How to Operate CNC Plasma Cutting Machine

CNC plasma cutting tables have made the process of cutting through heavyweight and thick materials a breeze. The computer-automated machines provide the highest level of accuracy and incredibly precise cuts each time you use them.

Our CNC plasma cutting tables are successfully implemented in various industries for metal cutting, including construction, manufacturing, agriculture, and engineering. With a CNC plasma table, there is no need to stress about precision when cutting metal, which can be an issue with hand-held torches.

Instead, let the computer software handle the finer details and direct the torch. After all, CNC stands for “Computer Numerical Control,” meaning the machine’s motion is based on numerical codes in a program. But before using one, you must learn how to operate CNC plasma cutting machine.

About CNC Plasma Cutting

CNC plasma cutting is a process involving an accelerated jet of high-temperature plasma to cut electrically conductive materials. CNC plasma cutting machines can cut steel, brass, aluminum, and copper, among other materials. 

During the cutting process, the plasma torch is managed by a computer that directs its motion. At the same time, the gas or compressed air is forced through a nozzle at high speed to power plasma cutters. 

The fourth state of matter, or the hot plasma, is produced once an electric arc is introduced to the gas, penetrating the metal you need to cut.

CNC plasma cutters come in various sizes, costs, and features. The equipment can quickly and accurately cut through metal. 

Types of gases CNC plasma cutting machines use 

In order to operate, plasma cutters need both a plasma gas and an assist gas, and the gasses differ depending on what material you intend to cut.

  • You can use oxygen gas to cut mild steel up to 1 1/4 inches thick. However, cutting stainless steel and aluminum with oxygen produces a rough-looking cut.
  • It is best to use a mixture of argon and hydrogen for clean cuts in stainless steel and aluminum because it produces a high-quality cut.
  • In a smaller shop, compressed air is the most typical gas utilized as both a plasma gas and an assist gas. It performs effectively for low current cutting tasks on metals with a maximum one-inch thickness.
  • Nitrogen and methane are two other gases used in CNC plasma cutting, and they are most frequently employed for cutting thin stainless steel.

How to Operate CNC Plasma Cutting Machine

While we offer some of the best and most affordable CNC plasma tables on the market, we will also help you understand the inner workings of the machines.

Before you get on to the steps involved in operating a CNC plasma cutting machine, you or the person operating it needs full training. The person in charge of operating the CNC plasma cutting machine needs a comprehensive understanding of its mechanical structure and composition. 

Once you are fully trained and understand each function, it is time to learn how to operate CNC plasma cutting machine.

Step-by-step guide

  1. Turn on the air compressor and air dryer by flipping the switch on the side of the compressor. 
  2. Start the CNC machine control cabinet
  3. After that, you should start the plasma power supply. But do not forget to turn off all power and air sources once the work is done.
  4. You can use AUTOCAD drawing or use existing Solidworks files to convert directly to DXF format.
  5. Import the DXF format part drawing into FastCAM for nesting and conversion of the program. Save the program name as the drawing number of the part for program management and to operate the call.
  6. The next step is to copy the converted program into the machine tool’s control cabinet with a U disk. 
  7. Set the process parameters per the material and thickness of the selected program. 
  8. Once you set the parameters, start the program to cut by adjusting the parallelism of the track and steel plate first. After that, choose the cutting nozzle type, cutting speed, and piercing time, or adjust the plasma power supply’s current according to the plate’s thickness.
  9. After cutting, remember to turn off all power and air sources of the CNC plasma cutting machine. Also, clean up the metal slag on the machine.

Things to Consider When Purchasing a CNC Plasma Cutting Machine

Source: / Photo Contributor: Zoran Zeremski

Things to Consider When Purchasing a CNC Plasma Cutting Machine

Sufficient space

The two most crucial factors when it comes to installing and operating the devices themselves are safety and space. The CNC plasma cutting machine will need a lot of room in a well-ventilated area to work correctly. 

It is not a device that can be safely tucked away in a corner as a 3D printer would. The CNC plasma cutting machine needs enough space around it to act as a spark buffer. Also, the floor should be concrete or another material that is flame resistant.

A gas or compressor, as well as a computer program, need space as well. The computer must be grounded and powered by a constant power source to ensure steady, reliable power to prevent interference from the plasma arc.


There are primarily two methods of ventilation for plasma tables: downdraft and water. Built-in ventilation on downdraft tables is intended to remove fumes and particles from the metal being cut. 

The working surface typically has pores that allow particles to be vacuumed through. In this situation, the plenum in the middle of the table should have an exhaust system attached to a turbine.

A water table makes it possible to swiftly submerge and resurface the metal being worked on and the plasma torch, removing dirt and maintaining component cooling. 


Mild steel is an excellent metal to use when beginning to work with a CNC plasma cutting machine. It is less expensive and easier for beginners than stainless steel or aluminum. Plus, compressed air works well to cut mild steel. 

As your confidence and ability levels rise, you can advance to harder metals to cut. You will need suitable gasses with tougher metals when using the CNC plasma cutting machine. 

Software program

Even though most CNC plasma cutters will have their own software packages, including a CAD platform, there are still some free CAD solutions accessible online. You can start cutting almost immediately after setting up your system if you can create your own DXF file or access a library of ready-made files.

Check out this guide on using DraftSight, which is a program you can use to create and modify DXF 2D files.

Advantages of a CNC Plasma Machine

Easy to operate and affordable

In the past, CNC plasma-cutting machines had high prices attached to them, so only industry-level companies could afford them. Technological advancements have allowed hobby CNC machine owners and smaller companies to benefit from faster cutting and increased output. 

One person may easily handle and operate the entire process on some plasma tables because they are so convenient. 

Our CNC plasma cutting tables do not require any complicated skills or modifications; they are also available at affordable prices. 

Check out our training section, where we’re offering helpful videos for professionals from various industries.

Precise cutting

One of the key benefits of a CNC plasma cutting table is the unmatched precision with which the machine makes cuts. Precision is crucial when cutting sheet metal into various forms, sizes, or angles.

With automatic height sensing, our plasma tables can create precise, flawless cuts that adhere to even the strictest constraints, no matter the material used. A common mistake is manually cutting the metal instead of automating the cuts.

CNC plasma cutting tables can cut up to 200 inches per minute and are five times faster than conventional, ordinary torches.

Increased productivity and efficiency

With one of our plasma tables, you may reduce waste and make the most of your materials

You can also quickly organize your ideas into grids so the CNC plasma cutting table can accurately use the least amount of material feasible, reducing waste and getting the value of each sheet of material.

Also, since your cutting procedure is more productive and effective, you will not need as many working hands, which can ultimately save your company money.

Safer option

Staying safe when installing and handling machines that produce such high temperatures and sparks is incredibly important. With our CNC plasma cutting tables, you will be completely safe from burns instead of using a hand-held torch

This safety is due to fully automated CNC plasma cutting machines, thus eliminating the risk of injury. You only need to input your parameters in the computer program, and the cut will be completed electronically.

Better results

With a CNC plasma cutting table, you will get far superior results when compared to using a different metal cutting method. Due to the hot plasma, the cut on the metal will not leave any chips and produce a consistent edge. When using a CNC plasma cutting table, you can expect a minimal error margin if you program the cut correctly.


As you can see, learning how to operate CNC plasma cutting machine is incredibly easy as long as you follow the steps above. CNC plasma cutting machines can cut through thick metals and materials without risk to your safety. 

If you decide to invest in one of our CNC plasma cutting tables, you can expect exceptional quality at a fair price. 

 Simon Patterson

Simon Patterson

Simon Patterson is the owner and founder of Squickmon's Engineering & Engineering. With over 15 years of fabrication and manufacturing experience, alongside a mechanical engineering degree, he knows exactly what it takes to create a quality product for small fabrication shops as well as large industrial manufacturing companies. He set out to create a company that stands by their products with confidence as well as integrity. His goal was to build a company with a strong foundation, quality product, satisfied customers, and a product that is 100 percent designed and built in the USA.

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