What is plasma cutting?

How a plasma cutter works:
Basic plasma cutters use electricity to superheat air into plasma (the 4th state of matter), which is then blown through the metal to be cut. Plasma cutters require a compressed air supply and AC power to operate.

Plasma Cutting Diagram

  1. Initially, the electrode is in contact with (touches) the nozzle.
  2. When the trigger is squeezed, DC current flows through this contact.
  3. Next, compressed air starts moving the electrode back and flows out the nozzle.
  4. A fixed gap is established between the electrode and the nozzle. (The power supply increases voltage in order to maintain a constant current through the joint.) Electrons arc though the gap, turning the air into plasma.
  5. Finally, the regulated DC current is switched so that it no longer flows to the nozzle but instead flows from the electrode to the work piece. Current and airflow continue until cutting is halted.


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