Plasma cutting is a process used to cut steel and other metals (or sometimes other materials) using a plasma torch, which uses a powerful electric arc to create plasma out of a blast of ordinary dried air to vaporize or literally "plasmatize" the medium which is being cut.
The torch uses a two cycle approach to producing plasma. First, a high-voltage, low current circuit is used to initialize a very small high intensity spark within the torch body, thereby generating a small pocket of plasma gas. When cutting begins, the second circuit trips in and changes the current to a low-voltage, high current circuit, thereby initiating a high-speed powerful jet of plasma, which travels at over 15,000 km/h.
Plasma is an effective means of cutting thin and thick alike. Handheld torches can usually cut up to 1/2 in (13 mm) thick steel plate, and stronger computer-controlled torches can pierce and cut steel up to 12 inches (300 mm) thick. Formerly, plasma cutters could only work on conductive materials, however new technologies allow the plasma ignition arc to be enclosed within the nozzle thus allowing the cutter to be used for non conductive workpieces.
Plasma cutters produce a very hot and very localised 'cone' to cut with. Because of this, they are extremely useful for cutting sheet metal in curved or angled shapes.
If you are in the market for a plasma cutter, please take a moment to browse our selection.