Hello and thanks in advance.

I got a Spectrum 375 Plasma Cutter and am trying to learn how to use it. The manual is pretty useless: I know warnings are important, but there is maybe 2 pages on using the darn thing and they really don't tell you much.

Anyhow I set up at 240 volts and tried to cut a piece of 3/16" Aluminium Rather than a nice clean slot like cut, I end up with a dirty, splattery cut that doesn't reall separate the pieces. It looks like the material sort of freezes back in place and the underside is real messy.

I have to be doing something wrong, but the manual is pretty silent on technique. For example, they say

"For maximum cutting speed and tip life in non-shielded applications,
use a standoff distance of 1/8 in (3.2 mm). Dragging tip will reduce
tip life for non-shielded applications.
For maximum cutting speed and tip life in shielded applications,
place the drag shield directly on the workpiece."

But they don't explain what the heck a "shielded application" is.

Also, there is a current knob, but they don't explain how to adjust it, they just provide a table that shows cutting speed with various thicknesses of mild steel at two settings of the knob.

By the way, I am using the non drag cup because a drag shield did not come with the unit.

Any suggestions?