Material type and ideal thickness

  • Carbon steel only
  • Best cuts from gauge to 152 mm (6”) or more, quality cuts from 6 mm (1/4”) through 51 mm (2”)

Cut quality

  • Good, provided the operator is skilled and can hold the correct standoff
  • Large heat-affected zone common because of slow cut speeds
  • Edges typically are rough; however with a skilled operator, edges can be as clean as plasma and with better angularity
  • Dross removal required, unless the operator is very skilled

Productivity

  • Process is slower than plasma when cutting thinner (less than 3/4”) material
  • Preheating is required at the cut starting point

Operating cost

  • High due to high cost of gas, cylinder rental fees, and low cut speed
  • Operating cost becomes more competitive with plasma when cutting thicker material
  • Low service and maintenance requirements

Capital equipment cost

  • Medium, more than a hand tool, less than plasma
  • Good quality torch and fuel cylinders: $350 (hobbyist grade) to $1,000 (commercial grade)

Portability

  • Medium portability
  • Not dependent on a primary power source, but fuel and oxygen canisters are required

Bottom line

Consider oxyfuel if you need to cut carbon steel 152 mm (2”) or more in thickness.