Plasma cutting is possible on any conductive metal, including mild steel, aluminum, and stainless steel. On the other hand, plasma cutting does not require oxidation to function and may thus cut aluminum, stainless steel, and any other material.
Can you cut aluminum with a plasma cutter? This is a commonly requested question. On the other hand, plasma cutting machines have gone a long way since the late 1990s, which is when most people think of plasma cutters.
Aluminum is a conducting metal; therefore, it can be readily sliced with even a budget-friendly plasma cutter if it’s less than six inches thick. As we know, plasma cutters can cut through most conductive metals, although cutting through thicker metals becomes more difficult.
Many people are unaware of how far plasma cutting technology has advanced in only the last decade. This plasma cutting tutorial will teach you how plasma cutters operate and what they can be used for, which may save you a lot of money and time while working on projects.
We’ll also look at various plasma cutting techniques to get the most outstanding results from the plasma cutters.
Can You Cut Aluminum With A Plasma Cutter
Before we get into the details, let’s take a look at how a plasma cutter slices aluminum.
How Can you Cut Aluminum With A Plasma Cutter?
Plasma cutters use a focused stream of ionized gases to cut aluminum and other conductive metals, as we previously explained. Plasma cutters can cut through a variety of metals, including:
- Mild Steel
- Stainless Steel
- Cast Iron
- Other metal alloys
Ionized gases are used in plasma cutting. The ionized gas is super-heated because it contains more protons or positive ions than it would in nature. It transforms into plasma, a different state of matter.
Plasma may cut through conductive metals because of the interaction between plasma protons and the metal. The electrons from the plasma gas are transferred to the metal when it comes into contact with it.
Best Gas You Can Use For Plasma Cutting Aluminum:
When plasma cutting aluminum, a typical difficulty is that you don’t consistently achieve a clean-cut and spend a lot of time polishing the edge down.
The reason for this is related to the sort of gas you’re using. To cleanly cut other metals, plasma cutters often require clean pressurized air.
If you want a more exact clean cut on aluminum, though, you’ll need to utilize an inert gas such as:
- An Argon/Helium mix
As these gases can cut through thick metals.
Basics Of Plasma Cutting:
If you want to take advantage of plasma cutting’s cost- and time-saving benefits, you must first learn the fundamentals of plasma cutting. You should also be aware of a few other aspects of the plasma cutting process:
The plasma cutter’s nozzle is an essential component of the plasma cutting system. It works similarly to a nozzle on a water cutting system in that it focuses the plasma arc cutting stream. The size, power, and angle of the cut you produce are all determined by the nozzle.
Because of its heat retention and electrical conductivity qualities, copper alloys are commonly used for the nozzles. A technique known as gas swirling shields the copper nozzles from the bulk of the heat produced by the plasma arc.
You may utilize a variety of nozzles with your plasma cutter, each with a different orifice size. The hole size is critical since it influences the size and voltage of your arc—the greater the arc and voltage, the smaller the hole.
When you are cutting these, a smaller opening is preferable:
- Thicker metal
- Non-conductive metal
- Tougher metals
The higher the voltage, the higher the temperature the ionized gas particles heat up the nozzle. However, on the box of each nozzle, there is a maximum temperature that it can resist.
Best Gas For Plasma Cutting:
Gases play a significant part in cutting aluminum with a plasma cutter, and selecting the optimum gas for cutting is also vital; anyhow, we have already covered this in the previous section.
Tips For Aluminum Cutting With Plasma Cutter:
Here are some tips you should consider before starting the cutting process:
- It’s essential to find a balance between travel speed and amperage. Move the torch as quickly as possible without causing the arc to fail to pierce the metal.
- To carve out the pattern, move the torch in the proper direction. As a result, any slag you have will end up on the scrap metal rather than the completed product.
- When aluminum becomes heated, it becomes extremely sticky. Ascertain that the air source is properly connected to the plasma cutter and that the air source is in the proper position.
- Depending on the thickness of the aluminum sheet, you might want to consider using a plasma cutter. If you’re going to cut a thick aluminum sheet, you’ll need a plasma cutter with larger spacing and arcs.
- If you plan to cut a massive chunk of aluminum sheet and then utilize the plasma cutter, it’s best to draw it out first. To draw the line, use a metal market.
Plasma Cutting is the Future:
Plasma cutting will have a bright future. The accessibility of plasma cutting platforms has been a major focus of recent technical developments. Plasma cutting is now being utilized for increasingly complicated cutting tasks because of recent improvements in the ability to control the arc’s power and size.
Plasma cutting offers clear advantages over other methods of metal cutting, and it is no longer contaminated by the primitive plasma cutting platforms of the past.