Category : metalworking

How to Choose Plasma Cutter

There are several factors you need to consider when you’re planning to buy a plasma cutter. The factors include cut capacity, cut quality, reliability, ease of use, duty cycle and operating cost. The first step you need to take is to find out what kind of plasma cutting you plan to do. Are you planning to cut on a table? Or to cut by hand? Some of the plasma cutters of doing both. That is, going from handheld to mechanized cutting and back again.
Cut capacity
The rule of thumb is to choose a system with a recommended cut capacity that matches the thickness of the material you plan to cut 80% of the time. If you plan to cut 1/2 inch thick metal and occasionally cut metal that is a bit thicker, let’s say 3/4 of an inch, then you should go for a 1/2 inch system.
Cut quality
Cut quality is very important. Not only it will impact the quality of the finished piece, it will also save time in later stages of production.
Generally, the most reliable plasma cutting systems are engineered with fewer parts, are manufactured to ISO standards, are adequately tested and use software instead of hardware where possible.
Ease of use
Some tools are easier to use than others. For an experienced user, ease of use will allow a job to be done more efficiently and faster. It also means that people with little to no experience can get good results too.
Duty cycle
If you plan to work away from your shop and or plan to move around a lot, then you need to consider the size and weight of the cutter. Fortunately, you can lightweight system without sacrificing power and performance nowadays, thanks to advanced engineering. Some plasma cutters come with technology that adjusts for different voltages and voltage variations automatically. This is good if you are planning to work off a generator.
Operating cost
The plasma consumable life varies significantly from one brand to another. Longer plasma consumable life does matter as it reduces the downtime for change-outs. Lots of brands use patented technology to extend the plasma consumable life.

What to Know About Mig Welder

Are you thinking about getting into welding? If you do, before purchasing any equipment, you should ask yourself what kind of welding you are interested in doing. Most welding machines are capable of making most joints in metal. However, they all have their own specifications. That is, they are better at some jobs than others. The most universal among them is the Mig welder.

mig welder

The Mig

Let’s start with arc welders. Arc welders are tools that are used to make a weld using heat that is generated from high voltage electricity. There are several types of them, Mig, Tig, and stick. The difference between them is the gas shield. For the Mig welder, the gas shield is created by a cloud of gas released from a tank connected to the welder. The tank is filled with a mixture known as Metal Inert Gas by the industry.

The gas

The recipe for the gas varies. However, none of them will react with metal and add contaminants to the weld. The gas is pumped through the welding cable from the metal tank that either you had buy or lease. The gas comes out of the same nozzle that the welding wire is fed through. It literally creates a protective cloud around the arc as you weld.

The settings

A Mig welder has several heat settings that allows the welder to set the machine to just the right power to get a deep weld with good penetration but not so much that burn a whole. It is likely that you will do this a few times before you get it right. Don’t worry. Even an experienced welder sometimes surprised and end up having to make last minute adjustments.

Other than the heat setting, there is also an adjustment to the feed rate of the wire. It will vary by equipment and project. Again, don’t worry. As you get to know the welding machine and your jobs, you will fine tune the feed rate. And yes, getting both the heat and the feed settings right before doing the job can save you time and money.