A Complete Guide to Plasma Cutting Aluminum

plasma cutting aluminum

The plasma cutter is an effective method of cutting different thick and thin materials like aluminum, copper, brass, plate, and many more. Unfortunately, many challenges and myths are around there that many people are scared of using plasma when cutting aluminum.

Ever wondered if these myths are really true?

In fact, these myths are true at some point, but with the right approach, you can avoid them when plasma cutting aluminum. Due to the advancement of technologies used in plasma cutters and using the best type of tool, expected and safe result is confirmed nowadays.

In this write-up, I will share an in-depth discussion on cutting aluminum with a plasma cutter.

What are the Myths on Plasma Cutting Aluminum?

Let’s address the misconceptions in this section and get the solution to get rid of them. Read the below.

  1. Cutting Aluminum Using Plasma Cutter is Unsuitable

This myth comes because, characteristically, aluminum is a highly porous material. So many people think that the cutting edge will be poor and caught up in flames can happen.

The truth is, this myth can easily be eliminated by selecting the right gas. Then you will definitely get a nice and clean edge. Undoubtedly, when the gas selection is right and with the water table installed, the finishing result of CNC plasma cutting aluminum will be as per your expectation.

Controlling aluminum’s porous nature is straightforward. A combination of fabricator and gas is used to cut aluminum. Moreover, aluminum is prone to fumes when cutting; this can be avoided when the plasma cutter cuts the aluminum with fast rates per ampere. The good news is, most of the standard plasma cutters have the ability to do this.

When a plasma cutter cuts aluminum quickly, heat and burning get reduced. As a result, the issue with the flames is eradicated effortlessly.

  • Plasma Cutting on Aluminum is a Mess with Hard to Clean Materials

There are few materials available that are difficult to clean after a cut. And many people think after cutting aluminum with a plasma cutter, it is difficult to clean.

The good news is, with the right process of cutting aluminum with a plasma cutter, cleaning will never be a difficult task at all.

  • Laser Cutting Aluminum is Budget-friendly than CNC Plasma Cutting

Cutting aluminum requires the use of an outward reaction using a laser; oxygen is used in this type of reaction, which causes the problem in the aluminum cutting project. This way, the process becomes slower. Finally, you will end up with a high cost.

On the other hand, by default, the plasma cutter cuts aluminum faster to maintain a clean-cut and reduce the chance of flaming. This means, in terms of cost-effectiveness, the plasma cutter is budget-friendly than the laser.

  • Without a Highly Experienced Handler Working with Plasma Cutter is Prohibited

This myth also doesn’t have any right ground. Modern plasma cutters come with an adequate controlling mechanism so that the machine can run itself effectively. However, training is a mandatory thing that you can’t avoid when cutting aluminum with a water table’s help. In fact, in training, an operator will be taught to operate a plasma cutter to avoid any hazardous incident safely.

Remember, in recent times, plasma cutters have built-in safety features.

  • The Dust Created on the Plate is Nearly Impossible to Clean

The mess created by the plasma cutter depends on the plasma cutter’s set up. You will always have a clean area when you set up the plasma cutter, following the right process. The gas selection also determines the plate condition. When you select the right gas, the plate will always remain clean.

And it is also not true that the mess created on the plate is difficult to clean. The cleaning process is hassle-free.

What are the Possible Threats of Plasma Table Cutting Aluminum?

Custom plasma cutting aluminum can become dangerous if proper safety precautions are not taken. A handler will face the below situation.

  • Highly flammable compressed air or hydrogen gas will generate when aluminum is submerged in water on the water table after cutting.
  • If aluminum gets cut through the dry aluminum cutting process, most dust will be generated. Thus, the process will hamper, and your project cost will increase respectively.
  • It is possible not to get clean cuts while cleaning the dust between the process.

How to Prevent Possible Danger Cutting Aluminum with Plasma?

It is significantly essential to maintain the below things regularly.

  • Remove the aluminum pieces that fall into the water.
  • The plasma arc produces molten aluminum. Remove those too from the plate.
  • Installation of a bubbler.
  • Install a filtration system and aerator.

What is the Best Gas for Plasma Cutting Aluminum?

Use argon-helium gas as a primary gas and nitrogen as secondary when cutting more than ½” thick aluminum.

For less than ½” thick aluminum, nitrogen should be the primary, and the secondary gas must be compressed air.

Always remember the proper set up with the right gas selection; safely deal with a plasma cutter machine is possible.

How will I know that I make a Good Cut?

So, what is the sign of a good cut?

Intently looking at the aluminum piece that you cut just a few moments earlier. If you find a dragline on the piece that goes in the cut’s vice-versa direction, be sure that you made a good cut.

Moreover, if you follow the cutting process and speed, 15° should be the dragline’s angle.

Too fast or slow-moving will not give you a good cut.

When you move too fast, the sparks flying will occur over the aluminum. And the cutting result will be less accurate when you move the plasma cutter too slow.

Common Tips and Tricks When Cutting Aluminum with a Plasma Cutter

Undoubtedly, following a few common tips, aluminum cutting with plasma cutter project will be much more comfortable. Keep on reading the below tips and tricks.

  • The critical point relies on the balance between the amperage and the travel speed. Move the torch as fast as possible so that the arc doesn’t enter the aluminum.
  • Move the torch in the right direction when cutting the pattern. As a result, the scrap metal will receive the slag instead of the finished pieces.
  • When heated, aluminum shows a sticky characteristic. The connection between the plasma cutter and the air source should be done correctly. Also, the air source needs to be positioned at an ideal place. Most of the time, you will be unable to turn the plasma cutter unless the air source is connected to an air source.
  • Proper placement of the torch is essential because the aluminum sheet can melt when electricity passes through the arcs.
  • It would always be great to sketch out the whole process before cutting the aluminum with a plasma cutter. This will let you finish the work efficiently and effectively.

Final Thought

Hopefully, this article will guide you to the right path of working with the plasma cutting aluminum project. It is advisable not to unfollow safety precautions at any cost. Keep yourself safe and secure. Staying safe should get priority.

The result of aluminum cutting with a plasma cutter will be brilliant and expected when you follow the right procedure of doing it.

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