In simplest terms, plasma cutting is a process that uses a high velocity jet of ionized gas that is delivered from a constricting orifice. The high velocity ionized gas, that is, the plasma, conducts electricity from the torch of the plasma cutter to the work piece. The plasma heats the workpiece, melting the material. The high velocity stream of ionized gas mechanically blows the molten metal away, severing the material.
What Can I Use a Plasma Cutter for?
Plasma cutting is ideal for cutting steel, and non-ferrous material less than 1 inch thick. Oxy/fuel cutting requires that the operator carefully control the cutting speed so as to maintain the oxidizing process. Plasma is more forgiving in this regard. Plasma cutting really shines in some niche applications, such as cutting expanded metal, something that is nearly impossible with oxy/fuel. And, compared to mechanical mean of cutting, plasma cutting is typically much faster, and can easily make non-linear cuts.