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What are they and what are they used for?

March 4, 2021

CNC plasma cutters are used for cutting sheet metal, metal plates and other materials through the process of an accelerated jet of hot plasma. Typical materials that are cut using the CNC plasma cutting process include steel, aluminium, brass and copper, although other conductive metals may be cut as well. 

Due to the methods high speed, its ability to give a precise cut and low cost, the CNC plasma cutter is utilised in a widespread range of environments. These environments include large-scale industrial purposes down to small hobbyist shops. Consequently, CNC plasma cutters are often used in fabrication shops, automotive repair and restoration and industrial construction.

How do CNC plasma cutters work?

The basic principle of the CNC plasma cutting process – also known as computer controlled plasma cutters – is to generate an electrical channel of superheated, electrically ionized gas (with temperatures of up to 30,000°C) through the work piece to be cut. The method utilises compressed (oxygen, air, inert gas and others) that is blown through a nozzle at high speeds onto the work piece. 

An electrical arc is formed within the gas, which ionizes some of the gas and from this process an electrically conductive channel of plasma is created. As the electricity from the cutter torch travels through the plasma, it delivers enough heat to melt through the work piece. 

What are CNC plasma cutters used for?

The term CNC stands for computer numerical code, which implies that a computer is utilised to direct the CNC plasma cutter movement. Consequently, computer controlled plasma cutters are regularly used for cutting and welding materials in curved and angular shapes. For this reason, CNC plasma cutters are also used in many workshops to create decorative metalwork too. 

Due to the piece of equipment having the potential of producing a very hot and localised cone for cutting, CNC plasma cutters have the capabilities to cut up to 150mm thick steel sheets. Coupled with their reasonable pricing, the machine is found in a variety of environment across multiple industries. 

Advantages of CNC plasma cutting

  • Capable of cutting all electrically conductive materials
  • High cutting speeds
  • Increased automation
  • High performance on small and medium mild steel thickness
  • Cutting of medium and large thickness on alloy steel and aluminium materials

The team at Rapid Fab are experts in the welding and fabrication industry and have our own in-house CNC plasma cutters. Contact the team at 07 5529 2622 to discuss anything and everything to do with computer controlled plasma cutters, welding and welding materials.