Ultimate CNC Plasma Cutter’s Guide (2020)

The plasma cutting machine is a very popular tool for cutting metal and automotive processing. They can be cut quickly and accurately and can cut any conductive metal. The following guide will introduce some main factors to consider when buying a CNC plasma cutter, as well as useful links to the FORSUN website, where you can learn more about plasma cutting machines and related products.

What is a CNC plasma cutter?

In its simplest terms, plasma is the fourth state of matter. We commonly think of matter having three states: a solid, a liquid, and a gas. Matter changes from one state to the other through the introduction of energy, such as heat. If the heat levels are increased, it will change again from a liquid to a gas (steam). Now, if the heat levels increase again, the gases that make up the steam will become ionized and electrically conductive, becoming plasma. A plasma cutter will use this electrically conductive gas to transfer energy from a power supply to any conductive material, resulting in a cleaner, faster cutting process than with oxyfuel.

CNC plasma cutting machine is a special tool used to cut metal in many ways. Whether you want to cut metal sheets into different shapes or specific designs, you can do it.

There is a cutting torch in the CNC plasma cutting machine, which moves in the direction of the computer. As we all know, CNC means computer numerical control. Therefore, the movement of the machine is performed according to the digital code in the program.

Your cutting task will also be completed automatically, without you having to reserve too much space on the machine and metal. Therefore, your operation trouble is much less than other random cutting machines on the market.

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Essential Components of Plasma Cutter:

  • CNC Control
    The brain of the entire machine converts the cutting program into electrical signals, which indicate the direction and speed of the machine’s cutting. It also sends out signals to the plasma cutting machine, height control, and other peripherals to instruct how and when to operate.
  • Mechanical Parts
    Each machine must have moving parts, such as the frame (long axis), the torch bracket, and the Z-axis (up and down), which can manipulate and move the plasma torch to produce the required cutting parts.
  • Plasma Power
    Plasma equipment is mainly used for surface brightening of stainless steel products with complex geometric shapes. The mechanism is that a relatively stable plasma field is formed around the electrode applied by the liquid, and the surface analysis of the object is achieved through the exchange of ions in the plasma field and the dissociation of neutral atoms. Due to the surface morphology characteristics of the object, the protruding parts have a higher plasma concentration, so that they can be quickly peeled off until they reach a relatively flat state; and because the plasma field surrounds the entire surface of the object, all parts of the object can be obtained The corresponding polishing effect.

How does a plasma cutter work?

The plasma arc cutting process is shown in the figure. The basic principle is that the arc formed between the electrode and the workpiece is restricted by the fine hole copper nozzle. This increases the temperature and velocity of the plasma emitted from the nozzle. The temperature of the plasma exceeds 20000°C, and the speed can be close to the speed of sound. When used for cutting, the plasma flow will increase so that the penetrating plasma jet cuts through the material and removes the molten material in the outflowing plasma.

How does a plasma cutter work
How does a plasma cutter work

The difference between this process and the oxy-fuel process is that the plasma process operates by melting the metal using an electric arc, while in the oxy-fuel process, oxygen oxidizes the metal, and the heat generated by the exothermic reaction melts the metal. Therefore, unlike the oxyfuel process, the plasma process can be used to cut metals that form refractory oxides, such as stainless steel, aluminum, cast iron, and non-ferrous alloys.

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Work Video

Plasma Cutting Machine Application

What can you cut with a plasma cutter?

Plasma cutting is suitable for cutting various metal materials. It is mainly used for cutting medium and thick plates.

Plasma cutting machine application:

  • Fabrication
  • Maintenance and repair
  • Trade schools
  • Shipyard manufacturing
  • Construction sites
  • Manufacturing
  • Metalworking

Project Display

plasma cutter sample
plasma cutter sample
plasma cutter sample
plasma cutter sample
plasma cutter sample
plasma cutter sample

After knowing so much, let’s take a look at what is the most suitable CNC plasma cutting machine for your business? 

Combine Your Own Needs

Unless you know exactly what you need, you will not be able to choose the right product. Knowing what you are looking for means you can choose a plasma cutting machine that suits your needs perfectly.

You can ask yourself the following questions to narrow down the range of plasma cutting machines you need:

  • What type of material and thickness do you need to cut?
  • What type of material and how much thickness will you cut most of the time?
  • How many hours do you use per week or how much time do you use in shifts per week?
  • Are you a professional with expansion plans or an occasional amateur?
  • What prototype parts, hot rod parts, artwork, or production parts do you need to cut?
  • What kind of tolerance do you need?
  • How much space is available in your store for tables?
  • What is your budget for purchasing the system?

What is The Best CNC Plasma Cutter for My Business?

Output Power

The output power level (or amperage) of a plasma cutting machine indicates the thickness of the material that can be cut. Generally, plasma cutting machines will be rated according to their amperage, and you will be able to find the best thickness range that can be cut.

Make sure this thickness range is aligned with the material you plan to cut most of the time. A good rule of thumb to remember is that the thicker the material, the greater the amperage required to cut.

Cutting Speed

The cutting speed of a plasma cutting machine is usually recorded as inches per minute (IPM). Your workflow and priority will determine your needs, but remember that although two plasma cutting machines can cut 1/2 inch of metal, one can cut metal in one minute, while the other can cut metal if The cutting speed is slow, as long as 4 or 5. Choosing a machine with the right cutting speed can make a reasonable investment and productivity drop.

Duty Cycle

The duty cycle refers to the length of time within ten minutes that the plasma cutter can run uninterruptedly before it needs cooling. The duty cycle of a plasma cutting machine refers to the time it can run continuously for ten minutes before it needs to be cooled. A five-minute work cycle means that the plasma cutting machine can run for five minutes, and then it needs to cool down for five minutes. If the machine is running at lower power, the duty cycle may be extended, although overheating operating conditions may shorten the duty cycle. Using a machine that exceeds its working cycle can cause it to overheat.

A longer duty cycle is ideal for long cuts or deep cuts on large pieces of metal, while a shorter duty cycle is ideal for home shops that regularly perform a series of small cuts.

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Choose The Right Cutting Torch

There are two common types of plasma torches. The most common torch is a high-frequency start system, which uses a high-voltage transformer, capacitors, and sparks gap components to generate sparks. The advantage of the high-frequency cutting torch is that it does not use any moving parts, so it remains quite reliable. However, they do require occasional maintenance and may generate electrical noise, which can interfere with computers and other nearby electrical equipment in your office, store, or home.

Another option is to use the contact of a moving electrode or nozzle to start the torch to generate a spark that ignites the pilot arc. This torch will not interfere with other electrical appliances and can be turned on immediately without pre-flow circulation.

Plasma Cutting FAQs

  • How much does a plasma cutter table cost?

The price of plasma cutting machines ranges from US$3,000 to US$100,000. Like most machines in the store, the price is almost limitless, especially when you start to study CNC plasma cutting machines. It is worth walking around and understanding the benefits of each plasma cutting machine, just because the plasma cutting machine is cheap, it does not mean that it will provide you with the results you need in your business. Spending some extra money on a plasma cutting machine can ensure that you meet future demands on the machine.

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  • How does plasma compare to a fiber laser cutter?

You need to consider the material to be cut and its thickness. Fiber laser cutting machine can provide higher precision and consistency. Plasma cutting machines have greater versatility and require lower capital investment. Learn more: Plasma Cutting Machine VS Fiber Laser Cutting Machine

  • Can aluminum and stainless steel be cut using modern plasma cutting technology?

In recent years, plasma cutting technology has made significant progress, redefining the quality of plasma cutting on mild steel, stainless steel, and aluminum. Plasma cutting now offers a wide range of stainless steel and aluminum cutting options for many applications.

  • What maintenance requirements does the plasma table require?

The cutting machine needs to be regularly cleaned, lubricated and fluid checked according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, and its power supply and control devices also require regular maintenance by the manufacturer. It is strongly recommended to perform annual preventive maintenance service procedures on the cutting machine to ensure its service life. These problems should be resolved in-depth when installing any machine. Learn more: How to Maintain a CNC Plasma Cutter?

  • Can you make money with a CNC plasma cutter?

If you are a skilled welder, you can do many things to open up income channels. It all depends on your skill level, creativity, interpersonal skills, and willingness to travel. As a welder, you can do a lot of things, and no matter where you want to focus professionally, you should definitely be able to find what you like to do and earn a high income. Learn more: How to Make Money with CNC Routers?

  • What experience level is needed to program a CNC plasma cutting machine?

A person familiar with the cutting process can learn the fundamentals of CNC programming in a short time with proper instruction (such as webinars, tutorials, and face-to-face instruction). These fundamentals can be picked up in a couple of days. As with any process, the programmer and the operator will pick up more detail over time based on the interest, curiosity, and practice.

  • How much thickness of material can plasma cut?

Generally, plasma cuts low carbon steel with a thickness between 3mm and 50mm, although many customers in the industry are cutting thinner and thinner materials.

  • Warranty

Because you have to spend a lot of money on CNC machine tools, you need a reliable warranty from the manufacturer. Because after sending the machine home, if you encounter any problems, you may need to replace it or return it to the manufacturer. Otherwise, you may encounter technical problems, which may also cost you money. Therefore, please check whether the manufacturer holds a warranty.

  • How does Plasma compare to Oxyfuel?

Plasma cutting machines can cut materials much faster than oxyfuel, but plasma can only pierce materials with a thickness not exceeding 50mm. Compared with oxyfuel, plasma can also cut a wider range of materials and transfer less heat to the material. Usually, the plasma cutting torch and the oxy-fuel cutting torch are installed on the same CNC cutting machine, so that the machine has a larger processing thickness range, such as 3mm-150 + mm. In most work, plasma is more effective than oxygen fuel, because 90% of the steel-cut thickness is less than 50 mm, if you compare some suitable plasma cutting system with the oxygen fuel system, it will process 50 mm mild steel The speed is more than twice as fast.

Best CNC Plasma Cutters of 2020

What is the best CNC plasma cutter?

As a supplier of high-quality machinery, FORSUN high-quality plasma cutting machines will certainly meet your needs. Our experienced staff can solve any problems related to the equipment for you, including output power, cutting speed, duty cycle, and operating cost, to ensure that you invest in the most suitable product for you. Contact us to learn more about plasma cutting machines.

Hot Sale Plasma Cutter

We have a variety of models of plasma cutting machines for you to choose, including a plasma cutting machine with a rotary axis, a plasma cutting machine for metal, portable plasma metal cutting machine, mini metal portable CNC plasma cutting machine, low-cost portable CNC plasma cutting machine, etc.

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