What to consider before buying a table plasma cutting machine

by Stephen Ellison
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If you have decided on a table plasma cutting machine for your projects, you would be hard-pressed to find a better tool. Plasma cutters produce high-quality finishes on cut pieces of metal and do so within a relatively short period if done right.

That, right there, is the main issue; doing it right. Some people venture into plasma cutting with little or no experience and then start to count the losses; loss of time, money, maybe even damage to property in extreme cases. So apart from learning how to operate a plasma cutting machine, there are a couple of things to consider before you even buy one and you better stick around to find out.

Types of Table plasma cutting machines

There is quite some variety when it comes to plasma cutters. But the major types of plasma cutters are manual plasma cutters and automatic alternatives which can also be referred to as Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) plasma cutters. Manual cutters are simply that. Manual. They are small handheld cutters that have a lot of different uses.

CNC plasma cutters on the other hand are guided by computer software to produce precision cuts, over and over again. They’re mostly used in handling large scale work on industrial production lines. However, if you do a lot of metalwork yourself, a table plasma cutting machine would be a great addition to your workshop.

There are different sizes and ratings of plasma cutters that handle different metal plate sizes and thicknesses so be sure to think about the projects you’ll be handling and choose accordingly. Speaking of sizes…

Space

Table plasma cutting machines aren’t small. There’s no other way to put it. So you’ll need to at least plan how and where to set up your plasma cutter. Some plasma cutters are 5 meters by 2.4 meters, while slightly smaller ones are 4 by 2 meters.

You’re also going to want enough room to move around the machine, as well as for the control unit. You should try to place your plasma cutter away from other items, the reason for which will be mentioned in the next point. If you are getting a table cutting machine, it’s a good idea to invest in a sturdy table that will support the weight of the machine and then some.

Safety

You should pay attention to this because just like any tool; if a plasma cutter is used carelessly, it can result in harm to both life and property. Wear sufficient and appropriate eye and face protection, because the UV rays coming off the plasma cutter can cause injury to the unprotected eye.

A good welder’s helmet wouldn’t hurt, because it protects your eyes from the radiation, and your face from debris coming from the machine. Protective equipment such as aprons, a jacket, leather gloves, and strong laced boots will be necessary for anyone operating the machine to prevent burns from flying sparks.

The leather gloves also help protect your hands from the plasma arc. You also want to ensure there is no material near the plasma cutter that could start a fire if exposed to these sparks.

Conclusion

Plasma cutters are great tools, but only if you do the right things. Learn as much as you can about them, choose the right one, set it up properly, and follow the safety information. That way, you’ll get the best value out of your plasma cutting machine.

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