CNC Plasma Cutters

CNC Plasma Cutters


If you have ever wanted to know about CNC plasma cutters. Read this blog to find out more you can also use this blog to give you some information about the industry. I will start by outlining how a standard plasma cutter works before going into the CNC Plasma cutter tooling. This is important information to enable to choose for yourself if it is what you want for example do you want to cut thin metals or thick metals.


A plasma cutter is a tool that cuts through electrically conductive materials by means of a plasma jet. This jet is generated by passing electricity through a gas. This gas could be for example compressed oxygen or carbon-dioxide. Fabrication Shops and Automotive repair shops for example use this tool.

Generic Plasma Cutter illustration

The process involves producing a channel of superheated, electrically charged ionised gas. The grounding clamp is attached to the work piece to complete the circuit to the plasma cutter however one of the downfalls with this method is that is could cause electrocution in some cases.

A compressed gas for example oxygen or air is forced through a nozzle. In or by the jet of gas is an electrode which forms an arc between the gas and the work piece. Some of the gas ionises and within the nozzle channel, a jet of plasma is produced. The electricity passing through the plasma jet produces enough heat to melt the work piece in that area and in addition the air pressure being forced through the nozzle blows the molten metal out of the cutting area.

Plasma cutters can cut thick and thin metals such as steel and titanium. CNC plasma cutters use this tool on a gantry or table.


The cutting process produces an arc. That Arc processed a high intensity light that can damage the eye.  Taking this into consideration, you will need to wear eye protection to shield you from the light.

Arc light chart with eye protection levels

See the manufacturing instructions of your machine to find the amp rating , however, if it is a second hand machine and you don’t have the instructions with it please contact the manufacturer.

Leather gloves and an apron are to be worn to protect you from burns. However, protection will still need to be worn when in the vicinity of a CNC plasma cutters.


Many CNC plasma cutting machines created have set cutting tables but some have a cutter built into the table. For example some Tables allow a computer to control the plasma cutting head. This produces clean sharp cuts. Modern machines have become capable of cutting on multi axis. Making it possible to create welds that are impossible to do manually.

Plasma cutters are being replaced by laser cutters the reason for this shift is because of the laser cutters superior ability to cut holes.


As illustrated below there are 3 main CNC cutting configurations. Classified by the forms of the materials before processing, flexibility and cutting heat

2 Axis Plasma Cutting

Plasma Cutter in set table

This is the most common when producing flat profiles. The Manufacturers of high powered CNC machines configure their cutting beds this way. Cut edges are at 90 degrees to the cut surface.

3+ Axis Plasma Cutting

Angled cuts are made into the material by rotating the cutting head, this is mainly used for projects that are going to be welded and the angled cuts facilitate the weld joins.

Tubes and Section Plasma Cutting

Mulit axis CNC plasma Cutter cutting a pipe

This is for as is says tubes or pipes. Here the cutting head is stationery and the material is fed through on a longitudinal rotating axis.

I will review some plasma cutting machines in other blogs on this site. Click through this site to get more free information.