The plasma cutter is one of the most common tools used in many construction, industrial and automotive applications. It is a welding tool that uses high-temperature plasma to easily cut through materials such as stainless steel, aluminum, and copper.
This device requires an air compressor, which powers the tool by providing pressurized air to create the heat needed for cutting. While it is possible to use an air compressor with a plasma cutter, there are some important considerations that you should make before doing so. In this guide, we will discuss these considerations so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not it is the right choice for your needs.
What is a Plasma Cutter?
A plasma cutter is a tool for cutting metals and alloys with high precision. It is an electric arc-cutting tool that relies on a pressurized stream of ionized gas, or plasma, to cut through the material. Plasma cutters are typically used in industrial welding shops, auto body repair, and demanding manual fabrication applications. Several different types of plasma cutters on the market vary in size and power capabilities.
To power a plasma cutter, an air compressor must accompany it to provide compressed air for the cutting process. This means that an air compressor is a vital part of any plasma cutter setup, allowing greater control over the properties of the arc and providing greater control over the outcome of each cut.
Without an external air source, most modern plasma cutters will not function correctly and can even be damaged if operated without one.
Can You Use an Air Compressor with a Plasma Cutter?
Plasma cutters have many applications in industries ranging from construction to aerospace and require a reliable air compressor for proper functioning. While some plasma cutters have their air compressor included, some can be hooked up to an existing air compressor.
This article looks at the requirements for using an air compressor with a plasma cutter. We will cover what types of air compressors are compatible with a plasma cutter, the airflow and power needs, and the necessary safety precautions.
Using an air compressor with a plasma cutter has many advantages — most importantly, it increases the portability of a plasma cutting system. An air compressor provides a steady supply of air, which helps to create reliable, superior-quality cuts and is especially beneficial for extended or intensive use of your cutter.
An air compressor also produces cleaner cuts than those with an oxygen cylinder, as the compressed air works to remove contaminants from the jets. The improved control of the airflow settings makes working on thinner materials and around tight corners easier.
In addition, using an air compressor doesn’t require you to maintain oxygen cylinders or refill them when needed — all you have to do is hook up your plasma cutter with its necessary fittings and start cutting! With its added convenience, an air compressor is a great option if you’re looking for a portable and affordable plasma cutter solution.
When considering the advantages and disadvantages of using an air compressor to power a plasma cutter, you should consider some key issues.
An air compressor has a limited capacity to store air at high pressure, typically only 20-30 psi above the working pressure of the plasma cutter. If you cut for an extended period, such as several long runs with your plasma cutter, your air compressor’s motor will have to work extra hard and can overheat or even fail.
Also, since air compressors require frequent maintenance and upkeep, they can be expensive to own and operate long-term. If you don’t perform the necessary tune-ups and inspections regularly, then your machine could start producing inferior cuts or stop working altogether.
Lastly, most standard-sized portable electric compressors are not designed to handle the large flow requirements of many Plasma cutters. While there are models specifically designed for use with high flow Plasma cutters on the market today, they tend to be more expensive than standard compressors and usually carry limited warranties.
In conclusion, an air compressor can be used with a plasma cutter, but some important factors must be considered before using them. It is important to ensure that the correct PSI and CFM requirements are met.
Additionally, the hose and fittings should meet the recommended standards to avoid any potential use-related problems. Many newer plasma cutters come with air compressors or are designed for use with one specific type, such as portable air compressors. Ultimately, it is recommended that you consult with a professional or read the manufacturer’s instructions before deciding on which type of compressor to use for your plasma cutter.
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