What You Need to Know About Plasma Cutting Speed 

May 5, 2023 | Plasma Cutting Tips

A plasma cutter is typically the fastest way to cut any metal that can conduct electricity. From stainless steel and aluminum to copper, a plasma cutter can produce precise cuts in a fraction of the time of other cutting machines. 

Cyrious Metal Works is a leading supplier of Hypertherm plasma cutters, and we are experts in helping metal fabricators select the perfect tools for their needs. Our machines make it simple for both novice and experienced fabricators to cut metal, with automatic features to control plasma cutting speed, torch height, and more. We’re also here to help with guidance and advice to help you get the most from your plasma cutter.

With that in mind, here’s what you need to know about plasma cutting speed to ensure the best results and avoid damage to your machine and materials. 

How Speed Affects Plasma Cutting Quality

The plasma cutting process is typically faster than other methods. Typically measured in inches per minute, plasma cutting allows you to cut most common materials in a timely and effective manner. In addition, plasma cutters cut metal at such a high speed that they do not create a substantial chemical reaction or alter the cutting surface. Minimizing the heat-affected zone ensures a high-quality finished product. 

As an additional benefit, plasma cutting often costs less per square foot, in part due to cutting speed. It is the least expensive option compared to other cutting methods, such as laser cutting. 

Determining the Best Speed for Cutting Metal with Plasma

Although plasma cutters can cut at high speeds, cutting too fast or too slow for the material and the project specifications can affect results. Several factors influence the ideal cutting speed, including:

  • Type of material
  • Material thickness
  • Material melting point
  • Thermal conductivity
  • Surface tension 

In some cases, fabricators need to perform several tests to determine the perfect plasma cutting speed. Examining the cuts may indicate the need to make adjustments. 

For example, when the speed is too slow, the torch will create a wider cut because it’s transferring more heat to the surface. The excess heat also causes melting, which creates a rounded edge at the top of the incision and solidified slag at the bottom that may not be removable. In some cases, cutting too slowly can even extinguish the torch.

However, if the speed is too fast, quality can suffer. High speeds can prevent the torch from completely slicing through the material, and the incision won’t be as smooth as it should be. Cutting too fast also increases the heat load on the torch nozzle, which can damage it and affect cutting quality. 

Find the Perfect Plasma Cutter for Your Needs 

Incorrect speed is one of the most common plasma cutting mistakes. For help selecting the right plasma cutting speed and answers to any other questions, turn to the experts at Cyrious Metal Works. We are here to help with high-quality cutting machines, insights, and more. 

For more information, call us at (903) 623-6766