Steel Cutting Basics: Thermal Cutting

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Steel Cutting Basics: Thermal Cutting

At Wasatch Steel, we’re here to provide more than just a wide range of steel tubing, steel bar and other steel products. We do indeed provide the best online resource available for you to buy steel in Utah, but we’re also here to give you expertise on the processes and important work areas that go into steel projects.

Metals like steel often need to be cut, and there are a few different processes available for doing this. One such broad process type is called thermal cutting, which refers to using an energy source to heat parts of the metal, causing it to turn into liquid. From here, molten metal is blown away from the solid metal, and you have your appropriate cut. Due to the speed and efficacy of thermal metal cutting, it’s considered preferable to other cutting methods in some situations. Here are a few different examples of a thermal cutting process in use.

Flame Cutting

Flame cutting is perhaps the most common type of thermal cutting process out there, depending on the kind of project you’re doing. It has several sub-types itself – one such sub-type is oxy-fuel flame cutting, which uses oxygen combined with a fuel like propylene or acetylene to produce a flame for melting metal. This same mixture of oxygen and gas is then used to blow the molten metal away from the rest of the piece, creating the cut you want quickly and simply.

Plasma Cutting

In many ways, plasma cutting is the same as flame cutting. The only major difference is that it uses an electrical arc as the heat source, rather than a fuel of some kind.

Laser Cutting

Another possible energy source for thermal cutting? A laser, which in today’s day and age can be produced easily strongly enough to cut through metal like steel. A light beam is used within a laser resonator, then focused onto metal using a lens. Through this specific targeting, sections of the metal are heated and melted to form your desired cut.

To learn more about thermal cutting processes, or to find out about any of our steel services, contact the pros at Wasatch Steel today.