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"I just saw the 'Hands On' photo gallery, and I am awed at the work Kevin has done! It's one thing to see the finished product but being able to see how it was built is amazing."
--Sharon Martin, artist, Scottsdale, Arizona

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Inside a Cool Tool, the Plasma Cutter

The Voice: Hey, Kev. What are you doing?

Kevin Caron: Boy, is that scary. The other day I was making a cut with my plasma cutter, and as I was working along that piece of metal art I'm working on - a big, long cut - the cable wound up sliding onto my fresh cut that I was making, and it ended up going through the armor on the cable, all the way down to the power wire down inside. There was a big, blue flash, and all the hair on my arms stood up.

I knew it was coming. Today it finally broke in two all the way and my plasma cutter quit working. But I had gone ahead and ordered a new one. They sent me this box and now we've just got to hope we got the right parts for it.

If you've never looked inside of one of these power tools, it's kind of scary. It's also kind of amazing, though, to think that all these electronics give you the flame that comes out of that torch, which allows you to cut through steel up to one inch stick. You know you've got a big transformer inside here; all kinds of good stuff.

You can see here where that air comes in for the torch, in here on this end. There?s a little filter here to keep the water out. There's another little filter inside here; a little dryer. It comes up through the pressure regulator over here and then back down in the torch, out this cable and winds up out on the end. So if you pull the trigger, the air comes on and it lets you make your cut.

Here?s a circuit board with all the electronics. Here's the other side of that big transformer. A little cooling fan to keep things cool inside.

Boy, now I get to take it apart. I love my job!

We just did a cable-ectomy; now comes the moment of truth.

I put my circle cutter back on because I was cutting a circle. Now we've got to line it back up in the little hole there and . . . woo-hoo! (using plasma cutter)

This is what got me in trouble last time. Can you see where the cable hits on the right here? It gets caught as you're going around in a circle, or as you're moving along on a cut. That's what caught me and got me in trouble last time, so now we're putting it up there to keep it out of the way.

By the way, Sandy, a YouTube subscriber from Ohio, emailed one day and asked why I don't wear welding glasses when I cut metal with this tool? There's a very good reason: because all the flame is down underneath here and it's hidden by this shield. So, when I'm standing here using this metal cutter, all I see are a few little sparks coming off of it. This way I can see what I'm doing.

I feel, and I'm probably wrong and will get some emails on this, I feel safer without dark glasses on so I can see what's going on and I can see around me on the floor to make sure nothing is burning.

If I wasn't using the circle cutter, if I was free-hand cutting and the tip was exposed where I could see the flame as it came out, then absolutely I'd be wearing dark glasses. This is brighter than the sun. So, that's the only reason, Sandy, why I don't wear dark glasses when I use a plasma cutter here in the studio.

I'm going to get back to work on my sculpture. I'll see you later.

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