How to cut pipe with a plasma cutter?
How to cut pipe with a plasma cutter?
An accelerated stream of extremely hot plasma cutting through conductive metals is what makes plasma cutting interesting. Typically when the metals which are cut through are sheets, then the process is quite simple. You just need to have the basic awareness about the process, follow the safety measures and proceed to cut through. The process gets technical with the type and shape of metal you want to work with. Although the basics remain same, the techniques that could be used on different shapes of metals might vary. There could be a variation also when you want your cuts to be different.
Plasma cutting basics
In a straight metal sheet, when you practice the different variations of arcs and stokes of cut, it gets easier with time. Another aspect which needs attention is your travel speed. The speed determines the efficiency of a cut through a metal sheet. Not to forget that comfort and convenient positioning is also important while you work. Legs and hands should be comfortably positioned to work through and both the hands need to be effectively used, one for holding the torch and the other for support. It is mandatory to always wear protective gear every time you work with a best plasma cutter.
Cutting through a Pipe – A clean straight line
Using a plasma cutter for cutting a pipe could be a little tricky. The straight cuts on the pipe are quite similar to those on straight metal sheets. What you need to look out for is positioning of the pipe on the work bench perfectly. Once positions, check on your travel speed, and then draw the arc in a straight and consistent line for a nice cut. Once the arc is initiated, the torch has to be just directed across the metal. While you are at it, you have to adjust your travel speed accordingly. A speed which is slow will lead to heating of metal thus accumulating dross across the cuts.
Cutting through a pipe – Taper
With quite a lot of practice and regular work on the travel speed, different types of cut apart from the straight ones become cleaner too. You would be amused at the variations of cut you will be able to get just by using some techniques differently. A pipe could be cut into a taper by following some simple steps. Similar technique could be followed for cutting around the shapes of metals. Some components like extenders and training wheels could be used to try this different kind of cut. These extenders of the training wheels are not something that we get to use every day. To cut around metals, these might come in handy as the positioning on the metal is perfect with these components.
These extenders help in steering clear the tip of plasma cutter as it passes through the metal surface. The pipe which is cylindrical in shape, and the cut not being a straight one and just going around the diameter of the cone, could otherwise get complicated. Using these extenders make this process quite simple and easy to handle.
These components have a collar on the bushing which will be fixed on to the plasma cutter. Their extensions on both the sides are perfect for the shape of the cylindrical pipe. They make moving around the metal a breeze. These extensions make the training wheels slide down easily along the length of the pipe. For a straight metal sheet, fixing them in a different direction will work. When you want to cut through a pipe, extending them a bit more will make it perfect. The setting of the torch is done once the extenders on the training wheels are fixed.
Using the wheels just makes the process quite interesting. You could just use the friction and slide them along the direction you want for different cuts. When you want to cut around a metal, changing directions could get difficult. These wheels make that easier.
Listed below is the process at a glance:
- Take time to position the cylindrical pipe ensuring to keep the ground out of the way. The positioning should be perfect for you to handle the plasma cutter and freely move your hands through the entire length of the metal.
- Clamp up both the ends of the pipe to the work bench so there is no disorder or movement on one end while you or working on the other.
- Ensure you plan the size of the cut you need and draw lines earlier so you could just steer through once ready.
- Using the wheels could be trickier as they would move straight and you have to force them to align towards the angle you are looking for.
- Try a dry run over the marked lines to see if everything works fine. Ensure to check your hand movement and travel speed here.
- Wear your safety gear. It is most important to keep yourself protected when you are working with a plasma cutter. Also make sure to follow all the safety measures while you are working on it.
- Once you start your plasma cutter, swiftly move over the line drawn making appropriate turns when necessary. It is important to not concentrate on the wheels and just keep track of the seam and moving along the line. This will result in a clean cut.
- These steps when followed will result in a triangular metal sheet popping out of a cylindrical pipe.
- Check if the cut is clean and look out for any accumulation of dress. Cleaning up is required after you cut the pieces of metal
- Put the metal piece again on a slip roll until you get the desired perfect shape.
It is not mandatory to use the wheels to cut through a pipe. It just adds an interesting perspective to a process when you use various techniques to gain expertise in a field. This method of using training wheels and extenders is one way o cut through cylindrical shaped metals. It yields excellent results and works as a perfect alternative to the regular cutting method.
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