Which CNC Plasma Cutter is Right for my Application?
In assessing which steel-cutting machine is best for your operation, you should consider several variables, including the thickness and dimensions of the plate to be cut.
For light to medium industrial applications, there's the Shark Air CNC cutting machine or the Shark HD CNC plasma cutter. Each can handle up to 3-inch-thick plates and offers customizable length and width options.
If you need a bevel cutter, consider our Cobra CNC steel cutter for clean cuts and outstanding precision. Our CNC oxy-fuel cutting machine options include the Sabercut and Kodiak. Like all of these CNC cutting machine lines, the Raptor is ideal for heavy-duty applications and offers customizable widths up to 30’ and lengths up to 250 feet.
How Does a CNC Plasma Cutter Work?
Before discussing the operation of a CNC plasma cutter, it's necessary to understand plasma, considered the fourth state of matter.
You're familiar with the three basic states of matter — solid, liquid and gas. To change from one state of matter to another requires the addition of energy. For instance, if you add energy to ice, a solid, it turns into water, a liquid. If you add energy to water, it turns into steam, a gas.
If a gas like steam is exposed to high amounts of energy, it will become ionized and electrically conductive, turning it into plasma. Common examples of plasma include lightning and the material inside fluorescent and neon tubes.
A CNC plasma cutter takes compressed air, nitrogen or another gas and exposes it to high amounts of electricity — the higher the current, the hotter the plasma. The plasma jet, which is ionized by a high-frequency spark, is constricted and maintained by a specially designed nozzle and electrode.
This creates a current path between the electrode and nozzle, which forms a pilot arc of plasma. As the pilot arc touches the workpiece, the plasma arc is transferred to the metal, effectively cutting it into the prescribed pattern.