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Arc Outage (Arc Transfer)

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

If the plasma arc extinguishes while trying to cut, it could be that the arc has not transferred and the plasma cutter still thinks it is in pilot mode. While in pilot mode the plasma cutter will limit how long the machine is on for safety reasons.

In order to ensure that the arc transfers to the workpiece and into cut mode, make sure that there is a good connection from the work clamp to the workpiece. Grind off any rust or paint in a small area, and hook up the work clamp to that spot. The plasma arc can cut through paint and rust, but the work clamp needs to have contact with bare metal.

Also remember that electricity is lazy and takes the path of least resistance. Make sure that the torch is close to the workpiece. All Miller plasma cutters come standard with a drag shield on the torch, so go ahead and drag the shield on the piece you are cutting. The drag shield provides the optimized standoff height for cutting.

Brian Brown
Engineering Technician, Plasma Products

Plasma cutting tip

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Before you fire up your plasma cutter, you have to set up the machine correctly for what you’re about to cut. First decide what power you have available; 110V or 220V. One common question we hear is, “Do I drag the tip or not?”

On thinner material, yes – you should drag the tip. On thicker material with the Spectrum® 375 X-TREME™ Plasma cutter, hold a slight gap to insure full capacity. Machines equipped with a drag cup should always be used in the drag position.

If you can’t cut through the material, you may be going too fast or you don’t have the machine turned up enough. If you see sparks going through the bottom side, you’re probably running at the correct speed.

Using a template when dragging makes cutting shapes easy, but remember that using and electrically conductive template can cause the arc to lose cutting strength or double arcing causing degraded parts life and poor cut quality.

If you’re cutting too slow the arc may go out which means you’re not completing the circuit.

Steve Hidden
Plasma Product Manager