Operating a CNC plasma table can be a rewarding experience, allowing you to bring your intricate designs to life with precision and efficiency. However, like any technology, it comes with its set of challenges. In this blog post, we’ll explore some common mistakes that users often make when operating a CNC plasma table and discuss ways to avoid them.

  1. Skipping Homing Before Cutting
  2. Incorrect Zeroing Procedures
  3. Incorrect Consumables
  4. Incorrect Settings
  5. Low/High Pressure
  6. Drawing Errors
  7. Poor Grounding

1. Skipping Homing Before Cutting:

One of the fundamental steps users sometimes overlook is homing the CNC plasma table before initiating the cutting process. Homing is essential for the machine to establish its reference points accurately. Neglecting this step can lead to misaligned cuts and potential damage to both the material and the machine.

Avoidance Tip:

Always ensure that the CNC plasma table has been homed before starting any job. If you close out of the CNC software, (for example if you shut down your computer every night) make sure you home the machine upon reopening the software. This sets the stage for precise and error-free operations.

2. Incorrect Zeroing Procedures:

Zeroing the CNC plasma table to the material is crucial for accurate positioning of the cutting head. Mistakes in zeroing can result in misplacement of cuts, rendering your design inaccurate.

Avoidance Tip:

Take the time to double-check and triple-check your zeroing procedures. Use reliable measuring tools to ensure the correct zero point before initiating the cutting process. Also consider driving the machine around the edge of the nest to ensure the part/parts fit on the material.

3. Incorrect Consumables:

Using incorrect consumables for your CNC plasma table can significantly impact the quality of your cuts. Consumables wear out over time. Nozzles and electrodes must be replaced regularly to maintain optimal cutting performance.

Avoidance Tip:

Familiarize yourself with the recommended consumables for your power unit and the material that you are cutting. Regularly inspect and replace consumables to ensure consistent and high-quality cuts.

4. Incorrect Settings:

Misconfiguring the settings on your CNC plasma table can lead to disastrous outcomes. Incorrect speed, amperage, or other parameters can result in uneven cuts, excessive material warping, and increased wear on consumables.

Avoidance Tip:

Consult your machine’s user manual for recommended settings based on the material you are cutting. Conduct test cuts to fine-tune settings and achieve the desired results before tackling larger projects.

5. Low/High Air Pressure:

Maintaining proper air pressure is crucial for the effective operation of a CNC plasma table. Low air pressure can compromise the quality of cuts, lead to dross formation, and increase the risk of nozzle damage. High Air pressure may damage the power unit and cause premature wear.

Avoidance Tip:

Regularly monitor and maintain the required air pressure levels as specified by the manufacturer. Check for leaks and address them promptly to ensure consistent and reliable performance.

6. Drawing Errors:

Errors in the design or drawing phase can have a cascading effect on the entire cutting process. Common mistakes include open vectors, overlapping lines, or incorrectly defined cut paths.

Avoidance Tip:

Thoroughly review your designs before cutting them on the CNC plasma table. Utilize design software features to check for potential errors and ensure that your drawings are clean and precise.

7. Poor Grounding:

In addition to the previously mentioned common mistakes, poor grounding from the plasma unit to the material stands out as a crucial factor. Proper grounding is essential for allowing a good connection between the plasma arc and the material. This maintains precise cut quality, and ensures the safety of both the equipment and operators.

Avoidance Tip:

Coordinate with Homing and Zeroing: Grounding should be integrated into the pre-cutting checklist along with homing and zeroing procedures. This comprehensive approach ensures that the CNC plasma table is in optimal condition before the cutting process begins.


Operating a CNC plasma table requires attention to detail and adherence to proper procedures. By avoiding these common mistakes, you can enhance the accuracy, efficiency, and longevity of your CNC plasma cutting endeavors. Remember to follow manufacturer guidelines, perform regular maintenance, and invest time in mastering the intricacies of your machine for optimal results.

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