Welding metals sometimes require giving them a new shape for better workability. To do this, sometimes you have to cut the metals to have a perfect shape. However, You might think that there are not many options. No way, contrary to your belief, there are lots of cutting methods.
By the way, you will see that two cutting methods are extremely popular. One is a plasma cutter while the other is a torch.
You may have little to no idea about them. Although both of these torches are made to cut metals, they are two entirely different instruments. Let us guide you by giving a brief outline.
Comparison Table Between Plasma cutter Cutting torch
|Topic||Plasma cutter||Cutting torch|
|Precision||More precise cuts||Less precise cuts|
|Portability||Not quite portable||Better portability|
|Heat Source||Electricity and gas||Combustion of gases|
|Capacity||Cannot properly cut thick metals.||Can easily cut thick metals.|
What is a Plasma cutter?
A plasma cutter is made with a combination of electricity and gas. This plasma cutter uses the acceleration of a jet of hot plasma to cut through metals.
Let us explain it in detail. A layer of compressed gas is passed through a nozzle at a very high speed. This gas is then ionized with electricity. As a result, plasma is formed around the cutter. This plasma is used to cut the workpiece.
Pros-cons of Plasma cutter
What is a Cutting torch?
A cutting torch is nothing but a combination of a few gases which is used to cut metals. Normally, oxygen is mixed with acetylene at varying proportions to cut different materials.
However, the 1:1 ratio of oxygen and acetylene is considered to produce the best flame. The gases form a cone after being mixed. After that, the torch is started. Then, you have to preheat the workpiece. Lastly, pressing down the oxygen lever should act as a cutting material.
Pros-cons of Cutting torch
Plasma cutter vs Cutting torch: Difference
Cost: A plasma cutter has a high purchase cost. However, cutting torches need gas to operate. For that reason, you have to invest in gas tanks from time to time. This will increase the cost down the line.
Safety: Plasma cutters do not require handling explosive gases. However, you have to work with oxygen and acetylene when you opt for a cutting torch. This requires extreme caution. Otherwise, fatal accidents may happen.
Metal thickness: Metal thickness is another deciding factor that differentiates the two of them. While the plasma torch is adept at cutting thin metals, it is inefficient to use a cutting torch to cut thin metals. But, cutting torches can cut thick metals pretty well.
Power sources: A cutting torch needs gas tanks and related equipment to operate. On the contrary, a plasma torch must need a power source that can provide electricity. Otherwise, there would be no plasma formation.
Versatility: While a plasma torch can cut both thin and thick metals quite well, it is not the case for cutting torches. However, a cutting torch can be used to weld, solder, braze, cut, heat and gouge.
Speed: Cutting with a plasma torch is an extremely fast process. The same, however, cannot be said about a cutting torch. Although not the slowest, it is a lot slower when compared to a plasma torch.
Workpiece modification: A plasma cutter does not require the metal to be preheated. Moreover, you can cut sheet metals at an angle using a plasma cutter. On the other hand, a cutting torch provides no such benefit. You have to preheat the metal before cutting with the help of a cutting torch and you cannot cut metals angularly.
User-friendliness: As cutting torches create a considerable amount of debris, cleaning up after cutting the metals is a must. However, with plasma torches, there are no such problems. This saves a lot of time and effort.
Plasma cutter vs Cutting torch: Similarities
Heat production: Both the plasma cutter and cutting torch produce a considerable amount of heat.
Final product: Whether it is a cutting torch or a plasma cutter, you will get the same result ultimately. Albeit having different applications, both of these instruments are used to cut metals.
Plasma cutter vs Cutting torch: Which One To Choose
Choosing between a plasma cutter and a cutting torch depends on your priorities. If you have to cut sheet metals and your job requires precision and speed, you would be better off with a plasma torch. However, if you need portability, a cutting torch will be more suitable for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. A plasma cutter is simply a torch that releases plasma upon the need of a user.
Definitely. If proper safety measures are not taken, you can possibly inhale fumes. This will make you sick and you may see a number of symptoms like headache, dizziness, and pneumonia.
Typically, you would be able to cut a 38mm metal with the help of a plasma cutter.
So far, hopefully, you have come to know everything regarding these two instruments in this article. So, it should help you decide on which of the two instruments you will need.
If you sort out your priorities, you will have no problems deciding on either of the two.
We wish you the best of luck.