When it comes to cutting various metals, plasma cutters are a popular choice because of their efficiency and precision. But can these versatile machines effectively cut aluminum? Before we answer this question, you first need to understand the process plasma cutting uses, explore the range of materials plasma cutters can handle, and understand the advantages they offer when compared to other cutting methods.
The Plasma Cutting Process
Plasma cutting uses of a high-velocity jet of ionized gas (plasma) that conducts electricity from the plasma cutter’s nozzle to the metal workpiece. The electrical arc forms between the nozzle and the workpiece, heating the metal and melting it. The high-velocity plasma then blows away the molten metal, resulting in a clean and precise cut.
Materials Plasma Cutters Can Cut
Plasma cutters are a popular option for shops working with:
- Steel – Plasma cutters are highly effective in cutting several types of steel, including stainless steel, mild steel, and carbon steel.
- Aluminum – Yes, plasma cutters can efficiently cut aluminum. The process is suitable for both thin and thick aluminum sheets.
- Copper and brass – Plasma cutting is also effective for non-ferrous metals like copper and brass.
Materials Plasma Cutters Cannot Cut
Plasma cutters are not effective for the following types of materials:
- Diamond and hardened metals – Plasma cutters are not suitable for cutting diamond or other hardened materials.
- Highly reflective materials – Materials with high reflectivity like some types of aluminum and copper may pose challenges in achieving precise cuts.
- Non-conductive materials – In plasma cutting, the material must be electrically conductive so it will react to the ionized gas coming from the torch. Therefore, it’s not effective for non-conductive materials like wood, glass, and plastics, or poorly conductive metals like manganese, lead, tungsten, and tin.
Why Are Plasma Cutters Popular?
Plasma cutters have revolutionized the industrial cutting and fabrication world for several reasons:
Plasma cutters can handle a wide range of materials, making them suitable for various applications. They can cut through conductive metals effectively, providing versatility in metalworking projects.
Speed & Efficiency
Plasma cutters operate swiftly, allowing for faster cutting speeds compared to traditional methods. The efficiency and speed of a CNC plasma cutting system make it an ideal choice for heavy-duty industrial applications.
Plasma cutters deliver precise, clean cuts, minimizing the need for additional finishing processes. This precision is especially vital in industries where accuracy is paramount.
Minimal Heat-Affected Zone
Plasma cutters produce a small heat-affected zone, preventing excessive heat damage to the surrounding material. This is crucial for maintaining the structural integrity of the cut piece.
An Unmatched Option for Industrial Cutting
Plasma cutters are indeed capable of effectively cutting aluminum, making them a versatile tool in metalworking. Whether you’re working with aluminum, steel, copper, or brass, plasma cutters demonstrate their efficiency and precision across a wide range of materials, making them a go-to choice for many industrial applications. The advantages they offer, particularly when powered by CNC technology, position plasma cutters as an indispensable tool for heavy-duty cutting tasks.