Powermax SYNC: Green is for gouging

By Hypertherm
Posted on 12/07/2022 in SPARK the blog, Plasma cutting

Though often called plasma cutters, air plasma systems like our Powermax SYNC® series are great at gouging. Gouging with a Powermax SYNC requires a green cartridge consumable. Whether you need to remove a little material or a lot, here’s how to get the best results.  

First, choose and install the correct gouging cartridge. As mentioned above, all of our gouging cartridges are green. We make four different cartridge types designed for different gouging profiles and amperages.

Max removal cartridges are designed for removing lots of metal. Use these to create deep and / or wide gouges.

Max control cartridges, as you might guess from the name, offer you more control. These are good for removing small amounts of metal including spot welds. If you are new to gouging, we recommend that you start with these.

Gouging cartridge types



Part number

Max removal

105 amp

45-85 amp



Max control

105 amp

45-85 amp



Although you can use our gouging cartridges with either a handheld torch or on a machine, such as a CNC table or track burner, this article will only focus on the technique for handheld gouging.

Once you’ve selected and installed the correct cartridge, you can turn on your power supply and move the lock switch on your torch to the green ON position. As soon as you do this, the cartridge will automatically select the correct amperage and put the system into gouging mode.

Next put on your gloves, eye protection, and any other required personal protective equipment. You are ready to gouge!

Pick up your torch and hold it at a 40-degree angle to the workpiece. Unlike cutting, when it is okay to touch the workpiece, you want to hold the torch so the tip of the cartridge is 6 to 12 mm (1/4″-1/2″) away from the metal you plan to gouge.

Next, move the black safety switch out of the way and press the red trigger. This will create a pilot arc.

Wait a second while the arc transfers to the workpiece and then pull your torch back, away from the workpiece, so the arc is about 32 mm (1-1/4″) long.

You can now start to create your gouge by pushing the torch forward, away from your body. The type of gouge you create—deep and narrow, shallow and wide, etc.—will depend on your torch speed, angle, distance from the workpiece, and amperage.

  1. Speed: Move your torch faster for a shallow and narrow gouge; slower to make a deeper and wider gouge.

  2. Angle: Tilt your torch closer to horizontal for a wider and shallow gouge; more vertical for a narrow and deep gouge.

  3. Distance: Hold your torch closer to the metal for a narrow and deep gouge; further away for a shallow and wide gouge.

  4. Amperage: Decrease the amperage for a narrow and shallow gouge, increase it for a wider and deeper gouge.

You can even employ a combination of the above techniques to achieve the gouge profile you want, however, no matter which technique you use, always maintain some distance between the tip of the cartridge and the workpiece. If you move your torch too close, molten metal could splatter onto the cartridge and damage it.


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