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How to Buy a Plasma Cutter

10 min read


Plasma Cutters for DIYers Table

Key Benefit Reason
Better Results Plasma cutters cut with more precision and straightness for better results.
Easy to Use Simple user interfaces and no need for complex setup make plasma cutters easier to use.
Clean Cuts Cleaner cuts with no burrs or rough chatters and minimal slag for a better finish.
Long Lasting Good quality plasma cutters are often made with more durable materials that last longer.
Value for Money With good plasma cutter you get more value for money due to their capabilities.

Defining the Plasma Cutter

A plasma cutter is a powerful tool for precision cutting.

It uses a combination of compressed air and an electric arc to create an extremely hot plasma flow, which cuts through metal quickly and accurately.

Plasma cutters come in a range of sizes, from handheld models that are perfect for hobbyists, to industrial models that can cut metal in industrial applications.

These tools are very versatile and can be used to cut pipes, sheet metal, and other materials.

They are also capable of creating detailed patterns, cut-outs, bevels, and more.

By understanding the capabilities of a plasma cutter, you can make the right choice for your project needs.

Our Goal

Our goal is to help our readers learn about purchasing and using plasma cutters.

Plasma cutters are great tools to make intricate cuts in sheet metal and to be used in home DIY projects.

They are very helpful when it comes to repairing, building, and creating.

Plasma cutters have the ability to make precise and accurate cuts while at the same time working quickly and efficiently.

Buyers must understand the basics of using plasma cutters and the types of items they can be used for.

In this article, we will help readers decide which type of plasma cutter is best for them and give them tips on proper usage and safety.

What Sets Plasma Cutters Apart


Plasma cutters offer many advantages over other cutting tools.

They produce very precise cuts, and they cut cleanly.

The high cutting speed of plasma cutters means tasks can be completed faster than if other cutting tools were used.

The relatively small size of these machines allows them to be used for very intricate works of art and sewing.

Plus, they make little to no noise compared to other cutting tools.

The plasma flame significantly reduces the need to perform hazardous tasks, like grinding.

Plasma cutters also consume less energy than many other cutting tools, which helps lower costs.

Finally, plasma cutters are easy to use and require minimal maintenance.

All of these benefits make plasma cutters a great option for many different kinds of tasks.

How Plasma Cutters Work

Plasma cutters use a high-powered stream of superheated gas with an electrical arc to cut through metal.

The plasma cutter produces an intense heat, which then melts through metal, while the arc at the same time blows the molten metal away.

The electrical arc is created by an electrical current that passes through the plasma gas, creating an electric arc that projected out from the end of the cutting torch.

This arc is what actually melts the metal and allows it to be cut.

The operating pressure also helps maintain a smooth and steady cut.

Features to Look For

When buying a plasma cutter, there are important features to consider.

Look for adjustability so you’re not limited to one cutting size.

It’s important to find one with a compatible air compressor and air filter.

Select a plasma cutter with a steady output for stability.

Look for a model that has an adjustable pilot arc for faster, easier starts.

For added safety, select a plasma cutter with Intellicut, as this technology gives adjustable arc force and arc voltage.

Make sure the cutter you choose is well-built, resulting in smooth, precise cuts.

Be sure to look for a cutter with a rating that is compatible with the type of jobs you are planning to do.

Finally, consider the cost of replacement parts and accessories when making your purchase.

When to Use a Plasma Cutter

Common Applications

A plasma cutter is a tool used to cut metal, and is useful for a variety of projects.

Common applications include cutting shapes and patterns in sheet metal; cutting frames and sheet metal for construction; cutting doors, windows, or vents; and for sculpting or fabrication projects.

Additionally, plasma cutters are often used in metalworking, automotive repair, and HVAC repairs.

They can also be used to remove rusted material from an item, such as removing rust from a leaking car door or window frames.

Plasma cutters are a versatile tool for a variety of projects.

Plasma Cutters In Your Workshop

If you have a home workshop, you know that it’s always best to have the right tools for the job.

But did you know that a plasma cutter can be a great addition? Plasma cutters can do a lot of the same tasks that other tools can.

Plasma cutters can substitute for chop saws, grinders, and drills, allowing you to cut metals with ease.

You can also use a plasma cutter and a grinder together for highlighting, embossing, and creating intricate designs.

Plasma cutters are versatile and make the job go faster.

Plus, they’re easy to use.

With a few simple tools, you can be on your way to creating interesting artwork with a plasma cutter.

Techniques and Tips

Plasma cutting is a great way to make perfect cuts in metals.

Here are some tips to help get the most out of your plasma cutting machine.

Always make sure the material you’ll be cutting is securely clamped down and not likely to move.

This keeps the blades from bending and gives you clean, straight cuts.

Choose the right thickness of the cutting rod for the task at hand.

Thinner rods are better for thinner materials, while thicker rods provide power for thicker materials.

Use the right settings on your cutter.

Start with lower levels of amperage and gradually work up to get the results you want.

Turn the air regulator down if the cut area becomes excessively hot.

A fine spray will help cool the area and improve the cutting quality.

Go slow and don’t rush.

The quality of the cut depends on the speed of the cut, and if the speed is too fast the cut will be of lower quality.

Try using a collimator - it focuses the cutting arc and helps you make precise, accurate cuts.

Finally, make sure to clean and replace the plasma nozzles regularly to help maintain top performance and to ensure you get the best cuts every time.

What To Look For In A Plasma Cutter

Plasma Cutter Options

When you’re shopping for a plasma cutter, you have lots of options.

One of the biggest choices is cutting technique.

You can go for a straight cut, which is a single cut line.

Or you can go for a circle cut, which is basically like making a circular incision.

Another options is scribing where you cut small grooves into the metal material.

For a more precise cut, you can use a drag tip technique, which is where a drag tip is used to make a more intricate line.

You can also choose from different traditional or non-traditional cutting techniques.

Whichever option you choose, always wear protective gear and be sure to turn off the cutter when you’re done cutting.

Choosing the Right Plasma Cutter

When selecting a plasma cutter, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind.

First and foremost, determine the type of jobs you will be doing.

Maybe you just need a hobby plasma cutter or will be using it for heavy industrial purposes.

Second, consider the amperage, as this is an important factor in determining the cutting output.

Additionally, figure out the cutting thickness.

If you will be cutting thicker materials, a more powerful unit will likely be necessary.

Finally, look at the pilot arc technology used.

This allows the arc between the cutter and the material to remain constant.

This improves efficiency and helps with faster operation.

With a little research on these four aspects, you can find the perfect machine to fit your needs.

Brand Reliability

Brand reliability is an important factor to consider when purchasing a plasma cutter.

For starters, Hobart has made a name for itself when it comes to reliable cutting solutions.

Other popular brands such as Eastwood and Miller Spectrum are also top rated when it comes to quality and performance.

All these brands offer solid warranties and great customer service options for plasma cutters.

Investing in a reputable brand helps ensure that the plasma cutter will stand the test of time and last for many years.

Safety Measures and Precautions


Plasma cutters can sometimes experience issues due to poor maintenance or improper settings.

If you are having trouble with your plasma cutter, before you call a service technician, there are some things you can try.

Check the connections to make sure all cords are properly plugged in and intact.

Check the gas pressure, and make sure the shield is securely in place.

Test the plasma cutting operation.

If the pressure is still not right, you may have to adjust the settings.

You can also try cleaning out the torch or nozzle, and ensure that the combustible material isn’t too thick or thin.

There may be an issue with the compressor, and if all else fails, you may need to have a professional technician look into the problem.

Maintenance and Upkeep

Plasma cutters need regular maintenance and upkeep to keep them running in optimal condition.

Make sure to check the consumables that are part of the plasma cutter, such as the torch, electrodes, tips, and shields, on a regular basis.

Replace any parts that are worn, damaged, or not functioning properly.

Make sure that the machine is clean and free of debris.

Inspect all hoses and components for wear or damage, and replace if necessary.

Make sure the electrical connections are secure and that the wiring and switches are clean and free of corrosion.

Lastly, check the unit’s grounding system annually to ensure that it is in good working order.

Staying Safe

When working with a plasma cutter, it’s important to take safety measures to protect yourself.

Always wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from sparks.

Wear closed-toed shoes and gloves to prevent burns, cuts, and scrapes.

Make sure you are in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling harmful fumes.

Plug the machine into a GFCI outlet and be sure to disconnect it when not in use.

Do not touch the torch while it’s connected to the machine.

Use clamps or a vise to secure the material before cutting.

Wear arc-rated clothing to protect skin and clothes from sparks and heat.

Lastly, make sure the plasma cutter is turned off and unplugged before replacing parts or cleaning up.


Buying Your Plasma Cutter

When buying a plasma cutter, it’s important to think about what type of project you need it for, and the size of the metal pieces you’ll be working with.

Also, consider the cost of the machine and the accessories you’ll need, like hoses and tips.

It’s also important to assess the safety features of the machine, such as whether it has a lead light or grounding clamp to prevent electricity at dangerous voltages from hitting you or your project.

Make sure to find out what kind of customer service the company offers before making your purchase.

Finally, look into the warranty or guarantee that comes with the machine to make sure you’re protected against any defects.

By considering these factors before purchase, DIY enthusiasts can be sure to get the best plasma cutter for their needs.

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