How to choose the perfect CNC plasma machine for your shop

October 27, 2017

CNC plasma cutter machines have become economically viable not just for large businesses, but now for companies of all sizes. Their technology has become advanced enough such that they boost your productivity and slash your production costs at the same time.

But to get those results at your shop, you should consider these 10 factors as you evaluate CNC plasma cutter machines:

Duty Cycle

“Duty cycle” measures how long a CNC plasma cutters can operate without needing cooling. Expressed in percentages, a 50% duty cycle means the machine can run 5-10 minutes at a specified amperage.


This measures the strength of the electric current passed through your CNC plasma cutter. It has an inverse relationship with duty cycle, which means the lower the amperage, the better the duty cycle.

Material Types

What materials will you need to cut? CNC plasma cutters vary in the amount of versatility they have to cut differing materials effectively.


Measured in inches per minute (IPM), this factor is straightforward. Simply note the IPM of the machines you’re considering, and compare that to how fast you currently need to cut, and would like to cut.

Cutting Capacity

What size of material will you need to cut? You can get CNC plasma tables with the room for expansion if you need to accommodate change in the future.


Will you need to frequently transport the CNC plasma cutter? If so, know the weight and understand how you’ll move it.


Make sure you allocate funds for the machine, shipping, installation, operation, and maintenance. More spent up front on the CNC plasma machine usually means lower operating and maintenance costs down the road. It also means fewer disruptions to your production and greater efficiency.


CNC plasma machines have five main consumables: swirl ring, electrode, nozzle, retaining cap, and shield cap. Make sure you invest in a machine with consumables that last.


What would a CNC plasma machine be without a quality warranty? Make sure you’re protected for at least a year.

Technical Support

Hopefully you buy a CNC plasma machine that doesn’t have any operating issues. But just in case, make sure you have technical support available that you also trust to help you out in a pinch.

When you keep these 10 factors in mind while you evaluate CNC plasma machines, you put yourself in a good position for making a wise decision that boosts efficiency and revenue.

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