Can You Use a Plasma Cutter Without Gas?

Mar 5, 2024 | Plasma Cutting Tips

Cyrious Metal Works, your reliable provider of hypertherm plasma cutters, likes to offer our clients expert advice. That’s one of the reasons for this blog. In this post, we answer the common question, “Can you use a plasma cutter without gas?”

The Short Answer

Yes, you’ll need compressed air or some other gas for plasma cutting. The machine superheats the gas to make clean cuts. When you understand more about cutting tools materials, you’ll realize how important this process is. 

Common Plasma Cutter Gases

Can you use a plasma cutter without gas? Unfortunately, no — but that doesn’t mean you’re limited to one type of gas. Several options are available, each with their advantages. We’ll cover some common options in more detail below.

Compressed Air 

This’s the most common type and is versatile and inexpensive. It’s ideal when you need to use lower-current cutting. It makes clean cuts and won’t leave any residue. However, it can oxidize the cut, which could cause potential problems later on.

Oxygen

This’s a professional choice because it’ll cut carbon steel quickly and cleanly. However, we don’t recommend it for cutting aluminum or stainless steel because it doesn’t work on shiny surfaces. It’s also costly and has a shorter shelf life than others. 

Nitrogen

This is a good choice for higher-powered systems. It’ll cut materials up to three inches thick. You can combine it with carbon dioxide for a cleaner finish and faster cutting. 

Argon

This gas is rare, which pushes up the price. The advantage is that it doesn’t react with the metal you’re cutting. It produces a more stable arc, but you must use it with a secondary gas because of its poor conductivity.

Hydrogen

Hydrogen is a good option for stainless steel and aluminum because of its heat-conducting properties. It doesn’t, however, have a high level of kinetic energy, which means you must mix it with another gas. 

Argon/Hydrogen

Mixing these gases creates one of the best plasma-cutting flames. It’s useful for stainless steels and aluminum. It can cut materials over three inches thick and offers a cost-effective way to cut through many metals. 

The stable arc is good for cutting fine edges. 

Nitrogen/Water

This combination seems strange since we’re talking about gases. What happens is that the heat vaporizes the water, splitting it into its basic components. The hydrogen keeps the cutting edge.

You’ll notice this keeps the cut contaminant-free and allows for a clean cut. This, in turn, makes for a higher-quality result overall.

Contact Cyrious Metal Works 

Now you can answer, “Can you use a plasma cutter without gas?” do you have other questions? For example, would you like to know more about the speed of plasma cutting

The Cyrious Metal Works team has all the answers. Come to us with any concerns or queries, and we’ll help you find the best products for your needs. We’ll also help you optimize your current systems. 

Call us (903) 623-6766 and speak to our team today!