Plasma techniques? (1 Viewer)

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Jan 18, 2006
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Just got a plasma cutter, and it seems as though Im going to need some practice with it...
Any advice on general use?
What is the best way to cut a straight line?
Are there any attachments to help assist with this?

THanks,

Chicago
 

Cuerno Largo

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I can tell you from experience that beer does not help me cut better.

Other than that the only advice I can give is that I have used a level as a guide to cut straight. There are some attachments for sale on the net, but they sure are expensive.
 
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Beer always helps! Depending on how precise you need to be:

- draw and freehand
- figure out your kerf + width of torch, blah, blah, blah
- for straights - slap a straight edge down and go for it
- for circles - make a simple jig pivoted on center point
 
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Straight edge. I usually use a scrap piece of 3/8 angle. It is thick enough that is keeps the tip off the piece being cut so it doesn't jack the tip. I've been doing a lot of free hand lately too but on long straights I still use a straight edge.
 
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I've used those free wood rulers you can get in some hardware/wood supply stores. They last quite a while since the plasma/heat is concentrated at the cut. I clamp each end of the ruler down and use it as a guide - once you've cut a bunch of steel you know how far to factor for the distance from the plasma orifice and the ruler.

The cut is wider at the bottom than the top of the metal you are cutting - i.e. it is beveled. If you can cut (choosing the side) to utilize the bevel you can benefit from it when welding since it provides 'free' chamfering.

Best to start cuts at an edge or if needed drill a pilot hole to start the cut. You can 'tilt' the torch to gouge metal to start an inside cut, but you splatter a lot of metal all over the place - I prefer to drill a pilot hole in that case.

Have fun cutting & be safe.

cheers,
george.
 
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So a straight edge is the way to go...Kind of what Ive been doing. Still trying to figure out the center line of the arc so I can get a more precise cut/ dimension. Im working with 18ga sheet metal right now, but I have some bumper projects coming up that will require long STRAIGHT cuts.
It seems that the cut width is a bit wider than I thought, but that may be that Im still tenuous with it and not moving fast enough. It SHOULD be the width of the dia. of the hole in the nozzle, right? Maybe a little more?

Thanks for the replies.

Chicago
 
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Chesapeake, VA
 
 
 
So a straight edge is the way to go...Kind of what Ive been doing. Still trying to figure out the center line of the arc so I can get a more precise cut/ dimension. Im working with 18ga sheet metal right now, but I have some bumper projects coming up that will require long STRAIGHT cuts.
It seems that the cut width is a bit wider than I thought, but that may be that Im still tenuous with it and not moving fast enough. It SHOULD be the width of the dia. of the hole in the nozzle, right? Maybe a little more?

Thanks for the replies.

Chicago
The newer the tip the the finer the cut. Those tips seem to wear out pretty fast.

We had a miller that cut thick metal but would be a wide cut, then we bought a cheap 120volt one and it cut very fine through the thin stuff. The 120 one seem like the tips lasted longer even if we contacted the metal the entire cuts.
 
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Thanks D'animal.
I actually SAW your rig at SnT this year. Looked great.
I had actaully bumped into that thread when I did a search...
The glasses were a great tip. Ive been using a pair of plain ole safety glasses. Havent really done any cutting for a great length of time either. I got the motorguard filter, and all the gear that you have BASICALLY. I guess that its just gonna take some getting use to.

Chicago
 

D'Animal

Rescuer of Beagles & Landcruisers
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I'm still getting used to mine.

I can't tell if I'm expecting too much out of mine or the consumables are worn out.
 
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So I think that I was able to figure out that if I measure 3/8 in off of the line that I intend to cut, it cuts right along the line provided I move out stretched and cut in toward myself. If I go side to side, I have a propensity to break the angle in my wrist and deviate off the line and not make a straight cut.

Pretty fun stuff.

Chicago
 
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Now, your only concern should be getting the LCD LAMP in your ROCK, instead of the Mercury Vapor Lamp...that' way you don't spend $250 to $300 every three years.

Samsung makes a really nice LED ROCK....er, DLP
 

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