There are two basics types of cutting equipment; plasma cutters and Oxy/Fuel cutting torches. American Welding & Gas, Inc. carries top quality cutting equipment from the leaders in the industry. Hypertherm, Miller Electric, Lincoln Electric and ESAB/Thermal Dynamics lead the way with Plasma technology. ESAB/Victor Technologies, Harris Equipment and Smith Equipment are leaders in Oxy/Fuel cutting torches.
Plasma cutting is a process that cuts through electrically conductive materials by an accelerated jet of ionized gas (plasma). The basic cutting process utilizes a compressed gas which is blown through a focused nozzle at high speed toward the work piece. An electrical arc is then formed within the gas, between an electrode near to the gas nozzle and the work piece with sufficient heat to melt through the metal. Plasma cutting is often used in fabrication, automotive repair and industrial construction where high speed, precision cuts are required. Plasma cutting sees widespread usage from large scale industrial CNC applications down to small hobbyist shops.
Common gases used are:
Oxy/Fuel Cutting is one of the oldest processes to cut metals. A fuel gas and oxygen are fed from a cylinder through a hose to the torch where they mix creating a high temperature flame that allows localized melting of the workpiece material. In recent decades oxy/fuel cutting is less commonly seen in industrial applications but is still widely used in scrap yards, pipe cutting and some types of metal-based artwork. Oxy/Fuel has the added advantage of not requiring a source of electricity which makes it self-contained and often more portable. Additionally, the cutting torch can be used to weld and braze with a simple switch from the cutting attachment to a welding tip.
Common fuel gases include: