice.
The porous nature of aluminum can be controlled when a fabricator in combination with gas is used to cut aluminum. As regards the susceptibility of aluminum to get caught up in flames, there are plasma cutters that have the ability to cut at really fast rates per ampere.
This reduces the level of heat and over burning; therefore the issue of it getting caught up in flames is addressed. For example, aluminum materials as that used for military vehicle doors can be well cut using plasma.
- Plasma cutting aluminum does not have a level of tolerance.
This isn’t just specific to aluminum but also includes some metals; therefore should not be considered as an issue. With a standard plasma system though the tolerance level of aluminum while cutting will be enhanced and comes out good.
There is a developmental stride in plasma cutting aluminum known as high precision plasma structures that help to retain the tolerance level to a very good point. This definitely addresses the misconception raised above.
- There is always a mess on the material which is hard to clean after plasma cut.
This is so wrong a misconception as if the plasma cutting aluminum is done properly this would not occur.
- When aluminum is cut with laser it is less cost-effective than it being cut with plasma.
Using a laser to cut aluminum needs to use of a reaction that is exothermic; this kind of reaction makes use of oxygen which poses a problem in the proper cutting of aluminum thereby making the process slower and resulting in higher costs.
While on the other hand plasma cutting aluminum would give enormous cost-effectiveness over the use of laser. Therefore this misconception doesn’t hold ground at all.
- A well-experienced handler is required to actively watch on the operation of plasma cutting aluminum.
This is not so true as a good plasma cutter system has adequate control and allows the machine to operate effectively on its own. However only if the aluminum is cut with the use of a water table. Training an Operator is very essential, the operator needs to understand the hazards and how to prevent these.
However, it is worthy to note that plasma cutting aluminum can also come with challenges specifically as regards chemistry and the sensitivity of the crank.
The process of cutting steel is way different from that of plasma cutting aluminum. Vital factors to note when plasma cutting aluminum are the gas selection, a good water table and the proper cutting procedure.
Potential threats to cutting Aluminum with plasma
Plasma cutting aluminum sometimes pose a threat to the operator, area or process; some of which are:
- Aluminum, when put in water on the water table, tends to produce a hydrogen gas or a compressed air that is highly flammable.
- If aluminum goes through dry aluminum cutting, it produces more dust which results in more costs to remove it.
- It is possible not to get a tidy cut which becomes time-consuming in clearing the mess.
What gas is the best to be used for plasma cutting aluminum?
Making the right gas selection is so important as it prevents the issues of poor cuts. A Plasma cutter system needs a good air and gas selection for a clean well done cut.
Moreover as regards plasma cutting aluminum clean and well, you will need to make use of inert gas like nitrogen or helium. Therefore nitrogen or helium can be considered to be the best gas selection
Notable Tips for Plasma Cutting Aluminum
- Let there be a good balance existing between the amperage and travel speed. Let the torch move fast enough but take note that the arc does not in any way penetrate the aluminum
- Turn the torch in the right direction to properly cut away the pattern. The part cut off becomes the finished piece while the other part can serve as scrap.
- If there is a plan to use a template to trace the pattern, a dag tip is needed.
- Aluminum can become so sticky when warm. Do make sure the source of compressed air and the water table is properly connected to the plasma cutter system.
- When trying to cut a thick aluminum sheet you will need to make use of a plasma cutter that has a big arc and a wide gap. If otherwise then the arc and gap can be reduced.
- Do make sure you avoid making the plasma cutter drag on the aluminum surface; the can totally damage the machine.
How To Know If You Carved A Good Clean Cut
Observing the aluminum cut is possibly the most direct and first-line way to know if you carved out a clean-cut aluminum. If cut properly using the right speed, direction and all, it will definitely result in a clean-cut aluminum.
How To Stay Safe While Plasma Cutting Aluminium
There is a need to protect your eye properly while plasma cutting aluminum. Face shields could also be used so that the eyes won’t be damaged; this form of damage is known as arc eye, face shields can also be used to protect oneself from damage eliciting from debris.
A Green lens 5 types of shade can also be recommended to be used. A shade 8 can also be used as a source of protection, this is more suitable for arc ampere that is less than 300. Lighter filters could also be used most especially when the arc is undercover in the piece of work.
Some manufacturers of plasma cutting aluminum systems recommend a dark 7 or 9 shade. Jackets, leather gloves and aprons are materials recommended to protect oneself from burns eliciting from hot metal sparks. Working in a cool clean location that is free from gas, sparks and other materials is very vital and key.
It is so important to adhere to safety rules and precautions to ensure the work of plasma cutting aluminum goes well and effectively and also to make sure the plasma cutters area is kept clean and clearly free from hazards.
Assuredly, after going through this article, you will be able to use a plasma cutter to cut aluminum, make clean cuts on aluminum and be more confident generally with handling plasma cutting aluminum.