How Much Air Pressure Does a Plasma Cutter Need?

Aug 5, 2023 | Plasma Cutting Tips

Whatever you need to know about CNC plasma tables and metal fabrication, Cyrious Metal Works can tell you! Call us today to learn more.

How much air pressure does a plasma cutter need? Why does the air compressor matter? What’s the best way to ensure my equipment doesn’t burn out?

The answers are all here. Read on to see what Cyrious Metal Works has to say as your trusted supplier of Hypertherm plasma cutters.

What is the Normal Air Pressure Setting for a Plasma Cutter?

Plasma cutters are state-of-the-art equipment pieces that link up to an air compressor. They are much like welding machines, using heat as their primary tool. You can read the plasma cutter air gauge pressure on the machine itself. 

The machine works by heating the compressed air using a superheated arc to the point where the air becomes plasma. The pressure setting will depend on what material you’re cutting and how thick it is.

If you’re cutting between ?-inch and ? inch-thick steel, experts will generally recommend that you set the pressure somewhere between 4 SCFM and 8 SCFM and 90 PSI to 120 PSI. But how much air pressure does a plasma cutter need to specifically handle your current project? It’s best to check your machine manual for these guidelines so that you don’t botch the settings.

Other Things to Know About Your Plasma Cutter

The cutter’s central unit controls all the operations and connects to the following:

  • Air compressor
  • Gear pieces
  • Air drying or filtration system

Filtration is extremely important; the system won’t work if the compressed air contains moisture or oil.

Does the Air Quality Matter? 

Yes, air quality matters. Clean air presents a clean cut. Moisture, oil, and other contaminants not only interfere with the capabilities but can also shorten the consumable life span. 

It’s best to keep the work area clean to protect the machine from dust. Otherwise, grit will damage the plasma cutter’s delicate components, like electrodes, and wear out quickly.

Finding the Right Air Compressor for Your Cutter 

Which air compressor should you choose? A team like Cyrious Metal Works can find the best product for what you plan to work on. 

Also, it might seem sensible to pair a 4 CFM unit with an air compressor of 4 SCFM output, but the compressor won’t keep up. The SCFM rating of the compressor is its maximum output. Running it at that setting is like a person running at full speed for weeks; the machine will burn out.

The output rating also depends on location. Manufacturers typically calibrate it at sea level with 0% humidity at 68°F, but how often do you experience a balmy day near the coast without humidity? Changes in climate impact performance, so work in a 50% margin for error (a 4 CFM plasma cutter will do better with a compressor of 6 SCFM). 

Contact Us Today!

How much air pressure does a plasma cutter need? It’s complicated, but we can help you figure it out. We’ll also answer other questions about plasma cutter ventilation requirements and more.

Call Cyrious Metal Works at 903-345-1841 today!