Plasma Cutting Services FAQ

Cutting Systems has an extensive FAQ List to help you get the answers you need to common CNC Cutting machine questions quickly and efficiently

  • Is it best to plasma cut on a water table or down draft table?

    Water tables do a great job controlling smoke and slag produced while cutting mild steel. Downdraft tables are best for controlling the hydrogen produced while cutting aluminum and for controlling hexavalent chromium produced while cutting stainless steel. Explore our water tables and downdraft tables to learn more!

  • What are the thickest materials able to be cut with plasma?

    Mild(carbon) Steel = 2” Aluminum = 6.25” Stainless Steel = 6.25”

  • Can I cut with plasma if I have only single phase power?

    Yes. Up to 85 Amps of plasma power to sever up to 5/8” thick mild steel.

  • What are the most common-sized steel plates used in plasma cutting today?

    The most frequently processed plate size is 8’ X 20’.

  • What is plasma?

    When a gas, is superheated, it is ionized and is capable of conducting electricity. When a voltage is introduced the gas is forced through a small nozzle opening at high pressure resulting in a plasma jet capable of cutting metal at a high velocity.

  • What is oxyfuel?

    Is a process that uses fuel gasses and oxygen to cut metals.

  • What is the difference between plasma and oxyfuel?

    Plasma cutting is made by introducing electricity into compressed air to create an ionized, imbalanced plasma gas. This plasma gas is pushed through a small opening in the nozzle by pressurized air, creating a measured, electrically conductive stream of plasma gas.

    Oxyfuel cutting is where an oxygen fuel gas flame preheats the material to a hot temperature, then a powerful oxygen jet is directed at the material. This creates a chemical reaction between the oxygen and the part to create iron oxide, which will sit in a puddle on top of the heated area. The high-power oxygen jet then pushes the heated area down through the bottom of the plate, completing the cutting process.

  • What cuts better, oxyfuel or plasma?

    Plasma and oxy-fuel have a place in most metal-processing operations. When choosing between plasma and oxyfuel, you should ask yourself 2 questions: what material do I cut most often, and what is the thickest material we may need to cut? If the job steadily requires cutting thicker materials, then oxyfuel makes the most sense. If precision cutting of stainless steel and aluminum is important, a plasma system is the way to go.

  • How do I know which amperage to use?

    Amperage control is important to give the best quality cut on any given thickness of the material. Speed and quality have to be stable.

  • When should I change my consumables?

    There is no correct answer for this. It depends on the thickness of your material, how long the cycle will take, what gas/air mixture you are using, the speed you are going, and whether you are only piercing, cutting or both. A good set of consumables will last 2 to 3 hours of continuous hand cutting and 3 to 5 with continuous machine cutting. Check your owner’s manual for more proper cutting techniques.

  • What is dross?

    Dross refers to the unwanted accumulation of waste and foreign matter from molten metal created during the plasma cut.

  • What is slag?

    The plasma cutting arc produces a large volume of molten slag that pours over the slats supporting the metal being cut.

  • What is the difference between dross and slag?

    Dross can be identified as the residue left on the surface of molten metal. Meanwhile, slag is the waste material that separates from molten metal.

  • How can I improve cut quality of my plasma?

    It is important to consider all of these factors when attempting to improve the appearance of a cut. Type of machine: Plasma cutting system (example: power supply, torch, consumables) Motion control device (example: CNC, torch height control) Process variables (example: cutting speed, gas pressures, flow rates) External variables (example: material variability, gas purity, operator experience). Learn more CNC machining tips and techniques to increase productivity today!

  • How do I choose a burn table?

    A water table requires a smaller initial investment, has lower maintenance and effectively eliminates most of the smoke and noise associated with plasma cutting. The downside is that it doesn’t take long for the water to become filled with dirt and metal debris. If proper care is not taken, the water can contaminate the torch and disrupt the gas flow in the consumables, resulting in a cut quality loss.

    Downdraft tables are more expensive due to the cost of the air handler and filtration systems, as well as the need to regularly replace as many as six filters. However, since they avoid the problems associated with water tables previously discussed, they contribute to optimum cut quality and are preferred for high-density plasma cutting.

  • What are the gas and power requirements?

    Gas and power requirements vary on what unit you are interested in.

  • What is high-definition plasma?

    High Definition Plasma is the same process as plasma cutting. Still, the plasma beam is delivered through a much smaller nozzle orifice at a higher velocity and results in more accurate profile cutting. Shielding gas is also used to swirl around the plasma beam to constrict the beam and keep the cutting beam straight, resulting in a square edge on the cut parts and better cut surface quality.

  • What can you do with a plasma cutter?

    Plasma cutters are used largely in fabrication shops and in automotive repair; industrial structural steel and construction companies use plasma cutters in large-scale projects to cut and fabricate huge beams or metal-sheet goods.

  • What makes a good plasma cutter?

    Cut Quality. The cut quality is how clean and smooth the finished cut is. The best plasma cutters have a high cut quality, so cuts will appear sharp and clean and won't require you to clean them up to have a smooth appearance.

  • How long is the wait for a scheduled service visit?

    Wait time for a scheduled service visit is dependent on agreed service intervals. For more information regarding your service schedule with Cutting Systems, please contact us today.

  • What is the expected wait time or a new machine to be completed and installed?

    Standard machines take approximately 8 to 10 weeks to build and deliver. The custom machine builds and delivery vary depending on the project's complexity.

  • How will I know if an order/fax was received?

    We typically send a confirmation once we have received a ship date. If you are still waiting to receive confirmation within 24hrs, please call the office.

  • When should I schedule a PM and who do I contact?

    You can contact Tim Keough for all your preventative maintenance needs. Per your average arc hours found on the CNC, some components are recommended to be replaced for the best system optimization.

  • What type of support do you offer after the sale?

    We offer free unlimited support via telephone or email.

  • Do you carry spare parts in-house?

    We realize that customers need to be running production at all times. We try to keep a good inventory of plasma cutter parts in-house. If the parts are ordered by 3 pm, and we have them here, we can usually ship them out the same day via UPS. If it is not a stock item, we can have a ship date typically within 24-48 hrs.

  • Do you offer training after a sale?

    Yes, you can call anytime to get scheduled for training.

  • Do you sell used machines?

    We sometimes have remanufactured CNC plasma cutting machines and components on our floor for sale. Feel free to call the office and inquire. This could be the perfect opportunity for an inexpensive upgrade or to find a discontinued replacement part.