Plasma cutters remove metal material by using a high-voltage electrical arc inside a stream of compressed air. The electrical arc melts the metal at an extremely high temperature while the compressed air stream blows the material out of the way. Newer models of plasma cutters use an onboard air compressor for the stream of air. Older and larger plasma cutter models require a separate air source to provide the air stream.
Things You'll Need
- Torch tip replacement parts
Inspect the air compressor's pressure to ensure the correct amount is being sent to the plasma cutter. Almost all models have an internal pressure switch that prohibits the unit from turning on unless the proper amount of air pressure is provided to the machine.
Check all electrical connections for the supply power and the required ground clamp. Plasma cutters operate on variable voltages that range from 120 volts alternating current (VAC) up to 240 VAC. Make sure the correct voltage is being sent to the machine. The plasma cutter must have a good electrical ground attached to the work piece that is being cut. A loose wire or bad ground connection will interfere with the unit turning on to make an arc.
Clean the torch tip of metal debris. Many times, during the cutting process, slag from the cut material will build up on the torch tip. The slag interferes with making good electrical contact with the work piece.
Replace worn or burned internal torch tip parts. There are several parts to the torch tip to make a good arc for the plasma cutter. If one of these parts are burned or creates restricted airflow for the plasma arc, the arc cannot be established.
Wipe the metal work piece of all foreign debris with a rag. Oil and grease residue may still reside on the metal surface of the work piece, creating resistance to the plasma arc.
Tips & Warnings
- All plasma cutters use specialized torch tip parts that are not interchangeable with other manufactured models. Ensure the parts you are replacing are compatible for the model of plasma cutter you are using.
How to Troubleshoot a Plasma Cutter That Won't Start
Plasma cutters, or torches, are used to cut steel, metals and other materials of varying thickness. The technology developed in the 1960s...
My LG Plasma TV Won't Turn On
A high-definition, plasma-screen television can be a costly investment, so it can be frustrating if the TV doesn't turn on when you...
How to Set Up a Plasma Cutter
Proper setup ensures a plasma cutter cuts cleanly through metal without causing damage to the equipment. An improperly set up plasma cutter...
How to Cut Aluminum With a Plasma Cutter
Plasma cutters remove material through the use of compressed air and an electrical arc. The electrical arc super heats the metal in...
How to Hook Up Air to a Plasma Cutter
High-pressure air allows a plasma cutter to create a stream of plasma capable of cutting all conductive metals. Plasma cutters come with...
How to Mount a Car Trunk Floor
How to Mount a Car Trunk Floor. Part of the series: How to Replace a Car Trunk. The trunk floor body mount...
How to Troubleshoot Plasma Cutting
Plasma cutting machines have made their way into the home hobbyist's price range. No longer are these metal cutting torches an industry-only...
How to Repair a Viore Plasma
Viore plasma screen televisions are high-tech flat-screen TVs with sensitive displays. Like any other television, Viore models can experience screen or power...