If you are a maintenance mechanic at an industrial plant, you may be called upon to cut steel sheets for your next project using a plasma cutter. If you do not have much experience with this task, use the tips below to ensure an easier and smoother cut.

Make Sure The Steel Sheets Are Free From Grease And Oil

Before you begin cutting, make sure the surfaces of the metal sheets are free from any grease or oil. If left on, the intense heat from the plasma cutter could catch the surface on fire, potentially causing serious burns on you or anyone helping you.

To remove the grease or oil, use a highly concentrated, industrial strength degreaser. Ask your foreman where your factory keeps it if you are unsure of where it is. Then, follow the instructions to clean the steel surfaces, making sure to rinse completely, since the chemicals in the cleaner may be flammable as well.

Check For Bends Or Dents Before Cutting

Once your steel sheets are clean, closely examine them for any bends or dents in the metal before you plan on where you are going to cut. Because you will be holding the plasma cutter close to the surface, any imperfection could cause the cutter to jump, creating an uneven line.

If you see any bends or dents in the metal, this does not necessarily mean the steel is unusable. Select a section of the sheet on which to cut that has a smooth surface so the edge of the cut will be smooth and even, making it easier to attach to other steel pieces when it comes time to weld them together.

Lightly Sand The Edges After Cutting

After you have made your cut, the edges of the steel sheets may still be slightly rough. To smooth them out, lightly sand them with fine-grit sandpaper. Or, use a handheld precision tool with a sanding attachment to even out the edges.

When sanding the edges, use firm, even pressure throughout the process. If you press down too hard, you may create ruts or gouges in the edges that could cause an uneven attachment point once you start using them to build your fabrication project.

Using the tips above can help ensure you successfully cut the steel sheets you need for your project. However, if you are still unsure of how to go about it, you may want to speak to your supervisor or someone with extensive experience working with steel sheet metal.

For more information, contact Schaffer's Custom Welding Ltd or a similar company.