Gas For Plasma Cutter

Gas for plasma cutter is an electric arc passed through gas via a copper nozzle to generate plasma, the fourth state of matter, due to extreme heat. This plasma, electrically conductive, facilitates metal cutting as the arc transfers to the workpiece. The process is effective on conductive materials like carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum, copper, brass, and cast iron. Gas directed around the cutting area shields against contamination. Choosing the right plasma cutter gas is crucial for optimal performance. A single gas or a combination may be needed depending on the metal type. For cutting aluminum, specific plasma cutting tips are essential. These include selecting the appropriate gas, optimizing cut settings, maintaining torch consumables, keeping the work area clean, and investing in the best CNC plasma table. Following these tips ensures efficient plasma cutting and superior results.

Top 5 Types Gas For Plasma Cutter 

Common plasma cutter gases comprise air, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and argon. While suitable for thin metal sheets, thicker plates often require a combination of these gases to enhance production.

The plasma cutter gas selection process considers not only the metal’s thickness but also its chemical properties and the dimensions of the cut.

Here is a detailed look at each plasma cutter gas:


Compressed air stands out as the preferred plasma cutter gas type, renowned for its versatility and affordability. It excels in lower current cutting applications and is effective on various metals like mild steel, stainless steel, and aluminum, ranging from gauge sizes to one-inch thickness. One of its key benefits is its cost-effectiveness in both acquisition and storage. Compressed air can serve as the primary or secondary fuel source and leaves no particles behind during metal cutting processes.


Plasma Cutter utilizes an electrical current and safe compressed air to effectively cut through a variety of materials such as stainless steel, alloy steel, mild steel, copper, and aluminum. The inclusion of a pilot arc enhances the plasma arc’s ability to transfer to the workpiece, enabling efficient cutting even on rough, painted, or rusty surfaces while minimizing slag production.
CNC Plasma Cutting Machine Factory offers another option with the CUT50D Air Inverter portable Plasma Cutter. These inverter plasma cutters feature a high-frequency arc start mechanism that initiates the plasma before bridging the gap from the torch tip to the work surface. As a result, inverters are more compact and lightweight compared to transformers, making the entire machine highly portable.
However, a drawback of using compressed air is its tendency to leave behind an oxidized cut area, which may adversely affect the welding of the cut’s edge.


Oxygen has emerged as the preferred gas for cutting mild steel due to its ability to deliver clean cuts and faster cutting speeds, particularly on carbon steels up to 1 ¼” thickness. While not suitable for cutting stainless steel or aluminum, oxygen ensures high-quality cuts with smooth surfaces and easily removable dross when used in combination with carbon steel. However, drawbacks include its cost and the reduced lifespan of consumables. Oxygen is ineffective on shiny surfaces, rendering it unsuitable for stainless steel and aluminum projects. Nonetheless, oxygen can be effectively combined with other secondary fuels to enhance cutting performance.


Nitrogen is a popular choice as the plasma cutter gas, especially for higher current systems and cutting materials up to 3″ thick. It delivers quality cuts on various materials, including stainless steel, mild steel, and aluminum. When dealing with thicker metals, combining nitrogen with air as a secondary gas is recommended. Additionally, consider using carbon dioxide as a secondary gas to boost cutting speed and achieve a better finish.
As nitrogen is abundant and readily available in the atmosphere, it is a cost-effective option. While nitrogen is most effective on smooth and shiny thin sheets, it can be combined with secondary gases like air, carbon dioxide, and argon for thicker materials. This versatility makes nitrogen a versatile choice for plasma cutting applications.


Argon, being a rare and inert gas, is relatively costly but exhibits non-reactivity with metals during cutting processes. Its use enhances arc stability and prevents atmospheric contamination of welding pools. Despite its high kinetic energy, argon cannot function independently due to its low conductivity, necessitating pairing with a suitable secondary gas for optimal performance in plasma cutting applications.


Hydrogen, renowned for its exceptional thermal conductivity, also possesses the capability to rapidly cool hot metal surfaces. These properties make hydrogen well-suited for cutting aluminum and stainless steel. Despite its excellent conductivity, hydrogen’s low atomic weight limits its kinetic energy. Therefore, similar to argon, hydrogen requires combination with other gases to generate a high-intensity plasma flame.
Combining hydrogen and argon yields an exceptional plasma-cutting flame due to their contrasting properties. A standard mix of 65% argon and 35% hydrogen results in the hottest plasma cutting flame and provides exceptionally clean cuts. This mixture is commonly used for cutting stainless steel and aluminum, especially for materials over 3″ thick. Additionally, the argon-hydrogen blend is ideal for gouging various materials and offers versatile applications in plasma cutting processes.


The nitrogen-water plasma cutter gas mixture employs nitrogen as the primary gas and water as the secondary shield gas. Plasma gas energy divides the torch’s water into hydrogen and oxygen, with hydrogen isolating the cutting zone to ensure contamination-free cuts. As water is converted into its essential components, there is no need for disposal. Additionally, water aids in minimizing fume and nitrogen oxide emissions. This cost-effective plasma cutter gas blend delivers a glossy finish on aluminum and stainless steel surfaces.
Gas for plasma cutter

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