What Metals Can a Plasma Cutter Cut?

Apr 20, 2024 | Plasma Cutting Tips

In the fabrication industry, you need to know exactly how far you can push your tools. With that in mind, Cyrious Metal Works answers the most common question about metalworking — namely, “What metals can a plasma cutter cut?” 

As your local experts in Hypertherm plasma cutters, we’re uniquely qualified to answer this question. We’re happy to help with this issue and others like potential hazards and solutions.

How Does Plasma Cutting Work?

Before we look at the metals a plasma torch can cut, we need to understand how these tools operate.

Most people learn that there are three states of matter: solids, liquids, and gasses. Laser cutting makes use of a fourth state, plasma.

Plasma cutters concentrate ionized gas into a fine stream using an electrical arc. This superheats the gas, which converts it into plasma. The high temperatures make it easy for the laser cutter to slice through metal. 

What Metals Can a Plasma Cutter Cut? 

Once you understand how this form of cutting works, you can better understand its applications. But what metals can a plasma cutter cut? The short answer is metals that can conduct electricity, like:

  • Aluminum
  • Copper
  • Brass
  • Steel
  • Stainless steel

Metals like manganese, tungsten, and bismuth don’t conduct electricity well. The full plasma cutters are not the best option for them. 

You can technically cut lead and tin, but the process is dangerous. The high temperatures cause the lead or tin to splatter. This results in poor cuts.

What Is the Main Application of CNC Plasma Cutting?

The main application of plasma cutters is to cut steel, stainless steel, and Colorbond steel. Most of the time, companies use these tools for quick, crude work. For example, auto industry manufacturers may use plasma cutting to cut blanks to use for custom parts. The plasma is effective, but it can be difficult to achieve a clean edge. 

For fine finishing details, most companies turn to a laser cutter. CNC plasma cutting allows for finer finishes, but it depends on the thickness of the material. 

The Pros and Cons of Plasma Cutting 

Plasma cutting is a highly efficient tool if you have the right machinery. However, you must consider your application carefully. It’s an expensive way to go if you can use an oxy-fuel torch instead. 

That said, there’s no comparison between the two when it comes to results. Plasma cutters do a much better job of cutting and save you time. You can improve the efficiency of your unit by using the right gas for the project at hand.

Contact Us for More Information

Plasma cutting can be an incredibly effective tool, provided you use it for the right materials. Now that you can answer, “What metals can a plasma cutter cut?” do you have other questions? If you’d like to know more about any aspect, like plasma cutting speed, call Cyrious Metal Works at 903-345-1841.

Discuss your needs with us, and we’ll help you find the right solution.