Deciding to take the plunge and buy your first (or fifth!) new plasma cutter is an exciting undertaking! 2022 seems to be as good a year as any! The good and the bad of it is that there are so many different types available (pilot arc, dual-voltage, multi-process, portable) that choosing just one machine can be overwhelming. We’d love to make that process at least a little bit easier on you.
Top 5 Factors to Consider When Buying a Plasma Cutter
We’ve put together a list of the top five factors that we’d recommend keeping top of mind when you’re picking out a plasma cutter that will best suit your needs:
- Thickness of the Material
- Cutting Quality
- Machine Reliability
- Ease of Use
- Size & Weight
We think that it’s best to start narrowing your search down based on the type of cut that you’re hoping to get. You can then further narrow your selection down based on other nice-to-haves such as portability and ease of use. So, let’s dig a bit deeper!
Thickness of the Material
One of the most important considerations to make is the thickness of the material that you’d like to cut. Simply put, you should select a plasma cutter that has the cutting capacity to handle your desired material thickness. A good rule of thumb to follow here is to select a machine that has more than 80% cut capacity. This is especially important with a handheld or portable machine.
Certain plasma cutters can fail to cut a particular thickness, especially when the cutting capacity falls below 75%. Mechanized plasma cutting machines have enough power to cut a thick material as compared to a manual device.
Now that you know that you can cut through the material you’d like to, your next focus will be the quality of the cut. Of course, this element will affect the finished product (so that you can show off your work proudly!), but it will also impact later stages of production, which makes it even more important. What you’re looking for is a well-cut piece that has clean and smooth edges. That way, you won’t have to spend a ton of time preparing that same piece later in production. In addition, smooth and clean-cutting will mean that there is a narrower cut width and less wasted material. Who doesn’t want that?
Here’s what that nice clean cut will look like:
Reliability is another important consideration when you are purchasing plasma cutters. You should make sure that an ISO-certified company manufactures your cutting system and that it meets the ISO standards. A reliable machine can easily be detected because it uses more software than hardware.
Heating is a critical aspect of the cutting machine, which means that you should consider plasma cutting machines that have an effective cooling system. For example, a centralized fan will help in bringing the air through the central system where heat-sensitive equipment is located. Continuous cooling will enable the system to perform excellently and with higher reliability.
Ease of Use
The easier that your plasma cutter is to use, the more quickly you should be able to master it and get the level of high-quality cuts that you’re looking for. Ease of use allows the operator to perform the work efficiently and use the minimum time possible to perform a particular task. People with minimum experience can also be able to work with an efficient machine and get good results.
You should make sure that you purchase a machine that can be used by any person, regardless of experience. Taking a long time to complete a particular task can be considered as a loss to an organization that is working towards a specific objective.
Size & Weight
Size and weight are important factors that should be considered, especially by individuals who tend to move a lot in their workshop. Recent advancement in technology has allowed individuals to get a quality plasma cutting machine that is lightweight without sacrificing power and performance.
A lightweight, portable plasma machine can easily be carried from one corner of the workshop to the other. It is also clear that you can get a plasma cutter that can automatically adjust voltage, which is an important aspect, especially if you are planning to use a generator.
Happy plasma cutting!