How to Get a Better Cut With Your Plasma Cutter
Kevin was about to cut some metall with his plasma cutter, so he got out some "training wheels," or plasma cutting guides, that fit onto his plasma cutting torch.
First, Kevin shows a standoff, which often comes with plasma cutters. Standoffs usually slip onto the end of the cutting torch nozzle and hold off the torch end from the metal you are cutting. You just drag the standoff across the metal as you cut. Although it's better than freehand cutting, using a standoff can lead to bumps, skips and hops, especially if there is slag or rust on the metal. You don't always get as smooth a cut as you'd like.
That's why Kevin likes to use "training wheels." There are different styles. The first one he shows slips over the nozzle. Just tighten up the set screws to tighten it on the cutting torch. This version has a little set screw that lets you raise and lower the wheels. That's especially handy when cutting pipe - you can adjust the legs for the curvature of the pipe so your tip is the correct distance from the metal.
Next he shows a set from Flange Wizard that he bought at Pipefitter.com ( http://www.pipefitter.com ). It has a collar that you set-screw onto your plasma cutter torch. The wheels then slide onto the collar. Kevin likes this verson because of its width, which really comes in handy when you have a long cut. It gives you lots of stability.
Then Kevin shows a version from George's Plasma Cutter Shop. George custom makes the training wheels to fit your plasma cutter. This tool rotates, which is espcially nice when you're cutting a large circle with a circle cutter. It lets you cut all the way around the circle without having to turn your cutting torch. You can just stand in one place the whole time.
Kevin shows how the training wheels fit over the nozzle, tightens the first set screw to secure it to the plasma cutter torch, then, because he's cutting straight, he tightens the set screw for the swivel as well.
He puts on his safety equipment - dark glasses, gloves, etc. - and makes a straight cut. Next he cuts a little curve, too. The training wheels move smoothly across the metal, cutting it smoothly, too. You can just guide the cutting torch and let the wheels take the weight.
Plasma cutting guides are also really good for cutting scrollwork. Follow a line on your work by focusing the set screw in the middle of the attachment on the front of the cutting torch head on the line as a guide.
You can do all kinds of cool work with these guides, but Kevin likes the training wheels because they eliminate shakiness in his cuts. You don't have to try to freehand it. Just put the wheels down and push it, or better yet, pull the plasma cutting torch toward you.
Kevin says it's a great tool to have in your box.
He's ready to go back to work, so you have time to subscribe now so you'll see the how-to videos he uploads every Wednesday - you can also see them, and his wild sculptures, at http://www.kevincaron.com
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