Will A Plasma Cutter Cut Aluminum?

Plasma Cutting (For sheets and plates) Liebovich Steel & Aluminum Company
Plasma Cutting (For sheets and plates) Liebovich Steel & Aluminum Company from www.liebovichsteel.com


Plasma cutters are versatile tools that can cut through various types of metals, including steel, stainless steel, and aluminum. However, there are a few factors to consider when using a plasma cutter to cut aluminum. In this article, we will explore whether a plasma cutter is suitable for cutting aluminum and provide some tips for achieving clean and precise cuts.

Understanding Aluminum

Aluminum is a lightweight and durable metal that is commonly used in various industries, including automotive, aerospace, and construction. It has a lower melting point compared to other metals, which makes it well-suited for cutting with a plasma cutter.

Factors to Consider

While a plasma cutter can effectively cut aluminum, there are a few factors to consider to achieve optimal results. The thickness of the aluminum, the type of plasma cutter being used, and the cutting speed all play a role in the quality of the cut.

Choosing the Right Plasma Cutter

When cutting aluminum, it is crucial to use a plasma cutter specifically designed for this metal. Look for a plasma cutter that offers a lower amperage range, as aluminum requires less heat compared to steel. Additionally, ensure that the plasma cutter has a pilot arc feature, as this will help maintain a consistent and stable arc while cutting.

Techniques for Cutting Aluminum

To achieve clean and precise cuts on aluminum, it is essential to follow the right techniques. Here are some tips to consider:

Proper Speed and Amperage

Aluminum requires a slower cutting speed compared to other metals. It is advisable to start with a lower amperage setting and gradually increase it until you achieve the desired cut. Maintaining a steady cutting speed will help prevent distortion and ensure a smooth cut.

Use a Drag Shield

Using a drag shield can help protect the cutting tip and improve the overall cutting quality. The drag shield creates a standoff distance between the metal and the nozzle, preventing any contact that may cause damage or deviation in the cut.

Post-Cut Treatment

After cutting aluminum with a plasma cutter, it is essential to remove any slag or debris that may be present. This can be done using a wire brush or a grinder. Additionally, consider using a deburring tool to smooth out any rough edges.


A plasma cutter is a suitable tool for cutting aluminum, provided that the right techniques and equipment are used. By choosing the appropriate plasma cutter, adjusting the amperage and cutting speed, using a drag shield, and performing post-cut treatment, you can achieve clean and precise cuts on aluminum. Remember to prioritize safety by wearing appropriate protective gear and following the manufacturer’s instructions. With practice and attention to detail, you can become adept at cutting aluminum with a plasma cutter.