Plasma cutting is an effective welding technique. The process involves using electricity and processing it through a machine in order to cut all sorts of conductive materials. If you need to cut some metal, plasma cutting may be a good option.
Of course, as with any welding job, safety is critical in plasma cutting. This article will highlight some safety considerations when working with a plasma cutter and tips on using it safely.
Selecting A Plasma Cutting Machine
When purchasing this equipment, there are several things you should take into account, like how much it costs from different suppliers. You should also know where you intend to use the machine, be it at home or in an industrial setting. The speed of the machine on various metals, the necessary welding safety equipment, and the cutter’s efficiency, power options, and precision are also worth looking into.
What’s more, you have to be familiar with how to maintain or service it. If something in the machine breaks or malfunctions, you must know how to find it and how much the repair will cost.
Safety Knowledge And Gear
When welding, safety should be your priority. Working with a plasma cutter can cause serious harm if not used properly. Understanding plasma cutting machine can help you learn how to handle it with caution.
Some safety gear is required. You should have a plasma helmet with a freely moving face shield and a pair of goggles to keep sparks out of your eyes. Heat-resistant gloves will protect your hands from fire and sparks that can lead to burns. A balaclava that’s flame-resistant can prevent your head, face, and neck from burning as well. Boots will protect your feet from being struck by metal or getting hit by sparks, and jeans can keep your legs from getting too hot.
Before you start using a plasma cutter, it’s important to be aware of some potential hazards. Here are the ones you should be mindful of at all times:
- Flames and sparks – These will naturally be present when you’re cutting, and they can cause serious eye damage. You can protect your eyes by wearing either a helmet with a face shield or some goggles. Check that everyone in the vicinity is wearing eye protection as well.
- Items or liquids that are flammable – It’s prudent to ensure that your working environment is free of flammable materials. The sparks produced during the cutting process can start a fire, so having a fire extinguisher on hand is a good idea.
- The materials you’ll cut – Metals must be handled with extreme caution. Dropping them on your feet can result in serious injury, which is why it’s advisable to wear safety boots. Since metal may fall on electrical cables, too, and cause a power outage or short circuit, ensure that all cables are securely fastened. After cutting it, avoid touching the metal right away because you’ll be burned if you do. Some may even end up cutting you, so be extra careful.
How To Safely Cut With A Plasma Cutter
When working with a plasma cutter, you must be well prepared. This way, you’ll not only get a good output but also finish the task without getting hurt.
- Read the manual that comes with your plasma cutter – Before you start any do-it-yourself (DIY) project that requires the equipment, whether it’s home décor or an intricately designed gate, make sure you know which instructions to follow when using the plasma cutting machine. Not all plasma cutters work the same way, so before anything else, read and understand the manual of the specific cutter you’re using.
- Clear the room – To create air, a compressor is required. If you’re working in a room, make sure to leave the windows open. Examine your surroundings to see if the area’s free of anything potentially dangerous.
- Set everything up properly – Secure the metal so it doesn’t move and doesn’t need to be repositioned when cutting. You could have a cutting station custom-built for you to make the cutting process even easier. Now, you need to clean the area to be cut, and then draw a line or mark the location where you want to cut. Your setup should allow you to work freely while avoiding getting hit by the metal.
- Wear protective gear – Put on your safety gear, and see to it that you’re well protected from any dangers that may arise. A fire extinguisher should be within reach, and you have to be familiar with how to use it.
- Start cutting – Connect the power supply to your plasma cutter. Check that the cutter can move freely and in the desired direction. With the machine turned on, make sure your torch is pointing at the marked area before you begin cutting. It’s recommended to do some practice cuts first before you proceed with the real job. When cutting, you can use your free hand to hold down the metal for stability and keep going until the task is finished. Allow the metal to cool before touching or moving it.
A plasma cutter can be a highly dangerous piece of equipment to use off the cuff. You should have a general idea of what you’re doing and how not to get hurt while doing it. Having read this article, you should now have a better understanding of how a plasma cutter works and what precautions you should take when using one.