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How Does a Plasma Cutter Work?

A plasma cutter uses a high-velocity jet of ionized gas, or plasma, to cut through conductive materials like metal. Here is how it works:

  1. The plasma cutter creates an electric circuit by connecting the workpiece to the cutter’s negative terminal and the plasma torch to the positive terminal.
  2. The cutter sends a high-voltage electrical arc from the torch to the workpiece, creating a channel of ionized gas (plasma) that conducts electricity between the two terminals.
  3. The plasma’s high temperature (up to 30,000 degrees Fahrenheit) melts the metal in the workpiece, while the high velocity of the plasma jet blows the molten metal away from the cut, creating a clean, precise cut.
  4. The cutter controls the plasma jet’s speed and direction by adjusting the flow of plasma gas (usually air or nitrogen) through the torch nozzle. The cutter may also use a pilot arc to initiate the plasma jet and maintain the plasma arc during cutting.

Overall, a plasma cutter offers a fast, accurate, and efficient way to cut through metal, making it a popular tool in metalworking and fabrication industries.