WHAT IS CNC PLASMA CUTTING?

Are you looking for a precise cutting machine for your workshop? Are you wondering if CNC plasma cutting is the right solution for your needs? 

In this article, we delve into the benefits of CNC plasma machines, how they work, and helpful instructions to follow. So how does a plasma cutter work?

WHAT IS A CNC PLASMA CUTTER?

A plasma cutter is a thermal cutting tool used to cut various metals, producing clean and accurate cuts. Common users of plasma-cutting machines include fabrication shops, manufacturers, and automotive repair.

Depending on the machine, a plasma machine can cut a wide range of materials, particularly electrically conductive metals, such as steel, aluminium, stainless, brass, and copper. 

WHAT IS PLASMA?

There are four fundamental states of matter — solids, liquids, gases, and plasma. Plasma
behaves similarly to a liquid but can also conduct an electrical circuit. When used in a CNC machine, the plasma heats and melts the metal, achieving a precise cut. 

WHAT IS CNC?

CNC stands for Computerised Numerical Control, referring to the process of controlling the plasma cutter through a computer. This achieves maximum accuracy and eliminates the risk of human error. Our plasma cutters are controlled by our signature SURECONTROL™ software, with an inbuilt CAM module to complete each step automatically. 

WATCH OUR SURECONTROL™ DEMONSTRATION »

HOW DOES A CNC PLASMA CUTTER WORK?

A CNC plasma cutter features a few key components, including the table, plasma torch, and CNC software. The table, also known as the bed, is the cutting surface on which the workpiece sits. Above the table, a gantry will hold the plasma torch and move it around. This is the cutting unit, controlled by the computer software.

An electric arc is sent through a gas as it passes through a constricted opening. This increases the temperature of the gas up to 22,000℃ until it converts into plasma and conducts electricity. Then it flows from the torch to the workpiece, melting through the metal. 

The high-velocity plasma and compressed gas blow the hot melted metal away, cutting straight through and removing the excess.

Surefire CNC Diagram

HOW TO USE A CNC PLASMA CUTTER

  1.  Draw the parts you want to cut in the CAD software.
  2. Process the file through a CAM program (or use the integrated CAM module in SURECONTROL). 
  3. Select the thickness and type of material you wish to cut, and the CAM module will automatically preset cutting speeds and heights etc. 
  4. Load the workpiece onto the table, making sure it is flat and stable. 
  5. Set the origin point in the bottom left corner of the workpiece and press start. 
  6. The machine will automatically cut the parts out as instructed by the CNC software. 
  7. Remove the workpieces and allow them to cool. 
  8. Remove any dross from the pieces using a chipping hammer or other tool.

If you have any questions about using a CNC plasma cutter, please ask our friendly experts today.

ADVANTAGES OF PLASMA CUTTING

CNC plasma cutting machines provide several advantages, including precision, affordability, transportability, and more. 

CLEAN AND ACCURATE CUTS

Plasma cutters use air filters to remove any contaminants, ensuring every cut is clean and precise. This ensures a high level of precision, for a faster and smoother cutting experience.

COST-EFFECTIVE

CNC plasma cutters are relatively affordable, with our CNC Plasma Table packages starting from $19,900. The initial investment cost is also lower for thicker materials, making it a more accessible option for small to medium-sized businesses. Use our online price configurator to get more accurate pricing.

PORTABLE

Plasma is a more portable option, with no need for gas bottles. This makes it easy to relocate your plasma cutter with little to no transportation concerns.

CAN CUT A WIDE RANGE OF METALS

Plasma cutters can cut many materials, including mild steel, stainless steel, steel alloys, aluminium, carbon steel, copper, and brass. The appropriate thickness is determined by the plasma and the CNC table so ask our experts to find the best option for your workshop. 

EFFICIENCY

CNC plasma cutters are quick and easy to use, significantly increasing your productivity and efficiency. The software used to control your plasma cutter automates everything, which dramatically speeds up production.

DISADVANTAGES OF CNC PLASMA CUTTING

While the team here at Surefire CNC loves plasma cutting, we recognise there are some potential drawbacks. In particular, a cheap CNC machine of poor quality can be prone to inefficiencies with the equipment and software. To avoid this, we recommend opting for a reputable model like the XT Series Plasma Tables

Additionally, the cut precision on a CNC plasma cutter may be marginally lower than on a waterjet cutter or laser cutting machine. However, these machines are more expensive to purchase and operate.

In summary, plasma cutters offer the perfect combination of accuracy, affordability, and ease of use for most industrial applications.

BEST CUTTING MACHINES FOR METAL FABRICATION

For first-time investors and small to medium businesses, CNC plasma cutters are the most cost-effective and practical choice. If you’re wondering which cutting machine is best for your specific application, reach out to our team for tailored advice and product recommendations. 

Or you can answer four questions on our Product Selector tool and we’ll tell you which package is best for you.

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