CNC plasma cutting is a process of cutting 2D shapes from sheet metal using a high temperature, high-velocity stream of ionized gas. The plasma stream is generated by directing the flow of inert gas through an orifice where an electric arc ionizes the gas. The material is thereby heated to a molten condition and the high-velocity gas stream blows the material away.
Plasma cutting offers low cost since no custom tooling is needed. The process is especially cost-effective for thick metal sheets. This method of cutting is usually for thicker sheets than laser. Plasma cutting is generally used to cut 2D shapes not requiring high precision or fine detail.
Example applications include Metal Brackets, Motorcycle Parts, Auto Parts, parts for heavy machinery, aircraft components, signs, panels, material handling equipment, etc.
Plasma cutting is most commonly applied to stainless steel, carbon steel, and spring steel.
Cost reduction options include reducing total cut length and number of holes.
- Edges can be rough, especially for thicker material and more so with aluminum than steel.
- The cut edge will have an oxide layer.
- The angle of the edge can deviate from 90 degrees typically by 10 to 20 deg.
- Edges may have pits at some points along the edge (with depth typically up to material thickness).
- Some warping can occur on intricate parts.