CNC Plasma Cutting: A detailed look

While you can’t put as much detail in as small a space with plasma as you can with laser, you still can do some pretty amazing stuff.

BHPian plasmaman recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

In my little introductory post, I mentioned my interest in sharing information about CNC plasma cutting. I no longer have any connection with the industry, but I haven’t lost my desire to introduce people to the capabilities of this amazing process.

I think I’ll start off by painting a realistic picture of what is and what is not possible with this type of tool. The plasma torch itself is the only limiting factor. when cutting 3.175mm thick steel, it cuts a slice (kerf) which is approximately 1.27mm wide. Further, no part with a cross section of less than about 3.175mm can be cut with it. Thicker steel will leave a somewhat wider kerf.

I mounted a 65 watt laser on a standard, fairly inexpensive CNC plasma table. and cut the same part (out of card stock) that I had previously cut with plasma.

Of course 65 watts is not nearly enough power to cut steel, but it still provides a good comparison of the two processes. Below is the same shape cut with plasma and with the laser:

Now let’s talk about what you can do with plasma. While you can’t put as much detail in as small a space with plasma as you can with laser, you still can do some pretty amazing stuff.

By doing some planning and observing the part size and distancing requirement of plasma, I cut out these 50cm x 30cm motorcycle replicas (19 so far). These were cut from 3.175mm mild steel. This is a case where the 1.27mm kerf was used to advantage, in that the see-through lines make up part of the image.

Of course, in fabricating actual car or motorcycle parts there is no need for this amount of detail.

In my next installment, if you want another installment, I will show you my little CNC plasma table and how I set it up to use it outside, avoiding plasma dust and other undesirable by products.

Read BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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