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Tips for Making the Cut This Summer

Tips for Making the Cut This Summer

Plasma cutters and oxy-acetylene torch set ups are some of the most reliable and flexible ways to cut metal. However, there are a bunch of factors to consider when you look into a cutting set up. There are angle grinders and saws that can make effective cuts as well as a variety of different fuels that can be used for torch cutting operations. Each bring advantages and disadvantages in safety, convenience, cutting capacity, and flexibility. Let’s take a look at what you need to know in order to make the right cuts this summer.

Going Big with Plasma Cutters

Plasma cutters are both the most expensive and the most effective tools for cutting metal. You’ll get a lot of power and flexibility from a plasma cutter, and you won’t have to worry about dealing with oxygen tanks or other gases, to say nothing about finding the right cutting tip to match your cutting gas. Plasma cutters provide a smoother, cleaner cut when compared to cutting fuels. They are relatively easy to pick up and use with a variety of power levels and duty cycles depending on how much power you need and how long your cuts will be.

As of this writing Hypertherm plasma cutters are also available with a 50% off standard consummablekit. If you do any kind of cutting in your shop,
you’ll eventually need new tips and parts for your machine, so this is a great
way to make sure you don’t get stuck while working on a project.

Cutting Torch Options

Cutting torch operations have traditionally gone with oxy-acetylene set ups because they’re portable, cut at a high temperature, and can cut through thick metal with relative ease. You’ll often see oxy-acetylene set ups on mobile welding and construction trucks because you don’t need a power outlet in order to work.

In addition, cutting torch set ups are relatively inexpensive to get started if you’re tight on cash. While the cost of fuel tanks will add up over time, a plasma cutter isn’t always within the budget of some folks. Keep in mind that you’ll also have to purchase additional tips for the cutting torch and connection hoses over time.

The main down side for cutting fuels is the hazard of an explosion. While taking basic safety measures like chaining your tanks to a secure location and keeping sparks and flames away from the tanks will eliminate nearly early risk, there’s always a chance of defective equipment or operator error causing an accident.

Acetylene is the most dangerous fuel due to its instability, but it is also the most effective for cutting. Other fuels such as propane can be used for effective cutting, but they require a different cutting tip on your torch in order to get a proper flow. An additive such as HGX-3 can help propane cut at a higher temperature with the risks of working with acetylene.

Having highlighted the dangers here, keep in mind that many welders have been working with acetylene for a long time. While many have switched to plasma cutters due to these safety concerns, there are many good reasons to use a traditional torch set up for your metal working projects and welding.

If you do go with an oxygen cutting option, be sure to check out the promotions at Baker’s Gas and Welding for Smith Cutting Tips. Smith’s tips eliminate flash backs with their in-tip gas mixing feature. It keeps flashes from traveling up your torch and into your line.

Smith’s tips are also sturdy enough to be handled in a work shop and to resist damage from being dropped, eliminating extra costs and safety concerns.

Saws and Grinders for Cutting Metal

If you have smaller pieces of metal to cut or you just need something to make a quick rough cut, consider using a chop saw or angle grinder. While angle grinders are typically used for prepping metal, you can sometimes use them to make a cut on the fly. Most welders already have chop saws in their shops and just need to pick up a blade that can cut metal.

If you need to make cuts on thicker pieces of metal or make a custom cut for a welding project, then you’ll certainly need to consider a plasma cutter or cutting torch.

Get the Tools You Need to Make the Cut

Learn more about Smith’s cutting set ups and Hypertherm Plasma Cutters at Baker’s Gas and Welding.

Ed C.


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