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Regularly maintaining your plasma cutter nozzle is vital for cutting arcs and optimizing your system’s overall performance. Fortunately, it’s possible to identify many plasma-cutting issues before starting your machine.
This guide explores troubleshooting and correcting hypertherm plasma cutter issues. Of course, you should only have trained professionals conduct repairs and system maintenance due to direct-current (DC) electricity and high voltage that can cause electric shocks.
Common Problems Plasma Cutters Face
Let’s explore the most common plasma cutter problems:
Hard starting occurs when a high frequency can’t pierce the highly pressurized barrier between the device’s nozzle and electrode. You can resolve this issue by checking your device’s gas pressure factory settings.
Ensure your plasma cutter is at the correct pressure level. A too-high pressure, for example, can cause your pilot arc to blow out.
Your Plasma Torch Is Failing to Spark
If your plasma torch fails to spark or you have incorrect arc initiation, start by first checking for electrode wearing. A typical sign of damage is a copper electrode turning blue or black or if there’s a widening crater at the torch’s tip.
Low-flowing coolant can also trigger this issue, and you’ll want to check your manual and adjust flow rates accordingly. Finally, your plasma cutter nozzle can be the problem, with issues like gas line leaks, abnormal slots, or gauges.
Dirty Hoses or Wires
Minor issues like loose or dirty connections can lower your device’s efficiency or render it unable to perform. Regularly cleaning your wires and hoses can prevent this problem. You can use a cloth to clean your hoses and wires or an air hose.
You should also wipe and re-gap your spark-gap set-up since dust, debris, and dirt can damage your electrodes. If you have damaged parts, you may need to replace them or have a professional repair them.
Uneven or Blank Arcs
Another problem people face is a plasma cutter producing blank, uneven results or arcs blowing out their consumable sides. Generally, this happens due to one of two problems:
- Blocked air holes: A plugged air hole on your plasma cutter nozzle can make your torch overheat. This problem can trigger uneven cuts or even blow out your consumables’ sides. You’ll want to replace your device’s caps if you have clogged holes.
- Electrode issues: Electrodes come in either slide or thread types. A loose plasma cutter electrode may cause an unsteady arc. Since electrodes wear out faster than other consumables, checking them regularly is vital.
Preventing Consumables From Wearing Out
Like everything, your plasma cutting nozzle has a life span. However, proper maintenance, regular cleaning, and professional device inspection can prevent many issues.
In addition, keep your torch at the proper distance from any materials following pilot arc transfers. You’ll also want to avoid excessive piloting as this can erode your device’s orifices. This process often takes time for first-time users, and better cutting techniques will prevent wear and tear.