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How A Plasma Cutter Works – Advantages and Tips

Have you ever asked yourself, “How does a plasma cutter work?” Well, you may not be the only one. 

As CNC machines gain popularity, you’ll find more of these amazing machines making their way into homes and warehouses across the nation. If you’re looking to make room for a CNC plasma cutter yourself, you may want to learn more about what makes these machines work and how to use them the most efficiently. 

In this article, we’ll look at the functions of these machines and some tips so you’re ready to tackle your projects. 

How Does a Plasma Cutter Work Step by Step

CNC plasma machine for beginners

Before you decide on a machine, you must do your due diligence to understand how it works and what you need from it. There isn’t anything too complex about how a CNC plasma machine works when you get the hang of it, but to a beginner, it can feel like drinking from a fire hose — but not with ShopSabre. 

We’ll break it down. 

The Science Behind How a Plasma Cutter Works

A CNC plasma cutter works by forcing gas (nitrogen, argon) or compressed air (shop air, oxygen) at high speeds through a nozzle. 

Next, an electric arc is introduced to the gas, creating ionized gas — or plasma — the fourth state of matter. 

The restricted opening on the nozzle causes the plasma to squeeze through at high speeds, which gives the plasma the power to cut through metals. 

The gas is also directed around the perimeter of the cutting area, shielding the cut. 

Steps To Using a Plasma Cutter

m code list

When getting ready to use a plasma cutter, the steps would look something like this, though they depend on the specific machine:

  1. Choose your work location.
  2. Plug in the machine
  3. Connect the external air to the plasma cutter
  4. Turn on the air
  5. Attach the ground clamp
  6. Turn on the machine
  7. Set the current
  8. Cut the metal

In the end, you’ll generally want to power down the machine, turn off the air, and wind up all the hoses used.

Tips For Finding The Right Plasma Cutter

Hopefully, asking “How does a CNC plasma cutter work” has now turned into asking what the best CNC plasma cutter for you is.

When it comes to picking a great plasma cutter, we’ll let you in on a few tips: go for resources and software, speed, and ease of use, and don’t forget to account for what sheet size working area you need. 

Lucky for you, our machines cover these essentials:

Software and Resources: Crossfire XR Plasma Machine

This CNC plasma cutter features a heavy-duty 750lb C-channel frame that makes finding the right materials easier than ever.

The Crossfire XR Plasma machine can handle steel up to 1” in thickness and boasts a 65-gallon water table for clean, accurate cuts and a reliable foundation. You also get a spacious 4×8 build so you can work comfortably while you learn the ins and outs of your craft. 

cnc plasma machine

In terms of resources, ShopSabre has all the goods you’ll need. The Crossfire XR comes equipped with a Windows OS control PC, Automatic Torch Height Control, Langmuir Systems XR Support, and Fire Share for unmatched community support. 

The best part? You get a quality, reliable machine at an affordable price.

Ready To Go: The SideKick CNC Plasma Machine

If you’re asking questions like “What is a plasma cutter” and “How does it work?”, chances are you might also be wondering about setting one up.

Our SideKick CNC Plasma Machine is the perfect entry-level cutter. You can use the SideKick anywhere from manufacturing plants to educational facilities, and it comes ready to use within minutes of arrival; no assembly hassles are necessary. 

Depending on your needs, you can choose from four models: The SideKick 4, 8, 10, and 12.

Speed: The ShopMaster Pro Series CNC Plasma Cutters

If you spend a good chunk of time using a cutter, you might want more power from your machine. ShopSabre’s ShopMaster Pro line is fitted with incredible Mitsubishi AC Digital Servo Motors with Glass Encoder Technology for accuracy across the X, Dual Y, and Z axes. 

This machine is great for those who like to showcase their work at conventions, online forums, or social media platforms. The impressive speeds — reaching up to 2500 IPM Rapid — make it easy to have a good amount of finished product for showing off. 

There are currently three ShopMaster models: The Pro 8, Pro 10, and Pro 12.

How Does a CNC Plasma Cutter Work to Your Advantage?


You may need to weigh the pros of a CNC plasma cutter before deciding to invest in one. A plasma cutter is as versatile as you can get when it comes to working with different materials and leads to other benefits like: 

  • Less Material Waste: Plasma tables eliminate the material waste and financial loss you can experience when using alternatives like handheld plasma cutters. The precise cuts these tables offer ensure you get the most from your materials. 
  • Quick, Accurate Cuts: CNC controllers and software on machines like the Crossfire XR expedite cuts and ensure they are done precisely. Other features like the Automatic Torch Height help replicate these perfect cuts every time.
  • Increased Productivity: Think of how quickly you can work with a CNC plasma machine. Less time spent on wasting material and trying to perfect a cut with a handheld cutter means more time spent creating.
  • Reduced Labor Costs: Sometimes, hobbies turn into profitable opportunities. When you invest in a CNC machine, you increase your productivity, quality, and your chances of a nice profit margin should you decide to sell your product. 

There’s more to a great plasma machine than the look. These benefits you get from ShopSabre’s plasma cutters are crucial in making your work more rewarding and helping you level up your skills. 

How Does A ShopSabre Plasma Cutter Work For You? Only One Way to Find Out

If you want to take your metalworking to the next level, ShopSabre’s American-made plasma cutters have you covered.

From beginners to hardcore enthusiasts, we have machines, software, online resources, and customer support that will meet all your production needs. Get unrivaled precision and quality by reaching out to us online or calling us at 952-461-4570.

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