Yes, you can theoretically turn most welders into a cuter of some sort. It is hot enough and penetrative enough to cut through most metals and materials. As such, many people choose to use their MIG welders to cut.
A MIG welder can be seen as a cheaper alternative to the often pricy plasma cutter. Plasma cutters are the tools that are typically recommended for making cuts, but if your work does not warrant needing to use them very often, then it can be a big cost to fork out for something that will rarely be used. In this situation, you can fashion a cutter from your MIG welder.
Now, it is no easy feat to turn your MIG welder into a cutter, and it certainly takes practice, but when you do manage to get the hang of it you will be impressed by how well it works. With your MIG welder, you will be able to cut a variety of metals and other materials such as stainless steel or carbon steel. It may not be quite as neat of a job as you would get were you to use a plasma cutter that has been specifically designed for the purpose, but using it for small jobs is fine.
Can you turn a MIG welder into a plasma cutter?
You can convert a MIG welder into a cutter. It will not technically be a plasma cutter as those tools are quite the investment. However, you can certainly modify your MIG welder to do the job of a plasma cutter. To do this, you can follow our instructions:
You need the following –
- A drill
- Copper tubing
- A carbon electrode
- Air compressor
- Compressor hose
- Zip ties
- Brass plumbing valve
- Brass cap
- Tap and die
- Brass jet
- Your welder
- Attach your brass cap to the end of the copper tubing (either end is fine) and put the plumbing valve on the other end. Drill a small hole in the cap end so you can run your threads.
- Attach the copper tubing onto your welder handle using your zip ties. Secure it tightly in place.
- Where you would usually insert your welding wire you can instead place your carbon electrode. Ensure the tip of the carbon is sharp and cone-shaped (like a pen nib) and bend the nozzle towards the nib.
- On the plumbing valve, you should attach a compressor hose for the air compressor. A fast release hose is best.
- To use your newly fashioned MIG welder/cutter you will need to set the amperage up to 25 to 50 amps to get a hot arc. This will, in turn, lead to ample oxidation that is needed to cut through metal. This will cut through around one inch thick.
Following these steps will not turn your MIG welder into a plasma cutter but it will allow it to do much the same job. Of course, we cannot promise that the results will be the same as a plasma cutter which has been specially designed for metal cutting, nor can we guarantee that it will be neat. However, if you are in a pinch and do not want to invest in a pricy plasma cutter for the sake of a small job then this is a great alternative.
Can you cut metal with a flux core welder?
Yes! At least theoretically you can cut with any welder if you turn it into a cutter as detailed in the previous section. If you do decide to use your flux core welder to cut metal you should ensure that you seek out all of the necessary safety equipment and research how to properly set it up. The directions in the section above are for a MIG welder, but the same principles apply in this case.
However, you may want to query if this will be the most cost-effective or efficient way of cutting. What we mean by this is that you would likely need to crank the power right up on your welder for it to do the job of cutting. You are also likely to use up wire, electricity, and gas in larger amounts than if you used a plasma cutter that was specially designed for cutting.
Most wire feed welders may only be able to cut a quarter of an inch of metal or even as little as an eighth of an inch! With this in mind, it will only be useful for thin sheet metal. For this reason, it is perhaps only suitable for small jobs or if you just need to cut something once and do not anticipate needing a cutter again. Otherwise, if you do feel like a cutter would be beneficial, we would recommend purchasing a plasma cutter and keeping your welders just for welding.