Manufacturing precision metal products and enhancing your shop’s efficiency require high-quality cutting equipment. CNC plasma cutters play a prominent role in achieving these goals, and there’s always room for improvement in one’s cutting process. Explore some ways to improve your CNC plasma cut quality to yield better results with maximum efficiency—here are five tips that can lead to better cuts.
Mind the Cutting Direction
As the cutter moves forward, the plasma arc spins clockwise, creating the squarest cut on the right side. For internal cuts, like holes within the workpiece, the arc should spin counter-clockwise. Keep these directions in mind as you work to ensure high-quality, precise cuts every time.
Check the Condition of Consumables
Regularly inspect consumables for wear, and replace parts whenever necessary. For example, you should replace nozzles and electrodes simultaneously for optimal results. Poorly maintained consumables can lead to inaccurate cuts and reduced efficiency.
Note Torch Positioning
For clean, even cuts, keep the torch square to the workpiece from both the front and side, and maintain proper distance relative to the workpiece. A square torch minimizes bevel, and a consistent stand-off distance ensures uniform kerf, or width.
Evaluate Cutting Speed
Improper cutting speed shows up in the type of dross the cut creates, indicating whether the cutting speed is too fast or too slow. Low-speed dross looks bubbly or globular and is easier to remove. If you’re seeing a lot of this type of residue, you need to increase cutting speed.
High-speed dross creates a finer bead at the bottom of the cut or splatter at the top, both of which will require grinding to remove. When this type of dross forms, you must decrease cutting speed.
Utilize Proper Gas Quality
Always use high-quality gases with clean lines and filters, plus properly functioning regulators, as recommended by the CNC plasma cutter’s manufacturer. If your system requires purging, confirm the cycle has completed before using the cutter.
Investing time and effort into improving your CNC plasma cut quality can lead to increased output, lower production costs, and higher customer satisfaction for your metal fabrication shop, whether you’re using plasma cutters as structural steel fabrication equipment or for precision sheet metal cutting.