CNC plasma cutters have become an indispensable tool in the metalworking industry. Their capacity to execute precise cuts on different types of metal like steel, brass, copper, and aluminum has made them valuable assets, especially in mass production. CNC plasma cutters are also fast, convenient, and cost-effective.
So, how thick can a CNC plasma cutter cut? Well, it depends on several factors. In the article, we’ll explore what determines the maximum thickness of metal that a CNC plasma cutter can cut.
How Thick Can a CNC Plasma Cutter Cut?
To determine the maximum thickness a CNC plasma cutter can execute, we must consider how a plasma cutter works all the factors that make an efficient cut.
In general, CNC plasma cutters can cut metals of 1.5 inches or sometimes even more, depending on the type of metal and the power of the cutter.
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Potential Factors Affecting the Cut
Power of the plasma torch
High power plasma torch can cut through thicker metals with greater precision and efficiency. The power of the plasma torch is measured in amps, and it can range from 20 to 400 amps.
The higher amperage means bigger efficiency and faster execution of the cuts. When cutting thinner metals, it’s best to use a lesser-amperage plasma torch because the heat might cause damage to the metal.
Type of metal
The type of metal being cut plays a key role in determining the maximum thickness that can be cut. Denser metals like steel are more difficult to cut than light materials like aluminum.
The speed at which the cutter moves plays a crucial role in performing an effective cut. If the cutter is moving too quickly, it may result in incomplete cuts and a rough surface, whereas if the cutter is moving too slowly, it may result in poor precision of the cuts.
Optimally, the cutter should move slower with denser metals, and faster with lighter metals is best.
Plasma gas type and pressure
The choice of plasma gas has a significant effect on the cutting process. The most common types of plasma gas used are oxygen, nitrogen, and compressed air.
The pressure at which the gas comes out is another factor that impacts the effectiveness of the cuts. Higher pressure is needed for thicker metals and vice versa.
Cutting table stability
A solid foundation is needed to perform an effective cut, so the cutting table is an essential component. A poor foundation will likely result in bad cuts.
Operator skill level
The machine operator has to adjust all the abovementioned factors, like speed and pressure, and optimize the machine to make precise and effective cuts. Their experience and skill are crucial to making an effective cut, especially for thicker materials.
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Due to the increased heat and energy expenditure, cutting thicker metals requires additional safety precautions. Thicker metals require longer cutting time, resulting in increased fatigue for the operator.
The operator must wear adequate equipment and take frequent breaks in a fresh air environment where they can rehydrate.
How thick can a CNC plasma cutter cut? Considering all the factors is necessary to determine that. However, one factor alone doesn’t decide the maximum thickness of the cut. The combination of factors and their adjustments being set to optimum levels will get the best out of the CNC plasma cutter.
It is important to check the manual for specifications on the maximum cutting capacity of the device. It will likely be specified how thick the cut can be and for which metals.
For metals thick 1 inch and above, a minimum amperage of 200 amps is needed, as well as an adequate size of the cutting table to fit in the metal. Nitrogen would be the optimal choice of gas for cutting thicker metals, and the action should be performed slowly to ensure a clean cut.
Another important thing is an adequate power source, as cutting through thicker metals will require more energy. A three-phase power supply of 240 volts is needed to satisfy a high-amperage device of this type.