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Mastering A Plasma Cutter

Discussion in 'Working the Steel' started by RussM, Apr 17, 2021.

  1. RussM

    RussM New Member

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    Hi all, just looking for a little help learning to use my new plasma cutter. I do mainly full tang knives and would like to at least cut the tang portion with the plasma to avoid wasting steel due to the limitations of the bandsaw (throat depth). Problem is controlling the darn thing. Helmet on, I think I'm cutting a straight line. I know about the circle guide but this is much more detailed. It makes me feel like that kid Jimmy on "Yellowstone" who gets duct taped to a bucking bronc! Any advise would be appreciated. Thanks
     
  2. John Noon

    John Noon Well-Known Member

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    With a manual cutter run shade ten or a nine and if the light bothers you then switch to a gold covered lens. With a gold lens I find I can run one shader lighter without bothering my eyes
     
  3. RussM

    RussM New Member

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    The problem is with vision. I know because I am sure I'm seeing a cut that is following the line but it is an illusion. I am not really seeing what I think I am. My son told me to use my oxy/acet. goggles and the cut is quite good but my son is a bit of a cowboy regarding safety. I will try dropping to 10 and see how that works. Thanks John
     
  4. Scott Kozub

    Scott Kozub Active Member

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    You can make templates from 1/4 plywood. Super glue or two side tape it down and trace the edges. You get very clean cuts and no shakiness. I think it goes without saying to make the template a little small.
     
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  5. RussM

    RussM New Member

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    I really like this idea Scott. I've used them once. They can make a novice look like a pro. I didn't thìnk they would work on a knife blank though with the sharper curves añd the tip. I will try a few practice pieces. This would be a real game changer.
     
  6. Scott Kozub

    Scott Kozub Active Member

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    Tighter corners are an issue but they get you pretty close. Some day I'm sure I'll make a cnc table for my plasma. After getting a cnc laser I see how simple they are.
     
  7. RussM

    RussM New Member

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    Some of the entry level cnc's are actually not that expensive. The problem is where to put every new tool after a while. Anyway do you make a template larger or smaller than the knife blank Scott. I'm thinking of possibly making two separate templates, an upper and a lower.
     
  8. Scott Kozub

    Scott Kozub Active Member

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    probably the easiest way is make the blank to exact size. then trace a line say a 1/4" in and grind to that. To be clear I don't do this often. I just freehand. It was a suggestion that I thought would help and be consistent. I probably will be doing it this weekend as I have about 14 orders to start and many are the same knives.
     
  9. Joelsund

    Joelsund Active Member

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    I've heard plasma cutters will decarb steel, and shouldn't be used to cut knives. Is there any truth to this?
     
  10. RussM

    RussM New Member

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    Very good question Joel. The heat could be an issue. Think I'll stick to cutting handles til someone with more experience weighs in.
     
  11. Scott Kozub

    Scott Kozub Active Member

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    I never cut to the line because I'm just not that good. Probably about 1/4" away and grind to the line. Lots of guys get blank cut via cnc laser or plasma. Band saws are more accurate but plasmas are knife if I'm cutting multiple blanks from a sheet. If it's just a single blade from a bar I can get it done faster on the bandsaw.
     
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  12. Griff

    Griff Active Member

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    Pretty impressive video on the gram of the blanks being cut out Scott! Lines were very clean:beer:
     
  13. Scott Kozub

    Scott Kozub Active Member

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    Lol. They only looked clean because the video was so sped up and the video was processed to near garbage quality so I could email it to my customers. Hand held plasma cutters are tough to get clean cuts. Should be a lot easier once I build my new fixture table.

    Off topic, I absolutely love that everlast power pro arc, tig and plasma combo unit. I've cut through a 1" bar and tig welded razer blades and pop cans together with that thing. So handy. I can imagine what someone with skill could do.
     

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