What do I need to know about cutting expanded metal?
Most Powermax® air plasma systems include an expanded metal mode for cutting material with voids or holes. When in this mode, the system rapidly switches between the cutting and pilot currents, allowing you to easily cut across holes without extinguishing the arc. This dramatically reduces consumable wear. Cutting expanded metal is simple using a hand held torch; simply turn the dial on the front of your system to the Expanded Metal mode, place your torch on the metal to be cut and pull the trigger. Mechanized cutting is just as easy, although you want to be sure to turn off your torch height control first. If you don’t, the torch will dive whenever it passes over an open area.
As for thickness, it really depends on the system you are using. For example, the Powermax45® can easily cut through expanded metal more than 5/16” in thickness.
A word of caution: be sure to switch your machine back to the normal cutting mode when you’re done. If you forget, and keep cutting while in expanded metal mode, your nozzles won’t last as long.