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Our Top Tips for Getting a Clean Cut



Plasma cutters have made a lot of metal working projects so much easier.


Whatever you might require a plasma cutter for, their ease of use may well have you thinking you can just pop it out the box and get to work, but how does that old saying go? “Measure twice, cut once”?


The same holds true with plasma cutters, and here, we detail our top tips for getting a clean cut.


1. Choose the Right Tool for the Job

Before you even start your project, you’ll need to consider what plasma cutter will be best suited to your needs.


Factors you’ll need to take into account are:

  • Input power – What power source(s) will you need?

  • Output power – What type and thickness of metal will you be working with?

  • Duty cycle – What length of cuts will you be making?

  • Cutting speed – How quickly will you need to complete your project?

  • Weight and size – Will you be working in different workshops, or the same place?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll have a better idea of what sort of plasma cutter you’ll need.


2. Always Read the Manual

As previously mentioned, using plasma cutters are very user friendly, but that doesn’t mean you should skip the manual.


There’s no room for the age-old stereotype of “no one reads the manual” here, as reading the manual will give you a better understanding of how to use the cutter, but more importantly, how to use it safely.


3. Set Up Properly

Before even beginning to cut, you’ll need to set up correctly. Once you start your cut, you don’t want to have to start and stop to move things.


To nail your setup, follow the below steps:

  • Secure your ground clamp to clean metal

  • Place the clamp as close to where you’re intending to cut, or even on the workpiece itself

  • Check cables for worn or frayed spots or loose connections that could hinder the flow of electricity

  • Try some practice cuts to get your heat/amperage to the right level

Once your setup and ready to go, your next step should be to trace the path before starting to cut.


Without turning the cutter on, practice your movements to ensure you have enough room to complete a continuous cut, especially if you’re doing a long one.


4. Use Good Techniques

When you begin cutting, there are several techniques you can use to ensure a good cut, such as:

  • Using your non-cutting hand to support your cutting hand

  • Pull the torch towards your body, rather than pushing it away

  • Use a drag shield if you have one

  • Begin your cut as close to the edge of the base metal as possible

  • Tweak your speed to ensure sparks are produced from the bottom of the metal

  • At the end of the cut, angle your torch towards the end of the cut.

Following these tips will give you the best chance of achieving a clean cut efficiently and safely.


5. Always Check Your Consumables

Your cut will only be as good as the condition of your consumables. If the tip of your torch or the electrode becomes worn or damaged, your cut will suffer.


Inspecting your consumables regularly will prevent this. If the shape of the tip hole becomes irregular or marked with spatter, discard it. Do the same with any electrodes that develop a pit.


Consumables will deteriorate with each cut but avoiding factors like moisture in the air supply or cutting overly thick metals will help them last longer.

Plasma Cutters at RentArc

At RentArc, we have a comprehensive selection of plasma cutters, and other equipment, available for hire from our Central Southern location, featuring machines from all the leading brands.


Whether it’s a long-term or short-term project, we can provide all tools you need to get the job done.


Contact us today on +44 (0)23 80 867 789 or email us at info@rentarc.com