How to Cut Heavy Metal Scrap


When cutting heavy scrap metals made of materials such as thick steel and iron, don't bother picking up your circular saw. Instead, you'll need a tool called a "plasma cutter" or "plasma torch." You've probably seen people working with this tool in junkyards and auto shops before. When gas is raised to extremely hot temperatures, it produces plasma. In other words, a super-hot flame that can cut through just about anything, including thick, heavy scrap metal.

Things You'll Need

  • Plasma cutter
  • Work gloves
  • Safety mask
  • Hold the plasma cutter 1/8 inch over the scrap metal.

  • Point the arch of the plasma cutter straight down and pull up on the trigger. Begin moving the cutter along the metal slowly in a straight line, working from one end to the other.

  • Adjust the speed of the cutter to the right setting. If the sparks are coming off the top of the metal, it means the plasma is not fully penetrating the metal. Increase the cutting speed until the sparks are only coming out from the bottom of the metal.

  • Pause for a moment when you reach the end of a cut to sever the metal.

  • Release the trigger and allow the post-flow air to come out for 20 to 30 seconds to cool the plasma cutter. If you pull up on the trigger during post-flow air, the cutter will restart.

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  • Photo Credit scrap heap image by hazel proudlove from
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