Guide To Proper Plasma Cutter Setup

Want to know how to set up a plasma cutter? If you're getting a new shop ready, you need to make sure you have the proper plasma cutter setup ready to go. This article goes over plasma cutting basics regarding how to get started using a plasma cutter, including the custom CNC cutting machines available from Cutting Systems.

How To Set Up A Plasma Cutter

Some of the earliest steps regarding your plasma cutter setup should be done in consultation with your parts provider. Doing so will ensure that your plasma cutter operation is set up properly. Some aspects of your shop layout will influence where and how to set up a plasma cutter for efficient workflow, but at all times you should consider these factors:


While plasma cutting does not require a heavily ventilated environment for the equipment to function normally, the operators of the CNC cutting machine certainly do. Ventilating fumes away from your plasma cutting operation is important to maintaining a healthy working environment. Your plasma cutter setup should have sufficient ventilation to keep workers in your shop safe.

Power Supply

Using a plasma cutter requires a lot of power. Make sure that you are not overloading or overburdening any one segment of your shop when using a plasma cutter. Proper power supply and distribution can make or break your plasma cutter setup.

Air Supply

Different from ventilation, a ready supply of compressed air must be fed to your plasma cutter for proper functionality and smooth application.

How To Operate A Plasma Cutter

Before you begin plasma cutter operation, it is important to remember that you should follow all technical guides and receive training. There are many safeguards and systems in place to prevent serious injury while using a plasma cutter; at the end of the day, it is a torch that can produce temperatures in excess of 40,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Safety should be your utmost priority during plasma cutter operation. Safety equipment such as plasma cutter goggles and welding curtains should be used at all times.

Plasma Cutting Basics

Using a CNC plasma cutter involves setting up the following basic components:

  • Cutting surface, such as a downdraft table or water table
  • Plasma power supply
  • Compressed air
  • Cutting tool
  • CNC controller
  • Guide systems (lifter, gear rack, bearings, etc.)
  • Material to be cut, such as sheet metal

Other components may be involved and are dependent on your setup and application. For instance, your plasma cutter setup may or may not include auto lubrication systems depending on other aspects of your plasma cutter operation and the materials being cut.

Plasma Cutter Settings

After turning on your cabinet, plasma power supply, air compressor and other components, you are ready to define the work to be performed by your CNC plasma cutter. Settings vary and will provide different results; it is important to know the best practices and use conditions for your particular plasma cutter.

Plasma Cutter Operations

By now, you should have your design file ready to load into your plasma cutter. Using a program like FlashCut CNC, you can define the cut area, material thickness and overall design of what you are cutting. At this point, you are ready to run your first cut. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Place the sheet metal in position, making sure that it can not touch the track.
  2. Use the software to compile your cutting program.
  3. Double check that your program is running accurately and within parameters.
  4. Begin your program to control the cutting of your sheet metal.
  5. Ensure that guide rails and tracks remain clean of debris for safe operation.
  6. Wear plasma cutter goggles and refrain from looking directly at the torch to avoid injury.

Upgrade Your Plasma Cutter Operation With Cutting Systems

Cutting Systems is a full-service CNC cutting machine systems provider. We provide custom steel cutting solutions to some of the world's leading manufacturers in the automotive, aerospace and heavy manufacturing industries. Contact us today to learn how we can help you create your very own custom plasma cutter setup.

Contact Us

Every industrial CNC machine from Cutting Systems delivers the cut quality, productivity and precision that your application demands. We consider all of our customers to be valued partners and provide unparalleled service to ensure your needs are met. If you have any questions about our steel cutting machinery, feel free to contact us – we're always happy to help. If you know what you need for your industry, try requesting a quote to begin building the CNC machine that will get the job done right every time.