CNC Plasma Gas Supply
Problems with CNC plasma gas supply often shorten consumable life. Leaks in the supply will affect your flow rates. Moisture or other contaminants in the gas upset the balance of flow-rate, swirl pattern, arc velocity and energy. The result is rapid corrosion of the electrode hafnium, damage to your cutting tip’s orifice and a steady decline of the torch’s cut quality. That isn’t good, is it?
So, if you think your gas supply is shortening your consumables’ lifespan, you’ll want to check these five things:
- Check for pipe rust. Tiny pieces of rust entering the system and ending up in the torch will cause damage or even full torch failure.
- Check the size of the gas supply and delivery system. The compressor capacity and pipe diameter must be able to maintain the flow rates required by your CNC plasma cutting system.
- Inspect the compressor pump and pistons. If the pump requires extra oil on a regular basis, it could be leaking oil past the piston rings into the system.
- Make sure that the compressor air intake filter is clean and not near a contaminant source – dust, for example.
- Do not make manual adjustments to system gas flow without first checking your system’s user manual.
Why Arc Color Matters
Be sure your CNC plasma arc maintains a color ranging from bright-white to light-blue. If it starts to turn from darker-orange to purple, it’s a sign of contaminants in your gas. If your arc is green — beware — because you're burning through the tip of your electrode and the copper enclosure is melting. Replace your parts immediately to avoid full torch failure.
If you’ve found that your gas supply isn’t the source of your short-lived consumables problem, see 4 More Things To Check that Affect Consumable Life or download our Checklist for Maintaining Consumable Life.