How Thick Can A Plasma Cutter Cut: A Comprehensive Guide

How Thick Of Metal Can A Plasma Cutter Cut? Tips and Guides
How Thick Of Metal Can A Plasma Cutter Cut? Tips and Guides from


Plasma cutters have revolutionized metal fabrication, allowing for precise and efficient cutting. But one question that often arises is, how thick can a plasma cutter actually cut? In this article, we will explore the capabilities of plasma cutters and provide you with a comprehensive guide on their cutting thickness.

Understanding Plasma Cutting

Plasma cutting is a process that utilizes a high-velocity jet of ionized gas, known as plasma, to melt and sever through various metals. The plasma arc is created by passing an electric current through a gas, such as nitrogen or oxygen, resulting in a state of matter where electrons are separated from their nuclei.

When the plasma arc comes into contact with the metal surface, it heats the material to an extremely high temperature, causing it to melt and form a clean cut. The speed and precision of plasma cutting make it an ideal choice for various industries, including automotive, construction, and manufacturing.

The Cutting Thickness

The cutting thickness of a plasma cutter largely depends on its power output. Generally, plasma cutters come in various power ratings, ranging from 30 to 400 amps. The higher the power output, the thicker the metal it can cut.

For light-duty plasma cutters with power outputs of around 30 to 50 amps, the maximum recommended cutting thickness is typically around 1/8 inch or 3 mm. These plasma cutters are suitable for hobbyists or small-scale metalwork.

Mid-range plasma cutters with power outputs between 50 and 100 amps can handle thicker metals, typically up to 1/2 inch or 12 mm. These cutters are commonly used in automotive repair shops or small fabrication shops.

High-end plasma cutters with power outputs exceeding 100 amps can cut through even thicker materials. They can tackle metals up to 1 inch or 25 mm thick, making them suitable for heavy-duty industrial applications.

Factors Affecting Cutting Thickness

While power output plays a significant role in determining cutting thickness, several other factors can influence the performance of a plasma cutter:

1. Material Conductivity:

Materials with high electrical conductivity, such as aluminum or copper, may require higher power outputs to achieve the same cutting thickness as steel. This is due to the increased energy required to maintain a stable plasma arc.

2. Cutting Speed:

The cutting speed of the plasma cutter can affect the achievable cutting thickness. Slower cutting speeds allow for deeper cuts, while faster speeds are suitable for thinner materials.

3. Gas Selection:

The choice of gas used in plasma cutting can also impact the cutting thickness. Nitrogen is commonly used for cutting stainless steel and aluminum, while oxygen is more suitable for carbon steel. Different gases have varying capabilities and can affect the quality of the cut.

4. Consumables:

The condition and quality of the consumables, such as the electrode and nozzle, can affect the cutting thickness. Worn or damaged consumables may result in decreased cutting performance.


Plasma cutters offer a versatile and efficient method for cutting various metals. The cutting thickness of a plasma cutter depends on its power output, ranging from 1/8 inch for light-duty cutters to 1 inch for heavy-duty industrial cutters. However, factors such as material conductivity, cutting speed, gas selection, and consumables can also affect the achievable cutting thickness. By understanding these factors, you can make informed decisions and optimize the performance of your plasma cutter.