CNC plasma cutting is only good if it is producing high-quality, accurate cuts. But, even experienced fabricators can struggle from time to time with achieving the kind of cut quality that they want, even with an automated system. While EZCutCNC’s CNC plasma cutting systems are state-of-the-art and very easy to use, nothing is as simple as pushing one button (though EZCutCNC does come close!). Every project is different and occasionally small adjustments need to be made to ensure optimal cut quality. Below are some common problems fabricators encounter and how you can troubleshoot them to improve your CNC plasma cut quality.
Troubleshoot 2 Common CNC Plasma Problems That Create Poor Cut Quality
- Worn Out (or almost worn) Consumables
- Worn out, or almost worn out consumables is one of the most common CNC plasma cutting problems that leads to diminished cut quality. The Fabricator explains why worn consumables impacts cut quality, “Think about a car—changing the oil regularly is much less costly than replacing the car’s engine. In the same way, replacing consumables regularly is much more cost-effective than replacing the torch. Using severely worn consumables can lead to uncontrolled arcing in the plasma chamber, which can cause torch failure. What are the signs of spent consumables? Often, deteriorating cut quality is the first sign of worn parts. Visual inspection is important as well. If a nozzle shows signs of oxide residue on the inside, or if signs of gouging exist on the inside or outside of the nozzle, it should be replaced.”
- Too Slow Cut Speed
- If the CNC plasma cut speed is too slow, the cut quality may be diminished. The needed cut speed will depend on the material being fabricated, the thickness, and the desired end result. Hypertherm elaborates on this problem, “If the cutting speed is too slow, the plasma jet begins to look for more material to cut. The arc column grows in diameter, widening the kerf to a point where the high velocity portion of the plasma jet no longer ejects the molten material from the cut. As a result, this molten material begins to accumulate along the bottom edge of the plate in a thick globular form. This is called low-speed dross. At extremely low speeds the arc extinguishes because there is not enough metal to sustain a transferred arc. Increasing the amperage or decreasing the standoff (while keeping material thickness and speed constant) have a similar effect on the cut as slowing down the cut speed. Both of these changes cause more energy from the plasma jet to contact a given area of the material in a given period of time. Excessive amperage or low standoff can also cause low-speed dross.” When the cut speed is too slow it may simply need to be increased by a few small increments to correct the problem.