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How It Works?

Okay, so you just got yourself a new plasma cutter and after reading the menu or manufacturer guide that came with the unit, you should at least know how to operate one safely.

However, do you have any idea as to how your purchase actually works?

How does the machine generate the plasma jet or flare?

Why does it cut through metal?

How does it convert air/gas into such powerful energy or matter?

Well, on this page, we will try to explain to you as to how the plasma cutter really works.

We feel that a picture is worth a thousand words, so if you can please refer to the diagram below...

Plasma Cutter Diagram

This is a simple diagram of a standard plasma cutter and as you can see, the electrode torch is negatively charged in nature and through the power supply, it generates an electric arc into the channel filled with cutting gas. This creates an electric circuit inside the channel and what the cutting gas does is that it speeds up and heats up the electric arc, transforming it into the fourth state of matter, or otherwise known as the plasma.

You will see that on both side of the nozzle, there are 2 other channels that releases a second type of gas and this gas is known as the shielding gas. This is generally used to control the diameter (cut size) of the plasma jet. It also has a cooling effect on the workpiece, hence providing a more precise and sharp edge cutting method.

Regardless the type of plasma cutter you have, whether it's a handheld portable, industrial or even robotic. They are all built using the same principle and hence, have similar functions. Of course, there are ones that are used for underwater cutting and these type of cutters will require other components to ensure they're working probably under water.

For robotic types (Like the CNC), these are usually controlled by computer which controls a robot arm of some sort to make detailed cutting. Again...the principle is very similar, but lots of programming and compatibility work needs to be conducted to make the process a success.

Now...of course, that's another chapter and we don't want to get too technical here....do we?

So, there you have it! You should now have a basic understanding of how the inside of a plasma cutter works, so it is only reasonable that you'll use a little logic from this page when making your purchase from certain manufacturers.

If not, just check out our plasma cutter reviews!