What You CAN and CANNOT Cut With A Plasma Cutter?

In Brief: What Can You Cut With A Plasma Cutter?

You can use a plasma cutter to cut through sheet metals made of materials with high electrical conductivity. These include expanded, carbon, stainless, and mild steel. You can also cut through copper, brass, aluminum, and other conductive metals. The maximum thickness is 2 inches. You cannot cut through non-metals or bismuth, tin, lead, gallium, indium, or thallium.

Plasma cutters work by imparting a current to an ionized plasma column. The current travels from the power supply, electrode, plasma, and to the workpiece.

As a result, plasma cutters can only cut through conductive materials. In short – metals.

What Metals Can Be Cut With A Plasma Cutter?

The conductive metals that a plasma cutter can effectively handle are:

  • Expanded steel.
  • Carbon steel.
  • Stainless steel.
  • Mild steel.
  • Copper.
  • Brass.
  • Aluminum.
  • Other conductive metals.

Other metals can be cut using a plasma cutter if they have high electrical conductivity.

If in doubt, you should search online to see what tools professionals use when cutting through specific materials.

What Thicknesses Can Be Cut With A Plasma Cutter?

Plasma cutters are only suitable for working with sheet metals of a limited thickness.

The thinnest sheet metals a plasma cutter can cut are 1-2 millimeters in thickness. If you try to tackle a thinner sheet, you will have a hard time keeping the shape of the workpiece.

The thickest sheet metals a plasma cutter can cut are 1-2 inches in thickness. Sheet metals thicker than 2 inches will be difficult to get through and will create too many sparks to be safely cut.

What You Cannot Cut With A Plasma Cutter

In short, any material that does not conduct electricity cannot be cut with a plasma cutter.

This includes:

  • Glass.
  • Ceramic.
  • Plastic.
  • Wood.

There are also some metals that you cannot use a plasma cutter to cut. These metals are poor conductors of electricity, and therefore do not function well under a plasma cutter.

These metals include:

  • Bismuth.
  • Tin.
  • Lead.
  • Gallium.
  • Indium.
  • Thallium.

Several other metal alloys do not perform well as electrical conductors and therefore cannot be cut with a plasma cutter.

However, these alloys are usually exotic enough that you will not have cause to cut them in the first place.


We hope this guide has helped you discover what you can cut with a plasma cutter.

If you have any questions or comments about this guide or plasma cutters in general, please feel free to leave them in the section below.

About Stephanie Hall

Stephanie is a DIYer and expert in using power tools. She is an architect and also provides design services. A yoga lover, she meditates to keep herself fit.

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