Plasma Cutter Drag Tip vs Standoff

What exactly is the difference between a plasma cutter drag tip and a standoff tip? Like most people out there, I bet you already know that one is usually used when contacting the part while another is normally used above the part. In case you didn’t know, now you know. But what is it that makes one a standoff and the other a drag tip? Well, that is exactly what we are going to reveal to you in this post. By giving it the approach of plasma cutter drag tip vs. standoff, we can be able to easily get answers.

Plasma cutter drag tip vs standoff – How they work

In an effort to compare plasma cutter drag tip and standoff in a simple manner, I will start by explaining to you how they work. That should shade more light and make it clearer what makes them different from each other.

When it comes to using a plasma cutter drag tip, the process basically involves dragging the tip of the plasma cutter’s touch along with a workpiece so as to cut the material. As you begin the process of drag cutting, you will put the torch’s tip on your workpiece and then start dragging the plasma cutter dragging tip gently across your workpiece. Place the torch farthest from you first. Start cutting the material by pulling the plasma torch in your direction. The torch is supposed to remain upright to what is being cut during the course of the whole cutting process. While drag cutting the material, the travel speed should be consistent and smooth for an accurate, clean cut.

Concerning standoff, a cutting tip is required to cut the material. To use standoff technique, you will need to hold the torch’s tip a short distance from your workpiece. To achieve a more accurate cut, the distance between the torch’s tip and the workpiece should be about 3 to 4 mm. a cutting tip is needed and the tip’s amperage must be marched to the output amperage of the plasma cutters. To easily create the most desired cuts, a stand-off roller, or spring/guide guides can come in handy.

Plasma cutter drag tip vs standoff – The similarities

Both Plasma cutter drag tip and standoff require cutting tips. Just like with plasma cutter drag tip, the tip amperage should always be matched with output amperage in standoff as well. When using either plasma cutter drag tip or standoff, the torch should be placed at the farthest possible point from the operator at the beginning of the cutting process. The operator will then pull the torch towards them as they do the cutting.

Plasma cutter drag tip vs standoff – The difference

Plasma cutter drag tip has two small groves placed in the face. The groves are for hand cutting. In case you allow the drag tip to smash the plate, there will be a small standoff on the arc and it won’t damage the shield or tip. It will also not go out. Simply put, just as implied, in a plasma cutter drag tip, you hold the torch in your hand and drag it to the metal and cut while they are in contact.

On the other hand, a standoff, which is also known as a mechanized cutting tip, usually has a very smooth face. In other words, the face doesn’t have any groves.  It is often assumed that the cutting machine won’t be hitting the plate. In case there were groves on the surface, they would definitely clog up with the slag. Usually, cleaning the torch face tends to be more difficult than cleaning a handheld touch.

Benefits of plasma cutter drag tip

Before mentioning the benefits of plasma cutter drag tip, let us, first of all, remind ourselves what drag cutting is. To put it in a very simple term for you, drag cutting is simply involved dragging the tip of the plasma torch along a workpiece in order to cut metal.

The reason we are discussing plasma cutter drag tip vs standoff is that both of them are great in different ways and in different things. In the case of plasma cutter drag tip, there are notable benefits.

First, cutting using plasma cutter drag tips is far much easier for operators since you do not have to maintain any distance between your workpiece and the cutting tip. The operator can just drag the plasma torch’s end along a straight edge or a template. This process is great because it often ensures that the cut is more accurate.

Secondly, drug cutting using plasma cutter drag usually produces far less blowback and spatter. This tremendously enhances the lifespan of the torch parts and front end.

Plasma cutter drag tip – drawbacks

While drag cutting using plasma cutter drag tip is usually the easiest method to cut the metal while keeping the heat input very low, it is basically possible only on cutting currents not exceeding 40 amps. It is important to mention that before using a drag cutting tip, you should always ensure that the tip amperage matches the output amperage of the plasma cutters.

Standoff – benefits

Now, about standoff, there are also notable benefits. Remember that we are listing the benefits of standoff that give it an edge over drag tip.

Standoff cutting is possible on very high cutting currents as compared to drag cutting. Actually, you can use standoff to cut materials on cutting currents of even 900 amps.  Another benefit of standoff is that it allows for faster travel speed. This helps you get the work done quicker.

Standoff – drawback

What is most common with standoff is that the operator must hold the tip of the torch up off the metal they are cutting. Holding a standoff while cutting the material tends to be difficult and annoying as it sounds. This basically makes works more difficult for the operator and this is the major standoff fault. Actually, your hands need to be steady.

There is a possibility of double acing if you are not careful when cutting a workpiece.

Standoff or drag

Let’s get into the technicality concerning the topic of standoff vs plasma cutter drag tip. This could help you understand it better!

Plasma torch has two main consumable parts – the nozzle and the electrode. Some users prefer referring to the nozzle as a drag tip. So, to avoid confusion, I’ll also call them tips and electrodes.

Electrode is usually inserted properly into the plasma torch. It will connect electronically to the Negative output that comes from a plasma power supply. Typically, the electrode present in the plasma torch usually has a hafnium slug fused to its body, which is made of copper. The hafnium found in electrode usually is used as the Emitter of electron. This is actually where the formation of the 2500º plasma arc takes place. The temperature of hafnium slug might reach 3000 F. therefore, it is normally air-cooled up to 130 amps or below in the air plasma torches.

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