Everything you need to know about cutting thin metals with FineCut consumables.

By Jim Colt, Hypertherm
Posted on 07/26/2019 in SPARK the blog, Plasma cutting

FineCut consumables are ideal for cutting intricate, fine-featured shapes out of thin sheet metal and provide squarer edges, tighter tolerances and a narrower kerf on thin metals than regular Powermax consumables.

FineCut works with both hand and machine mounted Powermax torches. If hand cutting, their use is straightforward. Install the consumables and start cutting. The FineCut process is also easy when cutting with a machine torch, however the capabilities of the CNC machine can clearly impact outcomes.

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CNC cutting tables are available for any budget and can come in a wide range of capabilities. It is important that the table you choose have a torch that stays straight on the cut path and maintains the cut speeds necessary to minimize dross and produce smooth, square edges. Simply stated, some machines will do an excellent job on materials thinner than 10 gauge, while others will not. Do your homework.

Getting FineCut consumables to work consistently is also closely connected to your torch-to-work distance, along with pierce height and pierce delay times. A good torch height control is a must. If you don’t have one, you probably shouldn’t use FineCut consumables. Always refer to and follow the cut charts in your Powermax manual. These charts and specifications provide critical information necessary for optimal performance.

Other things to consider:

  • Use a shield, as opposed to the deflector, for the best cut consistency and nozzle life
  • Wipe the front of the torch clean since spatter will affect cut quality and performance
  • FineCut® consumables work best on mild and stainless steel

Lastly, FineCut consumable performance is also impacted by sheet metal chemistry, so expect occasional adjustments from one sheet to the next. The chemical make-up of silicon, manganese, and carbon varies from sheet to sheet and the fluctuating levels of these components will impact the plasma arc. This is normal between different batches of steel so just be aware and understand that fine-tuning may be required.

As always, Hypertherm technical support is available to help with cut quality issues or technical issues with the FineCut consumables. If your CNC machine has the speed and height control functionality that is necessary for best performance, you’ll likely be very satisfied with the detailed cuts, narrower kerf, and edge quality that FineCut creates on thin metal.