Plasma cutters are invaluable for workshops, fabrication shops, repairing shops, etc. People who are working in the construction or salvage industry use this tool in their everyday life. A plasma cutter is a tool that has the ability to cut precisely at a high speed regardless of what the material is.
It can be stainless steel, copper, aluminum, brass, etc. So, whether it can cut or not isn’t the problem, you just need to figure out how thick can a plasma cutter cut before you buy one for your workshop.
Now depending on materials, the answer may vary. This handheld machine can cut around 1 inch of metal easily. Huge electrical power and compressed air are needed for the plasma cutter to perform.
To know the working and detailed information about the plasma cutter and its power, stay tuned.
How thick can a plasma cutter cut
A plasma cutter is a great tool for cutting both thick and thin materials. Now depending on the machine you choose and its power, the cutting ability of a plasma cutter may vary.
The typical range of a handheld plasma cutter is up to 1.5 inches/38mm. Now if you chose a computer-controlled plasma cutter, it can cut up to 6 inches thick metal plates. Mostly there are two types of cutting that you can enjoy with a plasma cutter. Clean cut and severance cut. Here are the differences between them.
Difference between clean cut and severance cut
Clean cut is as the name says, butter-smooth cut on any type of metal while severance cut is the type of cut where it cuts through any metal no matter how thick it is. As a result, the cut is not that smooth.
All plasma cutters come with both maximum thicknesses of clean cut and severance. This information helps to determine how thick a metal piece is ok to perform clean cut and severance cut. Severance cut thickness is way more than compared to the thickness of a clean cut.
Depending on the type of metal and amp’s power, how thick can a plasma cutter cut varies as well. Of all the metals, aluminum is softer than others. Steel is comparatively a bit harder and stainless steel is the toughest of all. Here’s a chart for your better understanding.
|Mild Steel||Stainless Steel||Aluminium|
|Clean Cut Thickness||30mm||16mm||16mm|
Usually the limitations of max clean and severance cut are written on the plasma machine. So before buying, make sure to check out if the cutter you are going to buy is capable of cutting through the metal you are planning to cut.
Factors Affecting Plasma Cutting Thickness
The thickness of the material that can be cut depends on several factors, including the plasma cutting voltage, amperage, speed, and type of material being cut.
1. Plasma Cutting Voltage
Plasma cutting voltage refers to the voltage that is applied to the plasma arc in order to produce the high temperature required for cutting metal. The plasma cutting voltage affects the stability and accuracy of the cut as well as the size of the plasma arc.
The voltage needs to be high enough to produce the heat required for cutting, but not so high as to cause the plasma arc to become unstable and wander. A higher voltage can produce a larger plasma arc and therefore a wider cut, but it also increases the risk of cutting inaccurately.
2. Plasma Cutting Amperage
Plasma cutting amperage refers to the amount of current flowing through the plasma arc. The plasma cutting amperage affects the size of the plasma arc, the speed of the cut, and the penetration depth of the cut. A higher amperage will produce a larger plasma arc and therefore a wider cut, but it also increases the risk of cutting inaccurately.
Additionally, a higher amperage will increase the speed of the cut, but it will also reduce the penetration depth. The optimal plasma cutting amperage depends on the thickness and type of material being cut.
3. Plasma Cutting Speed
Plasma cutting speed refers to the speed at which the plasma torch moves over the material being cut. The plasma cutting speed affects the size of the plasma arc, the speed of the cut, and the quality of the cut. A slower speed will produce a smaller plasma arc and therefore a narrower cut, but it will also increase the penetration depth.
A slower speed will also produce a higher quality cut with a smoother edge. The optimal plasma cutting speed depends on the thickness and type of material being cut.
4. Type of Material being Cut
The type of material being cut affects the plasma cutting process in several ways. Different types of metal have different melting points, thermal conductivity, and electrical conductivity. These factors will affect the size of the plasma arc, the speed of the cut, and the quality of the cut.
Some metals, such as stainless steel and aluminum, are more difficult to cut than others, such as mild steel. The type of material being cut will also affect the type of plasma torch and consumables that are required.
Maximum Thickness a Plasma Cutter Can Cut
Theoretical Maximum Cutting Thickness
The theoretical maximum cutting thickness of a plasma cutter refers to the maximum thickness that can be cut with a plasma cutter under ideal conditions. This will depend on the specifications of the plasma cutter, such as the voltage and amperage, and the type of material being cut. However, it is important to note that the theoretical maximum cutting thickness is not always achievable in real-world conditions.
Practical Maximum Cutting Thickness
The practical maximum cutting thickness of a plasma cutter refers to the maximum thickness that can be cut with a plasma cutter under typical real-world conditions. This will depend on factors such as the quality of the plasma cutter, the condition of the consumables, and the skill of the operator. The practical maximum cutting thickness is usually less than the theoretical maximum cutting thickness.
Factors that Influence Maximum Cutting Thickness
Several factors can influence the maximum cutting thickness of a plasma cutter, including:
- Quality of the plasma torch: A high-quality plasma torch can have a significant impact on the maximum cutting thickness.
- Condition of the plasma cutter: Regular maintenance and upkeep of the plasma cutter can help to ensure it is in optimal condition for cutting thicker materials.
- Skill of the operator: The skill of the operator can also impact the maximum cutting thickness, as a more experienced operator is more likely to be able to make accurate cuts with a thicker material.
- Cutting conditions: Environmental conditions, such as temperature, humidity, and wind, can impact the maximum cutting thickness.
The Relationship between Thickness and Quality of Cut
The relationship between the thickness of the material being cut and the quality of the cut can be complex. Thicker materials typically require more power and heat, which can impact the quality of the cut. However, with the right plasma cutter and proper cutting conditions, it is possible to achieve high-quality cuts on thick materials.
How to Improve Cutting Thickness
Choosing the Right Plasma Cutter
When looking to improve cutting thickness, choosing the right plasma cutter is a crucial factor. Here are some important considerations when choosing a plasma cutter:
- Cutting Power: The cutting power of a plasma cutter refers to the amount of amperage it can deliver. A plasma cutter with a high amperage will be able to cut thicker materials than one with a lower amperage. When selecting a plasma cutter, make sure it has the necessary power to meet your cutting needs.
- Cutting Speed: Cutting speed refers to how fast the plasma cutter can move across the material being cut. A faster cutting speed will result in a cleaner, more precise cut, but it will also increase the heat input into the material. This can affect the quality of the cut, especially for thicker materials.
- Type of Material: Different plasma cutters are designed to work with different types of materials. Some plasma cutters are specifically designed to work with thicker materials, while others are designed for lighter, more delicate materials. Make sure to choose a plasma cutter that is suited for the type of material you will be cutting.
- Consumables: The type of consumables used by the plasma cutter can also affect the quality and thickness of the cut. Consumables such as plasma torch tips and nozzles can wear out over time, which can affect the quality of the cut. Choose a plasma cutter that uses high-quality consumables to ensure a clean and precise cut.
Properly Maintaining the Plasma Cutter
Proper maintenance of your plasma cutter is essential to ensure that it performs at its best. Here are some tips to help keep your plasma cutter in good working condition:
- Regular Maintenance: Regular maintenance, such as cleaning and lubricating the plasma torch, is important to ensure that your plasma cutter is working optimally. This will help to extend the life of the plasma cutter and prevent unexpected breakdowns.
- Consumable Replacement: Consumables such as plasma torch tips and nozzles will eventually wear out and need to be replaced. Replacing worn consumables will help to improve the quality of the cut and extend the life of the plasma cutter.
- Preventative Maintenance: Preventative maintenance, such as checking for wear and tear, is important to catch potential problems before they become more serious. Regular inspections of your plasma cutter can help to identify potential issues and prevent downtime.
Choosing the Right Plasma Cutting Settings
When it comes to plasma cutting, choosing the right cutting settings can have a big impact on the thickness that can be cut. The right settings depend on the thickness of the material being cut, the type of material, and the desired quality of cut. Some of the settings that can be adjusted include the plasma cutting voltage, amperage, and speed.
It’s important to understand that increasing the plasma cutting voltage and amperage can result in a thicker cut, but it can also result in a rougher cut. On the other hand, decreasing the voltage and amperage can result in a smoother cut, but the maximum thickness that can be cut will be less. The plasma cutting speed can also play a role in the maximum cutting thickness, as a slower speed can result in a thicker cut, but it can also result in a rougher cut.
It’s recommended to start with a low setting and gradually increase it until the desired cut is achieved. If a specific setting isn’t working, it’s better to adjust it rather than just increasing the voltage or amperage, as this can result in a less efficient and less effective cut.
Proper Use of Consumables
The consumables used in plasma cutting can also have an impact on the maximum cutting thickness. Consumables include the plasma torch, the electrode, and the nozzle. The condition of these consumables can impact the quality of the cut and the maximum thickness that can be cut.
It’s important to regularly inspect and replace consumables as needed. A worn or damaged plasma torch, electrode, or nozzle can result in a decreased maximum cutting thickness and a lower quality of cut. Replacing these consumables can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the plasma cutter, and result in a thicker cut.
Frequently asked questions
How thick can a 50 amp plasma cutter cut?
A 50 amp plasma cutter can cut almost half an inch thick metal. Usually, the inverter plasma cutter comes with 50 amp power.
How thick can a 60 amp plasma cutter cut?
A 60 amp plasma cutter can help you cut around 7/8 -inch thick metal. You can cut less thick metals with this plasma cutter very precisely.
How thick can a 100 amp plasma cutter cut?
100 amp plasma cutters are used in industrial cutting places and they are designed for heavy-duty. It can cut a maximum of 30 mm and clean cutting of 20mm is possible.
How thick can a 110 plasma cutter cut?
Working under the maxim output, a 110 amp plasma cutter can cut around 12mm of metal.
In conclusion, the maximum cutting thickness of a plasma cutter can be improved by choosing the right plasma cutter, properly maintaining the plasma cutter, choosing the right plasma cutting settings, and properly using consumables. By considering these factors, it’s possible to achieve the desired thickness and quality of cut in plasma cutting projects.